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date: 22 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the role of rhetorical culture in the Second Sophistic. In the Greco-Roman world of the imperial period, rhetoric was an educational system, a social practice, and a mental tool. Public speaking was omnipresent. The figure of the sophist combined literary activity and political influence: rhetoric was their secret link. Encomium—the principal rhetorical innovation of the Second Sophistic—was a refined, coded instrument, which not only served to express approval, but also aimed at communicating veiled messages. The phenomenon of the Second Sophistic did not disappear in the third century ce and some sophistic figures continued to flourish in the successive periods, a fact which motivates a current scholarly debate about “Third Sophistic.”

Keywords: education, encomium, Greco-Roman, literature, politics, rhetoric, Second Sophistic, social practice, Third Sophistic, veiled messages

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