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By Raffaella Cribiore

Libanius of Antioch was once a rhetorician of infrequent ability and eloquence. So popular used to be he within the fourth century that his college of rhetoric in Roman Syria grew to become one of the such a lot prestigious within the jap Empire. during this booklet, Raffaella Cribiore attracts on her detailed wisdom of the full physique of Libanius’s titanic literary output—including sixty four orations, 1,544 letters, and routines for his students—to supply the fullest highbrow portrait but of this amazing determine whom John Chrystostom referred to as “the sophist of the city."

Libanius (314–ca. 393) lived at a time whilst Christianity was once celebrating its triumph yet paganism attempted to withstand. even if himself a pagan, Libanius cultivated friendships inside of Antioch’s Christian neighborhood and taught leaders of the Church together with Chrysostom and Basil of Caesarea. Cribiore calls him a “gray pagan” who didn't percentage the fanaticism of the Emperor Julian. Cribiore considers the position significant highbrow of Libanius’s quality performed during this religiously assorted society and tradition. while he wrote a letter or brought an oration, who used to be he addressing and what did he wish to complete? something that stands proud in Libanius’s speeches is the startling volume of invective opposed to his enemies. How universal used to be personality assassination of this kind? What used to be the subtext to those speeches and the way could they've been got? tailored from the Townsend Lectures that Cribiore introduced at Cornell college in 2010, this publication brilliantly restores Libanius to his rightful position within the wealthy and culturally advanced global of overdue Antiquity.

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12 that he does not tire his fellow citizens out with remarks on his merits and successes as proof that the Autobiography was delivered before a small audience and was not widely known. But I think that Libanius there is alluding to spoken, casual, and repetitive remarks (such as those he makes to his students) and not to published comments of many years before. See Or. ” This does not preclude his mentioning his merits in the narrative of his life to a large audience. 61. But see J. Martin and Petit 1979: 30.

5. See Chapter 4. 22. It would have been hard to match the original design exactly. The method was somewhat similar to the modern way of securing discretion in sending school recommendations. 23. Sets of parallel lines were inked in and around the address in various patterns, such as diamonds or rectangles, which were even more difficult to match than before in case of improper manipulation. 24. He may have possessed a signet ring and a seal with that design, or at least his scribe must have applied some clay over the closed letter or may have adopted the saltire method.

This distinction helps account for certain seeming inconsistencies and contradictions in his oeuvre that have plagued the modern perception of Libanius. In Chapter 1, I use considerations of genre and of the different audiences that the sophist addressed to establish that Libanius’s correspondence and speeches are not equally “public” texts; in order to do this, I also attempt to refute the common assumption that letters from antiquity should be considered public because of the likelihood of misdelivery.

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