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ERIC Number: ED154440
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Apr
Pages: 35
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
A Rhetoric of Ultimacy: Battle Orations.
Bliese, John
The rhetorical strategies of the speechmaker become more interesting as the involvement and risk assumed by the audience increase. Battle orations given by military leaders to their troops just before fighting the enemy provide the ultimate in audience involvement and risk. Of some 200 chronicles of northern Europe from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, 53 contain over 100 battle orations. When analyzed from the point of view of motives, specific arguments can be classified according to the appeal made to the fighting men: belief in the justice of the cause and the piety of the act; loyalty to the tradition of victory made by one's ancestors; assurance of victory because of one's strength; possibility of victory despite being outnumbered; martyrdom for Christ in preference to victory; vengeance for one's comrades, for oneself, or for God; the impossibility of recourse or escape; and the fact that one has come for the express purpose of this battle. Less frequently cited appeals include: defense of one's self, family, country; material gain; glory, a glorious death; and the display of valor and prowess. Analysis of speeches that do not fit this pattern, such as one given over to enumerating the enemy's atrocities, reveals what may be close to authentic speeches rather than the formalized oratory of the chroniclers. (DS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Central States Speech Association (Chicago, Illinois, April 13-15, 1978)