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Some thought that rhetorics had died. Herodes Atticus. When Greece was part of the Roman Empire, the art revived in a different form. From now on, the title 'sophist' indicated rhetorical virtuosos, who were able to improvise in public on historical or fictional themes meletai. The German language possesses the fine but untranslatable expression Konzertredner to describe these men; in English, they may be called "concert orators" or "show speakers".

The founder of these new rhetorics was Nicetes of Smyrna, who lived in the second half of the first century CE.

Among the later sophists were illustrious artists like Herodes Atticus, Polemo of Laodicea, Publius Aelius Aristides, and Favorinus of Arelate - men who would travel across the entire Roman world, followed by their fans and disciples. Publius Aelius Aristides was responsible for several thoughtful essays about the importance of eloquence go here for two examples. A typical performance of a sophist took place in a theater or a music hall. When the orator had entered the stage, he invited his audience to mention a subject about which he had to improvise a declamation.

Is water or fire more useful? Physical defects of men The sophist would choose his subject, leave the stage for several minutes to prepare himself, and would then deliver the requested speech in front of an enchanted audience.

The Second Sophistic: A Cultural Phenomenon in the Roman Empire

These performances were extremely popular and the sophists were the ancient equivalents of modern pop stars. They were rich men, who could afford excentric behavior like devoting all their time to rhetorics. Show oratory was, therefore, an expression of elite culture, a place where a rich man could show his own importance in an Empire where he could no longer distinguish himself as a politician, and could show that he was as courageous as a soldier.

This comparison is hardly exaggerated: it took courage to speak in public, as Synesius of Cyrene indicates in his Dio:. Publications Pages Publications Pages. Search within my subject: Select Politics Urban Studies U. History Law Linguistics Literature.

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Sophist - Wikipedia

New Sophism was the single most important movement in second century literature: prose of that period came to be written as entertainment rather than confined to historical subjects. Graham Anderson shows how the Greek sophists' skills in public speaking enab.

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