Dirk M. Schenkeveld
Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
In the Hellenistic and Roman period philosophical treatises in the widest sense were written in multifarious forms and styles and for various purposes. Here, attention will be paid to prose writings, and poems such as Cleanthes' Hymn to Zeus and Lucretius's De rerum natura or Proclus's Hymns and Manilius's Astronomicon will be left out of consideration. The latter category requires a different approach and to discuss these texts in this contribution would greatly exceed the limits of size.1
The approach to philosophical prose taken here is that of form, rather than purpose. By form I mean dialogue, diatribe and thesis, but also ego-documents and technical writings such as the handbook, isagoge, the longerand commentary. The goals or purposes of these texts may be pure instruction for the beginner or the more advanced student, but may also be consolatory, protreptic and paraenetic or of some other kind. It turns out that the approach by form is more manageable but for one exception: a separate section is reserved for protreptic and paraenesis. This has come about because division of assignments has the genre of Letters (Epistolary style) discussed elsewhere, and Epicurus's paraenetic epistle could easily have gone unnoticed. Inclusion of technical writings serves as a reminder that not all prose is Kunstprosa, to borrow Norden's term, but even there we may find traces of rhetorical influence.
1 Originally, I had promised to make two contributions, one on the philosophical
treatise and one on Stoic philosophers. Because, however, the style of Stoic philoso-
phers is not different from that of other philosophers in this period it was more
convenient to discuss texts of philosophers together with texts on philosophical sub-
jects all together in one contribution.