Article

The Second Sophistic

Thomas A. Schmitz

in The Oxford Handbook of Social Relations in the Roman World

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780195188004
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195188004.013.0014

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 The Second Sophistic

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This article focuses on the Second Sophistic, which is considered as a cultural movement that gained prominence during the second and third centuries ad. It was also characterized by linguistic classicism, professional performers who often came from the highest levels of society, and improvised declamations on judicial and historical topics. This article determines that the Second Sophistic has been long regarded as a problem, since its ideology and rhetorical fantasy were very difficult to interpret. The Second Sophistic has been considered by scholars as an expression of escapism that allowed members of the Greek elite to forget their lack of power within the Roman Empire. It has also been viewed as a feature of a semiotic system that allowed performative expression and reinforcement of values and attitudes of the Greek social elite.

Keywords: Second Sophistic; cultural movement; linguistic classicism; ideology; rhetorical fantasy; escapism; semiotic system; performative expression

Article.  5994 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Roman History ; Ancient Greek History

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