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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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A Rhetor and His Audience

A Rhetor and His Audience

The Role of Invective

(p.76) Chapter 2 A Rhetor and His Audience
Libanius the Sophist

Raffaella Cribiore

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on certain of Libanius's orations, returning to consideration of his correspondence only at the end but considering the same issues of credibility and “reality.” It concentrates on those of the sophist's speeches that contain marked elements of invective (especially sexual slander). The chapter's main contention is that Libanius did not have to “hide” these (or other) virulent speeches, as has been claimed, because his audience was able to evaluate, and understand as conventional, elements of invective that may startle the modern reader. A large part of this chapter deals with character assassination in the oratory of the fourth century BCE in an effort to determine whether audiences in classical antiquity accepted sexual slander uncritically.

Keywords:   Libanius's orations, invective, sexual slander, character assassination, classical antiquity

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