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Reshaping Herodotean rhetoric: a study of the speeches in Herodotus' Histories with special attention to books 5-9

Zali, V.; (2009) Reshaping Herodotean rhetoric: a study of the speeches in Herodotus' Histories with special attention to books 5-9. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis examines the speeches in Herodotus' Histories, especially in books 5-9, with reference to overriding narrative themes like the self-other polarity (Greeks vs. barbarians/Persians), the themes of freedom and free speech, the relation of speech to power and authority, and the fragility of the Greek coalition. The thesis has a double aim. First, it seeks to present Herodotean rhetoric as an idiosyncratic system, which not only borrows and reworks traditional and contemporary components in a new form, so that they underpin broader narrative themes, but which also influences Thucydidean rhetoric and later rhetorical developments. Second, it investigates the extent to which Herodotean rhetoric can be used to re- evaluate Herodotus' narrative technique and to challenge the model of dialogism ascribed to the Histories. Chapter 1 sheds light on the problematic representation of both Greek and Persian debate in the Histories. It demonstrates the dangerous and slippery nature of rhetoric in circumstances where Greeks lack pan-Hellenic aspirations, with individualistic tendencies leading the way. The following two chapters turn to more specific speech genres, alliance speeches and pre-battle speeches. Through examination of examples of scheming rhetoric, dubious motives and power struggles, chapter 2 demonstrates the difficulty of achieving unity among the Greeks, while chapter 3 unveils the relative character of a type of exhortation which is partly stripped of lofty intentions, reflecting the delicate balance of the relationships between the Greeks. Both chapters 2 and 3 problematize the self-other distinction. Chapter 4 considers examples used in speeches and shows how they represent the circumlocutory nature of rhetoric in both Persia and Greece, as well as the slender Greek alliance. Chapter 5 looks at the implications of allotting speech to individuals and ethnic groups for the self-other distinction, the Greek coalition, and the relation of speech to power and authority.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Reshaping Herodotean rhetoric: a study of the speeches in Herodotus' Histories with special attention to books 5-9
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Greek and Latin

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