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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The formalization of procedures and the codification of laws that would reach their height and sophistication in the Roman Empire were already under development in the Roman Republic. In addition to being a period of rapid legal development, especially in the refinement of judicial procedures, the Republic was also a period in which law was an intensely rhetorical activity. Advocates, who were often instructed in oral and literate rhetoric through training in declamation by sophists, recognized that persuading both jurors and public audiences was a way of securing legal verdicts and political influence. The “influences” that led to stable, inscribed laws were often the consequence of extensive argument, deliberation, and, on occasion, warfare. Roman forensic rhetoric, both oral and literate, was thus a dynamic activity in interpreting, arguing, and making law as well as a source of political power in the Republic.

Keywords: argument, declamation, forensic rhetoric, jurors, persuasion, politics, oral rhetoric, literate rhetoric, sophists

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