Meinolf Vielberg

17Debatte um den Verfall der Beredsamkeit: Tacitus und Ps.-Longin

Abstract: In imperial Rome there was a lively discussion about the decline of rhetoric. Two important figures in this discussion, Tacitus and Ps.-Longinus, are equally convinced that such a decline took place, but they explain the change by assuming different aesthetic, moral and political reasons. Tacitus follows the sceptical tradition of Cicero and gives in his Dialogus de oratoribus three possible explanations that are put forward by three interlocutors: Aper explains the decline with the change of aesthetic habits of the audience, Messalla stresses the deficiency of education and morality, Maternus insists on political causes of the decline. By arguing the ...

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