IMC 2017: Sessions

Session 638: The Rhetoric of Emotions and the Politics of Debate in the Carolingian World, II: Once More, with Feeling

Tuesday 4 July 2017, 11.15-12.45

Organisers:Rutger Kramer, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Irene van Renswoude, Huygens ING, Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, Amsterdam / Faculteit Geesteswetenschappen, Universiteit Utrecht
Moderator/Chair:Leidulf Melve, Department for Archeology, History, Cultural Studies & Religion, Universitetet i Bergen
Respondent:Stuart Airlie, School of Humanities (History), University of Glasgow
Paper 638-aAnd You Shall Never Be Rebuilt: Laus and Vituperatio in the Italian Laudes Civitatum, 8th-9th Centuries
(Language: English)
Giorgia Vocino, Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia
Index terms: Education, Learning (The Classical Inheritance), Manuscripts and Palaeography, Rhetoric
Paper 638-bCrass Insults: Ad hominem Attacks between Marginal Trolling and Rhetorical Conventions
(Language: English)
Irene van Renswoude, Huygens ING, Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, Amsterdam / Faculteit Geesteswetenschappen, Universiteit Utrecht
Index terms: Learning (The Classical Inheritance), Manuscripts and Palaeography, Political Thought, Rhetoric
Abstract

Becoming a player in the political arena of the Carolingian court means being able to navigate not just the tensions and intrigues that haunted the corridors of power, but also to master use of emotions when interacting with fellow courtiers. The skillful manipulation of emotions played a pivotal role in the process of persuasion – dialogues may accomplish what mere unilateral argumentation hardly ever manages to achieve. This session, the second of two panels on the rhetorical use of emotions in political debates in the Carolingian world, will take a new look at the way this use of emotions affected debates taking place at the court. Giorgia Vocino will look at a type of debate that was set in a much wider context, namely that between entire cities. By looking at the way urban communities were represented in the so-called laudes civitatum, she will highlight the communal aspects of emotional repertoires, and show how they could be used to manipulate both the Other and the Self. Finally, Irene van Renswoude asks how rhetorical ethics and Christian morals relate to public character assassinations. Although both Cicero and Boetius dismissed ad hominem attacks as mere fallacies of argument, they were and remain an undeniably effective means to sway the opinion of the audience by blackening the opponent and addressing the audience’s emotional judgment. Dealing both with published polemics and ‘manuscript trolling’ in the margins, Van Renswoude will ask whether – and how – people engaging in the fierce polemics of the 9th century reflected on this apparent contradiction.