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I. Relation of Oratory to Rhetoric.

I. It was of the essence of Greek oratory, as will be seen most clearly when we come to the days of its decline, that its practice should be connected with a theory. Art is the application of rules, generalised from experience, for the production of results; and the Greek conception of speaking as an art implied a Rhetoric. This Rhetoric grew only gradually into a complete system; but from the first there was the fixed tendency to regard oratorical composition as susceptible of a regular analysis. Now, those rules of technical Rhetoric which were the earliest to be formulated could be applied with more precision and more effect in a speech for the law-courts than in a speech for the ekklesia. The true reason of this is not that given derisively by Aristotle1, that, in forensic speaking, chicanery (τὸ κακοῦργον) has the larger scope; the reason is that, in forensic speaking, the subject is fully and accurately known beforehand to the speaker; the utmost clearness of division is imperative, and is obtainable by a uniform method; and the problem is, how best to use all the resources of persuasion in a limited space of time. The two things to which the technical Rhetoric first addressed itself were, partition, and the treatment of probabilities. The law-courts, then, were the natural field of Rhetoric; and, owing to the closeness of the alliance between the theory and the practice, they were also for a long period the chosen field of Oratory.

1 Rhet. I. 1.

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