Libanius's Progymnasmata

Libanius's Progymnasmata

Model Exercises in Greek Prose Composition and Rhetoric

eBook - 2008
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Lightning Source Inc
This volume presents the original text and the first English translation of the largest surviving ancient collection of “preliminary exercises” used to teach young men how to compose their own prose, a crucial step toward public speaking and a career worthy of the educated elite. Graded in difficulty, the exercises range from simple fables and narratives to discussions of wise sayings, speeches of praise and blame, impersonations of figures from myth, descriptions of statues and paintings, and essays on general propositions (e.g., “should one marry?”). It provides a unique glimpse into the schoolrooms of the ancient Mediterranean from the Hellenistic period to the Byzantine Empire, vividly illustrating how ancient educators used myth, history, and popular ethics to shape their students’ characters as they sharpened their ability to think, write, and speak.

Book News
Libanius of Antioch (314-93) studied first rhetoric then grammar (literature and composition) and became one of the best known public speakers and teachers in the later Roman Empire. His voluminous writing, including an autobiography, provide historians with details of the period, but Gibson (classics, U. of Iowa) here presents 144 model exercises in prose composition that he apparently used in his teaching, though he never wrote a teaching manual as such. They illustrate how to approach such themes as fables, anecdotes, refutation and confirmation, invective, character, description, and the introduction of a law. The Greek text and English translation are on facing pages. The Society of Biblical Literature publishes the paperbound edition; Brill publishes the hardbound. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Atlanta : Society of Biblical Literature, ©2008
ISBN: 9781589834354
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xxix, 572 pages)
Additional Contributors: Gibson, Craig A. 1968-


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