Prof. Eleni Volonaki (Department of Philology, University of the Peloponnese), "The Art of Persuasion"
Rhetoric is the art of persuasion and started to develop in classical Athens alongside the institution of Athenian democracy. Sophists were the first teachers who were educating the Athenian politicians and, from mid-fifth century onwards, whoever wished to play a role in public life needed to know the art of rhetoric in order to undertake an office, to speak before the Assembly or the Boule, to persuade the citizens in the agora. Democracy meant active participation of all citizens in the civic activities; thus the citizen identity depended upon the art of rhetoric to a great extent. Rhetoric is the art of logos –speech, ethos – character, personality and pathos – emotions and appeals. Very basic, however, was to use all these in the context of rhetorical commonplaces, commonly shared ideology. Even though rhetoric was the art that enabled anyone to argue for or against the same and one issue, given that it appealed to the citizen group either in the Assembly and the Boule or in the agora or in the courts, rhetorical texts reflect social and political reality of classical times.