Dear Gaius

Rhetorica ad HerenniumDear Gaius,

I’ve been so busy lately that I have hardly had time to study, and what free time I do have I prefer to spend on philosophy. But I don’t want you to think that I don’t want to help you, or that I am too lazy to bother, and so you have spurred me to start writing this book about the Theory of Public Speaking.

It is true that being able to express oneself fully and easily is a very rewarding skill, and one that needs to be controlled by proper knowledge and strict mental discipline. And so I’m pleased to start this project.

Some writers appear frightened of appearing to know too little. They go off on tangents and end up writing about irrelevant topics in order, I think, to make the art of rhetoric seem more difficult to understand than it needs to be. I, on the other hand, have concentrated only on those topics that are pertinent to the theory of public speaking.

I’m not aiming to make money, nor do I want fame and glory, like many other writers. My reason for writing this book is simply to fulfil your wishes.

Anyway, to avoid any more boring verbosity, I shall begin my discussion on the subject. But, first, I must give you one important instruction. Knowing the theory, without practising speaking, is useless. It is important for you to realise that the principles I outline here must be put into practice.

[Adaptation from Rhetorica ad Herennium, Book 1]

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