Download Ancient Rhetoric and Oratory (Blackwell Introductions to the by Thomas Habinek PDF

By Thomas Habinek

This e-book introduces readers to the traditional rhetorical culture via investigating key questions on the origins, nature and value of rhetoric. Explores the position of the orator, specifically the 2 maximum figures of the culture, Demosthenes and Cicero Investigates where of rhetoric on the heart of historic schooling Considers the function of rhetoric because the finish of antiquity. encompasses a word list of right names and technical phrases; a chronological desk of political occasions, authors, orators, and rhetorical works; and proposals for extra analyzing.

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Additional resources for Ancient Rhetoric and Oratory (Blackwell Introductions to the Classical World)

Sample text

Indeed, that is what isegoria, or equal political participation, equal right to speak before the assembly, is all about: each man speaking in the city’s interest to others listening in the city’s interest. Plato’s Socrates will describe such a process as flattery, assigning it an ethical or characterological dimension. But that seems to miss the more difficult problem that the tradition of Alcibiades lore is getting at: how does one get outside any system of discourse? How does one develop and maintain a sufficiently distinctive perspective to be able to contribute to the transformation of the city (or nation or society) without becoming too different to be heard?

The choice is complicated by the fact that while Sparta is a long-standing rival of Athens, it has recently allied with it in a conflict against Thebes, whereas Megalopolis, which has done nothing to offend Athens on its own, is nonetheless in alliance with Thebes, which is at present openly hostile to Athens. The overall recommendation of Demosthenes is that Athens should promise to support Megalopolis if Sparta takes action against it, not for love of Megalopolis, but as an expression of a general principle of opposition to aggression and out of particular concern that should Sparta conquer Megalopolis it would threaten a genuine Athenian ally, Messene.

And it was a radical rupture in another respect as well. One of the oldest traditions of the Roman aristocracy had been for a young member of the clan to make his public debut by delivering the eulogy for a recently deceased member of the family. Even in Tacitus’ day, it would seem, the tradition had been at most revised, not abandoned, as young men made their entry into public life through recitation of some text they had composed. In the case of Nero, the abandonment of aristocratic and dynastic traditions of self-presentation through language is a harbinger of more severe changes to come.

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