Diabolè: The Personal Attack in Ancient Greek Rhetoric

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The topic of this article is the concept of diabole (personal attack) in ancient Greek rhetoric. I intend to show the ambivalent attitude of Greek oratory and rhet-oric toward this phenomenon; ambivalent because although diabole is depicted as a public danger, it is regularly adopted. My hypothesis is that this ambivalence de-pends on the intrinsic ambiguity of the concept of diabole itself. I believe that this ambiguity is strictly connected to the intrinsic competitiveness of public debate and that this competitiveness is a dynamic factor that cannot be eliminated. Therefore, despite its dangers, diabole still remains a risk that cannot be avoided. For this rea-son, a survey of this notion in ancient Greek rhetoric can provide useful insights into the general agonistic dimension of public life. Within this framework, first I will give a brief overview of the concept of diabole in ancient Greek literature. In the second part of the article I will focus on the explicit treatment of diabole in the Rhetoric to Alexandrum and in Aristotle's Rhetoric.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospitePapers on Rhetoric
Numero di pagine15
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2014


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