Apuleius' treatment of selected Progymnasmata in Florida

Source document: Graeco-Latina Brunensia. 2017, vol. 22, iss. 2, pp. 119-141
Extent
119-141
  • ISSN
    1803-7402 (print)
    2336-4424 (online)
Type: Article
Language
English
License: Not specified license
Abstract(s)
The 2nd century CE was a period of the rising prominence of epideictic rhetoric represented by travelling professional speakers who gave ex tempore speeches, not rarely, in front of mass audiences of various social scales. The traditional curriculum of the elite rhetorical education was based on the forms of practice called progymnasmata. These were a set of common, repeating rhetorical techniques and patterns gradually increasing in difficulty and exercising written composition as well as public performance. Students were supposed to create their own variations on given themes to embrace the basic rhetorical skills on which they could draw in the further stages of their education or professional career. Apuleius, one of the most prominent intellectuals of this time, made use of progymnasmata not only during his study years, but also later in his career of professional speaker. This is most apparent from his Florida, a collection of excerpted speeches performed mostly in Carthage. In this paper, I pursue to present the variety of Apuleius' approaches to these exercises with regards to different purposes of particular speeches. My goal is to assess the significance of progymnasmata in elite education as well as in intellectual discourse in terms of continuity and variation.
Document
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