Classics and Ancient History seminar: Demosthenes’ use of rings to structure deliberative oratory
Demosthenes’ use of rings to structure deliberative oratory
The use of rings to provide a structure to Greek poetry is widely accepted, but its use in prose less so. While there is some acknowledgement of ring structures in forensic speeches and narrative history, the academic world largely rejects the use of rings to provide structure to deliberative oratory.
The command of rhetoric demonstrated throughout the canon of Demosthenes, regarded as one of the greatest of the Attic orators, is remarkable in its sophistication and use of rhetorical techniques. Importantly, through a close study of Demosthenic oratory, it can be seen that Demosthenes uses rings to structure almost all of his deliberative oratory, an aspect of Demosthenic scholarship that is largely unexamined. It will be seen that in his deliberative oratory, Demosthenes not only uses rings to create an overall structure to his speeches, but also uses rings on secondary and tertiary levels to create sophisticated and nuanced speeches that create powerful unity in the overall message.
This paper will examine the structures used and the implications that follow from this. It will also examine Demosthenes’ use of ring structures in the broader context of the development of Athenian oratory.
The Department of Classics and Ancient History hosts a lively departmental research seminar series. Everyone is welcome to attend.
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15 October, 4:00-5:00pm
Seminar Series convenors:
Louise Pryke and Emma Barlow
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The Department of Classics and Ancient History is part of the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI).
Image: Jacques-Louis David, Léonidas aux Thermopyles 1814 (Louvre). On the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Thermopylae