Persuasion: the art of speech-writing in Classical Athens

£56.00

How do you influence an audience so that they will accept what you say as true or, at the very least, even plausible? In the ancient world, rhetoric was an integral part of education and the ability to speak convincingly was essential for successful participation in public life. Using Aristotle’s The Art of Rhetoric as a guide, we will examine several speeches from Classical Athenian courtrooms to see how persuasive speeches applied the same techniques in a variety of different cases.

This class will meet on Zoom on Thursdays for eight weeks from 6th October 2022 at 19:00-20:00 (UK/Ireland local time). No class on 3rd November.

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How do you influence an audience so that they will accept what you say as true or, at the very least, even plausible? How can you whip up their emotions or evoke an empathetic response? And, most importantly, how do you persuade them to give you their vote?

In the ancient world, rhetoric was an integral part of education and the ability to speak convincingly was essential for successful participation in public life; in Classical Athens, the development of oratory can be linked to the birth of democracy and the frequency which its residents relied on the law courts and assemblies. Using the main pillars of rhetorical practice from Aristotle’s The Art of Rhetoric as a guide, we will examine several speeches from Classical Athenian courtrooms in order to see how persuasive speeches applied the same techniques in a variety of different cases. By investigating speech-writing in this way, we can still use ancient rhetorical strategy to answer the questions above and we can better understand the persuasive power of oratory that remains in modern law, politics, and marketing.

This class will meet on Zoom on Thursdays for eight weeks from 6th October 2022 at 19:00-20:00 (UK/Ireland local time). Dates are 6th October, 13th October, 20th October, 27th October, (no class on 3rd November), 10th November, 17th November, 24th November and 1st December 2022. All texts will be provided and no knowledge of ancient Greek is required.

Fees are £56 for the course (8 weeks). Tutor: Dr Kerry Phelan.

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