Course Description

Course Name

Living and Dying in Classical Athens

Session: VDNS3121

Hours & Credits

18 Credit Points

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


A study of social life in fifth-century BC Athens. Topics include the Greek family and the role of law, literature and political power in Athenian life.

Athens in the fifth century BCE played a pivotal role in the development of Western civilisation, making important advances in philosophical and political thought, drama, poetry and art. This paper studies how the everyday lives of ancient Athenians intersected with these intellectual advances, looking in particular at their social, political, legal and religious practices.

Teaching Arrangements
Two 50-minute lectures each week and one 50-minute tutorial fortnightly over the course of 13 weeks

Course Structure
Following four introductory lectures, this paper proceeds to examine nine key aspects of life in classical Athens in Monday lectures and then to consider the degree to which selected tragic texts engage with these aspects of Athenian life in the lectures on Wednesdays.

Learning Outcomes
An appreciation of the ways in which historical and cultural context can influence artistic content and interpretation

D. Grene & R. Lattimore, Sophocles 1: Three Tragedies (Chicago)
Esposito, Stephen (ed) Euripides, Medea, Hippolytus, Heracles, Bacchae. (Newburyport, MA: Focus)

*Course content subject to change