The panegyrics of twelfth-century Byzantium have long been regarded as second-rate rhetoric. This paper, however, attempts to show that the panegyrics of one author at least, Eustathios of Thessaloniki, were not in the eyes of the Byzantines second-rate, and in fact conform to ideals which were in operation in his time. The so-called “Theory of Ideas” of Hermogenes is first considered, then the operation of the ideals of Atticism, variety and (although this is particularly alien to us) obscurity in Byzantine rhetoric. The way in which the different types of style which Hermogenic theory recognizes varies according to the dictates of the subject-matter is considered in the case of Eustathios's 1174 and 1176 Epiphany orations for the Emperor. A particularly florid passage from the 1176 speech is presented as an example of the way in which Hermogenic “Theory” can be used to analyse rhetoric, and the three principles of Atticism, variety and obscurity are shown also to be operating in the text.
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