Introduction to Rhetoric
EN 1007 – Fall 2009 – Carol Poster
Lecture 3 – Sophists and the Power of Writing – Sept 28
- Crete-island halfway Greece & Egypt.
- Minoan- Non Greek speaking community; Forms of writing; Hieroglyphic A&B
- Crete-Minoan 2700 – 155 unknown language.
- Mainland: 1700 Linear B. Crete 1500.
- People who wrote in this were Greek speaking culture.
- Linear B tablets with syllabary engraved on them.
- Tablets used for tax; commercial tablets.
- Earliest forms of writing – commercial & practical.
- 1500 – 1100 collapse of Mycenean civilization; don’t know the causes.
- Trojan war.
- Invasion of migrant group who appear to be attacking settled people (sea
- Collapse of civilization – may have to do with volcanoes.
- Writing disappears in the Greek language.
- None until 800 & 750.
- Greek alphabet based on Phonecian.
- Inscribed on vases; few letters inscribed on tablets.
- New Greek alphabet based on Phonecian.
- Period of scibed – where few people use it – Greek dark ages.
- New Greek alphabet – spreads slowly and becomes regular features of tax
system and regular special merchandise.
Period Where Writing is Rare
- Dramatis personae: Helen, Gorgias, Polus, Callicles, Socrates, Plato.
- Persian wars 499-450.
o Persian side:
Greece is rocking inhospitable and not rich by the standards of
Nice to annex it because of good wines.
Persian emperors sent people to conquer Greece.
Persian conquest – not consensual.
Persian rule of law – Not lying and keeping oath was considered
Based on un-treaty relation; thought they would work with the
Greek had no problem breaking aoths and promises.
Greeks revolted as soon as the soldiers left Greece and the treaty
Persian gave up – not worth it.
o Greek side: Military virtue – Greek proved superiority to the barbarian Persian
Persian Army = Greek mercenaries.
Greek mercenaries would help Persian soldiers in order to conquer
After 19 years – when they manage to cooperate a little, they stop
People died more of infected wounds then on the battle field.
- Peloponnesian wars 431-404.
o Sparta won.
- 30 Tyrants 404-403.
o Killed people and sealed property.
o Athenian democracy overthrew them and democracy was sealed.
- Athenian old education
o Basic educations
Literacy, numeracy [+(easy), - (not so easy), x (advanced) & / (not
taught)], music and gymnastics; BASIC – pre 500-450.
Women: basic counting and reading to keep house hold tasks.
Slaves: weaving and reading; more valuable; illiterate generally.
Craft men – illiterate generally.
Athenian men – memorized large amounts of lyrics?
Gym-wrestling – getting people strong in prep for military.
Every citizen = Member of Parliament.
Involved in culture = involved in public speaking.
Leadership positions were appointed by law.
- Athenian legal and legislative systems.
Only vote if you were a man & who’s for grandparents were
Women & immigrants couldn’t vote.
Citizen was not a sweeping universal title.
o Direct democracy
Every Athenian citizen was part of the assembly to vote on all
Various leadership positions on council:
• Generals & leaders; wars & practical affairs.
• Appointments as judges.
Position selected by Lot [Ostracon- pottery shard].
A priestess would be blind folded and pick out a name from the
• Thought that a god would have a hand in the selection.
• Stuffed ballot boxes – Ways to cheat – Repeated name
entrance; • People didn’t know how to read – people didn’t know what
name was actually being written down.
o Laws inscribed on Stele.
Law or decree had to be shown in the market place in stone.
People did the job or read and writing for others.
Relevant laws – run around the market place to find the law.
Legal system got messy because things got knocked down or
Paying taxes: civil servant wrote out bill.
Written contract wasn’t valid until you had 6 live witnesses to
In court; no lawyers; if you could speak well you’d lose your case.
Ask one rich person to buy triery.
Athenian law code was always swamped with law suits.
If you couldn’t public speak you were in big trouble to law suits.
Old education system didn’t teach to argue in law court.
- Innovations of sophists and philosophers.
o Sophists: Teachers
Ability to speak well in law and participate in