“Marrying originality and theoretical broadmindedness with the virtues of a learned survey, Habinek brings the reader face to face with the aesthetic, political, and philosophical vitality of ancient rhetoric and oratory.” Joy Connolly, New York University
“More than a compact history of ancient rhetoric, Habinek’s Ancient Rhetoric and Oratory is a revelatory analysis of its social functions and an energetic defense of its democratic potential.” Steve Johnstone, University of Arizona
"Habinek's experience and mature scholarship are manifest in the production of this work. It is fairly comprehensive, but even in areas in which it chooses to be selective, the choice is judicious... I would recommend this book to senior undergraduates and graduate students of history of rhetoric." Scholia
Rhetoric was central to the political and cultural life of the Greek and Roman worlds. This book introduces readers to the ancient rhetorical tradition by investigating key questions about the origins, nature, and importance of rhetoric: is it inevitably an elite pursuit? What benefits did it offer its devotees? What would society be like without rhetoric? The text explores the role of the orator, examining closely the two greatest figures of the tradition, Demosthenes and Cicero. It also investigates the place of rhetoric at the center of ancient education, and in conclusion considers the role of rhetoric since the end of antiquity. A glossary of proper names and technical terms, a chronological table of political events, authors, orators, and rhetorical works, as well as suggestions for further reading, make the book accessible for all students of ancient literature and culture.