An Introduction to Rhetoric: The Greek Experience:

Every epoch experiences its changes and upheavals, and 5th Century Greece was no different to this general trend in history. The reasons for such changes are complex but, perhaps in the case of Ancient Greece, a new sense of national identity caused by such dramatic events as Greece’s victory over the Persians, its ever expanding trade routes with their resulting wealth, and, most importantly, the evolution of Athens as a nucleus of political, economic and cultural development in the western world of the day, provided Athenian society with the logos for believing in its own superiority.

As a result of these changes, Athens found itself the most energetic, challenging, and prosperous polis in the Western world, where every citizen could, and was generally expected to, aspire to some public function. In intellectual terms, it was a period that marked the gradual shift from a mythological and cosmological view of the world to a more rational and man-centered interpretation.

“What we know as rhetoric has existed in almost all ancient civilizations but, as far as we know, it was the ancient Greeks who were the first to engage in a systematic study and teaching of rhetoric and oratory”.[1]

[1] James Williams, Introduction to Classical Rhetoric, p. 10

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