• 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
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course

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]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


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.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2022 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $4980
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

There are no current offerings for this course.

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions