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Advice and Instruction in Classical Antiquity - 12-13/09/2019, Manchester (England)

The workshop aims to explore the linguistic and literary devices employed by ancient authors to advise or instruct their addressees. While instruction, a form of communication dependent on a teacher-pupil relationship, has been widely explored, especially in connection with philosophy (Baier, Manuwald and Zimmermann 2005; Braund 2009; Schafer 2011), the practice of giving advice and its distinction from teaching have not received the same degree of attention. Like a teacher, the advisor is usually in a superior position with respect to the addressee because of a claim to expertise in the matter. In contrast, the recipient of advice is not necessarily obliged to follow the suggestions (Ps.-Lib. char. epist. 5). Additionally, advice can be easily regarded as a ‘face-threatening act’ (Hall 2009): this is especially the case in the highly competitive aristocratic society of Late Republican Rome. To avoid difficulties, authors could, for example, choose to praise their addressee (Arist. Rhet. 1367b35-1368a37; Rhet. Her. 3,7; Ps.-Lib. char. epist. 92) or adduce exempla for imitation (Oppermann 2000).

FECHA/ DATE/DATA: 12-13/09/2019

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: University of Manchester (Manchester, England)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Serena Cammoranesi (Manchester) ; Matt Ingham (Manchester) ; Paul Reichetanz (Rostock)




lthough rhetorical strategies for advice and instruction overlap to some degree, scholarship has tended to focus on each phenomenon and genre separately. The workshop aims to bridge this divide. By considering these two phenomena as part of the same spectrum, it seeks to examine classical texts of advice and instruction, ranging from oratory, letters, treatises and didactic poetry, in order to address and explore the following questions in a more holistic fashion:

  • What are the main features of teaching and advisory communication? Which expressions are used to give advice or instructions? How do they differ across the genres?

  • What devices are commonly employed to make the suggestions and the teachings plausible (e.g. exempla, praise, specific expressions, etc.)?

  • How does the advisor/teacher perceive his relationship to the addressee/pupil? How does this perception influence the way in which the suggestions/instructions are presented?

  • What effect do literary models have on the teaching and advisory role of the speaker?

  • To what extent can we speak about a development of the advisory and teaching motifs across the centuries?

This is the first of two workshops, jointly organised by the Departments of Classics at the University of Manchester and the University of Rostock.

Keynote Speaker: Bruce Gibson (Liverpool)

Confirmed Speakers:

Jenny Bryan (Manchester)

Laura Chambers (Manchester)

Johanna Cordes (Hamburg)

Aurelia Gumz (Tübingen)

Matthew Ingham (Manchester)

Ruth Morello (Manchester)

Paul Reichetanz (Rostock)

All are welcome. There will be no conference fee; however, if you wish to attend please email by September 1st.

Thanks to the generosity of the Department of Classics, Ancient History, Archaeology and Egyptology at the University of Manchester, the Classical Association, the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, and the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership, we are able to offer a limited number of bursaries for Postgraduate students towards travelling and/or accommodation costs. For further information please get in touch.

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