1st Edition

Hippocratic Oratory The Poetics of Early Greek Medical Prose

By James Cross Copyright 2018
    170 Pages
    by Routledge

    170 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    On Ancient Medicine, On the Art, On Breaths, On the Nature of Human Beings and On the Sacred Disease are among the most well-known and sophisticated works of the Hippocratic Collection. The authors of these treatises were seeking to find means to express their arguments that built on authoritative models of their predecessors. By examining the range of expressive resources used in their expository prose, James Cross demonstrates how oral tradition and written techniques, such as sound patterning, sign-posting and antithetical formulae, were deployed to help the writers develop a case. The book demonstrates that there were various layers of meaning and manners of communicating ideas which can be found in Hippocratic expository prose, and offers fresh insights into the oral debating culture and experiments in persuasion which characterise the ancient Greek world of the late fifth-century BCE.

    1. Hippocratic expository prose  2. Models of logos and medical oratory  3. Hippocratic epideixis and the orality of medical oratory  4. Gorgias, Heraclitus and the persuasive functions of sound in On Breaths  5. In the agon: the persuasive functions of antithesis in Hippocratic oratory  Conclusion


    James R. Cross is a Tutor in Classical Civilisation at University College London. He completed his PhD in Classics at King’s College London. His research focuses on connections between ancient medicine and literature.

    "Cross’s approach represents a refreshing and novel contribution to the study of Hippocratic texts as well as to the study of ancient expository prose more broadly... [A]n excellent and approachable piece of research—the book clearly encompasses an important contribution to the study of Hippocratic texts and their place within the literary tradition of fifth century BC Greece. With its methodological advances Hippocratic Oratory will surely appeal both to students and academics, and it would be good to see it facilitate further study in the future." - Bryn Mawr Classical Review