Click to Subscribe
Progymnasmata writing Pedagogy
Michael Collins Cues the Crackpot on Ancient Academics
© 2021 James LaFond
Progymnasmata writing pedagogy
Aug 15, 2021, 9:14 PM (9 days ago)
to me
What do you think of this ancient greek pedagogy for teaching writing and learning how to write. I hope to teach myself this one day and maybe incorporate it into my teaching. Sadly I probably won't be able to ever incorporate it because its not very marketable but at least I can teach my future kids this method.
Take care!
-Michael Collins

Michael, I do not even know what this is. I see the name for naked [root for gymnastics, "naked exercises"] in the middle of progymnasmata. Then, when I hoogled the definition the first two websites attacked my computer. I am suspicious of any modern interpretation of this, including my own.
Online dictionaries relate this to the ancient Hellenic art of teaching rhetoric, and spend much time describing rhetoric as mere persuasive technique, which, is what happens in civilization, the effect of something becoming its reason for continuation. For instance, the initial reason for vaϲϲination might be public health of simple corporate profits. But the act of forcing people to get vaϲϲinated transmogrophies vaϲϲination from a public health and/or money-making initiative to a purified use of power. Even if the vaϲϲines turn out to be harmful or ineffective, we will be forced to get the stab for no other reason than the flexion of government-corporate-medical cult power.
Some two decades ago I read Aristotle, On Rhetoric and was impressed that in small, militarized, ethnic communities, all of which had democratic institutions—even the monarchies, oligarchies and tyrannies—it was important to be convincing. In Amerindian hunting societies, rhetoric was a hugely valued skill, by which a warmaker might have himself elected war chief, much like Alcibiades did concerning the Sicilian Expedition and other military adventures.
However, I read Aristotle for content, not method. I will listen to his On Rhetoric and write a follow up to this at some point this winter.
In Aristotle's time and place, the man who specialized in Rhetoric, or simply put, public speaking as a monologue rather than truncated debate, was Isocrates. In Late Antiquity, the Latin author that focused the most on Rhetoric was Quintilian, who i recall favoring over Isocrates.
I do not know how to teach and am aware of no methodology. My self-teaching has all been apish. So, if i had some desire to learn how to speak convincingly in the ancient Hellenic manner I would study:
-Homer, primarily the public speaking of Nestor and Odysseus, and the dialogue between Poseidon and Apollo concerning Zeus, their master.
-Herodotus, the advice of Solon to Crosses and of Crosses to Cyrus, and of the many advisers of Darius and Xerxes to their master.
-Thucydides, the many public speeches of the generals and diplomats of warring Hellas.
-Xenophon, namely his own speeches recounted from memory, stand as the apex of convincing public speaking in all of Western Literature.
In fiction, the best use of rhetoric, clothed in story-telling is by the author Gene Wolfe in his Book of The New Sun, Litany of the Long Sun and Latro cycles, by which convincing points are made within the story arc by numerous characters, not simply by the protagonist.
'Oh King'
'European Migratory Inferiority'
beasts of aryаs
the lesser angels of our nature
america the brutal
let the world fend for itself
within leviathan’s craw
logic of steel
into leviathan’s maw
'in these goings down'
  Add a new comment below: