By Thomas Habinek
This publication introduces readers to the traditional rhetorical culture via 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 middle of historic schooling Considers the position 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 recommendations for additional studying.
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Extra resources for Ancient Rhetoric and Oratory (Blackwell Introductions to the Classical World)
Two generations after Pericles, the orator Demosthenes continues the Periclean practice of using oratory as a mean of advancing a cohesive political agenda, one that sustains and is sustained by a vivid vision of Athenian particularity. More than Pericles, Demosthenes relies on speeches in court as well as in the assembly and council. And if we are to believe the ancient biographical tradition, much more than was the case with Pericles, Demosthenes’ political and oratorical preeminence was achieved by effort, rather than ascribed by birth.
Cicero thus invokes the role of the orator as communicator with the world beyond – a role especially appropriate during his year as consul, since the consul is in effect both a political and a religious figure. Indeed, in a speech delivered at a trial held between the first and second speeches against Catiline, Cicero blurs the boundary between his personal status as speaker for the defense and his politicoreligious status as consul right from the outset. The case involved a charge of bribery against Cicero’s political ally, Murena, who had been elected to succeed him to the consulate.
If this is the case for other city-states, then surely it is the case for Athens as well: hence the task of the Athenians is to be as self-absorbed and self-interested as citizens of other city-states, even if the issue may not seem as pressing as the potential war facing Sparta and Megalopolis. Unlike Pericles, Demosthenes appeals not to the intrinsic differences between Athens and other city-states, but to implicit similarities: all are on the lookout for their own interests. Yet, at the same time, this very situation necessitates of the Athenian assembly an unwavering attention to the history, standing, principles, needs, and desires of Athens.