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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2017-18

GOVT 86.04 Power and Statecraft in the Ancient World

Modern political thought is premised on a distinct set of assumptions about human nature, the relationship between politics and morality, and the character of virtue — or so it has been claimed. In this course, students will critically evaluate this argument in light of evidence drawn from Greek and Roman political histories. Working backward from Machiavelli, we will consider a range of classical texts that could be said to offer something like a ‘modern’ understanding of power and statecraft. Readings for this course will include Machiavelli’s Prince, Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus, Livy’s History of Early Rome, Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, Josephus’s Jewish Antiquities, Tacitus’s Annals, and Suetonius’s Lives of the Twelve Caesars.



The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.


Not offered in AY 2017-2018. May be offered in AY 2018-2019.