Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 20 March 2023

intolerance, intellectual and religiouslocked

intolerance, intellectual and religiouslocked

  • Simon Hornblower


For most Greek states our evidence is too poor and patchy for us to be able to say much. We know a little about 5th-cent. bce Athens. Sir K. Popper famously praised it as an ‘open society’ but the tolerance of that society had limits. There is some evidence for literary censorship, though of a haphazard and perhaps ineffective sort. *Phrynichus(1) got into trouble near the beginning of the century for putting on a *tragedy dealing with a sensitive political topic (Hdt. 6.21). Between 440 and 437 bce there were formal restrictions on ridicule in theatrical comedy (Fornara no. 111 with the important discussion of ‘political censorship’ at DFA3 364; cf. comedy (greek), old, § 4). On the other hand there were (Dover and Stone) no ‘witch-hunts’ against intellectuals, though *Anaxagoras and other associates of *Pericles(1) were prosecuted in the courts. Anaxagoras' ostensible offence was impiety, and the decree of *Diopeithes, if historical, would provide hard evidence for public control of religious teaching.


  • Greek Myth and Religion
  • Philosophy

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription