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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews the mutual influence of rhetoric and law on one another from our earliest evidence in the Homeric poems through the Hellenistic period. Law influenced rhetoric in that a forensic context was crucial for the “invention” of rhetoric in Sicily, for the rhetorical advances made by the sophists, especially Gorgias, and for the assessments of rhetoric by Plato and Aristotle. On the other hand, rhetoric played a large role in litigation in the earliest “trial scene” on Achilles’s shield in Homer’s Iliad, as well as in the forensic speeches of the fourth-century logographers. A case study, Lysias 1, “On the Murder of Eratosthenes,” shows how rhetoric was crucial to the determination of both the facts of the case and the meaning of the relevant laws.

Keywords: rhetoric, law, sophists, Gorgias, Plato, Aristotle, logographers, forensic speeches, Lysias

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