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Libanius the SophistRhetoric, Reality, and Religion in the Fourth Century$
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Raffaella Cribiore

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452079

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452079.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Libanius the Sophist

Raffaella Cribiore

Cornell University Press

This introductory chapter presents a brief critical historiography of the life and works of the fourth-century sophist, Libanius, who lived and taught rhetoric in the city of Antioch in ancient Syria. His pivotal historical position, in particular, warrants further investigation—in studying him we may thus gain a little more insight into late antiquity—a world of entangled communities, spaces, and temporalities. Hence this chapter addresses various issues that need to be considered in establishing Libanius's rightful place in the society in which he was a protagonist, his rhetorical discourse, the reasons for his popularity in pagan and Christian circles alike, and the cultural expectations of the audience that crowned him “the sophist of the city.”

Keywords:   Libanius of Antioch, Syria, Roman Syria, Late Antiquity, fourth century BCE, Libanius's rhetorical discourse, cultural expectations

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