Rhetorical and philosophical Paideia in Lucian

  • Matthew Keil
Keywords: Lucian, Second Sophistic, Paideia, Rhetoric, Philosophy


The Greek author Lucian of Samosata (120 – 192 AD) has long remained an enigmatic figure for scholars of the Second Sophistic.This is due, in no small part, to his conflicting, satirical treatment of the two main cultural institutions of his day, the art of rhetoric and the practice of philosophy. Yet though he satirizes both of these in equal measure, upon more careful scrutiny it becomes clear that the underlying motivation for his critique of each stems from different emotional centers. It is the contention of the present paper that while Lucian’s critique of rhetoric is best understood as based on a deep respect and reverence for eloquence, combined with a concomitant disgust for unworthy, contemporary representatives of it, on the other hand,his motivation for satirizing philosophy appears to be simply the fact that Lucian cared little for, and thought little of the subject(despite his objections to the contrary), and that he preferred instead the uncomplicated principles of common sense and practical virtue.

Keywords: Lucian, Second Sophistic, Paideia, Rhetoric, Philosophy


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eISSN: 1016-0728