An orator, or oratist, is a public speaker, especially one who is eloquent or skilled.
Recorded in English c. 1374, with a meaning of "one who pleads or argues for a cause", from Anglo-French ''oratour'', Old French ''orateur'' (14th century), Latin ''orator'' ("speaker"), from ''orare'' ("speak before a court or assembly; plead"), derived from a Proto-Indo-European base *''or-'' ("to pronounce a ritual formula").
The modern meaning of the word, "public speaker", is attested from c. 1430.
In ancient Rome
, the art of speaking in public (''Ars Oratoria'') was a professional competence especially cultivated by politician
s and lawyer
s. As the Greeks
were still seen as the masters in this field, as in philosophy and most sciences, the leading Roman families often either sent their sons to study these things under a famous master in Greece (as was the case with the young Julius Caesar
), or engaged a Greek teacher (under pay or as a slave).
In the young revolutionary French Republic, ''Orateur'' (French for "orator", but compare the Anglo-Saxon parliamentary speaker
) was the formal title for the delegated members of the Tribunat
to the Corps législatif
, to motivate their ruling on a presented bill.
In the 19th century, orators and historians and speakers such as Mark Twain
, Charles Dickens
, and Col. Robert G. Ingersoll
were major providers of popular entertainment
A ''pulpit orator'' is a Christian author, often a clergyman, renowned for their ability to write or deliver (from the pulpit
in church, hence the word) rhetorically skilled religious sermon
In some universities
, the title 'Orator' is given to the official whose task it is to give speeches on ceremonial occasions, such as the presentation of honorary degrees
The following is a list of those who have been noted as famous ''specifically'' for their oratory abilities, or for a particularly famous speech or speeches. Most religious leaders and politicians (by nature of their office) may give many speeches, as may those who support or oppose a particular issue. A list of all such leaders would be prohibitively long.
*The ten Attic orators
, champion of the Philippic
**Lycurgus of Athens
, ''meliglossos'', 'honey-tongued'
*Corax of Syracuse
*Gaius Scribonius Curio
, ''praetor urbanus
'' in Roman Republic
, Roman dictator
*Licinius Macer Calvus
poet and orator
*Marcus Antonius (orator)
, Athenian statesman
(literally ''golden-mouthed''), Christian preacher
18th Century and later
leaders of World War II
(British Prime Minister
**Franklin D. Roosevelt
**Charles de Gaulle
general; later President of France
(US General of the Army
) - ''Farewell Speech to Congress
leaders of World War II:
of Nazi Germany
of Fascist Italy
* The U.S. 19th century Great Triumvirate
**John C. Calhoun
*Independence and civil rights leaders
- ''Tryst with Destiny
**William Jennings Bryan
- ''Cross of Gold speech
- ''Self-Made Men
- ''Give me Liberty, or give me Death!
**Martin Luther King Jr.
- ''I Have A Dream
[African American Orators: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook, edited by Richard W. Leeman, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996. ]
- ''Ain't I a Woman?
- ''The Ballot or the Bullet
- ''I Am Prepared to Die
*Presidents of the United States
- ''Gettysburg address
**John F. Kennedy
- ''Inaugural Address
**Richard M. Nixon
- ''Checkers speech
'' (while Vice-President
- ''Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
**Barack H. Obama
- ''A More Perfect Union (speech)
*Ralph Waldo Emerson
- ''The American Scholar
- ''The lady's not for turning
*Robert G. Ingersoll
, first American orator on women's rights
*1911 ''Encyclopædia Britannica'' (''passim'')EtymologyOnLine
*African American Orators: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook, edited by Richard W. Leeman, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996.
*The Will of a People: A Critical Anthology of Great Speeches by African Americans, edited with critical introductions by Richard W. Leeman and Bernard K. Duffy, Southern Illinois University Press, 2012. |
*American Orators of the Twentieth Century: Critical Studies and Sources, edited by Bernard K. Duffy and Halford R. Ryan, Greenwood, 1987.
*American Orators Before 1900: Critical Studies and Sources, edited by Bernard K. Duffy and Halford R. Ryan, Greenwood, 1987.
*American Voices: An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Orators, edited by Bernard K. Duffy and Richard W. Leeman, Greewnood, 1987.
*Women Public Speakers in the United States, 1800–1925: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook, edited by Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, Greenwood, 1993.
*American Voices, Significant Speeches in American History: 1640–1945, edited by James Andrews and David Zarefsky, Longman Publishing Group, 1989.
*Contemporary American Voices: Significant Speeches in American History, 1945–Present, edited by James R. Andrews and David Zarefsky, Longman Publishing Group, 1991.
*Contemporary American Public Discourse. 3rd Edition. edited by Halford Ross Ryan, Waveland Press, 1991. |
Voices of DemocracyAmerican Rhetoric
*List of orators