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Myth and writing in Aeschines’ against Timarchus

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the orator’s strategy in choosing different media-written instead of oral to present Aeschines’s evidence. The author argues that Aeschines’ use of the clerk is not only novel but also remarkable. Aeschines presents a quintessentially oral entity in the form of a written document read out by the clerk, in a written speech that has the fiction of being an oral performance. Aeschines’ referral of The Iliad passages to the clerk demands and excuses the use of a written text, which suggests a tactic to place his evidence and, by implication, his interpretation beyond criticism. This analysis is particularly plausible as the passages’ variations are advantageous to him. The authority of the written word consists in its disassociation from the speaker, giving it the appearance of being independent and untouched.

Keywords: Aeschines; Aeschines’s evidence; Myth; orator’s strategy; The Iliad passages; Timarchus; Writing; written speech



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