Origins of Public Speaking: Glossary



An expression characterized by conciseness and elegance.


Dialecticcan be defined as a debate intended to resolve a conflict between two contradictory (or polar opposites), or apparently contradictory ideas or elements logically, establishing truths on both sides rather than disproving one argument.


In 621 B.C., the citizens of Athens commissioned Draco, an elder citizen considered to be the wisest of the Greeks, to codify the laws, which had remained an oral form of custom and tradition. He began the tradition of law, where cases were decided on clearly enunciated crimes and penalties determined by statute rather than by the whims of the nobility. His laws helped constitute a surge in Athenian democracy.

Elocutionary Movement

Elocutionary Movement is a movement that focused primarily on delivery. It not only involved the voice, but also incorporated the entire person with facial expressions, gesture, posture and movement.


Epistemology is the study of the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge.

Marcus Fabius Quintilianus

Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, also referred to as Quintilian, was a celebrated orator, rhetorician, Latin teacher and writer who promoted rhetorical theory from ancient Greece and from the height of Roman rhetoric.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Marcus Tullius Cicero is considered to be the greatest of the Roman orators, and was, among other things, a lawyer, politician, and philosopher.


The ability to speak with rhetorical skill and eloquence.


Responsible for the installation of a pure democracy to maintain popular support, a liberalized judicial system to include poor citizens so that they could serve on juries, and the establishment of a popular legislative assembly to review annually all laws. In addition, he established the right for any Athenian citizen to propose or oppose a law during assembly. Pericles’ democracy established the need for training in public speaking.

Philosophical Relativism

Philosophical relativism is the concept that points of philosophical views have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative subjective value according to differences in perception and thought.


The Renaissance is the name of the great intellectual and cultural movement of the revival of interest in classical culture that occurred in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries.

René Descartes

René Descartes is one of the most important Western philosophers of the past few centuries. He was also an original physicist, physiologist and mathematician who attempted to restart philosophy in a fresh direction.


Rhetoric is the faculty of discovering in the particular case all the available means of persuasion.


5th century B.C. Greek philosophers and teachers who speculated on theology, metaphysics, and the sciences, and who were characterized by Plato as superficial manipulators of rhetoric and dialectic (

St. Augustine

St. Augustine had been a teacher of rhetoric before converting to Christianity in 386, and is considered to be the only major thinker on rhetoric associated with the Middle Ages.


A syllogism is a deductive form of argument, proceeding from a generalization to a specific application. It is a systematic arrangement of arguments consisting of a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion.

Zeno of Elea

Zeno of Elea was a 5th century B.C. Greek mathematician and philosopher of the Eleatic school who is considered to be the inventor of dialectical reasoning.

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