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Areopagitica is a publishing history work by John Milton published as an appeal to the English Parliament to rescind their Licensing Order of 1643, which was designed to bring publishing under government control by creating a number of official censors to whom authors would submit their work for approval prior to publication.Areopagitica was published 23 November 1644 at the height of the English Civil War. It takes its title in part from Areopagitikos, a speech written by Athenian orator Isocrates in the 5th century BC. (The Areopagus is a hill in Athens, the site of real and legendary tribunals, and was the name of a council whose power Isocrates hoped to restore.) Some argue that it is more importantly also a reference to the sermon which St Paul preached against ignorance and idolatry in Athens, recorded in Acts 17:18-34. 2]Like Isocrates, Milton had no intention of delivering his speech orally. Instead, it was distributed via pamphlet, defying the same publication censorship which he argued against. As a Protestant, Milton had supported the Presbyterians in Parliament, but in this work he argued forcefully against Parliament's 1643 Ordinance for the Regulating of Printing, also known as the Licensing Order of 1643, in which Parliament required authors to have a license approved by the government before their work could be published.This issue was personal for Milton, as he had suffered censorship himself in his efforts to publish several tracts defending divorce (a radical stance which met with no favour from the censors). Areopagitica is full of biblical and classical references which Milton uses to strengthen his argument. This is particularly fitting because it was being addressed to the Calvinist Presbyterians who comprised Parliament at that time.According to George H. Sabine, the Areopagitica was based on an engaged public: Its basic principle was the right and also the duty of every intelligent man as a rational being, to know the grounds and take responsibility for his beliefs and actions. Its corollary was a society and a state in which decisions are reached by open discussion, in which the sources of information are not contaminated by authority in the interest of party, and in which political unity is secured not by force but by a consensus that respects variety of opinion.