MICHAEL PSELLOS ON RHETORIC
The present paper is focused on Psellos’ letters, which contain a number of remarks on his role as a teacher of rhetoric and as a rhetor active at the imperial court, as well as many comments on his correspondents’ and his own style – including considerations on kinds and levels of style, Atticism and sophistry, and judgements on the great rhetorical models of the past. The examination of all these passages makes it possible to highlight the way Psellos constructs his own image as an expert in rhetoric, familiar with Hermogenean theories, but also heavily influenced by Dionysios of Halikarnassos’ aesthetic conceptions. The great diversity of models with whom he identifies testifies to his stylistic versatility and his frequent adoption of a polemical stance can be read as a claim to independence of mind and originality.
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