Political Science | Classical Political Philosophy
Y381 | 12602 | Fumurescu


Class carries Culture Studies Credit

The course offers a close examination of some of the most important
works and themes in classical political thought. It includes
representative selections from Thucydides’ History of the
Peloponesian War, Plutarch’s Lives, Sophocles’s Antigone, Plato’s
Apology, Republic, and Seventh Letter Aristotle’s Politics, Cicero’s
On Duties, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, and St. Augustine’s City of
God. We shall end by examining a book that arguably marked a radical
departure from the politics of the ancients and the beginning of
modern political thought: Machiavelli’s The Prince.

The course will explore the tensions between morality and power,
between the individual and the state (polis, empire), and between
positive laws and tradition, by focusing on key-terms such as civic
virtue, statesmanship, just war, democracy, justice, freedom, and
the problem of “dirty hands” in politics. Special attention will be
paid to examining the context in which these authors wrote their
works, the main concepts they used, and the implications of their
ideas for our contemporary debates. The class will use a combination
of lecture and discussions. The requirements include in-class exams
(a mid-term and a final), two essay papers, and class discussions on
specific themes announced in the syllabus.