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  • So let’s start by briefly exploring the Classical World of the Greek and Romans.

  • Well begin in the fifth century before Christ, Ancient Greece.

  • Instead of one country we should first recognize that in these times

  • Greece was a collection of independent city- states,

  • some were at war with each other, and others were allied.

  • A growing number of city states was adopting democratic elements in their governments

  • such as people’s assemblies, elections, chosen government officials and such.

  • Even though many cities still had kings or a council of nobles,

  • the political power of citizens was growing,

  • and with it the need for a better understanding of the workings of mass communication.

  • It’s therefore not surprising that the science of communication thrived in Ancient Greece.

  • Important historical figures like Socrates, Plato and Aristotles

  • were involved in academic debate on the subject.

  • But besides being an academic science it was in this time foremost an applied science.

  • There were teachers and academies that taught the main principles of public speaking,

  • reasoning and persuasion.

  • Ambitious politicians were wise to learn the different ways of approaching an audience.

  • And not only politicians, but also lawyers and businessmen were schooled in these matters

  • and made extensive use of it in their field.

  • Military commanders like Xenophon and Alexander the Great

  • had also studied the subject at the feet of famous philosophers

  • and used what they learned to keep up moral of their troops.

  • So what did the media landscape look like at this time?

  • Well, first of all, we already established that public speaking was important.

  • Secondly, Greeks made extensive use of symbolic en figurative communication,

  • through their art, useable artifacts and architecture.

  • Also there was a huge diversity of genres in theater,

  • and finally there were many written media,

  • the alphabet had been rediscovered in the sixth century and books, scrolls, pamphlets

  • quickly found a place in the media infrastructure.

  • Many people, not only the rich and noble, could read and write

  • and most cities had one or several libraries.

  • The most famous library, that of Alexandria,

  • reputedly contained hundreds of thousands of handwritten scrolls.

  • After several centuries the power of the Greeks dwindled and was broken by the Romans

  • who themselves adopted many Greek ways.

  • It’s therefore not surprising that they too learned

  • and tried to perfect on Greek theories on communication.

  • Together Greek and Roman times span over a millennium of history

  • and even more if we include the Byzantine Empire in this

  • So it’s obviously a huge oversimplification to discuss all classical thought

  • on communication in a three minute MOOC section.

  • But well try nonetheless,

  • because their ideas were the basis for scientific thought on communication

  • during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

  • and therefore in many ways the foundation on which our modern discipline is built.

  • For a more in-depth and nuanced picture

  • I refer to the Little Box of Nuance in the online environment of this course

  • and the follow-up opportunities I give in other sections, like the platform, and the online community, on Facebook and LinkedIn

So let’s start by briefly exploring the Classical World of the Greek and Romans.

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B1 communication greek greece public speaking extensive classical

2.2 Greek and Roman Rhetorica

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    羅紹桀 posted on 2016/03/18
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