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Between grammar and rhetoric : Dionysius of Halicarnassus on language, linguistics, and literature

"The Greek rhetorician and historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus was active in Rome at the end of the first century BC. In his rhetorical writings, he analyses the styles of classical Greek orators, historiographers and poets, including Homer, Lysias, Isocrates, Demosthenes and Thucydides. Dionysius believes that careful study, evaluation and imitation of classical Greek literature should be the basis of eloquence and rhetorical writing. In his rhetorical writings, Dionysius combines theories and methods from various language disciplines (rhetoric, grammar, philology, philosophy, metrical and musical theory) and he integrates them into a coherent and effective programme of rhetorical instruction. A close examination of Dionysius’ works increases our knowledge of the language theories that circulated in the Augustan period, from which only a few fragments of grammatical and philological texts have survived. On the other hand, it illuminates the important connections between different ancient language disciplines. Careful analysis of his ideas and methods shows us that Dionysius is a learned scholar, who studied a large number of literary and scholarly works from earlier times. He acquired an impressive knowledge of language theories and effectively integrated these theories into a practical programme of rhetoric."

Author(s):  de Jonge, Casper Constantijn
Format:  Book
Publisher:  Faculty of Arts, Leiden University
Publication City:  Leiden
Date:  2006