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Ælfrics Schemes And Tropes: Amplificatio And The Portrayal Of Persecutors

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on a specific feature of Ælfric's style: the range of epithets and modifiers which he uses to define the moral standing of those who persecute Christianity. When translating from the Latin, Ælfric generally abbreviates his sources, but in this one aspect he proves to be consistently less parsimonious with words. Indeed, the variety of additions used to qualify those who follow God's law and those who do not forms a recurrent pattern throughout Ælfric's works but is ubiquitous in his narrative pieces. Some time ago, in a magisterial discussion on the origins of Aldhelm's style, Michael Winterbottom showed that many of the bishop's decorative features in the De laudibus virginitatis and Carmen de virginitate were employed to appeal to the emotions of the audience, exploiting an important rhetorical device referred to as amplificatio in the pseudo-Ciceronian Ad C. Herennium de ratione dicendi.

Keywords: Ælfric; Aldhelm's style; amplificatio; Christianity; Latin; Michael Winterbottom



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