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date: 08 December 2023



  • Simon Hornblower


Propaganda is not easy to define. It means active manipulation of opinion and some distortion of the truth; it also perhaps aims at exclusive indoctrination of one set of opinions, contrast ideology (a value-system which may admit the possibility of other value-systems) or mentality (values unconsciously subscribed to rather than actively promoted). Propaganda has been divided (Ellul) into agitation propaganda and integration propaganda; the first seeks to change attitudes, the second to reinforce them. This division is helpful (see below) for the understanding of the ancient world.Lacking modern techniques for the dissemination of information, the ancient world was spared some modern manifestations of propaganda; nor were conditions suitable for the emergence of professional governmental ‘propaganda machines’ of a modern sort (*decision-making was amateur and theoretically in the hands of the citizens). There were however ways of making general proclamations. Thus Rome exploited *Delphi to make pronouncements adverse to *Perseus (2) of Macedon, see Syll.


  • Greek Law
  • Greek Literature

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