Recontextualising the Rhetorica ad Herennium

Hilder, Jennifer Claire (2015) Recontextualising the Rhetorica ad Herennium. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis will provide a sustained analysis of the relationship between the Rhetorica ad Herennium and its context in early first century BCE Rome. Over 250 examples in the Rhetorica ad Herennium illustrate the text’s rhetorical theory, but in so doing they also provide a significant insight into the history, law, and politics of this period.

As I demonstrate, these examples show the preoccupations and perspectives of orators who were not necessarily from the political elite. They illustrate what could and could not be discussed in speech, and the modes of oratory that were encouraged by the author – popularis or not. The author’s focus on forensic oratory also has important implications for understanding the use of the law and legal knowledge.

An important strand of this thesis is to compare the examples in the Rhetorica ad Herennium to those of Cicero’s contemporary De Inventione. Although the two texts have often been treated as a pair, there are differences between the two. The contrasts are noteworthy in themselves, but they also emphasise the independence of the author of the Rhetorica ad Herennium and the potential to adapt theories and approaches as necessary. This is also an educational text, and the way it is constructed relates closely to its audience. I argue that the post-Social War context of the Rhetorica ad Herennium is key to understanding this audience, who may include newly enfranchised Italians using the Roman legal system for the first time.

By recontextualising the Rhetorica ad Herennium, it becomes clear that it is a very different text to the De Inventione in many ways. By highlighting these differences, I show that the work can stand alone as an object of enquiry and serve as a rich source for Roman Republican historians.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: rhetoric, Roman Republic, oratory, Cicero
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
P Language and Literature > PA Classical philology
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > Classics
Supervisor's Name: Steel, Professor Catherine and van der Blom, Dr Henriette
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Ms Jennifer Hilder
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6968
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2015 14:17
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2016 13:06

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