Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
Look Inside The Rhetoric of Free Speech in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages

The Rhetoric of Free Speech in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages

Part of Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought: Fourth Series

  • Publication planned for: September 2019
  • availability: Not yet published - available from October 2019
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107038134


Add to wishlist

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • The early Middle Ages is not a period traditionally associated with free speech. It is still widely held that free speech declined towards the end of Antiquity, disappearing completely at the beginning of the Middle Ages, and only re-emerging in the Renaissance, when people finally learned to think and speak for themselves again. Challenging this tenacious image, Irene van Renswoude reveals that there was room for political criticism and dissent in this period, as long as critics employed the right rhetoric and adhered to scripted roles. This study of the rhetoric of free speech from c.200 to c.900 AD explores the cultural rules and rhetorical performances that shaped practices of delivering criticism from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, examining the rhetorical strategies of letters and narratives in the late antique and early medieval men, and a few women, who ventured to speak the truth to the powerful.

    • Studies the rhetoric of controversial dissidents, outsiders and truth-tellers, with contemporary political resonance
    • Presents rhetoric as a cultural performance in ways which do not require familiarity with technical vocabulary
    • Studies patterns of continuity and change over several centuries, to appeal also to non-specialists who are interested in the history of ideas and the historical development of political concepts
    Read more

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Publication planned for: September 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107038134
    • length: 288 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.53kg
    • availability: Not yet published - available from October 2019
  • Table of Contents

    Part I:
    1. The steadfast martyr
    2. Hilary of Poitiers
    3. The detached philosopher
    4. Ambrose of Milan
    5. The silent ascetic
    Part II:
    6. The frank holy man
    7. Gregory of Tours
    8. The wise adviser
    9. Agobard of Lyon
    10. Pope Gregory

  • Author

    Irene van Renswoude, Universiteit van Amsterdam
    Irene van Renswoude is Professor of Medieval Manuscripts and Cultural History at the Universiteit van Amsterdam, and researcher at Huygens Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis, a research institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was awarded the Heineken Young Scientist Award for History in 2014 for her research on free speech and censorship, and is a member of the editorial board of Medieval Worlds and the Journal for the History of Knowledge. She is the co-editor of several volumes, including Strategies of Writing: Studies on Texts and Trust in the Middle Ages (2008) and The Annotated Book in the Early Middle Ages (2018).

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.