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the art of swaying an audience by eloquent speech. In ancient Greece and Rome oratory was included under the term rhetoric, which meant the art of composing as well as delivering a speech. Oratory first appeared in the law courts of Athens and soon became important in all areas of life. It was taught by the Sophists. The Ten Attic Orators (listed by Alexandrine critics) were Antiphon, Andocides, Lysias, Isocrates, Isaeus, Aeschines, Demosthenes, Lycurgus, Hyperides, and Dinarchus. Classic Rome's great orators were Cato the Elder, Mark Antony, and Cicero.

The theory of rhetoric was discussed by Aristotle and Quintilian; and three main classes of oratory were later designated by classical rhetoricians: (a) deliberative—to persuade an audience (such as a legislature) to approve or disapprove a matter of public policy; (b) forensic—to achieve (as in a trial) condemnation or approval for a person's actions; (c) epideictic—"display rhetoric" used on ceremonial occasions. Rhetoric was included in the medieval liberal arts curriculum. In subsequent centuries oratory was utilized in three main areas of public life—politics, religion, and law. During the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Reformation, oratory was generally confined to the church, which produced such soul-searing orators as Savanorola, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Knox.

With the development of parliaments in the 18th cent., great political orators appeared—Charles James Fox, Edmund Burke, Henry Gratten, and Daniel O'Connell in England and Ireland; Patrick Henry and James Otis in the United States; and Danton and Mirabeau in France. Because these politicians usually spoke to men of their own class and education, their orations were often complex and erudite, abounding in classical allusions. In the 19th cent., the rise of Methodism and evangelical religions produced great preachers like John Wesley and George Whitefield who addressed a wide audience of diverse classes of people. Their sermons, replete with biblical allusions and appeals to the emotions, profoundly influenced the oratorical style of many politicians. Famous 19th cent. orators included Disraeli and John Bright in England, Charles Stewart Parnell in Ireland, Lamartine in France, Ferdinand Lasalle in Germany, Louis Kossuth in Hungary, and Joseph Mazzini in Italy. Great American orators included Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, Daniel Webster, Stephen Douglas, and Henry Ward Beecher.

In the 20th cent., orators made frequent use of the "catch phrase" (e.g., William Jennings Bryan's "cross of gold" speech). Noted orators in the first half of the 20th cent. were Bryan, Eugene Debs, Susan B. Anthony, and Woodrow Wilson in the United States, Lenin and Trotsky in Russia, and David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill in England. The bombastic oratorical style of Hitler and Mussolini, inevitably associated with their discredited political ideologies, brought grandiloquent oratory into disrepute. The advent of radio forced oratory to become more intimate and conversational, as in the "fireside chats" of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Television forced additional demands on the orator (usually now called the public speaker), who not only had to sound good but also had to look good. Still, most politicians, notably Adlai E. Stevenson and John F. Kennedy, succeeded in utilizing the ubiquitous television camera to heighten the impact of their speeches. The particular effectiveness of great oratory was movingly demonstrated in 1963 when the civil-rights leader Martin Luther King delivered his "I have a dream" speech to an audience of 200,000 people in Washington, D.C., and to millions more listening to him on radio and watching him on television.



a type of monologue used in a situation when the speaker is addressing himself to a large audience for the purpose of persuasion or suggestion.

Oratory is characterized by traditional features of composition and style (and, in general, by the use of language techniques), and also by coordination of linguistic and paralinguistic means of communication. The traditions of modern oratory go back to the rhetorical art of ancient Greece and Rome (Demosthenes and Cicero). The characteristics of oratory were formerly studied in rhetoric. A distinction is made among academic (scholarly), political, juridical, ecclesiastical (especially church sermons), and other forms of eloquent speech.


Apresian, G. Z. Oratorskoe iskusstvo, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1972.
Ob oratorskom iskusstve, 4th ed. Moscow, 1973.
Nozhin, E. A. Osnovy sovetskogo oratorskogo iskusstva. Moscow, 1973.



An ancient oratory in Ireland
A small private chapel furnished with an altar and a crucifix.


a small room or secluded place, set apart for private prayer
References in periodicals archive ?
To be sure, the Oratorian illustrates in De l'Usage des passions the enslavement of the Master with the example of Antony and Cleopatra, which serves as a key intertextual reference for him and Racine:
Not surprisingly, the establishment of a state-sponsored school system of secondary education and the reform of the University of Coimbra drew directly on the recommendations of the old enemies of the Jesuits, the Oratorians and Luis Antonio Verney, the latter by now a paid consultant to the Portuguese government.
Montesquieu, whose friend Mme de Tencin used to call "mon petit Romain" was undeniably drawn to the wonder of a world larger than life that he grew up admiring (we should not forget that he studied at the Oratorian college of Juilly, and that the oldest manuscript we have of him is a Historia Romana written in latin at the age of thirteen or fourteen, which records the boy's wonder at the cruelty of the dictator Sylla).
We cannot rule our an Oratorian presence in the Marches, if not Urbino, that could have facilitated a connection.
In discussing a dispute between Father Faber (superior of the London Oratory) and Newman (superior of the Birmingham Oratory) over the process by which Oratorian policies should be re-evaluated, Ker writes:
During the Mass, the Pope canonized Joseph Vaz, an Oratorian priest from Goa, India in the 17th century who helped rebuild the Church in Sri Lanka despite the persecution of the Protestant Dutch.
Thus, in 1968 the Oratorian scholar Louis Bouyer (1913-2004), whose work had been influential at the Council, wrote in his 1968 study Decomposition of Catholicism that under the pretext of "adapting" the Liturgy, the Liturgy had been destroyed:
Oratorian Challen's first With heavy rain hitting the track immediately before the second race, connections of the seven runners scrambled for shelter on the podium in the winner's enclosure.
In a statement released this week by the Oratory, Father Felix Selden, the Apostolic Visitor to the Oratory, said: "In the course of the Apostolic Visitation currently being carried out at the Birmingham Oratory, after consulting with the Fathers, and taking account of Brother Lewis Berry's own views, it has been agreed that Brother Lewis' ongoing formation will best be met in an Oratorian Community that will afford him greater opportunities for a varied programme of pastoral work, as the Church requires of a deacon.
The 17th-century historical-critical dissection of Scripture by the Oratorian Richard Simon, for example, intended to show Calvinists that an authoritative Catholic Church was needed to guide scriptural interpretation, alarmed Catholics also.
Only the Jesuit and Oratorian colleges instilled an antidote to the corporate mentality.
Her argument is no more decisive than that made by other commentators for the Oratorian Baronio (author of the pioneering Annales ecclesiastici and a future cardinal).