This book provides the first translations in English and a preliminary analysis of the commentaries on the chreia chapter in Aphthonius’s standard Progymnasmata, a classroom guide on composition. The chreia, or anecdote, was a popular form that preserved the wisdom of philosophers, kings, generals, and sophists. Aphthonius used the chreia to provide instructions on how to construct an argument and to confirm the validity of the chreia by means of an eight-paragraph essay. His treatment of this classroom exercise, however, was so brief that commentators needed to clarify, explain, and supplement what he had written as well as to situate the chreia as preparation for the study of rhetoric—the kinds of public speeches and the parts of a speech. By means of these Byzantine commentaries, we can thus see more clearly how this important form and its confirmation were taught in classrooms for over a thousand years.
Ronald F. Hock is Professor of Religion at University of Southern California. He has co-edited The Chreia in Ancient Rhetoric: The Progymnasmata (1986), The Chreia and Ancient Rhetoric: Classroom Exercises (2002), and Ancient Fiction and Early Christian Narrative (1998), all from the Society of Biblical Literature.
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