Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Nibley on Rhetoric XI

Nibley discusses why rhetors tend from mediocre to terrible:
The orator must stoop to conquer, and a quick and frightening rebuke awaits him is he does not stoop low enough. For all his toadying, Dio was banished for being unsociable, Libanius had to clear himself of the same terrible charge, and Apuleius was investigated time and again because he was suspected of being an introvert. Go easy on philosophy, Cicero advises, don't talk over people's heads---they don't like orators who make them feel stupid; best to keep your books at home for private leisure. He might have cited the case of Hermodorus, who was banished from the illustrious city of Ephesus because he was guilty of excelling in something: "If he must excel," they said, "let him go and excel over somebody else!"