Monday, March 26, 2012

Ancient Irish Rhetoric

Rhetoric of myth, magic and conversion.
Ancient Ireland presents an interesting case for rhetorical study. While the island is usually considered a part of geographic Europe, it long resisted the influence of cultural Europe. Unlike Britain, for example, Ireland was never conquered by Rome, and its pre-literate culture flourished beyond the fall of the Empire. Consequently, the Irish maintained a mythopoetic rhetoric based in narrative. Their stories recounted not only the deeds of their heroes, but also their words. And, like ancient Greece, ancient Ireland also had a class of sophistic rhetors, the Druids. When Patrick arrived around the end of the fourth century, he eschewed the Ciceronian rhetoric of Augustine and instead adapted Christian theology to fit Irish rhetoric. (Read entire post.)

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