• Offered by School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Classics
  • Areas of interest Classics and Ancient History, English, International Relations, Law, Political Sciences

This course revives the study of the ancient art of persuasion (or rhetoric) for the twenty-first century, educating students in the skills necessary to become more persuasive communicators. Beginning with a study of the fundamental elements of ancient rhetoric as set out by Aristotle, Cicero and Quintilian, we will examine some of the most famous examples of persuasive speech from the ancient world, including the appeal to Achilles in Homer’s Iliad, Socrates' Apology, and the speeches of Cicero. We will then apply our knowledge of rhetorical style to an analysis of famous examples of persuasive discourse and writing from the modern era, such as Martin Luther King Jr's "Letter from Birmingham Jail", John F. Kennedy's "Inaugural Address" and the speeches of Winston Churchill, Sir Robert Menzies and Paul Keating. The course will examine the role of persuasion in modern politics, advertising and marketing and there will be opportunities for students to practise their skills in persuasive writing and discourse.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. formulate structured, persuasive, clear and fluent forms of spoken discourse;
  2. construct and recognize logical, reasoned arguments in written discourse;
  3. analyse different methods of persuasion, including media, advertising, and political discourse;
  4. acquire a high-level of precision and style in oral and written communication; and
  5. develop an understanding of the role of rhetoric in ancient Greece and Rome and the influence of ancient rhetoric on modern discourse. 

Indicative Assessment

Essay, 2500 words (40%) [Learning outcomes 2, 4, 5]
Speech to be delivered orally and also submitted in written form, 1000 words (25%) Learning outcomes [1, 2, 4, 5]
Final Examination, 2 hours (held during the formal examination period) (25%) [Learning outcomes 2, 3, 4, 5]
Tutorial participation (10%) Learning outcomes [1, 3, 4, 5]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorial and tutorial-like activities; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed CLAS6000.

Prescribed Texts

Aristotle, The Art of Rhetoric (transl. H.C. Lawson-Tancred), Penguin, 1991.
E. Corbett and R. J. Connors, Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student (4th ed.)

Preliminary Reading

Chapter 1 (pp. 1-26) of E. Corbett and R.J. Connors, Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student (4th ed.)

Aristotle, The Art of Rhetoric (transl. H. C. Lawson-Tancred), Penguin, 1991.
Socrates’ Apology in Plato, The Last Days of Socrates (transl. H. Tredennick), Penguin, 1969.
A.N.W. Saunders (ed.), Greek Political Oratory, Penguin, 1970.
Cicero, Selected Political Speeches (transl. M. Grant), Penguin, 1989.
E. Corbett and R.J. Connors, Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student (4th ed.)




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $3120
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4800
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
7617 26 Jul 2021 02 Aug 2021 14 Sep 2021 29 Oct 2021 In Person View

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