Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Jardine, Lisa. "What the Romans Did for Us." BBC NEWS UK MAGAZINE. August 1, 2008.

Heroic buildings are, as Boris Johnson observed, one of the Roman Empire's great legacies. But more lasting and far-reaching even than these is the influence of the Roman rhetorical tradition - an array of instructions and strategies for using language to persuade. Our legal system, public debating conventions, and even the way contentious issues are argued over daily in newspapers and on television, have all been shaped and defined by a method credited to the great Roman orator Cicero, and reduced to a set of practical rules in the Oratorical Institutes of the later pedagogic writer Quintilian. . . . Roman discussions of exemplary forms of public debate are particularly relevant today. Our press and broadcast media currently thrive on the lurid presentation of controversy, particularly in the areas of science and medicine. Some of us are beginning to think that the tradition of adversarial argument is being tested to the limit. Last month the media regulator Ofcom published its response to complaints brought against a Channel 4 programme shown in March 2007, entitled The Great Global Warming Swindle. . . . Read the rest here:

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