Professor Radcliffe G. Edmonds III

Office: Thomas 245

Office Phone: 526-5046

Goodhart Hall, Classroom B

MW 1:00-2:30

Office Hours: MWF 2:30-3:30

or by appointment


Required Texts:

  • Buckley, Terry, Aspects of Greek History 750-323 BC

    Herodotus, History, trans. Grene

    The Landmark Thucydides, ed. Strassler

    Greek Lyrics, trans. Lattimore

    Plutarch, The Rise and Fall of Athens: Nine Greek Lives, trans. Scott-Kilvert

    (optional) Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Greece

  • Course Description:

  • This course traces the rise of the city-state (polis) in the Greek-speaking world beginning in the seventh-century BC down to its full blossoming in classical Athens and Sparta. We will discuss the formation and development of Greek identity, from the Panhellenic trends in archaic epic and religion through its crystallization during the heroic defense against two Persian invasions and its subsequent disintegration during the Peloponnesian war. The class will also explore the ways in which the evolution of political, philosophical, religious, and artistic institutions reflect the changing socio-political circumstances of Greece. The latter part of the course will focus on Athens in particular: its rise to imperial power under Pericles, its tragic decline from the Peloponnesian War and its important role as a center for the teaching of rhetoric and philosophy.

    Since the study of history involves the analysis, evaluation, and synthesis of the sources available for the culture studied, this course will concentrate upon the primary sources available for Greek history, exploring the strengths and weakness of these sources and the ways in which their evidence can be used to create an understanding of ancient Greece.

    In addition to the texts required for the course, readings will be available through the electronic reserves on the Blackboard site. The handouts for each week can also be reached on the blackboard site or from the on-line version of the syllabus at:

  • Course Requirements:

  • Class participation:

    Participation, of course, includes attendance, since you cannot participate if you are not in class. If, for some reason, you cannot attend class, please inform me in advance. Each student should be prepared to discuss and answer questions on the material covered in the lesson for the week. Coming prepared with questions on the material is even better than coming with answers to the basics. If, for some reason, you cannot prepare for class, please attend anyway - you will be better prepared for the next class. A number of unannounced map quizzes will be included in the participation grade.

    Written Assignments:

    There will be four short written assignments designed for the students to demonstrate their understanding of specific materials covered in class. These projects may require some out of class research in addition to the readings assigned for the class. These assignments are due by the beginning of class on the designated day, and any late assignments will be penalized by one grade for each 24 hour period they are late (including weekends). Extensions are negotiable only if the student discusses the situation with me no less than 24 hours in advance.


    There will be a Midterm and a Final Examination for this class on all the materials covered to that date in class. The Midterm will be on the Monday of the tenth week, March 22. The Final Exam will be self-scheduled during Exam Week. Both exams will consist of identification questions and short essays in which the students will be asked to analyze and synthesize material from the primary and secondary sources covered in class.

  • Grade Distribution:

  • Class Participation 20%

    Written Assignments 40%

    Midterm Examination 15%

    Final Examination 25%

  • Week I: January 19, 21 - Introduction

  • Topics:
  • Why Study Ancient Greece?

    The Greek World

    History and Historiography

  • Readings:

  • Buckley, Ch. 1

    Herodotus I.1-5

    Thucydides I.1-22

    Plutarch -Theseus


    Week II: January 26, 28 - Rise of the Polis

  • Topics:
  • From Mycenaean Palaces through the Dark Ages

    Homer and the Epic Tradition

    Formation of the Polis: Shifting Social and Political Structures

    Defining Greekness: Panhellenism and Local Identity

  • Readings:

  • Homer, Odyssey I-II, XIV-XV; Iliad (selections)

    Hesiod, Works & Days, Theogony

    Fornara # 7 (Lelantine War)


    Week III: February 2, 4 - Colonization and the Expanding Greek World

  • Topics:
  • Colony Foundations

    Reasons for Colonization

    Polis Formation in the Colonies

    Lyric Poetry and Pre-Socratic Philosophy

  • Readings:

  • Buckley ch. 2

    Herodotus IV, esp. 144-159

    Thucydides VI 1-8

    Fornara # 5 (Naxos & Megara), 6 (Croton), 9 (Tarentum), 33 (Locrian laws)

  • Founding of Cyrene Documents

    Greek Lyrics: Archilochus (pp. 1-6) Alcman, Stesichorus, Ibycus, Sappho (pp. 33-42)

    Pindar Pythian IV, V, and IX

  • colonization assignment due Wednesday, February 11


    Week IV: February 9, 11 - Rise of Tyranny

  • Topics:
  • Causes of Tyranny: Military, Economic, Ethnic

    Tales of Tyrants

  • Readings:

  • Buckley ch. 3

    Herodotus Book I, III, V.67-68, 92-96, VI.121-140

  • Fornara # 8 (the word tyrant), 4 (Pheidon), 10 (Orthagoras), 16 (1st Sacred War), 28 (Kroisos), 32 (Polykrates)

