Rhetorica Ad Herennium

  Written circa 85BC, this manuscript describes how to deliver an oration, especially persuasive messages. Rhetorica ad Herennium was a gift to Gaius Herennius (hence the ad Herennium portion of the title translated "to Herennius"). Although the author is not decidedly known, the work must have originated from a great Roman political orator like Cicero, who had written another similar text on rhetoric, De Inventione. Works like Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and most five-paragraph essays written by high school students follow the format Rhetorica ad Herennium suggests for presenting and supporting a persuasive argument. Rhetorica ad Herennium demonstrates the nature of communication in ancient Rome prior to widespread literacy and print. Orations with a purpose were valued whereas a work like a lyric poem would not be.

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