Classics (Classical Civilisation) MA/MA(SocSci)

Athenian Democracy: Model or Mob-rule? (Greek) GREEK4026

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course offers the opportunity to study, through a variety of primary sources, the earliest form of democracy in the Western world as well as ancient and modern attitudes to it. A selection of the set texts will be read in the original Greek, giving the students familiarity with the style and idiom of Classical Athenian Greek.


20 * 1 hour seminars as scheduled in MyCampus. This is one of the honours options in Greek and may not run every year. The options that are running this year are available on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses





Essay (3000 words) -40%

Exam (2-hour duration) - 60%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Study in the original some of the most important literary and epigraphic sources relating to Athenian democracy

■ Enhance knowledge of Greek language, vocabulary, and prose style

■ Explore in detail the history of the earliest form of democracy in the Western World as well as ancient and modern attitudes to it

■ Become familiar with important secondary literature on the subject

■ Discuss ancient and modern theories and opinions about democracy

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ translate fluently and accurately from the prescribed texts into clear, appropriate English and comment intelligently on notable matters of form, style, and content;

■ Describe the historical context of the Classical Athenian democracy and its functioning;

■ Analyse and evaluate a range of ancient texts as historical sources for Athenian democracy and ancient attitudes to it;

■ Summarize and evaluate modern theories about the Athenian democracy;

■ Formulate your own interpretations of the sources with due regard for recent scholarship.

■ Formulate lucid arguments which demonstrate engagement with primary sources and secondary literature

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.