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Ancient LettersClassical and Late Antique Epistolography$
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Ruth Morello and A. D. Morrison

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199203956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199203956.001.0001

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Letters of Recommendation and the Rhetoric of Praise

Letters of Recommendation and the Rhetoric of Praise

(p.149) 6 Letters of Recommendation and the Rhetoric of Praise
Ancient Letters

Roger Rees (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines letters of reference or recommendations written by Charlesworth, Cicero, Pliny, and Fronto, focusing on how the authors emphasize their own discretion in offering their evaluation of the subject and how their statements about the subject's merit can be interwoven with praise. The style confirms its vintage, with the formal pairing of substantives and adjectives, the fondness for abstractions and the contrastive ‘but’ and certain details of phrasing, such as ‘I am glad indeed’ or ‘standing in work or games’. It is easy to identify both continuities and changes. Alignment of interests and obligations through triangulation can be seen throughout surviving letters of recommendation and identify them as best textual evidence for the processes of Roman patronage in action.

Keywords:   letters of recommendation, Roman patronage, rhetoric, Cicero, Pliny, Fronto, Charlesworth, ancient letters

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