n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Strategies for Encomium in Dio of Prusa, 53

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Dio 53 presents certain problems. First it does not appear to be an altogether elegant or successful encomium of Homer (in comparison with examples available in other authors), and second the speech itself seems to comprise two unrelated halves. Closer examination, however, reveals that Dio is actually presenting an exercise in epideictic , and identifying innovative strategies for praising Homer from the very attacks of the poet's most notorious critic, Plato. Dio uses arbitration as a device to explore ways in which he can settle the ancient dispute between Plato and Homer. The second half of the speech, which at first might appear to contain a haphazard catalogue of facts and observations designed to rehabilitate the poet, is actually an exploration of how Plato's criticisms can be gently countered within the new social and geopolitical environment represented by Dio's own era.


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