10306 The Rise and Fall of Regimes in Classical Greece 1

Credits: 6 advanced credits in Ancient History

Prerequisites: 36 credits, including Classical Greece and an additional intermediate course in History. Students must also fulfill all English requirements and take bibliographic instruction in the Library.

Author: Doron Mendels

Greeks of the classical period believed in the anthropocentric approach according to which the individual is at the center of the universe. They were concerned with the individual as part of the collective: the Polis. Collective life in the Polis, and the problems it created, engendered a discussion on governing a city-state. Since according to the Greeks, governance is not sanctioned by divine law (in contrast to eastern monarchies, for example), regimes may rise and fall within short periods of time. From early times, the Greeks contemplated the issue of changing regimes: metabole politeias. These discussions, nurtured by examples from their own history, prompted the Greeks to search for a stable system of government which would preclude such frequent changes. The course focuses on the phenomenon of the rise and fall of regimes, and on the theories of Greek philosophers and scholars. Students are required to specialize in a specific aspect of the history of classical Greece.

Topics: General background the rise and fall of regimes in Athens from the end of the 7th century BCE until 462 CE; Anatomy of revolution the revolution of 411 BCE in Athens, a comprehensive discussion of the cultural and political climate on the eve of the revolution; historical sources which serve as evidence for the revolution, and an analysis of various aspects of the phenomenon and its ideology; The theory of changing regimes according to Plato, Aristotle and Polybius, emphasizing the relationship between theory and practice.


1Students may write a seminar paper in this course, although it is not required.

There is some overlap in the content of this and other courses. For details, see Overlapping Courses.