A Commentary on Demosthenes's Philippic I: With Rhetorical Analyses of Philippics II and III

By Cecil Wooten | Go to book overview

Commentary

1

I. Proemium: D explains why he has risen to speak before the
older orators and asks for the audience’s indulgence (§1)

The author of the Rhetoric to Herennius, in discussing the function of the proemium, points out that “we can by four methods make our hearers well disposed: by discussing our own person, the person of our adversaries, that of our hearers, and the facts themselves” (1.8). He goes on to note that we can secure goodwill from a discussion of our own person by pointing out our past conduct toward the audience. The scholion notes (Dilts, 1c) that this proemium is taken

, since some of the elders would be annoyed that a young man has been the lead speaker, and D must, therefore, point out that this is the first time that he has risen to speak before his elders and explain why he has chosen to do so. D thus not only projects the image of a young man who is modest, he also calls attention to the fact that his advice will be very different from what the audience has heard before (Carlier, 111). A proemium taken from the person of the speaker is most commonly found in judicial oratory. Aristotle observes in the Rhetoric that most deliberative speeches do not need a proemium, although he envisions situations, such as the need for the orator to justify his participation in the debate, where one could be considered appropriate:

The prooemia of deliberative rhetoric are copied from those of judi-
cial, but in the nature of the case there is very little need for them.
Moreover, they are concerned with what the audience [already]
knows, and the subject needs no prooemion except because of the
speaker or the opponents or if the advice given is not of the signifi-
cance they suppose, but either more or less. Then it is necessary to
attack or absolve and to amplify or minimize. (3.14.11)

Yunis cites this passage in his discussion of proemia in deliberative speeches in general and in D in particular (247–57) and comments that in general “Demosthenes’ practice corresponds with the passage from Aristotle: his demegoric preambles do not lay out the course of the argument and seldom even broach the subject of the speech; but he does concentrate on promoting himself at the expense of opposing speakers and on portraying the business at

-37-

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A Commentary on Demosthenes's Philippic I: With Rhetorical Analyses of Philippics II and III
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Abbreviations and Bibliography xi
  • Introduction- Philippic I 3
  • Structure of the Speech 17
  • ΔHmoΣΘEnoyΣ Kata ΦiΛiΠΠoy A' 19
  • Commentary 37
  • Appendix 1- Philippic II 123
  • Appendix 2- Philippic III 137
  • Appendix 3- The Longer and Shorter Versions of Philippic III 167
  • Historical Index 175
  • Rhetorical Index 177
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