The democracy of ancient Athens was the birthplace of equal and uninhibited speech. Or Isegoria and parrhesia to the Athenians. In this episode of Clear and Present Danger: A History of Free Speech, we guide you through how oratory was central to the idea and practice of Athenian democracy.
What did Athenian-style free speech entail for ordinary citizens, comedians, philosophers, and orators? How did oligarchic coup d’etats twice drown out Athenian free speech in blood and repression? What were the extreme methods used by Demosthenes to become the greatest orator of antiquity? And, of course, the trial of Socrates: Was he a martyr for free speech or an impious and seditious enemy of democracy?
In this episode, we bring to life a pivotal but often forgotten period of history. Join us as we embark on the first stop of what I hope will be a long journey together through the history of free speech.
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