This chapter introduces the late 3rd-century Greek rhetorician Menander of Laodicea (Menander Rhetor), and explains the questions about Menander and the nature of rhetoric in late antiquity. The contents of the succeeding chapters are briefly explained. A key theme of the book — the continuing practical relevance of rhetoric in this period — is highlighted. It is suggested that Philostratus’ influential but one-sided account of the teachers of rhetoric known as ‘sophists’ has produced a distorted image of the so-called ‘Second Sophistic’. An accurate picture must be based on a much wider range of evidence.
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