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Module

CAC2051 : The Ancient Art of Spin: Classical Rhetoric in Theory and Practice (stage 2) (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Jakob Wisse
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

How do you influence an audience so that they will accept what you say as true, or at least plausible? How do you try to influence their behaviour and policies? How do you come across as a nice, trustworthy and/or knowledgeable person? And how can you whip up an audience’s emotions?
The power of oratory, again recognised today, was well known to the Greeks and Romans, and in this module we will study some of the many speeches from antiquity that illustrate it. The emphasis is on the court speeches of Cicero – perhaps the greatest orator of antiquity –, but we will also look, e.g., at Greek speeches made in court (Lysias) and in the assembly (Demosthenes). We will also look at rhetorical theory, to see whether it offers answers to the above questions.
Finally, we will study two or three modern speeches, illustrating that the techniques used for studying ancient oratory can also be employed in understanding its modern counterpart. These may include Abraham Lincoln’s ‘Gettysburg Address’ and Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’.

The aims of this module are:
1. To provide students with an understanding of classical and especially Ciceronian rhetoric, including its political, social and intellectual background.
2. To provide students with an understanding of the relevance of (classical) rhetoric as well as its limitations for studying other ancient genres and for studying modern speeches and texts.
3. To enhance students' skills at analysing ancient texts in translation.

Outline Of Syllabus

Rhetoric in practice: orators studied may include (in chronological order) Lysias, Demosthenes, Cicero, Roman declaimers (as preserved by Seneca the Elder), Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King.

Rhetorical theory and related material (in chronological order): authors studied may include: Plato (esp. his Phaedrus), Aristotle (Rhetoric), the anonymous author of the Rhetoric for Herennius, Cicero (esp. his De oratore [On the Ideal Orator] and Orator), Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Petronius, Seneca, Quintilian.

Appropriate secondary literature keyed to the above texts will also be read and discussed.

Teaching Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Assessment Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Reading Lists

Timetable