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Homeric Speech and the Origins of Rhetoric

Rachel Ahern Knudsen

Traditionally, Homer's epics have been the domain of scholars and students interested in ancient Greek poetry, and Aristotle's rhetorical theory has been the domain of those interested in ancient rhetoric. Rachel Ahern Knudsen believes that this academic distinction between poetry and rhetoric should be challenged. Based on a close analysis of persuasive speeches in the Iliad, Knudsen argues that Homeric poetry displays a systematic and technical concept of rhetoric and that many Iliadic speakers in fact employ the rhetorical techniques put forward by Aristotle. Rhetoric, in its earliest formulation in ancient Greece, was conceived as the power to change a listener’s actions or attitudes through words—particularly through persuasive techniques and argumentation. Rhetoric was thus a “technical” discipline in the ancient Greek world, a craft (technê) that was rule-governed, learned, and taught. This technical understanding of rhetoric can be traced back to the works of Plato and Aristotle, which provide the earliest formal explanations of rhetoric. But do such explanations constitute the true origins of rhetoric as an identifiable, systematic practice? If not, where does a technique-driven rhetoric first appear in literary and social history? Perhaps the answer is in Homeric epics. Homeric Speech and the Origins of Rhetoric demonstrates a remarkable congruence between the rhetorical techniques used by Iliadic speakers and those collected in Aristotle's seminal treatise on rhetoric. Knudsen's claim has implications for the fields of both Homeric poetry and the history of rhetoric. In the former field, it refines and extends previous scholarship on direct speech in Homer by identifying a new dimension within Homeric speech: namely, the consistent deployment of well-defined rhetorical arguments and techniques. In the latter field, it challenges the traditional account of the development of rhetoric, probing the boundaries that currently demarcate its origins, history, and relationship to poetry.

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Horace between Freedom and Slavery

The First Book of Epistles

Stephanie McCarter

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The House of Atreus

John Lewin

The House of Atreus, adapted by John Lewin was first published in 1966. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.This adaptation of the classic Greek trilogy is designed for contemporary stage presentation and is the version to be used by the Minnesota Theatre Company or its production of the work at the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. The volume provides the texts of the three plays, Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Furies, and, in addition, a director’s introduction by Sir Tyrone Guthrie and an adapter’s introduction by John Lewin.In his introduction, Guthrie points out that fidelity neither to the literal meaning of the original nor to the distinctive spirit of the Oresteia is necessarily the supreme virtue for a stage version of this work. In performance, he explains, the music of verse is almost as important in conveying its meaning as is the syntax, and thus this version, The House of Atreus, with its simple and lyrical choruses, has been created to provide an interesting and vivid dramatic vehicle.In a perceptive and illuminating discussion of the plays in his introduction, John Lewin demonstrates the need for the kinds of changes he has made in the scripts.

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The Humblest Sparrow

The Poetry of Venantius Fortunatus

Michael Roberts

The Humblest Sparrow is a superbly illuminating study of one of the major Latin poets of late antiquity. Every chapter is marked by a thorough, accurate, and up to date knowledge of the historical and material setting of the Merovingian upper classes. As a deep treatment of Fortunatus' poetry, this book will surely appeal to readers with a serious interest in the Latin verse of late antiquity. ---William Klingshirn, Catholic University of America In The Humblest Sparrow, Michael Roberts illuminates the poetry of the sixth-century bishop and poet Venantius Fortunatus. Often regarded as an important transitional figure, Fortunatus wrote poetry that is seen to bridge the late classical and earlier medieval periods. Written in Latin, his poems combined the influences of classical Latin poets with a medieval tone, giving him a special place in literary history. Yet while interest has been growing in the early Merovingian period, and while the writing of Fortunatus' patron Gregory of Tours has been well studied, Fortunatus himself has often been neglected. This neglect is remedied by this in-depth study, which will appeal to scholars of late antique, early Christian, and medieval Latin poetry. Roberts divides Fortunatus' poetry into three main groups: poetry of praise, hagiographical poetry, and personal poetry. In addition to providing a general survey, Roberts discusses in detail many individual poems and proposes a number of theses on the nature, function, relation to social and linguistic context, and survival of Fortunatus' poetry, as well as the image of the poet created by his work. Michael Roberts is Robert Rich Professor of Latin at Wesleyan University. Jacket illustration: L. Alma Tadema, Venantius Fortunatus Reading his Poems to Radegonda VI AD 555. (Courtesy of Dordrecht, Dordrechts Museum.) Also of Interest Abandoned Women: Rewriting the Classics in Dante, Boccaccio, and Chaucer, by Suzanne Hagedorn The Augustinian Epic, Petrarch to Milton, by J. Christopher Warner Early Modern Autobiography: Theories, Genres, Practices, edited by Ronald Bedford, Lloyd Davis, and Philippa Kelly

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The Iliad

Structure, Myth, and Meaning

Bruce Louden

Extending his distinctive analysis of Homeric epic to the Iliad, Bruce Louden, author of The "Odyssey": Structure, Narration, and Meaning, again presents new approaches to understanding the themes and story of the poem. In this thought-provoking study, he demonstrates how repeated narrative motifs argue for an expanded understanding of the structure of epic poetry. First identifying the "subgenres" of myth within the poem, he then reads these against related mythologies of the Near East, developing a context in which the poem can be more accurately interpreted. Louden begins by focusing on the ways in which the Iliad's three movements correspond with and comment on each other. He offers original interpretations of many episodes, notably in books 3 and 7, and makes new arguments about some well-known controversies (e.g., the duals in book 9), the Iliad's use of parody, the function of theomachy, and the prefiguring of Hektor as a sacrificial victim in books 3 and 6. The second part of the book compares fourteen subgenres of myth in the Iliad to contemporaneous Near Eastern traditions such as those of the Old Testament and of Ugaritic mythology. Louden concludes with an extended comparison of the Homeric Athena and Anat, a West Semitic goddess worshipped by the Phoenicians and Egyptians. Louden's innovative method yields striking new insights into the formation and early literary contexts of Greek epic poetry.

