Αμφιλόχιος Παπαθωμάς, Καθηγητής, Τμήμα Φιλολογίας, Φιλοσοφική Σχολή ΕΚΠΑ
Ροζαλία Χατζηλάμπρου, Επίκουρη Καθηγήτρια, Τμήμα Φιλολογίας, Φιλοσοφική Σχολή ΕΚΠΑ
Δημήτριος Καραδήμας, Αναπληρωτής Καθηγητής, Τμήμα Φιλολογίας, Φιλοσοφική Σχολή ΕΚΠΑ
The aim of the present master thesis is to develop an understanding of the “rhetoric” of petitions, which the citizens of Roman Egypt addressed to the authorities, written on papyri and ostraca during the Roman period (1st century B.C-3rd century A.D).
In the introduction, the petitions are examined by type, their subject is determined and the categories of the recipient authorities are mentioned, while the two chapters of this work focus on the “rhetoric” of the petitions.
The first chapter begins by discussing the rhetoric structure (προσφώνησις ‒ προοίμιον ‒ διήγησις ‒ δέησις ‒ επίλογος). Although many petitions of the Roman era begin in medias res, the exordium is a practice that occurs more frequently from the second century A.D., under the influence of the second sophistic. As far as structure is concerned, one can observe recurring formulas, which are responsible for the uniformity of the petitions.
The chapter will then go on to unravel the artistic means of persuasion, (technical proofs, έντεχνοι πίστεις) used by the petitioner. The elements of captatio benevolentiae, the politeness strategies and honorific titles which are used to praise the officer are examined thoroughly. Furthermore, various topics (τόποι) which the petitioners summon are identified. Many of these are commonly found in the attic forensic oratory, while their verbal formulation is similar. An analysis of the petitioner’s logical arguments is also systematically carried out. It is shown that the arguments revolve around economic and social consequences that stem from injustice. In addition, the petitioner in διήγησιν attempts to present his character as trustworthy and portrays himself positively by presenting himself as peaceable (απράγμονα), while on the other hand he presents a negative image of the opponent, emphasising the opponent’s arrogance (ύβριν) and highlighting the opponent’s antisocial behaviour (ηθοποιία). What is more, the petitioner underlines his weakness and presents himself as a victim in order to appeal to the emotion of the official (παθοποιία). Particular reference is made to the direct and indirect effect of gnomes (γνώμαι, sententiae) in petitions. To make his case stronger, the petitioner cites laws and decrees, precedents, legislative documents, testimonies and vows (άτεχνοι πίστεις, artless / “non artistic” proofs). In the end of the first chapter, the style of the petitions, the various means of stylistic refinement and the effect of atticism are considered.
The second chapter examines the rhetoric of selected petitions which differentiate from the average in terms of the level of rhetoric processing. The petitioner, by adopting an elevated and pompous style, under the influence of the second sophistic, aims to give the impression that he/she is an educated person that deserves a favourable treatment.
authorities, officials, Roman era, documentary papyri, petitions, rhetoric, argumentation, means of persuasion, politeness strategies