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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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Rhetoric and the Distortion of Reality

Rhetoric and the Distortion of Reality

Chapter:
(p.25) Chapter 1 Rhetoric and the Distortion of Reality
Source:
Libanius the Sophist
Author(s):

Raffaella Cribiore

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801452079.003.0002

This chapter uses considerations of genre and of the different audiences that Libanius addressed to establish that his correspondence and speeches are not equally “public” texts; in order to do this, the chapter also attempts to refute the common assumption that letters from antiquity should be considered public because of the likelihood of misdelivery. Then, in order to place Libanius's narrative of his life within the biographical tradition, this chapter looks at common motifs in Philostratus's Life of Apollonius of Tyana and in the biographical works of certain Neoplatonist philosophers. It attempts to reclaim Libanius's Autobiography as a narrative within the context of “the life of the holy man,” pointing out common elements in similar pagan and Christian texts. For this purpose, the chapter also considers the Greek Vita Antonii attributed to Athanasius of Alexandria to show the similarities between this text and the Autobiography of Libanius.

Keywords:   Libanius's Autobiography, Libanius's correspondence, Libanius's speeches, biographical tradition, public texts, genre, audiences

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