The Ancient Library

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On this page: Rhianus – Rhinthon – Rhoecus



orators were Marcus antonius and Lucius Licinius crassus.

Rhetorical instruction was originally imparted by Greeks. In the first decade of the 1st century the freedman Plotius Gallus came forward as a teacher of rhetoric, and other Latin teachers followed him. These found a large number of hearers, but the censors interfered to stop the practice, as an innovation on the custom of their forefathers. It is true that this attempt to oppose the current, which had already set in, was in vain. Still it was only by freed-men that rhetorical instruction in Latin was given until the time of Augustus, when the Roman knight Blandus was the first free-born man who came forward as a public teacher of rhetoric. Even the Latin rhetori­cians derived their theory exclusively from Greek sources, especially from Hermagoras, to whose influence the two earliest extant rhetorical writings of the Roman school are to be referred; these are the work of CoHNlFlcius, and the youthful production of cicero, the De Invention?. Cicero, the greatest orator of Rome, and the only orator of the Republic of whom any complete speeches are extant, composed in his later years several other valuable writings upon rhetorical subjects, founded on his practice as an orator; viz. the De OratCrre, the Brfitus, and the Orator. Besides Cicero, the last age of the Republic possessed a series of other conspicuous orators, such as hortensibs, c.elius, BRDTDS, and, above all, caesar. A few more representatives of the oratory of the Republic survived to the time of Augustus. The most important of these is Aslnlus pollio. But, with the old constitution, the occasions and materials for oratory also disappeared under the Monarchy, and the hindrances and limi­tations to its public exercise increased in the same proportion. Practice was gradually superseded by theory, orators by rhetori­cians, speeches by declamations. The ex­ercises of the rhetorical schools, which now became one of the chief centres of intel­lectual life, paid almost exclusive attention to the form, and dealt with imaginary subjects of political and forensic oratory, called suasorlce and controversies, which were as far as possible removed from the practice of life. A vivid picture of these exercises is preserved by the reminiscences of the rhetorician SfeNfiCA, the father of the well-known philosopher. The manner of speaking contracted in the schools was adopted on the few occasions on which

practical oratory could still be exercised, and these occasions were accordingly turned into exhibitions of theatrical declamation. It was in vain that men like quintilian, in his work on the training of an orator (InstltutlO Oratorio), and tacitus, in his Dialogue on Orators, pointed to the true classical patterns, and combated the fashion of their time, from which even they were not entirely free. Like these, the younger pliny belongs to the end of the 1st century a.d. ; his Panegyric, addressed to Trajan, the only monument of Roman oratory after Cicero preserved in a complete form, became the model for the later panegyrists. In the 2nd century a.d., fronto, and the school named after him, sought to revive the old Roman spirit by a tasteless imitation of archaic expressions and forms of speech. The same style is practised, though with more ability, by the African Apulelus. After the end of the 3rd century, the ora­torical art had its chief seat in the towns of Gaul, especially in Treves (TrSvlri) and Bordeaux (Burdigdld). Here a style of oratory was matured which possessed a certain smoothness and copiousness in words, but showed great lack of ideas. Upon the representatives of this style, the " Panegy­rists," see panegyricus.

RManns. A Greek poet and grammarian, a native of Bene in Crete, in the latter half of the 3rd century b.c. In his youth he was a slave and the overseer of a pdlcestra; in his later life he wrote, in the learned manner of the Alexandrines, besides epi­grams, a number of epics. Of these the most famous was the Messenltfca, celebrating in six books the second Messenian War and its mythical hero Aristfime'nes. Besides an epic fragment, we still possess eleven of his epigrams.

Rhinthon. A Greek comic poet, son of a potter of Tarentum, who lived about 300 B.C., and invented a style of composition of his own, which was much diffused in Magna Grseeia, and is said to have been imitated even by the Romans. It was called the HilarStragcedia, i.e. cheerful tragedy. It was a travesty of tragic myths by the inter­mixture of comic scenes. The scanty frag­ments of the thirty-eight plays of Rkianus do not give us any adequate idea of this kind of composition.

Rhfficus. A Greek artist of Sam5s, about 500 B.C., inventor of brass-founding, and architect of the celebrated temple of Hera in his native island [Herod., iii 60], (See architecture and sculpture.)

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