GOV 382M • Thucydides Political Realism
6:30 PM-9:30 PM
This course will examine the basis and character of classical political realism through an intensive study of Thucydides. We will focus on the central themes of Thucydides' work, such as the relationship between justice and necessity, the origins of imperialism, the strengths and weaknesses of democracy in its classical form, and the problems posed for political leadership by the intensity of human passions, especially in a time of war. Although he wrote in a political context very different from our own, Thucydides will be approached as a political realist from whom we can still draw valuable lessons about the enduring nature of political life. Some reading knowledge of Greek is recommended but not required.
Seminar Paper (10 - 15 pages): 60% Five two-page papers: 30% Class Participation: 10%
Robert B. Strassler, ed., The Landmark Thucydides (Simon & Schuster) Henry Stuart Jones, ed., Thucydidis Historiae, vol. 1 and 2 (Oxford University Press) Clifford Orwin, The Humanity of Thucydides (Princeton University Press)