Abstract–The Control of Emotion: Rhetorical Education and Civic Oratory in the Greco-Roman East

Liz Potter

This paper focuses on the early stages of ancient rhetorical education, as a foundation for exploring the emotions involved in the composition and reception of ancient speeches in the Greek East of the Roman Empire in the early centuries AD. It concentrates on the progymnasmata, preliminary exercises in rhetorical composition, as evidenced by manuals, sample ‘fair copies’ of such exercises and school exercises on papyrus from Egypt. These sources are read as fragments of what was once a living, interpersonal process of oral education. The paper reflects on the many ways in which these sources imply that ancient rhetorical education oscillated between the opposing poles of emotional intensity and emotional control.




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