Using a set of examples drawn from imperial concern with Christian theological unity in the fourth century, this essay describes the heretofore unremarked-on functioning of homonoia concepts in addition to persuasion: justification of coercion and propaganda. Grounded in the idea that unanimity and consensus are natural goods, the rhetorical form persuaded through eliciting a desire to participate in those natural goods. Such rhetoric implicitly justified coercive social policy (a.k.a. punishment) when positive persuasion proved insufficient. Additionally, imperial pundits could assert the desirability of consensus as a form of propaganda when “unanimous” decisions were publicized to imply a lack of dissent and make it harder for other would-be dissenters to find allies, therefore decreasing the likelihood of dissent elsewhere.
Research Article| August 01 2019
The Functions of Homonoia in the Rhetoric of Constantius II: Persuasion, Justification of Coercion, Propaganda
Rhetorica (2019) 37 (3): 215–241.
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Allison K. Ralph; The Functions of Homonoia in the Rhetoric of Constantius II: Persuasion, Justification of Coercion, Propaganda. Rhetorica 1 August 2019; 37 (3): 215–241. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/rh.2019.37.3.215
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