This article examines the surviving Greek declamations of the first to third century AD. They are found to be at odds with Philostratus’ familiar picture of the genre in respect of their brevity and stylistic simplicity. Explanations in terms of forgery/misattribution, textual adulteration of some form or the youth of the declaimers at the time of composition are rejected, and it is concluded rather that Philostratus’ picture of the genre is significantly distorted. Specifically, the Vitae sophistarum (1) omit declamations composed for didactic ends in favour of show declamations and (2) even among show declamations focus almost exclusively on the more florid end of the stylistic spectrum.
- Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition
- Greek declamation
- Second Sophistic
- Lives of the Sophists
- Vitae sophistarum