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John Glucker
Ivor Ludlam


The need for a more detailed account concerning the first two centuries of rhetorical theory is best illustrated by an example: we present here the textual evidence for two common terms denoting evidence,  namely τεκμήριον and σημεῖον. Despite their widespread use in fifth and fourth century Athens, there seems to have been some confusion over their relative roles. While τεκμήριον is fairly regularly used to mean past evidence for a present claim or state, σημεῖον ranges in meaning from a present indication for a past act or state to something very similar to τεκμήριον. We trace, so far as is possible, three possible sources for the apparent confusion: an early rhetorical source (perhaps even the legendary Tisias or Corax himself/themselves) might explain the relatively uniform use of τεκμήριον, while confusion over σημεῖον may be due to usage in early Hippocratic medical treatises as opposed to a clear and logical distinction between τεκμήριον and σημεῖον by Antiphon, a distinction ignored by his younger contemporaries (e.g. Andocides), but strictly adhered to by a later orator, Lycurgus.

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