Professor Radcliffe G. Edmonds III

Office: Thomas 245

Office Phone: 526-5046


Thomas 111

MW 1:00-2:30

Office Hours: MWF 10-11

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 a closed-book take-home exam, to be completed after the Midterm review on Wednesday of the ninth week and before the Monday of the tenth week.  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.


Students who think they may need accommodations in this course due to the impact of a learning, physical, or psychological disability are encouraged to meet with me privately early in the semester to discuss their concerns.  Students should also contact Stephanie Bell, Coordinator of Access Services (610-526-7351 or, as soon as possible, to verify their eligibility for reasonable academic accommodations.  Early contact will help to avoid unnecessary inconvenience and delays.



Grade Distribution:

Class Participation                              20%

Written Assignments                       40%

Midterm Examination                     15%

Final Examination                             25%



Week I: September 3 - Introduction


Why Study Ancient Greece?

The Greek World

History and Historiography



Buckley, Ch. 1

Herodotus I.1-5

Thucydides  I.1-22

Plutarch -Theseus



Week II: September 8 & 11 - Rise of the Polis


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



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

Hesiod, Works & Days, Theogony

Fornara # 7 (Lelantine War)



Week III: September 15 & 17 - Colonization and the Expanding Greek World


Colony Foundations

Reasons for Colonization

Polis Formation in the Colonies

Lyric Poetry and Pre-Socratic Philosophy



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

Some More Documents for Colonization

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

Pindar Pythian IV, V, and IX


colonization assignment due Monday, September 22


Week IV:  September 22 & 23 - Rise of Tyranny


Causes of Tyranny: Military, Economic, Ethnic

Tales of Tyrants



Buckley ch. 3

Herodotus Book I, III (30-90), V.67-68, 92-96, VI.121-140

Fornara # 8 (the word tyrant), 4 (Pheidon), 10 (Orthagoras), 16 (1st Sacred War)

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



Week V: September 29 & October 1 - The Spartan Alternative


The Great Rhetra and the Shape of the Spartan State

The Spartan Legend

Spartan Women

The Expansion of Spartan Power



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: October 6 & 8 - The Athenian Revolutions


The Cylonian Conspiracy and the Curse of the Alcmaeonids

The Reforms of Solon and Athenian Government

The Tyrannies of the Pisistratids



Buckley ch. 5 & 6

Aristotle, The Constitution of Athens 1-19

Plutarch – Solon

Herodotus I.126-7, VI.123-132, 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 Monday, October 20



Week VII: FALL BREAK October 13-17



Week VIII: October 20 & 22 - Cleisthenes and Democracy


Cleisthenes' reforms of Athenian democracy

Sparta and Athenian politics


Buckley ch. 7 & 8, 14

Aristotle, The Constitution of Athens

[Xenophon], The Athenian Constitution

Herodotus V.30-38 (Athens & Ionia), VI.54-84 (Spartan Kings)



Week IX: October 27 & 29 The Persian Wars


Herodotus and history

Prelude in Ionia

Darius' Invasion - Marathon and the Athenian Moment

Xerxes' Invasion – Thermopylae, Salamis, Plataea

Midterm Review



Buckley ch. 9

Herodotus Books VI-IX

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

Plutarch – Themistocles and Aristides



Midterm - take-home, closed book, one and a half hours



Week X: November 3 & 5 - The Delian League and the Rise of the Athenian Empire


Thucydides and History

Delian league and Athenian imperialism

Ephialtes' reforms

tragedy:  Aeschylus and Sophocles

sophistic revolution



Buckley ch. 10 – 15

Thucydides Book I

Sophocles Antigone

Plutarch – Cimon

Fornara # 95 (Peace of Kallias)



Week XI: November 10 & 12 - Periclean Athens and the Beginnings of the Peloponnesian War


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



Buckley ch 16 – 19

Thucydides Books II-V

Euripides Trojan Women

Aristophanes Clouds 886-1104

Gorgias – Defense of Helen; Critias

Plutarch – Pericles

Fornara # 98, 136  (tribute)



Week XII: November 17 & 19 The Peloponnesian War


The Sicilian Expedition

The Scandals of Alcibiades



Buckley ch. 20 – 21

Thucydides Books VI and VII

Plutarch – Nicias and Alcibiades


assembly assignment due Friday, November 21






Week XIII: November 24 & 26 - The End of the Peloponnesian War


Oligarchic Revolutions in Athens

Spartan Victory and Athenian Defeat

The Thirty Tyrants in Athens

Spartan Hegemony in Greece

Theban Hegemony in Greece



Buckley ch. 22 – 24

Thucydides Book VIII

Xenophon, Selections on the Battle of Leuctra

Plutarch – Lysander

The Boeotian Constitution


Week XIV: December 1 & 3 - Plato and the Dreams of Philosophy


Political History in the Aftermath of the War

The Dream of the Philosopher King

The Second Sicilian Disaster



Plato VIIth Letter

Plato, Republic (Book VIII, selections)

Isocrates To Philip


philosophic history assignment due Friday, December 5


Week XV: December 8 & 10 The Coming of Alexander - Conclusions


The Rise of Macedon

Phillip and Alexander

Review of Greek History




Buckley ch. 25 - 26

Demosthenes, Philippic II, III



Final Exam - Self-Scheduled