An Introduction to Thaumasmus

Thaumasmus (also known as Admiratio, in Latin), is a form of speech, by which the oratorOpens in new window declared how much he marvels at something as either why a thing is done, or left undone, or at some strange effect, whose secret cause makes him to wonder.

By means of this device the orator sometimes wondered, at the boldness and impudence of wicked deeds; at the negligence of men, in not preventing danger, or at their brutish security when the battel axe of destruction hanged over their heads. The may also show marvel at impunity, as, when he sees great wickedness pass free without punishment or rebuke; at the accusation of some person, in whom he hath a good opinion.

Example of Thaumasmus

A notable example for this figure, is when Jesus showed wonder and spoke concerning the centurion in Mathew 10:8,

  • “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.”
Further Readings:
Silver Rhetoricae, Figures | ThaumasmusOpens in new window
Peacham, p. 72