Dr. Alessandro Vatri

Lecture 'Prose Rhythm, Asianism, and Atticism in Imperial Greek Rhetoric'

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On Thursday, 25 aug, 16:00, Alessandro Vatri will give a lecture within the Forum Antiquum Series (University Library Leiden, Vossius Zaal).

The earliest extant hints at a theory of prose rhythm appear in Aristotle’s Rhetoric, but the bulk of the ancient evidence for the Greek tradition is found in the Greek and Roman rhetorical treatises from the Imperial period. The treatments of this topic in Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Quintilian show quite a different approach from the one we can reconstruct from earlier sources, in that it appears to adopt the toolbox of the ancient metricists as opposed to ancient rhythmics. Theon’s Progymnasmata, on the other hand, present rhythm as a feature of Asianic prose and reveal a sensitivity to this phenomenon that resembles that of Aristotle or Demetrius more than that of Dionysius or of the treatise On the Sublime, whereas Hermogenes, later on, seems closer to the earlier sources than to the Imperial ones, even though he lays some emphasis on rhythmic clausulae. This paper will address such later stages in the evolution of the theory of prose rhythm and explore the influence of Hellenistic ‘Asianic’ rhetoric on this process.