The large corpus of extant speeches from the Athenian law-courts of the 4th century BC provide us with our best set of evidence for the social, economic and even political life of ancient Greece. Students will read speeches by orators such as Lysias, Isokrates, Isaios, Demosthenes and Aischines, and explore in detail what we can learn from the individual cases being argued about Athenian society at large. Reading from the law-court speeches themselves will be supplemented with other relevant written and archaeological evidence. Cases to be studied will include disputes over inheritance, marital and sexual relationships, business partnerships, and political disputes. Students will also learn about the economic structure of agriculture, mining and trade in Athens; family structure and relationships; slavery; effects of war; and other aspects of Athenian life.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Demonstrate familiarity with an important body of written and material evidence for the history of classical Greece.
- Understand the interaction between formal law, perceived social norms, social mores, and actual social behaviour in a society remote from our own.
- Handle difficult, tendentious, and fragmentary evidence, and develop skills in close reading and analysis.
- Work in groups and present material, ideas and arguments orally.
- Write analytically, argumentatively and descriptively.
Indicative AssessmentTutorial participation (10%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4]
In-class exercises (10%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4]
20-minute Group presentation and written notes (1000 words) (10%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4]
Essay (2,000 words) (30%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 5]
One three-hour exam in the examination period (40%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 5]
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact: 12 hours of lectures and 24 hours of tutorials.
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed TextsChristopher Carey, Trials from classical Athens (2nd ed.: London/New York, Routledge, 2012)
JACT, The world of Athens: an introduction to classical Athenian culture (2nd. ed., revised by R. Osborne: Cambridge, CUP, 2008) [recommended book]
Recommended preliminary reading: S.B. Pomeroy, S.M. Burstein, W. Donlan and J.T. Roberts, Ancient Greece: a political, social, and cultural history (3rd ed.: New York, Oxford University Press, 2011)
M. Gagarin, D. Cohen (eds.), The Cambridge companion to ancient Greek law (Cambridge, CUP, 2005)
A. Lanni, Law and justice in the courts of classical Athens (Cambridge, CUP, 2006)
M.R. Christ, The bad citizen in classical Athens (Cambridge, CUP, 2006)
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