This book explores the role of written and oral communication in Greece and is the first systematic and sustained treatment at this level. It examines the recent theoretical debates about literacy and orality and explores the uses of writing and oral communication, and their interaction, in ancient Greece. It is concerned to set the significance of written and oral communication as much as possible in their social and historical context, and to stress the specifically Greek characteristics in their use, arguing that the functions of literacy and orality are often fluid and culturally determined. It draws together the results of recent studies and suggests further avenues of enquiry. Individual chapters deal with (among other things) the role of writing in archaic Greece, oral poetry, the visual and monumental impact of writing, the performance and oral transmission even of written texts, and the use of writing by the city-states; there is an epilogue on Rome. All ancient evidence is translated.
1. Introduction; 2. Literacy and orality; 3. Oral poetry; 4. The coming of the alphabet: literacy and oral communication in archaic Greece; 5. Beyond the rationalist view of writing: between 'literate' and 'oral'; 6. Orality, performance, and memorial; 7. Literacy and the state: the profusion of writing; Epilogue: the Roman world; Bibliographical essay; Bibliography.
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- ID: 9780521377423
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