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date: 06 December 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers what classical antiquity understood the voice to be, as well as how that understanding has influenced subsequent Western thought. The chapter begins with discussion of song, a term that antiquity applied to written poetry as well as to song proper. It then turns to more general questions about how the Greeks and Romans theorized the relationship of the voice to language. After explaining some of the principal terms for “voice” in both Greek and Latin, the author reviews the vocal theories of various schools of ancient philosophy. He then considers the role of the voice in oratory and the special problems generated by the growing circulation of speeches in written form. He turns finally to a celebrated if perhaps apocryphal vocal performance by a pantomime in Rome in order to consider the tension between the particular voice of an individual and the more generic vocality of antiquity itself

Keywords: ancient voice, Aristotle, Cicero, classics, Homer, logos, oratory, pantomime, Siren-song

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