Skip to main content

Greek and Roman Political Thought in Context


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor: Ben Gray
  • Assessment: Two 2,000 word assessments (50%), one 48-hour take-home exam (50%)

Module description

This module will give you the chance to engage with the most important themes and debates of Greek and Roman political thought, including citizenship, rule, justice, virtue, slavery, gender and cosmopolitanism. In order to give the course focus, it will concentrate on the period from Plato’s Republic to Cicero’s Republic. You will learn to read and interpret those two works in detail, but a special aim of the course will be to place them in a much broader context of Greek and Roman political debate and argument, which extended well beyond formal philosophy. You will be encouraged to study speeches, historical works, drama, epigraphy and material remains, in order to understand better the wider debates to which Plato and Cicero were contributing. As well as concentrating on fourth-century BC Athens and first-century BC Rome as centres of political debate, the course will also include some bridging weeks on Hellenistic political thought, to encourage you to think about the long and complex historical processes linking the two Republics.