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The Chreia and Ancient Rhetoric

The Chreia and Ancient Rhetoric: Commentaries on Aphthonius's Progymnasmata

Translated with an Introduction and Notes by Ronald F. Hock
  • Book Info
    The Chreia and Ancient Rhetoric
    Book Description:

    This book provides the first translations in English and a preliminary analysis of the commentaries on the chreia chapter in Aphthonius's standard Progymnasmata, a classroom guide on composition. The chreia, or anecdote, was a popular form that preserved the wisdom of philosophers, kings, generals, and sophists. Aphthonius used the chreia to provide instructions on how to construct an argument and to confirm the validity of the chreia by means of an eight-paragraph essay. His treatment of this classroom exercise, however, was so brief that commentators needed to clarify, explain, and supplement what he had written as well as to situate the chreia as preparation for the study of rhetoric-the kinds of public speeches and the parts of a speech. By means of these Byzantine commentaries, we can thus see more clearly how this important form and its confirmation were taught in classrooms for over a thousand years.

    eISBN: 978-1-58983-645-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  2. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  3. General Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)
    Ronald F. Hock

    This is the third and final volume of the Chreia in Ancient Education and Literature Project sponsored by the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity at the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. The first volume, The Chreia in Ancient Rhetoric: The Progymnasmata,¹ appeared in 1986 and introduced and translated the chreia chapters from all the extant Progymnasmata as well as some related texts. The second volume, The Chreia and Ancient Rhetoric: Classroom Exercises,² was published in 2002; it introduced and translated the various classroom exercises that used the chreia during the primary and secondary stages of the curriculum but especially...

  4. Text 1. John of Sardis, Commentary on Aphthonius’s Progymnasmata Chapter 3: On the Chreia (34,1–55,15 Rabe)
    (pp. 9-84)

    The debt that students of Byzantine school rhetoric owe to Hugo Rabe is especially evident in the case of the earliest extant commentator on Aphthonius’s Progymnasmata: John of Sardis. This debt becomes clear once we realize how little was known about this commentator before Rabe’s contributions. For example, in the Pauly-Wissowa article on Aphthonius, published in 1894, J. Brzoska duly noted the existence of an Aphthonian commentator who is known from five citations by the late eleventh-century commentator John Doxapatres, and who is called there simply “the Sardian” (ὁ τῶν Σάρδεων). Brzoska did not know the name of “the Sardian,”...

  5. Text 2. The P-Scholia, Commentary on Aphthonius’s Progymnasmata Chapter 3: On the Chreia (2:585,3–591,31 Walz)
    (pp. 85-126)

    Christian Walz’s second volume of his Rhetores Graeci, published in 1835, contains commentaries on Aphthonius’s Progymnasmata. One anonymous commentary, preserved in several, mostly late, manuscripts, bears the title Σχόλια εἰς τὰ τοῦ Άφθονίου Προ-γυμνάσματα, or Scholia on the Progymnasmata of Aphthonius.¹ Not long after the publication of the scholia, Eberhard Finckh saw their significance for recovering the fifth-century Nicolaus of Myra’s Progymnasmata, which is mentioned by the Suda.² Finckh made the discovery with a perceptive observation involving John Doxapatres’s discussion of the differences between a διήγημα and a διήγησις: a διήγησις is the narration of events that have actually happened,...

  6. Text 3. John Doxapatres, Commentary on Aphthonius’s Progymnasmata Chapter 3: On the Chreia (2:247,12–282,11 Walz)
    (pp. 127-258)

    Biographical information about John Doxapatres is meager, and scholarly confusion and neglect regarding this important commentator have only exacerbated the situation. His name, his relationship to John Siceliotes, and his dates have confused scholars, and more information about him would surely surface if all his writings were published or if those that have been were read with this purpose in mind.

    Confusion about the correct spelling of John’s name goes back to his editor, Christian Walz, who introduced Δοξόπατρος (Doxopater).¹ At the end of the nineteenth century Karl Krumbacher sorted out the possibilities in the manuscripts, regarded Δοξαπατρῆς and Δοξοπατρῆς...

  7. Text 4. Rhetorica Marciana, Commentary on Aphthonius’s Progymnasmata On the Chreia (1:129,18–130,14 Walz)
    (pp. 259-276)

    Among the rhetorical manuscripts that Christian Walz edited for his nine-volume Rhetores Graeci, published in 1832–1836,¹ is a fourteenth-century Venetian manuscript, which he identified as Ven. 444.² Walz edited only small portions of this manuscript and scattered them about his various volumes. Hugo Rabe briefly dealt with this manuscript. He renamed it Marc. gr. 444 after the Venetian library of San Marco where it is located, combined it with other manuscripts—the thirteenth-century Marc. gr. 599 and the late fourteenth-century Vat. gr. 899—and regarded their contents as forming a coherent rhetorical corpus, formed in the late twelfth century,...

  8. Text 5. Maximus Planudes, Commentary on Aphthonius’s Progymnasmata Chapter 3: Commentary on the Chreia (2:15,6–21,13 Walz)
    (pp. 277-320)

    The best known of the commentators on Aphthonius’s Progymnasmata is the Palaeologan polymath Maximus Planudes.¹ His fame rests, as is well known, on his achievements as an editor of many classical authors, as the author of original grammatical treatises, as a mathematician, and as one of the few Byzantines to know Latin, but not on his contribution to the teaching of rhetoric. A review of his life and times—times that witnessed a cultural renaissance, especially in classical scholarship, that followed the recapture of Constantinople from the Latins in 1261 by Michael VIII Paleologus (1259–1282)²—will help to provide...

  9. Text 6. Matthew Camariotes, Epitome of Aphthonius’s Progymnasmata Chapter 3: On the Chreia (1:122,23–123,5 Walz)
    (pp. 321-332)

    With Matthew Camariotes the role of Aphthonius’s Progymnasmata in the educational curriculum survived even the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453. Thus over a thousand years have passed since Aphthonius composed this textbook. As will become apparent, however, the tradition of vigorous and detailed analysis of this textbook as represented most fully by John Doxapatres has all but ended. Thus we conclude this volume with a commentator who had little desire to reflect at length on Aphthonius’s treatment of the chreia or any other of the progymnasmata.

    Matthew Camariotes, the son of a priest, was born in Thessalonike...

  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 333-340)
  11. Index of Technical Terms
    (pp. 341-345)