'Rhetoric in Byzantium' explores the ways in which rhetoric functioned in Byzantine society - as a tool for the effective communication of ideas and ideologies, but at times also a barrier that inhibited the expression of real feelings and everyday realities, and imposed a burden of decoding on outsiders. After an introduction on the practical and textual background to Byzantine rhetoric, the essays are grouped in five sections. The first two deal with the basis of rhetoric in Byzantium and its public uses, principally in imperial and ecclesiastical ceremonial. The next sections look at how rhetoric affects the definition of literature in a Byzantine context and the aesthetic to be used in approaching Byzantine literature, with reference to current critical approaches, and specifically at the role of rhetoric in the writing of history - does it only obscure the facts, or does the rhetorical process itself provide information at other levels? The final essays examine the interaction of the written word and pictorial representation and the question of whether real connections between rhetorical training and artistic production can be demonstrated.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction, Elizabeth Jeffreys; The uses of rhetoric: Rhetoric and writing strategies in the 9th century, Martha Vinson; The rhetoric of Kekaumenos, Charlotte Roueché; Teachers and students of rhetoric in the late Byzantine period, C.N. Constantinides; Byzantine imperial panegyric as advice literature (1204-ca. 1350), Dimiter Angelov, Public uses of rhetoric: Court poetry: questions of motifs, structure and function, Wolfram HÃ¶randner; 'Rhetorical' texts, Michael Jeffreys; Dramatic device or didactic tool? The function of dialogue in Byzantine preaching, Mary Cunningham; Literature and rhetoric: How should a Byzantine text be read?, Jakov Ljubarskij; Praise and persuasion: argumentation and audience response in epideictic oratory, Ruth Webb; The role of vocabulary in Byzantine rhetoric as a stylistic device, Erich Trapp; Rhetoric, theory and the imperative of performance: Byzantium and now, Margaret Mullett; Rhetoric and historiography: George of Pisidia and the persuasive word: words, words, words, ... , Mary Whitby; The rhetorical structures of Skylitzes' Synopsis Historion, Catherine Holmes; George Akropolites' rhetoric, Ruth Macrides; Rhetoric and visual images: Byzantine rhetoric, Latin drama and the portrayal of the New Testament, Henry Maguire; 'Living painting', Robin Cormack; Text and picture in manuscripts: what's rhetoric got to do with it?, Leslie Brubaker; Index.
Elizabeth Jeffreys is Bywater and Sotheby Professor of Byzantine and Modern Greek Language and Literature and Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford University, UK
'... a valuable addition to this inadequately represented area of scholarship. It suggests that it was a very stimulating symposium.' Parergon