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date: 12 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter treats two imperial Greek phenomena that have often been paired, usually in opposition: Atticism and Asianism. It first describes the theory, practice, and development of Atticism, the attempt by imperial Greeks to write in the language of the fifth and fourth century bce, treating its stylistic and grammatical variants and outlining its relation to imperial classicism. The second part treats the so-called “Asian” prose style associated primarily with the Hellenistic writer Hegesias of Magnesia and reminiscent of Gorgias and the first sophistic. The term itself is not current in the Second Sophistic, but the chapter argues that the style and aesthetic to which it refers are not only present in the work of many writers, but are also portrayed in a positive light by Philostratus. The tension between the classicizing tendencies of Atticism and the unclassical flavor of Asianism is an essential component of imperial Greek culture.

Keywords: Atticism, Asianism, prose style, Greek language, classicism, Gorgias, Hegesias, Philostratus

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