Deception and Democracy in Classical Athens

Deception and Democracy in Classical Athens

Deception and Democracy in Classical Athens

Deception and Democracy in Classical Athens


This book is a study of the ways in which classical Athenian texts represent and evaluate the morality of deception. It is particularly concerned with the way in which the telling of lies was a problem for the world's first democracy and compares this problem with the modern Western situation. There are major sections on Greek tragedy, comedy, oratory, historiography and philosophy.


This book is substantially revised and expanded from its original incarnation as my Cambridge Ph. D. thesis begun in 1991 and there are many debts of gratitude to record for help and support with the project since then. But there are people who deserve thanks for inspiration and teaching long before I started the thesis, particularly Andrew Wilson (formerly of Bedford Modern School) and Ewen Bowie (in Oxford).

The thesis was supervised by Simon Goldhill: my warmest thanks to him for intellectual stimulation, patience, humour, good advice and for not putting up with any rubbish. Several scholars read and usefully criticised drafts of chapters which are still in this book, providing encouragement along the way: thanks to Richard Hunter, John Henderson, Malcolm Schofield, Helen Morales and Paul Cartledge. My Ph. D. examiners were Richard Buxton and Paul Millett: their comments, criticisms and advice were most helpful and much-appreciated.

More recently, I have received friendly advice from Stephen Halliwell: thanks to him for reading the first three chapters and for boosting my confidence. I must also thank the three anonymous readers appointed by Cambridge University Press for swift and extremely good advice on structure, tone and content. Audiences in Oxford, Exeter, London, Bristol, Washington, Glasgow and St Andrews have heard and given useful responses to seminar papers containing material which ended up in this book. The participants in the Classics Faculty literary seminars in Cambridge between 1991 and 1998 were particularly stimulating and I gained enhanced perspectives from presenting material to a distinguished international audience at a colloquium on 'Performance Culture and Athenian Democracy' held at King's College, Cambridge in July 1996.

Much of the research conducted for this book was made possible by a British Academy state studentship. When that money ran out, I received financial assistance from King's College's Supplementary Exhibition Fund, the Cambridge Faculty of Classics, the Cambridge University Jebb Fund and my grandmother Evelyn Hesk. I should . . .

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