The Agora in ancient Athens constituted a 30-acre marketplace that sat below the Acropolis. It is still visible today but is now a park with some old stone left behind that may have been from that time period. 2400 years ago, it was the intellectual center of the world, where rhetoric was discussed by great men who debated such ideas as beaut, love and truth.
Socrates had trained here as a stone mason and was not a man who sought fame and recognition. He was seemingly uninterested in politics and rarely spoke at civic occassions initially. Eventually, he found his way to this very public marketplace -- chatting, teaching, and seeking doalogue with the people. Outside the Agora Socrates sought out the ruins of Simon the Cobbler's shop, and it was there he taught his younger pupils, because only adults could enter the Agora.
Socrates was the teacher of Plato, who wrote down many of the things Socrates said, before he was convicted of corrupting the youth of Athens and sentenced to drink hemlock, which ended his life.
Plato became the teacher of Aristotle, and Aristotle taught the young Alexander the Great. The great ideas did not die with Socrates, they germinated and took to seed, continuing to grow to this day. It is here we will hold our own Agora and discuss the thoughts of our course on Rhetoric. This is your invitation to think, to agree and to disagree. Welcome to the Agora.