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Ultime défaite d’Athènes ou sa plus belle victoire ? Stratégies rhétoriques autour de la bataille d’Aigos-Potamoi dans le Panathénaïque d’Aelius Aristide

Abstract : It may seem somewhat odd to study the way by which the defeat of Aigos-Potamoi is described in a discourse which is an utter praise of the excellence of Athens as is the Panathenaic Oration of Aelius Aristides. Nevertheless, the account of this event (§ 252-263) is significant. Thanks to two successive rhetorical stratagems (move to the Thirty episode and comparison with Marathon), the battle of Aigos-Potamoi is concealed as a defeat and changed into victory. Besides, this defeat is both anticipated and extended through the oration. Upstream, it makes clear a special feature in the discourse’s organisation (the reason why Aristides chooses a comparative point of view, which suddenly breaks the narrative) ; downstream, Athens’ defeat and surrender becomes a reference event, which shows the perfect behaviour both in failure and – more paradoxically – in success. We must also take into account the Roman political context. Through the main battles fighted by Athens, Aristides also considers more generally the meaning of conflicts, leagues and truces and, in this way, with Athens’ main misfortune begins what looks like a policy of clementia. Finally, Aigos- Potamoi also means that now victories and defeats are not necessarily antithetical events.
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Submitted on : Thursday, December 21, 2017 - 9:41:54 AM
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Estelle Oudot. Ultime défaite d’Athènes ou sa plus belle victoire ? Stratégies rhétoriques autour de la bataille d’Aigos-Potamoi dans le Panathénaïque d’Aelius Aristide. KTÈMA Civilisations de l'Orient, de la Grèce et de Rome antiques, Université de Strasbourg, 2017, 42, pp.85-96. ⟨halshs-01670070⟩

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