A New History of Classical Rhetoric

A New History of Classical Rhetoric

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 069100059X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

George Kennedy's three volumes on classical rhetoric have long been regarded as authoritative treatments of the subject. This new volume, an extensive revision and abridgment of The Art of Persuasion in Greece, The Art of Rhetoric in the Roman World, and Greek Rhetoric under Christian Emperors, provides a comprehensive history of classical rhetoric, one that is sure to become a standard for its time.

Kennedy begins by identifying the rhetorical features of early Greek literature that anticipated the formulation of "metarhetoric," or a theory of rhetoric, in the fifth and fourth centuries b.c.e. and then traces the development of that theory through the Greco-Roman period. He gives an account of the teaching of literary and oral composition in schools, and of Greek and Latin oratory as the primary rhetorical genre. He also discusses the overlapping disciplines of ancient philosophy and religion and their interaction with rhetoric. The result is a broad and engaging history of classical rhetoric that will prove especially useful for students and for others who want an overview of classical rhetoric in condensed form.

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Legatio ad Gaium. His other works were written earlier. They include a pamphlet in oratorical form attacking Flaccus, the governor of Egypt, and extensive writings on the Old Testament, interpreted allegorically with concepts from Platonic and Stoic philosophy. There is a translation of Philo’s writings by Colson and Whitaker in the Loeb Classical Library. 186 LATIN RHETORIC IN THE SILVER AGE few care for ancient ambition. In ancient days, “poets and prose writers and those interested in

that Isocrates is never mentioned or quoted and direct indebtedness to Isocrates is as tenuous as it is to Aristotle. In chapter 28 the author stresses the importance of a speaker’s reputation for success in oratory, a view shared by Isocrates, but also puts great emphasis on observing the rules found throughout the treatise if a speaker hopes to succeed. This is not at all the view of Isocrates; it reflects the attitude of those pedestrian teachers of rhetoric whom he criticizes for arrogantly

very well known indeed. Quintilian refers to it repeatedly; Victorinus and Grillius wrote commentaries on it in late antiquity; it was the commonest Latin rhetorical textbook of the Middle Ages—many manuscripts and many commentaries still survive—and it continued to be studied in the Renaissance. In contrast, Cicero’s mature works on rhetoric—On the Orator, Brutus, and Orator—were little known after the classical period until rediscovered by Italian humanists in the fifteenth century. The appeal

ridicule Cicero’s glorification of early Roman orators, including the assertion that Cato was a Roman Lysias. Cicero sticks to his guns, but the digression adds liveliness to the dialogue and shows that he did not mean his claim to be taken too literally. Brutus is one of Cicero’s more carefully written works; he seems to have sought a prose style that would be approved by his opponents. 155 CHAPTER SEVEN A second work dedicated to Brutus is the treatise known as the Orator,37 written soon

and replete with all additional ornament. Over against the Thucydidean “character” of style is set the plain style of Lysias. The various writers exhibit a “harmony” of styles, with Thucydides (and Gorgias) at one extreme and Lysias at the other. What lies between the two extremes should, he thinks, be viewed as a “mixture” of features of each. Isocrates among the orators and Plato among the philosophers are his preferred examples. This all leads up to Demosthenes, who combines the best features

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