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Imperial Visions of Late ByzantiumManuel II Palaiologos and Rhetoric in Purple$
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Florin Leonte

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474441032

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474441032.001.0001

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The Didactic Voice: The Orations (Seven Ethico-Political Orations)

The Didactic Voice: The Orations (Seven Ethico-Political Orations)

(p.161) 5 The Didactic Voice: The Orations (Seven Ethico-Political Orations)
Imperial Visions of Late Byzantium

Florin Leonte

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter argues that, despite the differences of form, the seven orations included in this collection constituted a unitary collection and, for this reason, one should consider their interrelations as well as their distinctive features. Furthermore, the seven orations establish a tight connection with the preceding work, the Foundations, with which they share several themes. Admittedly, far from being a text focused on kingship, the Orations are rather geared towards the presentation of an individual’s acquisition of moral values. The correlation between ethics, the rulers’ virtues and rhetorical skills is framed in a tradition that originated in the writings of the rhetoricians of Hellenistic and Graeco-Roman times. Yet in Manuel’s case, through the development of the idea of a special kind of imperial behaviour, the presentation of moral virtues reflects, on the one hand, such a tradition and, on the other hand, an insight that could only have come with practical experience. Drawing on multiple philosophical sources, this formulation of imperial behaviour was based on the ideal of tolerance, with strong bonds of friendship and values such as education and moderate enjoyment of life.

Keywords:   Ethics, moral philosophy, diatribe, protreptic, civic rhetoric, Aristotle

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