Universitatea „Lucian Blaga”din Sibiu, Facultatea de Litere și Arte
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10 / 2018
The Rhetoric of Power in the Romanian Mediaeval Literature
We witness various types of discourses revolving around on the same topic: the power in the mediaeval times. What we had in view were both the Romanian chronicles and Dimitrie Cantemir’s novel, Istoria ieroglifică (“The Hieroglyphical History”). Cantemir’s novel offers us a double perspective on the way power is wielded. On the one hand, there is a discourse the ideal way of government held by the Unicorn, the only character that is entirely good. He puts forward advanced ideas upon the qualities a king or a leader should have: honesty, wisdom, sobriety, and, about it most important, love for the people he rules. But such qualities make the Unicorn an endangered creature, because of other creatures’ envy. On the other hand, the Raven’s speech shows us how despotic he is. His speech contains nothing more than ideas referring to imposing his own will and demanding obedience. Mostly, the chroniclers’ work reflect the same aspects. The characters’ discourses are based on the duality between the ideal wise form of government and the despotic one.
Keywords: mediaeval literature, rhetoric, power, government, Cantemir’s novel, Romanian chronicles.