McCharles, John Alestair
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To the student of republican and imperial Rome few studies are more fertile than that of her accomplishments in the field of oratory. Two thousand years lie between our century and the age of Cicero but we ourselves still realize the value of speaking ability. Yet, in our own civilization, a man has so many media for communicating his thoughts to others. He can put his sentiments in print, either in newspapers or books; he can address unseen audiences over the radio. But we still rejoice in being in the presence of a good speaker; of being able to see and to hear him. On the other hand, a Roman who wished to give his opinion on affairs of state had only the one means of expression - that of speaking from the rostra. He had no newspaper columns in which to ezplain his views. Thus speaking was of the greatest importance in Rome from the fabled days of Romulus and Remus to the end of the republic. Oratory continued under the emperors but, as we will see later in thi thesis, it had lost its former robustness and was slowly degenerating.