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Political Rhetoric in China and in Imperial Rome: the Persuader, the Ruler, the Audience

De la rhétorique politique en Chine et dans la Rome impériale : l’orateur, le souverain, et le public
Alexander Yakobson
p. 195-204

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The most fundamental difference between political rhetoric in traditional China and in the Greco-Roman world—and specifically in Rome, with which I will deal here—is, as is rightly stressed by some of the contributors to this splendid volume, that in China political rhetoric is invariably addressed by a “persuader” to a single man—the autocratic ruler, and not to the public or to collective civic bodies. In Romain Graziani’s words, “This canonical political pattern must be understood within the broader context of the overarching paradigm of monarchism in Chinese political culture. The Chinese persuader is not strictly speaking a ‘rhētōr’, a public speaker defined by his command of the civic art of persuading”; “rhetoric in Chinese politics was never concerned with public address. By contrast, in ancient Rome, political rhetoric was focused on the manipulation of public opinion. A rhetor addressed a large audience,” that could number thousands when he addressed the people or hundreds...

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Alexander Yakobson, « Political Rhetoric in China and in Imperial Rome: the Persuader, the Ruler, the Audience », Extrême-Orient Extrême-Occident [En ligne], 34 | 2012, mis en ligne le 01 novembre 2015, consulté le 22 novembre 2014. URL : http://extremeorient.revues.org/263

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