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A New History of Classical Rhetoric

A New History of Classical Rhetoric

Copyright Date: 1994
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    A New History of Classical Rhetoric
    Book Description:

    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 ofThe Art of Persuasion in Greece,The Art of Rhetoric in the Roman World,andGreek 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.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2147-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-2)
  4. CHAPTER ONE Introduction: The Nature of Rhetoric
    (pp. 3-10)

    The English word “rhetoric” is derived from Greekrhētorikē, which apparently came into use in the circle of Socrates in the fifth century and first appears in Plato’s dialogueGorgias, probably written about 385 B.C. but set dramatically a generation earlier.Rhētorikēin Greek specifcally denotes the civic art of public speaking as it developed in deliberative assemblies, law courts, and other formal occasions under constitutional government in the Greek cities, especially the Athenian democracy. As such, it is a specifc cultural subset of a more general concept of the power of words and their potential to affect a situation...

  5. CHAPTER TWO Persuasion in Greek Literature before 400 B.C.
    (pp. 11-29)

    As part of the research that led to his lecturesOn Rhetoric, Aristotle compiled a work calledSynagōgē Technōn, a survey of the history of rhetoric in Greece before his time with a collection (synagōgē) of material from the handbooks (technai) that were available to him. This work has not survived, but we have reports of its contents by later writers.¹ Cicero, for example, reports (Brutus46–48) that Aristotle identifed the “inventors” of rhetoric as Corax and Tisias in Sicily in the second quarter of the fifth century. According to this story, versions of which are repeated by others, as...

  6. CHAPTER THREE Greek Rhetorical Theory from Corax to Aristotle
    (pp. 30-63)

    The comparative chronology of the major figures to be discussed in this chapter is as follows: Gorgias lived to be at least 105 years old (he may have been born around 480 or 475 and survived until about 375 or 370 B.C.) Socrates lived from 469 to 399; Isocrates from 436 to 338; Plato from about 429 to 347; Aristotle from 384 to 322.

    Plato’sPhaedrusincludes a passage (266d1—67d9) that appears to be an account of handbooks of rhetoric as known in the late fifth century. At this point in the dialogue Socrates has just given a description...

  7. CHAPTER FOUR The Attic Orators
    (pp. 64-80)

    Grammarians working in the Library in Alexandria in the third century B.C. began the process of establishing acanōn, or “standard of measure,” of the best authors in each of the poetic genres. Canons of prose writers were later added, confined to what were regarded as the three genres of literary prose: oratory, historiography, and philosophy.¹ These canons then determined the texts read in schools and the classic models for literary imitation. According to later tradition the canon of the ten Attic orators, that is, the ten best examples of orators writing in Athens in the late fifth and in...

  8. CHAPTER FIVE Hellenistic Rhetoric
    (pp. 81-101)

    As a result of the conquests of Alexander the Great between 334 and 323 B.C. and the foundation of kingdoms by his successors in Greece, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, Greek culture spread from Greece, southern Italy, and Sicily throughout the eastern Mediterranean. Greek became the international language of government, commerce, and learning. Schools of Greek grammar and rhetoric appeared in every city and town of any importance and provided an entry into the new society for non-Greeks, as well as a traditional education for the sons of Greek families who settled abroad. An ability to conduct business in Greek...

  9. CHAPTER SIX Early Roman Rhetoric
    (pp. 102-127)

    The early history of the Roman republic was filled with dissensions, especially strife between the “orders,” the patrician aristocracy and the plebeian citizenry, and this must have involved public debate. Much of what we know about it, however, comes from later writers, especially the historian Titus Livy. These writers were trained in rhetoric and adopted the forms of Greek historiography, including the composition of speeches for the leading figures in events, based on oral tradition or imaginative reconstruction of what might have been said. A famous example is the speech attributed by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Roman Antiquities6.83–86) and...

