Gerasim Petrinski – ‘Lalia’: The Stand-up Show in Late Antiquity

Gerasim Petrinski - ‘Lalia’: The Stand-up Show in Late AntiquityAbstract: This article presents and examines one specific Late Antique rhetorical form – the so-called ‘lalia’ or ‘free improvisation’. In order to explore the ‘lalia’, the study analyses the treatise Peri epideiktikon (On epideictic) ascribed to Menander Rhetor (3-th or 4-th c. AD), as well as other rhetorical treatises (On Types of Style by Hermogenes of Tarsus; Progymnasmata by Aphthonius of Antioch etc.). According to (Pseudo-) Menander improvisation belongs to the deliberative and epideictic eloquence. The analysis is focused on the different types of the ‘lalia’, on their style (‘Clarity’, ‘Naivety’ and ‘Sweetness’) and on their disposition. Regarding these characteristics, the ancient improvisation is compared to the modern ‘stand-up show’ or ‘stand-up comedy’.

Key words: Lalia, stand-up show, Menander Rhetor, rhetorical exercises, progymnasmata, epideictic rhetoric, improvisation, rhetorical structure, rhetorical topics, style

Rhetoric and Communications E-journal, Issue 20, November 2015,,, ISSN 1314-4464

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