Free speech is often debated. While most people agree free speech is a right, many disagree on how far that right goes and the ancient Greeks often had the same debate.


  • The ancient Greeks were pioneers of free speech. Their theater, literature, and educational institutions explored the human experience, freedom of expression, and questioning of authority.

    Like contemporary societies, however, ancient Greece did not allow complete freedom of speech. Leaders, philosophers, artists, and everyday citizens wrestled with balancing individual freedom and public order.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    ancient Greece Noun

    loosely united civilization founded on and around the Peloponnese peninsula, lasting from about the 8th century BCE to about 200 BCE.

    democracy Noun

    system of organization or government where the people decide policies or elect representatives to do so.

    First Amendment Noun

    (1791) update to the U.S. Constitution prohibiting government from interfering with freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition the government.

    freedom of speech Noun

    right to express one’s opinions freely, without fear of censorship or social sanction

    inquiry Noun

    series of questions or an investigation into an event.