    Greek Lyrics: Tyrtaeus and Theognis (pp. 13-16, 26-31); Bacchylides #4 (pp. 75-78)


    Week V: February 16, 18 - The Spartan Alternative

  • Topics:
  • The Great Rhetra and the Shape of the Spartan State

    The Spartan Legend

    Spartan Women

    The Expansion of Spartan Power

  • Readings:

  • Buckley ch. 4

    Fornara # 12 (Tyrtaeus), 13 (Helots), 27 (Tegea)

    Herodotus VI.50-84

    Xenophon, the Politeia of the Spartans

    Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus

  • Week VI: February 23, 25 - The Athenian Revolutions

  • Topics:
  • The Cylonian Conspiracy and the Curse of the Alcmaeonids

    The Reforms of Solon and Athenian Government

    The Tyrannies of the Pisistratids

  • Readings:

  • Buckley ch. 5 & 6

    Aristotle, The Constitution of Athens 1-19

    Plutarch – Solon

    Herodotus I.126-7, V

    Fornara # 15 (Drakon), 26 (Panathenaia), 30, 31 (Pisistratids)

    Greek Lyrics: Solon (pp. 18-23)

    Thucydides on Athens (II.15) and Pisistratids (VI.54-59)

  • assembly assignment due Wednesday, March 3

  • Week VII: March 1, 3 - Cleisthenes and Democracy

  • Topics:
  • Cleisthenes’ reforms of Athenian democracy

    Sparta and Athenian politics

  • Readings:

  • Buckley ch. 7 & 8, 14

    Aristotle, The Constitution of Athens

    [Xenophon], The Athenian Constitution


    Week VIII: SPRING BREAK March 6-14



    Week IX: March 15, 17 The Persian Wars

  • Topics:
  • Herodotus and history

    Prelude in Ionia

    Darius’ Invasion - Marathon and the Athenian Moment

    Xerxes’ Invasion – Thermopylae, Salamis, Plataea

    Midterm Review

  • Readings:

  • Buckley ch. 9

    Herodotus Books VI-IX

    Fornara # 34, 35 (Darius), 55 (Themistokles)

    Plutarch – Themistocles and Aristides

  • Week X: March 22, 24 - The Delian League and the Rise of the Athenian Empire- Midterm

  • Topics:
  • Thucydides and History

    Delian league and Athenian imperialism

    Ephialtes’ reforms

    tragedy: Aeschylus and Sophocles

    sophistic revolution

  • Readings:

  • Buckley ch. 10 – 15

    Thucydides Book I

    Sophocles Antigone

    Plutarch – Cimon

    Fornara # 95 (Peace of Kallias)


    Week XI: March 29, 31 - Periclean Athens and the Beginnings of the Peloponnesian War

  • Topics:
  • The Causes of the Peloponnesian War

    Pericles’ Funeral Oration and the Ideal of Athens

    The Great Plague

    Mytilenean Debate and Democracy at War

    Melian Dialogue and Empire

  • Readings:

  • Buckley ch 16 – 19

    Thucydides Books II-V

    Euripides Trojan Women

    Aristophanes Clouds 886-1104

    Gorgias – Defense of Helen; Critias

    Plutarch – Pericles

    Fornara # 98, 154, 155 (tribute)

  • assembly assignment due Wednesday, April 7


    Week XII: April 5, 7 The Peloponnesian War

  • Topics:
  • The Sicilian Expedition

    The Scandals of Alcibiades

  • Readings:

  • Buckley ch. 20 – 21

    Thucydides Books VI and VII

    Plutarch – Nicias and Alcibiades


    Week XIII: April 12, 14 - The End of the Peloponnesian War

  • Topics:
  • Oligarchic Revolutions in Athens

    Spartan Victory and Athenian Defeat

    The Thirty Tyrants in Athens

    Spartan Hegemony in Greece

    Theban Hegemony in Greece

  • Readings:

  • Buckley ch. 22 – 24

    Thucydides Book VIII

    Xenophon, Selections

    Plutarch – Lysander

    The Boeotian Constitution


    Week XIV: April 19, 21 - Plato and the Dreams of Philosophy

  • Topics:
  • Political History in the Aftermath of the War

    The Dream of the Philosopher King

    The Second Sicilian Disaster

  • Readings:

  • Plato VIIth Letter

    Plato, Republic (Book VIII, selections)

    Isocrates To Philip

  • philosophic history assignment due Wednesday, April 28


    Week XV: April 26, 28 The Coming of Alexander - Conclusions

  • Topics:
  • The Rise of Macedon

    Phillip and Alexander

    Review of Greek History


  • Readings:

  • Buckley ch. 25 - 26

    Demosthenes, Philippic II, III

  • Final Exam - Self-Scheduled