march, 2017

30mar6:00 pm“Forensic and Deliberative Rhetoric in the Byzantine Empire: A Reappraisal”A Lecture by Alexander Riehle (Harvard University, Department of Classics)

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Event Details

A Lecture by Alexander Riehle (Harvard University, Department of Classics)

“Forensic and Deliberative Rhetoric in the Byzantine Empire: A Reappraisal

According to the almost unanimously accepted scholarly narrative about the fate of Greek rhetoric in post-classical times, the “art of persuasion” gradually lost its primary function to influence decision-making in the public sphere. This development is commonly associated with the rise of autocratic forms of government and the professionalization of law in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. As a consequence, forensic and deliberative oratory virtually vanished and only epideictic rhetoric survived, usually in the form of the “ceremonial eulogy” that flattered the mighty. However, late antique and Byzantine rhetorical theory and education were still to a large extent concerned with aspects of rhetoric that were relevant in judicial and deliberative settings (particularly, stasis theory).

The lecture addresses this seeming imbalance between rhetorical theory and practice, arguing that traditional means of persuasion assumed new functions within changing socio-political contexts. For this purpose, a wide array of texts, both secular and religious, will be surveyed.

Time

(Thursday) 6:00 pm

Location

612 Schermerhorn Hall

Organizer

Presented by the Department of History, the Program in Hellenic Studies, Classical Studies Graduate Program, and the Department of Classics.

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