I've been trying to find some information on oratory practices in ancient times. Strangely, I am not finding much. What technique(s) were used?

It's hard to imagine the Buddha raising his voice to address large crowds, but maybe I'm just projecting. Maybe he could really holler. Did they rely on echo, repeating at intervals, hand gestures, a loud person, etc.?

At one time the Blessed One was living near the city of Gayā, on Gayāsīse, together with a thousand monks. There the Blessed One asked the monks:

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Translated suttas talk of a "roar" in an assembly -- maybe that's metaphorical but maybe not entirely.

I think of a crowd of 500 as being large. Maybe with that many you choose a suitable venue (unlike other suttas which are dialogs with a just a few people). The acoustics of the place could be important. The Ancient Greek Theatre of Epidaurus has famously good acoustics and seats 14,000 -- so 500 is plausible.

500 seated one per square metre is a semi-circle with a radius of 20 metres. I think that being heard at that distance is just raising your voice, talking loudly, not even shouting.

This paper claims that the number of people who could hear speeches at the forum at Rome would be between 400 and 1400 -- standing -- depending on how noisy the crowd was:

I think that (the Roman forum) is bad acoustics, with stone walls echoing. So an open-air speech might be easier than that.

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