• Offered by School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Ancient History
  • Areas of interest Classics and Ancient History, History
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course

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.

Learning Outcomes

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:
1. Demonstrate familiarity with an important body of written and material evidence for the history of classical Greece.
2. Understand the interaction between formal law, perceived social norms, social mores, and actual social behaviour in a society remote from our own.
3. Handle difficult, tendentious, and fragmentary evidence, and develop skills in close reading and analysis.
4. Work in groups and present material, ideas and arguments orally.
5 .Write analytically, argumentatively and descriptively.

Indicative Assessment

Tutorial participation (10%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4]
Cultural Response exercise (800-word piece of fiction, a game, an artistic response with 250-word exegesis, or a filmed dramatic presentation; or similar) (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]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 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

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 units of Ancient History (ANCH) or Classics (CLAS) or History (HIST) Courses. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed ANCH6502 or ANCH2016. Alternatively you may gain permission of the Course Convener to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts

Christopher 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]

Preliminary Reading

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)



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $3180
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $4890
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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