The section that follows is a cursory interrogation of rhetorical theory, in order to provide a context for a discussion of the rhetoric of Ptah-Hotep, which in some ways may not be entirely in line with rhetorical theoretical orthodoxy, with signifi cant exceptions (Ehninger 1972; Oliver 1995). I argue that the centrality of “persuasion” in rhetorical theory, based on a rational (as in emphasis on logos) demonstration of “proofs” and the ultimate role of the audience in the process of arriving at a decision-whether to be persuaded-is not the most appropriate approach towards an understanding of Ptah-Hotep’s rhetoric. In fact, the above contention is what makes the “comparative” aspect of this work a critical dimension. When one takes a closer look at pre-Greco-Roman rhetorical theory, notably the African origins of the subject, core African ethical values are centered in Maatian principles. Central to the manifestation and practice of Maatian principles is the importance of maintaining balance and harmony. Obedience as a value, for instance, is considered essential within the context of Maatian principles for the maintenance of harmony and balance.