Abstract and Keywords
The great number of set speeches in Thucydides’ work reflects the importance of the art of persuasion in his world, but also exhibits an awareness of the limitations of that art. Far from suggesting straightforward explanations, in their multifarious, dynamic relation to their narrative contexts, immediate or remote, Thucydides’ speeches create a dialectical historiography. Their diversity regarding a series of criteria (speakers, audiences, themes, communicative situations, impact, way of introduction, stylistic choices) is sometimes concealed by the uniformity of language and common ideological presuppositions. While indirect discourse allows for more authorial control, direct speeches combine particular points of view with considerations on general matters. The openness and ambiguity of Thucydides’ rhetorically formulated statement on his method of composing his speeches is in alignment with his effort to keep nothing more than is necessary or helpful (for his purposes) from the original speeches.
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