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date: 25 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The impact of rhetoric on Greek historiography manifests itself in two ways. The writer, in claiming authority and pressing the significance of his theme, often abandons reporting for argument and frequently competes overtly with his predecessors; this agonistic manner probably reflects the origin of the genre in performance. The second and more sustained impact arises from the generic affinities with epic. Historians from Herodotus onward include in their narrative speeches that claim to be the words spoken in public debate but that are, to different degrees, creative writing. This fictionalizing practice reflects not just the difficulty of obtaining accurate information but also a desire for stylistic integrity in a genre that is as much literature as scholarship. From the first, the speeches show the influence of rhetorical training. The firm grounding of rhetoric in principles of human psychology and sociology means that the practice is perceived not as mere invention but as highly probable reconstruction.

Keywords: historiography, competition, performance, authority, narrative, epic, reported speeches, fiction, genre, psychology

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