Philip Melanchthon's importance for the history of Renaissance rhetoric has been reclaimed in a number of recent studies. One of his most innovative and durable legacies was in the doctrine of the figures (schemata), examined and evaluated in this essay. A comparison with classical theory shows that in his second rhetoric (1521) Melanchthon radically reconceived the definition and classification of the figures. The new doctrine has major implications for the theory of style (elocutio) and its place in the liberal arts.
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