Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Falconry Manuals: Technical Writing with a Classical Rhetorical Influence

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This study traces Renaissance and post-Renaissance technical writers' use of classical rhetoric in English instruction manuals on the sport of falconry. A study of the period's five prominent falconry manuals written by four authors—George Turberville, Simon Latham, Edmund Bert, and Richard Blome—reveals these technical writers' conscious use of classical rhetoric as an important technique to persuade readers to accept these authors' authority and trust the information they were disseminating. These manuals employed several classical rhetorical techniques: invention by using ethos and several classical topics, classical arrangement, the plain style, and adaptation of the orator's duties. The explanation for this classical influence rests in the authors' own knowledge of classical rhetoric derived from sources such as Thomas Wilson, as well as the sources from whom these authors obtained their knowledge of falconry. The article ends by suggesting the origins through which these classical rhetorical techniques influenced the writing of the manuals.