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prooemium


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1. Verse.

See hymns, greek; lyric poetry, greek.

2. Prose.

Applied originally to poetry Gk. prooimion was taken over by rhetorical theory to designate the first of the four (sometimes more) sections into which classical rhetoricians divided the prose speech. It is, together with the peroration, the part of the speech which contains the greatest accumulation of recognizable commonplaces, and the typical themes are already discernible in the 5th cent. Toward the end of the 5th cent. the custom arose of compiling collections of stock openings (and also perorations) to forensic and political speeches.

Subjects: Classical studies


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