Emotion and Persuasion in Classical Antiquity

Edward Sanders (Editor), Matthew Johncock (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Appeal to emotion is a key technique of persuasion, ranked by Aristotle alongside logical reasoning and arguments from character. Although ancient philosophical discussions of it have been much researched, exploration of its practical use has focused largely on explicit appeals to a handful of emotions (anger, hatred, envy, pity) in 5th–4th century BCE Athenian courtroom oratory. This volume expands horizons: from an opening section focusing on so-far underexplored emotions and sub-genres of oratory in Classical Athens, its scope moves outwards generically, geographically, and chronologically through the "Greek East" to Rome.

Key thematic links are: the role of emotion in the formation of community identity; persuasive strategies in situations of unequal power; and linguistic formulae and genre-specific emotional persuasion. Other recurring themes include performance (rather than arousal) of emotions, the choice between emotional and rational argumentation, the emotions of gods, and a concern with a secondary "audience": the reader.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherFranz Steiner Verlag
Number of pages321
ISBN (Print)978-3-515-11361-8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • Emotion
  • Persuasion
  • Classical literature
  • Classical oratory
  • Greek historiography
  • Roman historiography

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