War of Athens

Basic Program Year Four: Autumn


This course was available in the past and may be presented again as part of the Basic Program of Liberal Education curriculum.

The Year 4 Seminar texts cover a wide range time periods and genres, including philosophy, biography, satire, and romance, which connect through the themes of love, character, and humor as they explore what people mean by living a happy life. The Tutorial is a close reading of Thucydides’ account of the war between Athens and Sparta and their allies; one of the seminal works of history as well as a masterful work of literature. Among other things, we will consider the issues of justice and power it raises—still current today—and the role of literary art in making sense of history.

Course Outline

For specific dates, see at right under each Section: SCHEDULE AND LOCATION. Reading schedule is identical across all Sections.


Week Seminar
1 Plutarch, Lives of Lycurgus and Numa: pp. 52-105
2 Plutarch, Lives of Themistocles and Camillus: pp. 146-200
3 Plutarch, Lives of Pericles and Fabius: pp. 201-257
4 Plutarch, Lives of Alcibiades and Coriolanus: pp. 258-324
5 Plato, Symposium 172a-198a: speeches of Phaedrus, Pausanias, Eryximachus, Aristophanes, and Agathon
6 Plato, Symposium 198a-212c: speech of Socrates
7 Plato, Symposium 212c-223c: speech of Alcibiades
8 Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Volume I (pp. 1-101)
9 Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Volume II (pp. 103-184)
10 Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Volume III (pp. 185-298)


Week Tutorial

Thucydides, Book 1.1-1.118 

2 Thucydides, Book 1.118 -1.146
3 Thucydides, Book 2 through 2.46 
4 Thucydides, Book 2 - end
5 Thucydides, Book 3, esp. 3.35-49
6 Thucydides, Book 4
7 Thucydides, Book 5, esp. 5.84-end
8 Thucydides, Book 6
9 Thucydides, Book 7
10 Thucydides, Book 8, conclusions

Required Texts

1.    Plato, Symposium, trans. Nehamas & Woodruff, Hackett, ISBN 978-0872200760.
2.    Plutarch. Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, Modern Library vol. 1, ISBN 978-0375756764.
3.    Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Oxford University Press ISBN 978-0198826736.

4.    The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War, Strassler, Crawley and Hanson, Free Press (ISBN 978-0684827902)


Books are available using the Textbook order form from the Gleacher Center Bookstore online, or by using the ISBN number to order the correct edition elsewhere.


Online registration deadline: Thursday, Sept 22 at 5 PM CT.

Taking a Graham School Remote Course: You will receive an invitation to join Canvas about a week before the course begins. Please accept the invitation by clicking 'Get Started' and create a log-in for Canvas using your email as the user name and create a password. Then go to the Dashboard and click on your course. Next click on Zoom Professional Education and you will see the link to "Join" your classroom. Canvas houses the course information including the course syllabus, announcements, and discussions. You will not be able to participate in your online class unless you accept the Canvas invitation and set up your account.

For help visit, https://grahamschool.uchicago.edu/academic-programs/online/learning-resources/liberal-arts to find step by step instructions.