Pre-History of Public Relations

The history of the PR practice goes far beyond the history of the PR concept. In ancient Greece, the sophists literarily fulfilled the function of PR consultants. They advised the Athenian citizens how to manage their public affairs, taught rhetoric, the art of persuasion, and wrote speeches for their clients. Also similar to contemporary PR advisors, Protagoras or Gorgias charged huge amounts of money for their teaching and advise.

Cicero became a master of public relations during the last years of the Roman Republic. Above all his personal correspondence helps us realize how the influential senator was aware of the necessity of tailoring the messages to the characteristics of his different audiences.

In the Renaissance, Niccholo Machiavelli or Erasmus of Rotterdam wrote whole treatises on the nature of political power. Both thinkers came to the conclusion that there is no power without public support. Consequently, they systematically advised the prince, the monarchical ruler, how to deal with his public.