Progymnasmata was a set of rudimentary exercises designed to prepare students of rhetoric for the creation and performance of orations. Following the stage of progymnasmata, the student engaged in gymnasmata and then in their own declamations.

There are 14 progymasmata, some of which involve exercises on different parts of a typical oration, others involved practice on different oratory genres.

The 14 Progymnasmata

The following 14 progymnasmata are taught in order, with similar ones grouped together.

  1. Fable
  2. Narrative
  3. Chreia
  4. Proverb
  5. Refutation
  6. Confirmation
  7. Commonplace
  8. Encomium
  9. Vituperation
  10. Comparison
  11. Impersonation
  12. Description
  13. Thesis or Theme
  14. Defend / Attack a Law

Related Figures

Gibson, Craig (2008). Libanius's Progymnasmata: model exercises in Greek prose composition and rhetoric. Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature. Google Books: Retrieved April 5, 2010.

Heath, Malcolm (1997). Translation of Aphthonius: Progymnasmata Retrieved April 5, 2010.

Hermogenes of Tarsus, developed progymnasmata in the second century CE and Aelius Festus Aphthonius, and Libanius of Antioch did so in the third century.

Johnson, Francis (1943). Two Renaissance Textbooks of Rhetoric: Aphthonius' "Progymnasmata" and Rainolde's "A Booke Called the Foundacion of Rhetorike" The Huntington Library Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 4 (Aug., 1943), pp. 427-444

Nadeau, Ray (1952) The Progymnasmata of Aphthonius in translation

Communication Monographs, Volume 1919, 4, 264-285. - v1919