  10. CHAPTER SEVEN Cicero
    (pp. 128-158)

    Cicero’s political challenge throughout his career, and thus the focus of much of his rhetoric, was how to preserve the Roman republic and the society in which he grew up from revolutionary threats fostered by the ambitions of demagogues, administrative corruption, foreign and civil war, and economic chaos. He was a political moderate, ambitious for personal honor and in¯uence within the traditions of the Roman republic, but well aware of the many economic, social, and administrative problems of his time. There were no organized political parties in Rome; as in Athens, there was instead a fluid pattern of personal relationships...

  11. CHAPTER EIGHT Rhetoric in Augustan Rome
    (pp. 159-172)

    The victory of Caesar’s heir, Octavian, over Antony at the Battle of Actium in September 31 B.C. marked the end of the Roman republic and the beginning of the empire. In 27 Octavian took the title “Augustus,” under which he reigned until his death in A.D. 14. Although not a distinguished public speaker, he had a profound understanding of the rhetoric of empire. A variety of republican titles and religious forms were used to mask the reality of his power; art, architecture, inscriptions, and urban planning conveyed the aura of a new golden age; and support was given to writers,...

  12. CHAPTER NINE Latin Rhetoric in the Silver Age
    (pp. 173-200)

    The period from the death of the emperor Augustus in A.D. 14 until the reign of Marcus Aurelius in the second half of the second century is known as the “Silver Age” of Latin literature in contrast to the “Golden Age” of the Ciceronian and Augustan periods. The rhetorical schools dominated formal education, declamation continued a popular activity for adults, and an extensive body of elegant, though not highly original, literature showing the influence of rhetorical teaching was produced in traditional genres: epic by Lucan, Silius Italicus, Valerius Flaccus, and Statius; tragedy and philosophy by the younger Seneca; satire by...

  13. CHAPTER TEN Greek Rhetoric under the Roman Empire
    (pp. 201-229)

    During the first two centuries of the Roman Empire, from the time of Augustus to that of Marcus Aurelius, there was extensive communication between Greek- and Latin-speaking areas, and a common culture evolved, in which the traditional understanding and teaching of rhetoric remained an important feature. Beginning in the last third of the second century of the Christian era, however, East and West begin to draw apart, leading by the fourth century to the existence of two empires with two different languages, Greek and Latin; two different Christian churches, Orthodox and Catholic; and two different understandings of rhetoric, the Hermogenic...

  14. CHAPTER ELEVEN The Second Sophistic
    (pp. 230-256)

    In the second quarter of the third century, Philostratus of Lemnos wrote the work in two books calledlives of the sophists, which is the source of the term “second sophistic.”¹ “Ancient” sophistry, he says, was founded by Gorgias and flourished for about a century; other ancient sophists briefly discussed are Protagoras, Hippias, Prodicus, Polus, Thrasymachus, Antiphon, Critias, and Isocrates. The speeches of these older sophists, according to Philostratus, were concerned with such themes as courage, justice, heroes, gods, and the nature of the universe, and they aimed at demonstrating the probability of an argument. A “second” sophistic began with...

  15. CHAPTER TWELVE Christianity and Classical Rhetoric
    (pp. 257-270)

    Greco-Roman paganism, like polytheism in other parts of the world, had its origins in animistic beliefs, the personification of benign and maleficent natural forces as anthropomorphic gods. The practice of religion took the form of sacrifices to appease, or gain favor from, the gods, on extraordinary occasions human sacrifices but usually animal sacrifices or offerings of food and incense. These actions were performed by priests and accompanied by formulaic words, but pagan priests did not preach to the people. Religious beliefs and morality were primarily taught and learned from literature, including the Homeric poems and Greek drama, later from the...

  16. CHAPTER THIRTEEN The Survival of Classical Rhetoric from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages
    (pp. 271-284)

    There is no single point when classical civilization ends and the Middle Ages begins, nor when the history of classical rhetoric ends. Beginning in the fifth century after Christ in the West and in the sixth century in the East, there was a deterioration of the conditions of civic life that had created and sustained the study and uses of rhetoric throughout antiquity in courts of law and deliberative assemblies. Schools of rhetoric continued to exist, more in the East than in the West, but they were fewer and were only partially replaced by study of rhetoric in some monasteries....

  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 285-296)
  18. Index
    (pp. 297-301)