Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Epigraph

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Series Editor’s Preface

Thomas W. Benson

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pp. ix-x

What are the origins of rhetoric in Western culture? To this day most students new to the study of the history of rhetoric are introduced to the story of Corax and Tisias, who were said by the Greeks to have written the first handbooks on oratory in the fifth century B.C.E. in Sicily and whose teachings quickly migrated to Athens. But earlier practices of argument and persuasion reach back to the origins of literacy and beyond in the mists of memory in oral culture. Against this tradition of gradually developing practice and increasingly self-conscious practice, Edward Schiappa, writing in the 1990s, offered a contrasting...

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

The idea for this volume began as a panel on Heraclitus that I organized for the Rhetoric Society of America biennial conference, which included presentations by Jason Helms, David Hoffman, Carol Poster, and myself. I am grateful to the lively discussion of the panel presenters and the attendees for inspiring the larger work of this volume, which aims to gather and reconsider some of the intellectual antecedents for the ascendance of rhetoric in fourth-century B.C.E. Greece. Although originally the discussion focused exclusively on Heraclitus, and considered the hermeneutic traditions that exclude his thought from...

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A Note on Translations

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pp. xiii-xiv

The authors of these essays have consulted various translations for the primary ancient texts. For this reason, the primary texts are cited throughout the volume and in the bibliography by the translators’ last names. Primary ancient texts that are not specifically quoted, either in the original Greek or in translation, are not listed in the bibliography. All complete works by ancient authors referenced but not quoted in this book (for example, Homer, Hesiod, Aristophanes, Thucydides, Plato, Xenophon, Aristotle, Cicero, and Diogenes Laertius)...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-10

There are primarily two ways of accounting for the beginning of rhetoric: one we might call the narratological account and the other the nominal account. We inherit the narratological account from the ancient rhetoricians themselves, who told stories of the beginning of their craft. In this account, the art of rhetoric was introduced to Athens in the fifth century B.C.E. by the Sicilians Corax and Tisias, who, we are told, were the first to write handbooks on the subject and brought those handbooks with them to Athens. According to the nominal account, by contrast, rhetoric only truly emerged as a distinct art once it was...

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Unity, Dissociation, and Schismogenesis in Isocrates

Terry L. Papillon

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pp. 11-18

In a 1991 article in the Quarterly Journal of Speech, “Schismogenesis and Community: Pericles’ Funeral Oration,” James Mackin Jr. talked about the danger of promoting schismogenesis, the creation of schisms of rival groups, by using antithesis in discourse.1 He pointed out the artistry and success of Pericles’ funeral oration in bringing the Athenians together and in promoting the deliberative aim of continuing the struggle against the Peloponnesians. Mackin showed how Pericles’ use of antithesis sets the ideal of Athens against the image of Sparta in order to solidify the Athenian community. The result of this...

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Theodorus Byzantius on the Parts of a Speech

Robert N. Gaines

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pp. 19-29

Theodorus Byzantius, who flourished in the late fifth century B.C.E,1 is recognized by several ancient authors as having contributed to the early development of rhetoric.2 We know that Theodorus composed books on the art,3 and we have Aristotle’s report that Lysias recognized Theodorus’ superiority as a teacher of rhetoric and so turned his own efforts toward writing speeches for others.4 Of the contents of Theodorus’ books on the art we have five specific indications. Two brief notices in Aristotle’s Rhetoric comment on doctrines concerning a sort of argument based on “errors committed” (2.23.28, 1400b)...

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Gorgias’ “On Non-Being”: Genre, Purpose, and Testimonia

Carol Poster

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pp. 30-46

George Kennedy once called “On Non-Being” (Peri Tou Mē Ontos) Gorgias’ “only definite philosophical work” (1972, 30).1 In it Gorgias famously proposes “first and foremost, that nothing exists; second, that even if it exists it is inapprehensible to man; third, that even if it is apprehensible, still it is without a doubt incapable of being expressed or explained to the next man” (Sextus Empiricus Adv. Math. 7.65; Kennedy 1972, 42). Whether this proposition should be taken as serious philosophy, satire, or display oratory has been the subject of much dispute. Rather than use “On Non-Being” as a lens through which to examine...

