Teaching ancient rhetoric – a practical experiment

Malcolm Heath report on an experiment in teaching ancient rhetorical theory to modern under­graduates as a practical technique: that is, the students learned to apply ancient theories of rhetorical argument as tools for identifying and organising the persuasive resources available in hypothetical ­scenarios of the kind used in the ancient exercise of declamation. The results show that the complex rhetorical theory that was developed in later antiquity was not, as has often been thought, an artificial or purely academic construct, but provided powerful resources for teachers and for students