Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Intempestiua philosophia? Éloquence déclamatoire et éloquence philosophique au Ier siècle ap. J. C.

Charles Guérin


Whereas Cicero and Seneca the younger always argued in favor of a rigid stylistic distinction between philosophy and oratory, this conceptual barrier does not seem to have been as widely accepted as they would both have wanted: besides their philosophical virtues, philosophers could also be praised for qualities of expression that Cicero or Seneca would have thought entirely irrelevant to the philosophical sermones or disputationes. As Plinys letters would later show, philosophical and oratorical styles could be mingled, or could at least influence each other. This article analyzes these two tendencies rejection or influence by taking into account the point of view of the declamatory tradition from the 1st century CE onward and by focusing on Seneca the Elders approach to the problem. Using Senecas commentaries on Albucius Silus and Papirius Fabianus declamations, it tries to show that while he boldly rejected any kind of philosophical influence, Seneca regarded the declamatory way of speaking as the perfect path to achieve an effective philosophical style. The scholastici thus tried to assert their practice as a training equally fit for any genre of prose expression.

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