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date: 23 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

By examining variations in scale and techniques of expansion and contraction in Thucydides’ narrative, the essay identifies a mimetic principle in his writing—that the presentation of an episode in the work should normally be proportionate to its significance. Significance, however, is not measured by purely military factors. In fact, expansion is often an indicator of intense suffering, pathos. Among the techniques of expansion and compression discussed are allusions, superlatives, figures of speech (such as litotes), direct and indirect discourse, day-by-day narrative, enargeia (vividness) and thematic repetition (“reprise”). Many of these techniques, although not all, were also discussed among the ancient rhetoricians, who were alert to their emotional power.

Keywords: mimesis, figures of speech, pathos, Mycalessus, quarries of Syracuse, enargeia, vividness, rhetoric, day-by-day narrative, narratology

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