Persuasion: Greek Rhetoric in Action

By Ian Worthington | Go to book overview

Preface

Though distinct genres, Greek rhetoric and Greek oratory are intimately connected with each other: rhetoric is the intellectual art or study of persuasion; oratory is the actual verbal communication with the intent to persuade, the application of the art of rhetoric. One cannot live without the other, so to speak, and that is why this book is so titled since oratory is rhetoric in action. Rhetoric permeated and influenced (and, to an extent, was influenced by) other genres, concepts and features of ancient Greek life far more comprehensively than any other intellectual art or pursuit. This is reflected in Protarchus’ words in Plato’s Philebus (58a):

I have often heard Gorgias constantly maintain that the art of persuasion surpasses all others; for this, he said, makes all things subject to itself, not by force, but by their free will, and is by far the best of all arts.

(Trans. H.N. Fowler)

It is important, though, not to restrict the influence of Greek rhetoric just to the ancient world but to trace its continuity into our modern world, in the last instance perhaps most evident in the realm of communication.

Greek rhetoric and its effects on both its contemporary context and modern times are the scope of, and the justification for, the present book. In recent years there has been something of a renaissance of Greek rhetoric and oratory. Individual orators are receiving more attention in the form of editions and commentaries; Greek rhetoricians and rhetorical theories are undergoing new scrutinies and applications; critics of rhetoric, ancient and modern, are having their merits and views evaluated and re-evaluated; and oratory and rhetoric are rightly being linked

-viii-

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Persuasion: Greek Rhetoric in Action
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface viii
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Part I - Communicating 1
  • 1 - From Orality to Rhetoric: an Intellectual Transformation 3
  • 2 - Rhetorical Means of Persuasion 26
  • 3 - Probability and Persuasion: Plato and Early Greek Rhetoric 46
  • 4 - Classical Rhetoric and Modern Theories of Discourse 69
  • Part II - Applications 83
  • 5 - Power and Oratory in Democratic Athens: Demosthenes 21, against Meidias 85
  • 6 - History and Oratorical Exploitation 109
  • 7 - Law and Oratory 130
  • Part III - Contexts 151
  • 8 - Epic and Rhetoric 153
  • 9 - Tragedy and Rhetoric 176
  • 10 - Comedy and Rhetoric 196
  • 11 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 222
  • Notes 242
  • 12 - The Canon of the Ten Attic Orators 244
  • Bibliography 264
  • Index 274
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