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  Report: Disinformation and Democracy

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  The ancient Greek

Disinformation was seen as an appropriate tool of politics and rhetoric in ancient Greece. Most of all persuasion was used, which then was considered a type of art.
Religion was (and in many ways still is) the best disinformer or manipulator; prophecies were constructed to manipulate the population. The important thing was to use emotions and more than anything else fear as a tool for manipulation. If the oracle of Delphi said a war was to fight and would be won, then the Greek population - because of religious motives - was prepared to fight that war.
Propaganda was not only used in wars but also in daily life to bring people together and create a nation.
But poets, playwrights and other artists were manipulating as well. Their pieces of literature and plays were full of political messages with different ideologies behind. In the way how theatre at that time was part of life, it can be understood easily that those messages had not only entertainment's character but also a lot of political and social influence.
A different and very famous part of disinformation in ancient Greek history was the story of Themistocles, who won the battle of Salamis against the Persians.

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Disinformation and Democracy
-3   A non-history of disinformation
-2   Propaganda
-1   The history of propaganda
0   The ancient Greek
+1   The Egyptians ...
+2   The Romans
+3   The Catholic Church
Themistocles, a Greek politician and general, conquered the Persians in the battle of Salamis, in 480 BC. The Persians, under their King Xerxes, who were on the edge of winning the battle, got defeated by a propaganda campaign that Themistocles launched, telling the Persians that he was on their side and willing to let them win the battle; his argument was that the Greek were so busy with their quarrels that they were not prepared to fight an aggressive battle and a lot of them would change sides if the power of the Persians was shown in a short and cruel fight. In the end Xerxes got the message that parts of the Greek army were fleeing the battlefield. This disinformation lead to a wrong assessment of Xerxes, which made it easy for the Greek to win the war.

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