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The Image of the Poet in Ovid’s Metamorphoses

Barbara Pavlock

Barbara Pavlock unmasks major figures in Ovid’s Metamorphoses as surrogates for his narrative persona, highlighting the conflicted revisionist nature of the Metamorphoses. Although Ovid ostensibly validates traditional customs and institutions, instability is in fact a defining feature of both the core epic values and his own poetics.
    The Image of the Poet explores issues central to Ovid’s poetics—the status of the image, the generation of plots, repetition, opposition between refined and inflated epic style, the reliability of the narrative voice, and the interrelation of rhetoric and poetry. The work explores the constructed author and complements recent criticism focusing on the reader in the text.

2009 Outstanding Academic Title, Choice Magazine

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Interpreting a Classic

Demosthenes and His Ancient Commentators

Craig A. Gibson

Demosthenes (384-322 b.c.) was an Athenian statesman and a widely read author whose life, times, and rhetorical abilities captivated the minds of generations. Sifting through the rubble of a mostly lost tradition of ancient scholarship, Craig A. Gibson tells the story of how one group of ancient scholars helped their readers understand this man's writings. This book collects for the first time, translates, and offers explanatory notes on all the substantial fragments of ancient philological and historical commentaries on Demosthenes. Using these texts to illuminate an important aspect of Graeco-Roman antiquity that has hitherto been difficult to glimpse, Gibson gives a detailed portrait of a scholarly industry that touched generations of ancient readers from the first century b.c. to the fifth century and beyond.

In this lucidly organized work, Gibson surveys the physical form of the commentaries, traces the history of how they were passed down, and explains their sources, interests, and readership. He also includes a complete collection of Greek texts, English translations, and detailed notes on the commentaries.

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The Invention and Gendering of Epicurus

Pamela Gordon

The school of Greek philosopher Epicurus, which became known as the Garden, famously put great stock in happiness and pleasure. As a philosophical community, and a way of seeing the world, Epicureanism had a centuries-long life in Athens and Rome, as well as across the Mediterranean. The Invention and Gendering of Epicurus studies how the Garden's outlook on pleasure captured Greek and Roman imaginations---particularly among non-Epicureans---for generations after its legendary founding. Unsympathetic sources from disparate eras generally focus not on historic personages but on the symbolic Epicurean. And yet the traditions of this imagined Garden, with its disreputable women and unmanly men, give us intermittent glimpses of historical Epicureans and their conceptions of the Epicurean life. Pamela Gordon suggests how a close hearing and contextualization of anti-Epicurean discourse leads us to a better understanding of the cultural history of Epicureanism. Her primary focus is on sources hostile to the Garden, but her Epicurean-friendly perspective is apparent throughout. Her engagement with ancient anti-Epicurean texts makes more palpable their impact on modern responses to the Garden. Intended both for students and for scholars of Epicureanism and its response, the volume is organized primarily according to the themes common among Epicurus' detractors. It considers the place of women in Epicurean circles, as well as the role of Epicurean philosophy in Homer and other writers.

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Isaeus

Translated with an introduction by Michael Edwards

This is the eleventh volume in the Oratory of Classical Greece. This series presents all of the surviving speeches from the late fifth and fourth centuries BC in new translations prepared by classical scholars who are at the forefront of the discipline. These translations are especially designed for the needs and interests of today’s undergraduates, Greekless scholars in other disciplines, and the general public. Classical oratory is an invaluable resource for the study of ancient Greek life and culture. The speeches offer evidence on Greek moral views, social and economic conditions, political and social ideology, law and legal procedure, and other aspects of Athenian culture that have recently been attracting particular interest: women and family life, slavery, and religion, to name just a few. The orator Isaeus lived during the fourth century BC and was said to be the teacher of Demosthenes, Athens’ most famous orator. Of the fifty or more speeches he is believed to have written, eleven survive in whole, one as a large fragment, and others as smaller fragments. This volume presents all the surviving works of Isaeus. The speeches mainly deal with inheritances and are a vital source of information regarding Greek law in this important area. In addition to translating the speeches, Michael Edwards provides a general introduction to Isaeus and Athenian inheritance law, as well as specific introductions and notes for each speech.

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Isocrates I

Translated by David C. Mirhady and Yun Lee Too

This is the fourth volume in the Oratory of Classical Greece series. Planned for publication over several years, the series will present all of the surviving speeches from the late fifth and fourth centuries B.C. in new translations prepared by classical scholars who are at the forefront of the discipline. These translations are especially designed for the needs and interests of today’s undergraduates, Greekless scholars in other disciplines, and the general public. Classical oratory is an invaluable resource for the study of ancient Greek life and culture. The speeches offer evidence on Greek moral views, social and economic conditions, political and social ideology, and other aspects of Athenian culture that have been largely ignored: women and family life, slavery, and religion, to name just a few. This volume contains works from the early, middle, and late career of the Athenian rhetorician Isocrates (436–338). Among the translated works are his legal speeches, pedagogical essays, and his lengthy autobiographical defense, Antidosis. In them, he seeks to distinguish himself and his work, which he characterizes as "philosophy," from that of the sophists and other intellectuals such as Plato. Isocrates’ identity as a teacher was an important mode of political activity, through which he sought to instruct his students, foreign rulers, and his fellow Athenians. He was a controversial figure who championed a role for the written word in fourth-century politics and thought.

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