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Classical Rhetoric

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What are the theoretical underpinnings of classical rhetoric?

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This solution describes the theoretical underpinnings of classical rhetoric. Supplemented with a link for a glossary of rhetoric concepts.

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Classical Rhetoric Theory

1. Rooted in Greek culture. In fact, the eloquence that Nestor, Odysseus, and Achilles display in the Iliad by the Greek poet Homer led many Greeks to look upon Homer as the father of oratory. The establishment of democratic institutions in Athens in 510 bc imposed on all citizens the necessity of public service, making skill in oratory essential.

2. Rhetoric as study of language. Hence a group of teachers arose known as Sophists, who endeavored to make men better speakers by rules of art. Protagoras, the first of the Sophists, made a study of language and taught his pupils how to make the weaker cause in a speech or discussion appear the stronger argument.

3. Rhetoric as a Science. The actual founder of rhetoric as a science is said to be Corax of Syracuse, who in the 5th century bc defined rhetoric as ...

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