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Pericles of Athens$
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Vincent Azoulay

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691154596

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691154596.001.0001

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The Bases of Periclean Power: The Orator

The Bases of Periclean Power: The Orator

(p.40) Chapter 3 The Bases of Periclean Power: The Orator
Pericles of Athens

Vincent Azoulay

, Janet Lloyd
Princeton University Press

This chapter examines another base of Pericles' political power: as orator. In Athens, a city rapidly moving toward democratization, persuasive oratory played a key role. Pericles was a master not only of public speaking but also of the art of remaining silent or, to be more precise, of getting his political allies to speak in his place. The chapter first considers the nature of Pericles' rhetoric and his mastery of the art of persuasion in the context of Athenian democracy before discussing the two complementary facets of Pericles' oratorical skill, authority and pedagogy, through a reading of The Peloponnesian War. It also describes how Pericles limited the number of his public interventions by delegating power in order to strengthen his own authority. The chapter argues that Pericles' measured appearances impressed the masses because they evoked not just an imperial ceremony, but possibly even a form of religious epiphany.

Keywords:   political power, Athens, oratory, rhetoric, authority, pedagogy, public speaking, persuasion, democracy, Peloponnesian War

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