Dr Kathryn McLachlan, lecturer in Classics, School of Languages and Literatures, University of Cape Town

This five-lecture course will trace the development of democracy in ancient Athens, examining the way it evolved out of the oligarchies and tyrannies that preceded it in the seventh and sixth centuries BCE. It will also look at the challenges the established democracy faced in the fifth century during the period of Athenian expansion and the Peloponnesian War. The course will end with Plato and Aristotle’s critiques of democracy and other forms of government.



1. Out of the Dark Age

2. The tyrants

3. The rule of the people

4. Democracy under pressure

5. Critiques of democracy


Recommended reading

Aristotle.1935. The Athenian constitution. Cambridge, Mass, Harvard University Press.

Aristotle.1920. Politics. Oxford: At the Clarendon Press.

Carey, C.2017. Democracy in Classical Athens. London: Bloomsbury.

Plato.1992. Republic. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company.


Date: Monday 7–Friday 11 August 
Time: 5.00 pm
COURSE FEES Full: R480,00  Staff: R240,00  Reduced: R120,00