The Beginning of Speechwriting

  • Jens E. KjeldsenEmail author
  • Amos Kiewe
  • Marie Lund
  • Jette Barnholdt Hansen
Part of the Rhetoric, Politics and Society book series (RPS)


In this chapter, we introduce the classical theories of rhetoric that are foundational for contemporary speechwriting. We outline some of the basic concepts in the ancient Greek theories on rhetoric, notably Aristotle’s’ On Rhetoric, the first treatise on rhetoric, and additions made by Roman scholars. We explain how a cultural climate in ancient Greece gave rise to professional speechwriting for others: logography. When politicians and officials had to address large crowds in state matters, they sought advice from intellectuals and educators who taught rhetoric and philosophy. We present some of these professionals, often referred to as ‘Sophists,’ who also wrote speeches for citizens who had to deliver a speech in court. In ancient Rome, where citizens were allowed to have advocates speak on their behalf in court, the most important kind of speechmaking beside the courts was the political speech.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jens E. Kjeldsen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amos Kiewe
    • 2
  • Marie Lund
    • 3
  • Jette Barnholdt Hansen
  1. 1.Department of Information Science and Media StudiesUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Department of Communication and Rhetorical StudiesSyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA
  3. 3.School of Communication and CultureAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

Personalised recommendations