Fake news is not new

‘Aeneas and Dido Fleeing the Storm’ — Jean-Bernard Restout (France, 1732–1797), LACMA Collections

Only the tools for spreading it:

Rumour raced at once through Libya’s great cities,
 Rumour, compared with whom no other is as swift.
 She flourishes by speed, and gains strength as she goes:
 first limited by fear, she soon reaches into the sky,
 walks on the ground, and hides her head in the clouds.
 Earth, incited to anger against the gods, so they say,
 bore her last, a monster, vast and terrible, fleet-winged
 and swift-footed, sister to Coeus and Enceladus,
 who for every feather on her body has as many
 watchful eyes below (marvellous to tell), as many
tongues speaking, as many listening ears.
 She flies, screeching, by night through the shadows
 between earth and sky, never closing her eyelids
 in sweet sleep: by day she sits on guard on tall roof-tops
 or high towers, and scares great cities, as tenacious
 of lies and evil, as she is messenger of truth.
 Now in delight she filled the ears of the nations
 with endless gossip, singing fact and fiction alike:
 Aeneas has come, born of Trojan blood, a man whom
 lovely Dido deigns to unite with: now they’re spending
 the whole winter together in indulgence, forgetting
 their royalty, trapped by shameless passion.
 The vile goddess spread this here and there on men’s lips.
 Immediately she slanted her course towards King Iarbas
 and inflamed his mind with words and fuelled his anger.

Virgil, Aeneid (Translated by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2002 All Rights Reserved. This work may be freely reproduced, stored, and transmitted, electronically or otherwise, for any non-commercial purpose.)