212 pp., 5 x 8
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-6642-9
Published: April 2011
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-4429-5
Published: August 2018
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Characteristic of such rhetoric is the polarization of a conflict into a dichotomy between good and evil, right and wrong. The orator adopts a stance in which he is obsessed with the struggle, with victory, and with the preservation of a tradition. He defines his present crisis in terms of patterns that have appeared in the past, which means that he is likely to choose from the past a model for his own response to the crisis.
In Demosthenes, Cicero found a statesman that had faced a similar political situation. Demosthenes' speeches were directed against Philip of Macedon, whose expanding empire threatened the survival of the Greek city-states. Antony posed an equally severe threat to the Roman republic, and Cicero therefore turned to Demosthenes' speeches as a model for his own. The oratory of both was forged during a period of supreme crisis, at a critical turning point in civilization.
"Tremendous talent," Wooten writes of this oratory, "is coupled with the instinct for survival, the most basic of human impulses, to produce a form of oratory that is characterized by extreme clarity of vision, purposefulness, vividness, and rapidity of presentation, an oratory that is clean and direct and decisive, in which the organic synthesis of content, arrangement, and style is remarkable and striking."
Originally published 1983.
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About the Author
Cecil W. Wooten is associate professor of classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For more information about Cecil W. Wooten III, visit the Author Page.
"Wooten knows both ancient and modern theory well, and this unusual mastery, combined with his enormous sensitivity to style and his fine gift for psychological intuition, enables him to present us with the best book on the Philippics that we have."--W. R. Johnson, University of Chicago