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Ancient Rhetorical Education

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EN 1006
Rosita Georgieva

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; th --Formal education in ancient Greece first appeared during the 7and 6 c BC; yet it was not primarily an education in letters down to the later 5 th 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 5 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 th 5 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 its daily struggles *winning was part of the competitive spirit of 5 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 th --the Attic School is another rhetorical school that emerged in 5 c BC born out of the same competitive spirit; Attic Greek -- the prestige dialect of Ancient Greek --Unlike the Sophistic school that relied on style, elaboration, and ornamentation, the Attic school rejected style and delivery as the main rhetorical tool and insisted on logic and argument as the main focus of study on how to win in courtrooms or in any civic and political debates. Types of Attic oratory: 1) Judicial oratory-- the attic classroom exercises taught students how to use probability in the court of law. Judicial oratory had a simple and straightforward organization: --proemium (introduction, in which the issues are presented to the audience, and the speaker presents himself or his defendant as well ), --narration (the speaker’s version of what happened is presented as clearly as possible), --proof (support for the case; i.e. the speaker puts forth all objections to his opponent and develops the stronger points in his own case) --and epilogue (conclusion, in which the speaker summarizes the case) Example of judicial oratory: Lysias’ “On the Murder of Eratosthenes” 2)Deliberative: in civic matters, to support or oppose civic matters in the Assembly --it shares many of its characteristics with the judicial oratory. It has the same 4-part structure and uses the same argument from probability. However, the deliberative one 1. employs “the middle style” which bridges the one used in judicial (without excessive decorations) and the sophistic flowery style, 2. focuses on the future rather than the past Example of deliberative oratory: Demosthenes’ “On the Crown” 3) Epideictic or ceremonial -- employed in funeral occasions especially during the Peloponnesian War, at fallen soldiers’ m
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