Rhetoric and Centers of Power in the Greco-Roman World: From Homer to the Fall of Rome traces Greco-Roman rhetoric as it evolved into a system that dramatically influences the development of Western culture. Christian and later European educational and philosophical writers drew from principles which were largely Greek in origin, although the Church encompassed many rituals that originated from early Roman pagan religions. The Greeks fashioned a theory of public expression out of the oral recitations of Homer's Iliad and the Odyssey that Romans later refined into a technical process with managerial implications. The rhetorical and historical scope of this work is roughly defined by the transformation of western rhetoric from its Homeric Greek origins to that point where the Emperor Theodosius, in A.D. 395, divided the Roman Empire between his two sons, with the official fall of the Roman Empire occurring in A.D. 476.
John E. Tapia, Ph.D., teaches in the area of speech communication at Missouri Western State University. Tapia has published five books, largely in the areas of rhetoric and cultural studies. His book Circuit Chautauqua, pertaining to the Chautauqua movement, received the Missouri Governor's Humanities Award in 2001 and later became the basis of a television documentary.