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Full description for Free Speech and Democracy in Ancient Athens

  • Illuminates the distinctive character of our modern understanding of the basis and value of free speech by contrasting it with the very different form of free speech that was practised by the ancient Athenians in their democratic regime. Free speech in the ancient democracy was not a protected right but an expression of the freedom from hierarchy, awe, reverence and shame. It was thus an essential ingredient of the egalitarianism of that regime. That freedom was challenged by the consequences of the rejection of shame (aidos) which had served as a cohesive force within the polity. Through readings of Socrates's trial, Greek tragedy and comedy, Thucydides's History, and Plato's Protagoras this volume explores the paradoxical connections between free speech, democracy, shame, and Socratic philosophy and Thucydidean history as practices of uncovering.