The ars dictaminis describes the medieval tendency to organize intellectual activities following precise rules when dealing with oral presentation of written messages. It consists of a system of guidelines, examples, and prescriptions for composing letters on the basis of rhetorical directions drawn from ancient oratory. The successful diffusion of the system throughout the European universities lies in the growing demand for public correspondence among various political and religious institutions in the Late Middle Ages. Public officials found in this art a useful method and numerous examples, helpful in different situations, in order to draft a great deal of letters fitting for the most various authorities, with the due respect for social hierarchy.
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