previous next
[26] Democracies, however, possess many other just and noble features, to which right-minded men should hold fast, and in particular it is impossible to deter freedom of speech, which depends upon speaking the truth, from exposing the truth. For neither is it possible for those who commit a shameful act to appease all the citizens,1 so that even the lone individual, uttering the deserved reproach, makes the guilty wince: for even those who would never speak an accusing word themselves are pleased at hearing the same, provided another utters it. Through fear of such condemnation, all these men, as was to be expected, for shame at the thought of subsequent reproaches,2 manfully faced the threat arising from our foes and chose a noble death in preference to life and disgrace.

1 Under an oligarchy, the speaker means, it is possible for the wrongdoer to seal the mouths of the small ruling clique by means of bribes, but under a democracy it is impossible to buy the silence of thousands of citizens. The reference is to oligarchic governments set up by the Spartans in subject states. Pericles praised the Athenian form of government as against the Spartan, Thuc. 2.37-39.

2 The fear of exposure as a factor in democratic government is mentioned by Pericles, Thuc. 2.37.3, and by Hyp. 25. Blass compares Dem. 22.31.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1931)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (6 total)
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (4):
    • Demosthenes, Against Androtion, 31
    • Hyperides, Funeral Oration, 25
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.37
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.37.3
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (2):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: