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Socrates: An Example Of Censorship In Ancient Roman Society

Decent Essays
Censorship
Censorship has existed for as long as free thought has. The earliest instance of censorship recorded in history is marked by the death of the earliest and most famous philosopher, Socrates. As Geoff Kemp recounts in his book, Censorship Moments: readings Texts in the History of Censorship and Freedom, Socrates in the ancient Roman society was viewed as “a threat to the city and its young.” Cato, a politician and statesman in ancient Greece who led the charge against Socrates “sensed in Socratic philosophy, a threat to the traditional values of the city – one based on Socrates’ claim that wisdom lay in knowing that he did not know.” (Kemp) While Socrates encouraged his followers to question the laws and customs that they took for
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As Christian orthodoxy was established over Europe, the printing press aided the Catholic church in its mission to disseminate the Bible more freely in the 15th century. However, this also created the space and resources for heretics and people who believed in Protestant Reformation, such as Martin Luther, to publish and write what they believed. This was instantly curbed by the Church through the first issue of the Index Liborium Prohibitorium in 1559. This index contained a list of banned books; these were books that the Church thought were dangerous and they prohibited people to read these books. Thousands of books were burned during this time, and many people were tried and killed for heresy in the 16th century. The Index Liborium Prohibitium was issued twenty different times, right up until as recently as 1966. There were many other such censorship laws in The Catholic Church; the most far reaching one decreed in 1542 that no book could be published without the permission of the Church. Therefore, everything was censored and under the control of the Church. The postal service came under the attack of censorship too, especially during times of war. The British empire censored mail as late as during the first half of the 20th
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