SSI1 131

Athens, Freedom, and the Liberal Arts

In this course students explore the first development of the idea of "freedom" in classical Greece, with a particular focus on Athens and its radical democracy in the late fifth-century BCE. Freedom requires practice, discipline, and an understanding of "the rules," so that one may use, manipulate, and break the rules; thus students study the arts of grammar, rhetoric, and logic--the foundational skills of the liberal arts--so that they may speak, reason, and practice freedom more effectively. Students test their newly acquired skills through close reading and analysis of texts from the Greek tragedy, comedy, history, rhetoric, and philosophy. Students put new skills into action through daily discussions, weekly debates, and performances of Greek drama. Students also participate in a four-week role-playing simulation of the Athenian assembly in which students have to decide on the best form of government, putting their notions of freedom into practice. This course thus offers students an authentic foundation in the liberal arts and in doing so prepares them for their life as a free person. Affiliate department: Classics.