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Reading Republican OratoryReconstructions, Contexts, Receptions$
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Christa Gray, Andrea Balbo, Richard M. A. Marshall, and Catherine E. W. Steel

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198788201

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198788201.001.0001

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Traces of Actio in Fragmentary Roman Orators

Traces of Actio in Fragmentary Roman Orators

(p.227) 13 Traces of Actio in Fragmentary Roman Orators
Reading Republican Oratory

Andrea Balbo

Oxford University Press

Collecting references to the actio of fragmentary orators, this chapter explores the theoretical aspects of using the whole body (including both the speaker’s vocal delivery and his body language,) in public speaking. The evidence, despite its fragmentary nature, is contextualized using the advice given by the ancient rhetorical handbooks of Cicero and Quintilian on oratorical delivery, and related to modern theories of communication. The lack of a precise theoretical framework for actio in antiquity is argued to have allowed ancient theoreticians and practitioners considerable freedom for the representation and adoption of various elements of non-vocal delivery in their treatises and speeches.

Keywords:   actio, public speaking, delivery, gesture, ancient rhetorical theory, ancient rhetorical handbooks, fragmentary orators

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