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Ancient Rhetoricians’ Role and Challenges Essay

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Updated: Jun 21st, 2020


Rhetoricians lived in different eras in human history. One of these eras is ancient times. People in this era used rhetoric for various purposes. The applications included making important decisions and resolving disputes. Rhetoric helped people to choose the best course of action through discussions touching on political, religious, and social issues.

If I were a time-traveling rhetorician, I would prefer to live and work in the ancient era. A number of reasons inform this preference. Rhetoricians of the time focused on moral and political issues affecting society.

Why I would like to Work as a Rhetorician in Ancient Era

Ancient rhetoricians argued that there would be differences between them and their modern contemporaries. The people who practiced rhetoric in Athens and Rome during ancient times were able to persuade others to embrace their point of view without resorting to violence. The modern era is characterized by conflicts between philosophy and rhetoric. The rivalry makes it hard to operate in modern times, which makes me prefer the largely peaceful ancient era.

Another reason I would like to be an ancient rhetorician is that the practitioners of this era were morally neutral with regard to what constituted responsibility in civil life. They regarded the moral character as a key element of reasoned arguments. They held opinions in high regard. Perspectives were viewed as a source of wisdom. In modern times, thoughts and outlooks are often dismissed as unimportant. Ancient rhetoricians also respected communities. They believed all rhetoric was based on these social entities. As such, opinions were regarded as constructs of the community in which individuals lived. Modern rhetoric concerns itself with political settings. As a result, it is more complicated compared to the ancient era.

Ancient rhetoricians hold that language can be used for various purposes. A successful rhetorician could speak convincingly on any topic. However, the language in other eras is not rigid. It changes depending on the situation. Consequently, ancient rhetoric is regarded as a form of communication skill. At the time, rhetoric and public speaking were essential aspects of a successful political life. Students paid rhetoricians in exchange for an education. As a result, the scholars made a living out of their intellectual capabilities.

Challenges Faced by an Ancient Era Rhetorician

Ancient rhetoricians faced a number of difficulties, which I must be prepared to deal with. Their major goal was to equip people with the skills needed to operate in a free society. However, not all ancient societies were free. Most of them were characterized by varying political and religious orientations. The realities would make it hard to embrace the freedom of thought among rhetoricians and their students.

Technical advances highlight human intelligence and the acquisition of new knowledge. Ancient societies were evolving. The changes made rhetoric teaching in an ancient era a complex undertaking. Rhetoricians of this era focused on persuasion in politics and civic life. Success in these endeavors needed a good speaker. As such, lack of oratory skills may negatively impact on the success of an ancient rhetorician regardless of their intelligence. In the modern era, written and literary skills may compensate for a lack of oratory capabilities.

The rise of political and religious fanaticism in the ancient era affected rhetorical practitioners, making their work more difficult. In addition, the rise of philosophers as ancient times transitioned into the modern era brought competition to rhetoricians. Philosophers urged citizens to shun rhetoric and pay attention to philosophical thinking, which they claimed embraced higher levels of enlightenment. The changing perspectives and social movements in relation to rhetorical theory will make it hard for me to work in the ancient era. While some of these challenges extend to other eras, it is important to note that they will make my work as a rhetorician more difficult than at other times.


During the ancient era, rhetoric flourished in open and democratic societies. It aimed at promoting freedoms of speech and assembly. It also enhanced political enfranchisement among communities. Regardless of the various challenges faced by rhetoricians of ancient times, their work was more fulfilling than in other eras.

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