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date: 24 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

It has often been asserted that medieval culture was little concerned with politics as a practical application for rhetoric, at least outside the city republics of central and northern Italy. This chapter argues that robust and self-conscious traditions of political eloquence were more widespread in late medieval Europe than is generally thought, especially following the development of parliaments from the thirteenth century onward. The point is illustrated through a discussion of the speech cultures of the parliaments of Catalonia-Aragon and England. More broadly, the chapter argues that new methodologies are needed to make medieval political rhetoric more historically visible. Nonverbal eloquence must be studied alongside verbal, and it must be recognized that medieval political eloquence is often profoundly nonclassical in form and frequently deploys religious language that may disguise its political intent to the modern eye.

Keywords: rhetoric, medieval political rhetoric, nonverbal eloquence, Catalonia-Aragon, England, city republics

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