Rational persuasion and appeal to an audience's emotions are elements of most literature, but they are found in their purest form in oratory. The speeches written by the Greek Orators for delivery in law-courts, deliberative councils and assemblies enjoyed an honoured literary status, and rightly so, for the best of them have great vitality. There is no crude, primitive stage of development: the earliest speeches are perfect in form and highly sophisticated in technique. They inform the reader about aspects of Greek society and about their moral values, in a direct and illuminating way not paralleled in other literature.
Michael Edwards is Senior Lecturer at The University of London Queen Mary and Westfield College and author of Greek Orators volume Iin this series.