EN 1006 Lecture Notes - Attic Greek, Prodicus, Preface

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Published on 9 Nov 2011
School
York University
Department
English
Course
EN 1006
Lecture 4 Notes on Rhetorical Education
1. Educational Systems in Ancient Greece
-- early forms of education during Homeric times -- young people learned
through apprenticeship and one-to-one training, from imitation of worthy
models;
--Formal education in ancient Greece first appeared during the 7and 6th c
BC; yet it was not primarily an education in letters down to the later 5th
century.
-- the pursuits of music and sports became available to ordinary citizens. At
the age of seven the Athenian child began taking lessons in music and
gymnastics;
--During the 5th century, when the laws were inscribed on stone so that the
citizens of Athens could read them, writing and literacy began to be widely
accepted.
--Writing also advance the development of self-conscious reflection and
examination, which brought about the blooming of philosophical speculation
and growing interest in recording traditional myths and describing foreign
places and customs.
-- rhetoric turned into an art form that required a formal study. During the
5th century, the art of techne (of speech-making) emerged, which the
sophistic school turned into a systematic study and practical handbooks.
--Within a century or less, it evolved into the foundations of Western
secondary education.
2. Fifth Century B.C. and Sophistic Education
--the birth of rhetoric as a formal study: in 467 BC, on the island of Sicily;
the fathers of rhetoric: Corax and Tisias, and their first rhetorical handbooks
-- The Sophistic School was not a philosophical school but a group of
teachers of wisdom, rhetoric, and politics (Protagoras, Gorgias,
Prodicus, Hippias, among the "Older Sophists")
--A summary of sophistic innovations and contributions to rhetorical
education:
*this new class of teachers (mainly from Asia Minor, immigrants to
Athens and other major Greek city-states) developed a system of
pragmatic instructions for students, preparing them for the real life with
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its daily struggles
*winning was part of the competitive spirit of 5th c. Greece; sophists
taught students not only how to win, but how to be triumphant in that
*they claimed they could speak persuasively on any subject matter -- to
persuade their audience, they used arguments from probability, stylistic
elaboration and adornment (example: Gorgias’ style)
*Their teaching methods included:
-- training students in acquiring knowledge of poetry, music, history
-preparing them for the action in the courts and assemblies
-teaching them to memorize all kinds of useful arguments
(commonplaces) that could come up handy in various situations.
--the techniques of emotive language, poetry and delivery that sway an
audience
-- the use of style replete with devices such as antithesis, parallelism,
word play, alliteration, figurative speech
--Gorgias, Simonides and Hippias trained their students in memorization
and declamation (declamation) – by reading, memorizing and performing
the works of others, students were able to learn rhetorical techniques
--Simonides: the first theoretician about memory; along with Hippias, he
developed a mnemonic association system for recalling images and
thoughts
--Hippias was the first who insisted that a good orator needs an excellent
memory. The system that he created associated unfamiliar words or ideas
with familiar images in a familiar visual space
--Protagoras: “all judgements are equally true…”; Truth relied on
individual perception rather than on collective truth common for the
whole society;
-- on the development of student’s character: students should receive a
broad academic background and practice on arranging their thoughts and
deliver them
--Prodicus stressed upon the importance of style, on the correct and
consistent use of language, on proper definitions;
3. Attic School and Oratory
--the Attic School is another rhetorical school that emerged in 5th c BC
born out of the same competitive spirit; Attic Greek -- the prestige dialect of
Ancient Greek
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Document Summary

Lecture 4 notes on rhetorical education: educational systems in ancient greece. - early forms of education during homeric times -- young people learned through apprenticeship and one-to-one training, from imitation of worthy models; -formal education in ancient greece first appeared during the 7and 6th c. Bc; yet it was not primarily an education in letters down to the later 5th century. - the pursuits of music and sports became available to ordinary citizens. At the age of seven the athenian child began taking lessons in music and gymnastics; -during the 5th century, when the laws were inscribed on stone so that the citizens of athens could read them, writing and literacy began to be widely accepted. -writing also advance the development of self-conscious reflection and examination, which brought about the blooming of philosophical speculation and growing interest in recording traditional myths and describing foreign places and customs. - rhetoric turned into an art form that required a formal study.

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