Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 15 January 2021

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.

Keywords: statement on method, stylistic variation, pragmatist ideology, diversity, general versus particular, dialectical approach of history, dynamic potential of speeches, historical evaluation

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.