Defamation and the principles underlying its legal and political evolution represent the volatile combination-the explosive alchemy-between the twin discourses of power and truth, demarcating within the criminal continuum what can and what cannot be expressed in a given society. In this and Chapter 3, a number of conceptual foundations are laid. First, the journey toward the West’s present understanding of its truths is described as quite gradual. The present-day features common to the juridical pursuit of truth-defense attorneys, prosecutors, rules of evidence, the credibility of witnesses-were assembled over a number of centuries. From the Church, the state assumed the role of moral guarantor and judge of the soul, while gradually replacing the victim of private wrongs, and developing a set of crimes perceived as against the political order, in which the state was victim, prosecutor, and judge. Second, an examination of the various components and unique characteristics of defamation-based laws and adjudication provides insight into the ways that certain kinds of truths or conceptual configurations emerge as a regime of defamation. Third, defamation laws and their adjudication are related in various ways to “the truth.” Although this discourse is more familiar to media and law experts, the argument made in this book makes discussion of truth, opinion, and characterization unavoidable. We then apply these three inquiries-the historical development of truth-producing forms, particular social and political aspects of defamation, and the question of truth-to nineteenth-century Siam (Chapter 3).