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By Thomas Habinek

This publication introduces readers to the traditional rhetorical culture through investigating key questions on the origins, nature and value of rhetoric. Explores the position of the orator, in particular the 2 maximum figures of the culture, Demosthenes and Cicero Investigates where of rhetoric on the middle of old schooling Considers the function 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 proposals for additional examining.

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Extra info for Ancient Rhetoric and Oratory (Blackwell Introductions to the Classical World)

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Because of the nature of the charge, the case is being tried before the Council of the Areopagus, whose membership is dominated by the conservative, landowning aristocracy. The speaker, using words composed by Lysias, represents himself as the aggrieved party. As he tells the story, it is because Simon lusted after the speaker’s young ARAC03 39 5/8/04, 5:59 PM 40 THE CRAFT OF RHETORIC male companion, a Plataean youth named Theodotus, that he harassed both the speaker and the youth, breaking into the house they shared, throwing stones, even organizing a party to kidnap Theodotus.

Indeed, Demosthenes acknowledges that such an approach risks unpopularity since, in effect, it requires the Athenians to catch up with the orator who sees the difference between their desires and their interests. But perhaps there is something disingenuous about the talk of risking unpopularity. For while Demosthenes’ career experienced its setbacks (not all of them at the hands of the Athenian demos), he persisted in speaking publicly on a wide variety of issues. He was even more celebrated after his death than during his life, and one anecdote from among the many that accrued around him helps us to understand what both contemporary and later admirers found noteworthy about him.

It is thus far from accidental that the success of Lysias is the jumping-off point for the Socratic critique of rhetoric. But that same success just as easily serves as evidence of the power of rhetoric as craft, a power independent of the charisma of the orator. And indeed such craftsmanship – and power – are well attested in the corpus of surviving speeches attributed to Lysias and to other logographoi as well. 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.

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