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PANEGYRICUS
The name given among the Greeks to a speech delivered before a panegyris; that is, an assembly of the whole nation on the occasion of the celebration of a festival, such as Panathenaea and the four great national games. This oration had reference to the feast itself, or was intended to inspire the assembled multitude with emulation, by praising the great deeds of their ancestors, and also to urge them to unanimous co-operation against their common foes. The most famous compositions of this kind which have been preserved are the Panegyricus and Panathenaicus of Isocrates, [neither of which, however, was actually delivered in public.] In later times eulogies upon individuals were so named. This kind of composition was especially cultivated under the Roman Empire by Greeks and Romans. In Roman literature the most ancient example of this kind which remains is the eulogy of the emperor Trajan, delivered by the younger Pliny in the Senate, 100 A.D., thanking the emperor for conferring on him the consulate, a model which subsequent ages vainly endeavoured to imitate. It forms, together with eleven orations of Mamertinus, Eumenius, Nazarius, Pacatus Drepanius, and other unknown representatives of the Gallic school of rhetoric, from the end of the 3rd and the whole of the 4th centuries A.D., the extant collection of the Panegyrici Latini. Besides these, we possess similar orations by Symmachus, Ausonius, and Ennodius. There are also a considerable number of poetical panegyrics; e.g. one upon Messala, composed in the year 31 B.C., and wrongly attributed to Tibullus; one by an unknown author of the Noronian time upon Calpurnius Piso; and others by Claudian, Sidonius Apollinaris, Merobaudes, Corippus, Priscian, and Venantius Fortunatus (q.v.).
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