Apollonius Moron on public speaking

‘Pitch your delivery in the middle range,’, instructed Molon [“a lawyer… who had… retired to Rhodes and opened his rhetorical school]. ‘That is where the power is. Nothing too high or low.’ In the afternoons, for speech projection, Molon took him down to the shingle beach, paced out eighty yards (the maximum range of the human voice) and made him declaim against the boom and hiss of the sea – the nearest thing, he said to the murmur of three thousand people in the open air, or the background mutter of several hundred men in conversation in the senate. These were distractions Cicero would have to get used to.

beach Chatelaillon 415.JPG

‘But what about the content of what I say?’, Cicero asked. ‘Surely I will compel attention chiefly by the force of my arguments?’

Molon shrugged. ‘Content does not concern me. Remember Demosthenes: “Only three things count in oratory. Delivery, delivery, and again: delivery.”’

(Robert Harris, Imperium, 2006)

Published by

Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "EnergyEfficiency" at European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.