PDF (Język Polski)
EPUB (Język Polski)
MOBI (Język Polski)


epideictic rhetoric
ethical quality
political discour

How to Cite



Originating from the Greek source, a Latin definition of the orator is vir bonus dicendi peritus and rhetoric itself is ars bene dicendi. This particularly calls for an explanation of the words bonus and bene. Bonus has as much reference to the person of the speaker as it has to the competence in artistic persuasion. In my article I will concentrate on the meaning of bene and bonus from the point of view of the use of the language as a means of communication. The scope of the usage of speech is connected with the common wealth according to which public life and its political and ethical conditions are moulded. The sense of purpose on the other hand lies in the duty of the orator to persuade the audience, to make them believe they have been persuaded successfully. All this becomes possible thanks to the orator’s use of invention and of artificial technique, and to him being perceived as a good man by the audience, where ‘good’ should be understood in both moral and aesthetic terms. Aristotle lays emphasis on three elements: (1) the technique in the arguments of the speech, (2) the ethos of the orator and (3) the pathos produced by the orator in the listeners. In this way Aristotle connects the art of persuasion and dialectics with ethical studies (1356 a 25). For the philosopher, the man is zoon politikon, and the art of rhetoric arises from the necessity of human agreement, the consensus. Because ethos is for Aristotle a vehicle for argumentation, the orator has to produce his ethos all the time during the speech. Aristotle divides rhetoric into three genres: deliberative, forensic and epideictic. In epideictic rhetoric the listener is only a spectator (theoros) and a judge (krites) of the orator’s talent. In my article I would like to prove that epideictic rhetoric, considered a kind of show or theatrical performance, was also a vehicle for many ethical and political qualities. I am going to analyze four speeches of three Ancient orators: Gorgias, Isocrates and Dio of Prusa and ask questions about the nature of epideictic rhetoric, about its capacity and origin. In my opinion thorough research and a rethink-ing of the term ‘epideictic genre’ are needed.
PDF (Język Polski)
EPUB (Język Polski)
MOBI (Język Polski)


Aristotle. Art of Rhetoric. Trans. by John Henry Freese. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1975.

Bowerstock, Glen. ‘The Literature of the Empire’. The Cambridge History of Classical Literature. I. Greek Literature. Ed. by P. Easterling, B. Knox. Cambridge University Press, 1985. P. 642-713.

Cichocka Helena. Zarys historii retoryki. Od początku do upadku Cesarstwa Bizantyńskiego. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, 1993.

Dio Chrysostom. Discourses 1-11. Trans. by J. W. Cohoon. Cambridge. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, (first edition 1932).

Gibson Craig. ‘Better living through prose composition? Moral and compositional pedagogy in ancient Greek and Roman progymnasmata’. Rhetoric 32, 1 (2014). P.1-30.

Isocrates III. Trans. by Laure van Hook. Cambridge. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1968.

Jaczynowska Maria. Dzieje Imperium Romanum. Warszawa, 1995.

Kennedy George. ‘Oratory’. The Cambridge History of Classical Literature. I. Greek Literature. Ed. by P. Easterling, B. Knox. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985. P. 498-526.

Tuszyńska-Maciejewska Krystyna. ‘Gorgias’ APATE as an Inevitable and Justified Error of Man’s Aesthetic Activity’. Acta Classica Debrecenensis XXV (1989). P. 19-22.

Versenyi Laszlo. Socratic Humanism. London, 1963.

Whitmarsh Tim. ‘Reading Power in Roman Greece’. Pedagogy and Power. Ed. by You Lee Too, Niall Lingwistone. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. P. 192-213.

Whitmarsh Tim. Greek Literature and Roman Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Ziomek Jerzy. Retoryka opisowa. Wrocław: Ossolineum, 2000.

Kerferd George. The Sophistic Movement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981.

Lausberg Heinrich. Handbook of Literary Rhetoric. A Foundation for Literary Study. Trans. by M. T. Bliss, A. Jansen, D.E. Orton, R. Dean Anderson. Leiden: Brill, 1998.

Livingstone Niall. ‘Writing Politics: Isocrates’ Rhetoric of Philosophy’. Rhetorica 25, 1 (2007). P. 15-34.

Philostratus. Lives of Sophists. Ed. by E. Bowie, J. Elsner. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Poulakos John. Sophistical Rhetoric in Classical Greece. University of South Carolina Press, 1995.

Xenophon. Memorabilia. Oeconomicus. Trans. by E. C. Marchant. Cambridge. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1997.

Roberts Rhys. Greek Rhetoric and Literary Criticism. London. Calcuta. Sydney: Printed in USA, 1928.

Rosenmayer Thomas. ‘Aeschylus and APATE’. American Journal of Philology 76 (1955). P. 225-260.

Russell Donald. Greek Declamation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Sofisti. Testimonianze e Frammenti, fasc. II. Trasn. by M. Untersteiner. Firenze: La Nuova Italia, 1967.

Turasiewicz, Romuald. Demostenes. Wybór mów. Wrocław: Biblioteka Narodowa, 1991.