The classical period of rhetoric began around 500 BCE with the rise of democratic consciousness in the Mediterranean city states of Greece. James Murphy is able to make such a claim because he takes the existence of rhetoric literally. Some scholars in the past have tried to universalize rhetoric by defining an Eastern rhetorical tradition in light of their Western assumptions. The practice of rhetoric as a self-conscious activity began during the so-called “Greek Enlightenment.” As a form of knowledge, rhetoric is a way of emphasizing one set of relationships at the expense of others. It is useful then to use rhetoric itself to talk about rhetoric. Any contemporary definition of rhetoric must take into consideration the epistemic characteristics of language. Thus, a very simplistic, but useful contemporary definition of rhetoric is that it is the strategic use of language. By strategically structuring a speaker’s thoughts, rhetoric aids the orator in becoming a more effective communicator.