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In antiquity, the phenomenon of ambiguity (ἀμφιβολία, ambiguitas) is traditionally linked to a lack of clarity (ἀσαφήνεια, obscuritas). Although Cicero observes that ambiguity can be effectively and intentionally used in rhetorical disputes, rhetoricians and grammarians classify and define the phenomenon of multiple meaning as a stylistic defect or as a source of legal dispute, caused by a lack of clarity. Nevertheless, it can be observed that ancient Greek and Latin authors of various epochs and genres make use of the phenomenon of ambiguity in their works, e.g. to voice criticism of a more powerful person in the guise of praise (historiography and epic poetry in the Neronian and Flavian era), to illustrate the meaningful connection of two concepts that are both covered by the same word or to evoke contradictions in order to initiate new thinking processes (philosophy), to conceal true intentions and to create potential for conflict (tragedy) or to manipulate the addressee, so as to agree with the speaker’s real arguments (rhetoric).
LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: University of Tübingen (Tübingen, Germany)
ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Sonja Borchers ; Elisabeth Schedel ; Anna Schwetz