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

By Thomas Habinek

This publication introduces readers to the traditional rhetorical culture by way of investigating key questions on the origins, nature and value of rhetoric. Explores the function of the orator, particularly the 2 maximum figures of the culture, Demosthenes and Cicero Investigates where of rhetoric on the heart of old schooling Considers the position of rhetoric because the finish of antiquity. encompasses a thesaurus of right names and technical phrases; a chronological desk of political occasions, authors, orators, and rhetorical works; and proposals for additional studying.

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Moreover, litigiousness itself figures in Athenian discourse as a sign of democratic, as opposed to aristocratic, affiliations. The speaker’s admission that he could have, but didn’t, bring a case against Simon further identifies him with the jury at the expense of the plaintiff. 9), he might just as well be inviting the jury to reflect on the difficulties they face and have faced in carrying out their own responsibilities, both in court and beyond. The speaker presents himself as closer in social status to the jury than to the plaintiff.

Cicero’s main strategy in the case is to suggest that Oppianicus, in cahoots with Sassia, was so obviously guilty of the crimes he was charged with that Cluentius had no need to bribe the previous jury. But the specific accusations he makes against the dead Oppianicus and the very much alive Sassia are precisely those that historians and anthropologists have taught us to expect when transfers of property destabilize a small community: namely, false wills, seductions, and poisonings. Such accusations, even if they fail to alter the transfer of property, nonetheless diminish the social status of the beneficiaries of a windfall.

If the charismatic orators discussed in the preceding chapter represent the heights to which rhetoric might aspire, workhorses like Lysias and his successors help us to appreciate its pervasiveness. To take but two small examples, we may consider the third and seventh of the surviving Lysian orations. Speech No. 3 shows an interesting overlap in content with the alleged speech of Lysias in Plato’s Phaedrus. In the case in question, an unnamed speaker defends himself against the charge of having assaulted one Simon with intent to kill.

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