Antiphon the Athenian: Oratory, Law, and Justice in the Age by Michael Gagarin

By Michael Gagarin

Gagarin demonstrates persuasively that Antiphon the logographer is similar with the Antiphon who made highbrow contributions on extra summary issues. --Mervin R. Dilts, Professor of Classics, ny collage Antiphon was once a fifth-century Athenian highbrow (ca. 480-411 BCE) who created the occupation of speechwriting whereas serving as an influential and hugely sought-out adviser to litigants within the Athenian courts. 3 of his speeches are preserved, including 3 units of Tetralogies (four hypothetical paired speeches), whose authenticity is typically doubted. Fragments additionally live to tell the tale of highbrow treatises on matters together with justice, legislation, and nature (physis), that are frequently attributed to a separate Antiphon the Sophist. have been those Antiphons particularly one and an identical person, endowed with a wide-ranging brain able to take on lots of the assorted highbrow pursuits of his day? via an research of these kind of writings, this e-book convincingly argues that they have been composed by way of a unmarried person, Antiphon the Athenian. Michael Gagarin units shut readings of person works inside of a much wider dialogue of the fifth-century Athenian highbrow weather and the philosophical ferment often called the sophistic stream. this allows him to illustrate the final coherence of Antiphon's pursuits and writings and to teach how he used to be a pivotal determine among the sophists and the Attic orators of the fourth century. furthermore, Gagarin's argument permits us to reconsider the paintings of the sophists as an entire, with a view to now be noticeable as basically drawn to trademarks (speech, argument) and as precursors of fourth-century rhetoric, instead of of their ordinary position as foils for Plato.

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These interests were undoubtedly stimulated by the fact that the Sophists regularly performed their logoi in public and private settings, and that public speaking was a vital part of the lives of many Athenians, and probably of many Greeks outside Athens, too. Thus every Sophist would have reason to interest himself in logos in addition to whatever other interests he might have. Certain aspects of the subject drew especially wide attention. One broad theme (discussed briefly above) was that of writing or speaking on both sides of a subject.

Elsewhere in the sophistic fragments, persuasion is mentioned only rarely, often as part of a warning to the jurors that they should not be persuaded by an opponent’s deceitful attempts to persuade. Moreover, in Helen, Gorgias describes his own logos (as opposed to Paris’s) as having other aims, and there is good reason to doubt that his purpose in composing the work was to persuade his audience that Helen was innocent. Persuasion may be a goal of some sophistic discourses, but the characterization of rhetoric as simply “the art of persuasion” has distorted our understanding of the Sophists’ endeavor by focusing attention on only this one factor and neglecting other important aims of a sophistic logos, such as exploring methods of argument.

The Sophists were pioneers and experimenters, and however we assess the views of individual Sophists, we must appreciate that they provided a crucial stimulus to Greek intellectual life, forcing a reexamination of almost every aspect of traditional culture. ” Most thought about the nature and origins of human societies, and justice and right conduct. All were broadly interested in human culture—not just in what we today identify as the humanities, but also in issues today addressed by social and natural sciences.

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