This book offers translations of ten rhetorical declamations of the fourth-century AD sophist Libanius of Antioch and some related texts, almost all appearing for the first time in a modern language. In these works the declaimer impersonates such mythological or historical figures as Poseidon, Paris, Achilles, and Orestes, either in court (as prosecutor or defendant) or by trying to persuade his audience to take a course of action. The texts illustrate the sophist's eloquence and had an educational purpose in the schools, but were also delivered before adult audiences. They also put the Hellenic past on display for audiences of the Greek East in the Roman Empire. The annotated translations are accompanied by analyses of their themes, structure, and argumentation.
1. General introduction; 2. Introduction to the mythological declamations; 3. The mythological declamations; 4. Introduction to the historical declamations; 5. The historical declamations.
Robert J. Penella is Professor Emeritus of Classics at Fordham University, New York. His major areas of interest are Late Antiquity, ancient rhetoric and oratory, and Roman historiography. He is the author of The Letters of Apollonius of Tyana: A Critical Text with Prolegomena, Translation and Commentary (1979), Greek Philosophers and Sophists in the Fourth Century AD: Studies in Eunapius of Sardis (1990), The Private Orations of Themistius (1999), and Man and the Word: The Orations of Himerius (2007). He is also the contributing editor of Rhetorical Exercises from Late Antiquity: A Translation of Choricius of Gaza's 'Preliminary Talks' and 'Declamations' (Cambridge, 2009).
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