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The World of Tacitus' Dialogus de Oratoribus
Aesthetics and Empire in Ancient Rome

$137.00 (C)

  • Date Published: September 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107020900

$ 137.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Coming to terms with the rhetorical arts of antiquity necessarily illuminates our own ideas of public discourse and the habits of speech to which they have led. Tacitus wrote the Dialogus at a time (ca. 100 CE) when intense scrutiny of the history, the definitions, and the immediate relevance of public speech were all being challenged and refashioned by a host of vibrant intellects and ambitious practitioners. This book challenges the notion that Tacitus sought to explain the decline of oratory under the Principate. Rather, from examination of the dynamics of argument in the dialogue and the underlying literary traditions there emerges a sophisticated consideration of eloquentia in the Roman Empire. Tacitus emulates Cicero's legacy and challenges his position at the top of Rome's oratorical canon. He further shows that eloquentia is a means by which to compete with the power of the Principate.

    • This is the first complete study of Tacitus' Dialogus, showing the fundamental importance of the only work on rhetoric by Rome's greatest historian
    • Treats artistic speech in the Roman Empire, challenging assumptions about decline and the role of speech in autocratic societies
    • Foreign languages are translated and main texts summarized, making it suitable for students of the rhetorical tradition without the necessary language skills or extensive study of the main texts of that tradition
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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107020900
    • length: 354 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.65kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: rhetorical beginnings and rhetorical ends
    1. The Dialogus and its contexts
    2. Interpretations
    3. Interstitial strategies and reading around the speeches
    4. A world of eloquentia
    5. An aetiology of contemporary eloquentia
    6. From De oratore to De oratoribus
    7. Literary criticism and history: Cicero, Horace, and Quintilian in the Dialogus
    Appendix: detailed outline of Tacitus' Dialogus de oratoribus.

  • Author

    Christopher S. van den Berg, Amherst College, Massachusetts
    Christopher van den Berg is Assistant Professor of Classics at Amherst College, Massachusetts.

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