A Sourcebook for Classical Rhetoric
Published by: The Catholic University of America Press
Sales Date: 2024-03-01
Published: March 2024
Page Count: 260 Pages
Dimensions: 7.00 x 10.00
260 Pages, 7.00 x 10.00 in
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Cicero called rhetoric a liberal art necessary for every citizen of a free republic. In the polities of ancient Greece and Rome, rhetoric was politically potent because oratory was the regular means of political decision. Words were decisive, often a matter of life and death, not merely for individuals but for peoples. In human milieux where human speech is so politically decisive, reflection upon its nature became keen.
The selections of this sourcebook have been arranged in three sequences. The first two sequences comprise philosophical dialogues on the ends of rhetoric. Selections from Plato's Gorgias, Phaedrus, and Apology examine the rhetorician or teacher of rhetoric, and then Cicero's De oratore offers us a dialectic among practitioners about its practice. The philosophical dialogues on the art's intended ends and causative effects provide the theoretical and ethical context for examining its means. These philosophical dialogues are thus propaedeutic to the third sequence, which focusses on the art itself with selections from Aristotle's treatise On Rhetoric, paired with orations from Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War.