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Chapter Summary

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the book The Shape of Herodotean Rhetoric. The book discusses the ways in which Herodotean speeches highlight and problematize the wider themes of fragile Greek unity and the Greco-Persian polarity. It argues that Herodotus presents us with a highly sophisticated and distinctive rhetorical system, which has important implications for his authority and the relationship with his readers, and constitutes a kind of metahistory, a metadiscourse on the nature of rhetoric and the purpose of his Histories. The hermeneutical framework of the book is based on three central premises regarding the nature of speech: (1) the speeches are Herodotus' own creation; (2) speech includes characters' utterances reported in direct and indirect discourse; (3) direct and indirect speech are equally amenable to manipulation. The chapter employs three notions which is applied to this study: performativity, dialogue and metahistory.

Keywords: Greek unity; Herodotean Rhetoric



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