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Progymnasmata: Greek Textbooks of Prose Composition and Rhetoric

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Several of these works have never before been translated into English and are made accessible to the general reader for the first time. George A. Kennedy, one of the world’s leading scholars of ancient rhetoric, provides an English translation of four Greek treatises written during the time of the Roman empire but studied throughout the Roman and Byzantine periods—works attributed to Theon, Hermogenes, Aphthonius, and Nicolaus. Also included are translations of the fragments of Sopatros’ treatise as well as John of Sardis’ commentary on these exercises. The progymnasmata were fundamental to the teaching of prose composition and elementary rhetoric in European schools from the Hellenistic period to early modern times. The habits of thinking and writing learned in schools molded not only the secular literature of the Greeks and Romans, but also the writings of the early Christians through the patristic period.

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