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Parmenides: Philosopher, Rhetorician, Skywalker

Thomas Rickert

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pp. 47-62

In 1962 archaeologists digging in a temple in Velia found a bust of Parmenides with the inscription “Parmenides son of Pyres Ouliadēs physikos” (Ustinova, 192; Kingsley 1999, 140).1 Velia, formerly known as Elea, is on the eastern coast of Italy. As Herodotus relates, Elea was originally settled by the Phocaeans, who fled Caria, a region in Anatolia (Turkey), on account of the Persians (De Sélincourt, 162–67). The people of Elea maintained a conservative, traditionalist culture lasting hundreds of years. One of their traditions was that of the priest-healer, iatromantris, what we might call a “medical prophet” (Nutton,...

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Heraclitus’ Doublespeak: The Paradoxical Origins of Rhetorical Logos

Robin Reames

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pp. 63-78

Heraclitus has received little attention from rhetorical scholars due to a general presumption that the pre-Socratics instantiate proto-philosophy and proto-science, but not proto-rhetoric. Nevertheless, Edward Schiappa convincingly argued over a decade ago that the common understanding that rhetoric deals with the ability to argue convincingly on both sides of an issue—an idea attributed by multiple ancient sources to Protagoras—ultimately may be traced back to the Heraclitean ontology of flux and the so-called “unity of opposites.” Schiappa identifies a natural coherence between this rhetorical commonplace...

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Rhetoric and Royalty: Odysseus’ Presentation of the Female Shades in Hades

Marina McCoy

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pp. 79-96

The birth of rhetoric as a formal discipline is often associated with Plato, who may well have coined the term, as Schiappa has argued (1990). While the use of the term rhētorikē is widespread by the fourth century, not only by Plato but also by thinkers such as Alcidamas, there is no earlier extant use.1 Schiappa argues that the use of the new term also implies a new self-understanding among the Greeks about the nature of rhetoric itself, displaying a clear shift from the mere use of persuasive speeches to the first ideas of meta-rhetoric. However, the nature of rhētorikē is disputed even in the earliest texts that use the word....

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Mētis, Themis, and the Practice of Epic Speech

David C. Hoffman

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pp. 97-112

In framing the intellectual history of ancient Greece, it was common at one time to posit a transition from a “mythopoetic” worldview that was supposed to have prevailed in archaic Greece, to a more rational outlook governed by logos that emerged in the sixth century B.C.E This narrative had its origins in George Grote’s History of Greece, which told of how “scientific” thinkers came to reject “mythic” thought, and was carried on by John Burnet (1892) and Eric R. Dodds, and in Eric Havelock’s (1963) account of the transition from oral to...

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It Takes an Empire to Raise a Sophist: An Athens-Centered Analysis of the Oikonomia of Pre-Platonic Rhetoric

Michael Svoboda

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pp. 113-132

Many attempts have been made to explain the sudden emergence of that special group of “transnational” actors in the ancient world, the sophists. Each explanation has highlighted different factors. The emergence of democracy, especially in Athens, is thought by most to have created a market for intellectual goods of the sort trafficked by these figures. And the emergence of literacy is thought, by some, to have helped enable the sophists to create the intellectual goods they marketed.1 Economic factors, however, have typically been addressed only in the most general terms. Less attention still has been given to the legal structures...

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Afterword: Persistent Questions in the Historiography of Early Greek Rhetorical Theory

Edward Schiappa

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pp. 133-142

The essays in this collection demonstrate that the study of rhetoric before the discipline was formally recognized with the term rhētorikē is alive and well. Collectively they represent a wealth of analytical methods and sources of theoretical inspiration brought to bear on a variety of texts by an impressive group of scholars. I am flattered to have been asked to contribute an afterword to the collection and hope that it is not ill-mannered of me to disagree with my colleagues here and there. I believe the most productive manner of engaging them is to identify the persistent questions facing historians of early Greek rhetorical...

Appendix A: A Timeline of the Life of Gorgias of Leontini

Carol Poster

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pp. 143-146

Appendix B: A Summary of Gorgias’ Work and Activity

Carol Poster

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pp. 147-148

Appendix C: A New Testimonium of Theodorus Byzantius

Robert N. Gaines

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pp. 149-150

Notes

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pp. 151-170

Bibliography

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pp. 171-186

Contributors

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pp. 187-188

Index

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pp. 189-191