History | Greek Democracies: Athens and Beyond
H705 | 15841 | Robinson
A portion of the above class reserved for majors
Above class open to graduates only
Above class meets with HIST-H 605
The organization of this graduate course will combine the approaches
of a History Department “seminar” and “colloquium,” and thus
students will be able to register for it under either rubric.
Students will study the origins and development of Greek democracy,
from the first seeds of egalitarianism in Greece to demokratia’s
full fruition in many city-states during the Archaic and Classical
periods (c. 750 – 323 BC). We will focus not just on Athens —
antiquity’s most famous democracy — but on the democratic
experiences of other Greek city-states as well. Ancient democracy’s
definition, beginnings, expansion, and functioning in different
settings will be explored.
Whether their ultimate interests in this topic lie with the
classical world itself or with comparisons to political regimes of
later eras, students in this course will acquire a useful grounding
in the ancient sources for the history of Greek democracy and in
important scholarly trends in its study.
For most of the semester classes will be run in a discussion-
oriented format with frequent, relatively brief, student reports as
we grapple with sources and topics as listed above and seek a
general understanding of the major issues in ancient Greek
democracy. But this class also requires students to research and
write a substantial paper on a topic of their choosing relating to
this subject. Time in the last third of the course will be given
over to discussion of techniques of ancient historical research,
specific problems students encounter as they conduct their research,
and individual attention to student projects.