‘Ancient and Modern Rhetoric’ is written by Dr Jon Hesk, who teaches Greek and Classical Studies in the School of Classics, University of St Andrews. He has published widely on Greek rhetoric and Athenian democratic culture: for example, Deception and Democracy in Classical Athens (Cambridge University Press, 2000) and several chapters and journal articles.The blog has been running from November 2012 and is related to a public engagement project called Ancient and Modern Political Rhetoric. This project aims to draw on the current and future research of both Jon and his colleague Dr Roger Rees. Both scholars are interested in the way in which rhetoric in the Greek and Roman worlds shaped politics and ideology and vice versa. But ancient rhetorical strategies and techniques also inform modern speech-making and other forms of political communication. And there are instructive similarities and differences between the way in which ancient and modern political communications were produced and received. Finally, it is interesting how often politicians and journalists from the 19th-21st centuries have drawn on the paradigms and personalities of ancient politics and rhetoric in their own speeches and appraisals.
In the blog, Jon will be exploring the similarities and differences between ancient and modern uses and abuses of rhetorical communication and asking whether the central role that rhetoric played in ancient education should serve as a model or a warning for 21st century societies.