The following list offers required readings and choices for the M.A. in Classical Antiquity, Special Field examination in Greek History. Students are expected to consult with an advisor and finalize a list which will form the basis of their special field examination.

I.) General Reading

You should read Pomeroy, Burstein, Donlan, Roberts, and Tandy, Ancient Greece: A Political, Social, and Cultural History (Oxford)for a general overview of Greek history. You should also read (or reread) the following translated ancient sources:

  • Herodotus, The Landmark Histories with all appendices and introduction.
  • Thucydides, The Landmark Thucydides with all appendices and introduction.
  • Xenophon, The Landmark Xenophon’s Hellenika with all appendices and introduction.
  • J. M. Moore (ed.), Aristotle and Xenophon on Democracy and Oligarchy with commentary and introductions.
  • W. Robert Connor (ed.), Greek Orations with introductions.
  • Plutarch, The Rise and Fall of Athens or Plutarch, The Age of Alexander with introductions.
  • P. R. McKechnie and S. J. Kern (eds) Hellenica Oxyrhynchia with introductions and commentary.
  • N.B.: To get the most out of these readings you should read the overview (A) in close conjunction with the ancient sources (B).

II.) Inscriptions

In consultation with the Chair of the Examination Committee, you should select two important inscriptions from Translated Documents of Greece and Rome 1: Archaic Times to the End of the Peloponnesian War (ed. Charles W. Fornara) or Greek Historical Inscriptions 403-323 (eds. P. J. Rhodes and Robin Osborne). You should study the two inscriptions carefully and read two or three of the recommended articles about each.

III.) Important Thematic Books

In consultation with the Chair of the Examination Committee you should select four of the following books to read:

  • David Cohen, Law Violence and Community in Classical Athens
  • W. R. Connor, Thucydides
  • M. I. Finley, Economy and Society in Ancient Greece (ed. Shaw and Saller)
  • Victor Hanson, The Other Greeks
  • François Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus: The Representation of the Other in the Writing of History
  • Gabriel Herman, Ritualised Friendship and the Greek City
  • Josiah Ober, Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens
  • Pierre Vidal-Naquet, The Black Hunter: Forms of Thought and Forms of Society in the Greek World
  • Narrative history chapters from one volume of the Cambridge Ancient History
    • CAH III.32 Chapters 37, 38, 42, 43, 44
    • CAH IV2 Chapters 2, 4, 5, 8-11
    • CAH V.2 Chapters 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11
    • CAH VI.2 Chapters 2, 4, 6, 7, 14, 15, 16
    • CAH VII.12 Chapters 2, 4, 5.i-iii, 7, 11, 12

IV.) Special Periods and Topics

You should select one special period or topic from the following eight in consultation with the Chair of the Examination Committee. The list of topics is not meant to be comprehensive, so you are welcome, in consultation with your professor, to research and design your own special topic, a somewhat more difficult proposition.

1.) History in Homer

Primary texts

  • Review Homer, The Iliad and The Odyssey.

Secondary readings

  • M. I. Finley, The World of Odysseus.
  • W. Kullmann, “History in Homer,” in A. Rengakos, ed., Realität, Imagination und Theorie. Kleine Schriften zu Epos und Tragödie in der Antike (Stuttgart, 2002).
  • A. M. Snodgrass, “An Historical Homeric Society?” JHS 94 (1974) 114-125.
  • Ian Morris, “The Use and Abuse of Homer,” in Oxford Readings in Homer's Iliad (ed. D. L. Cairns) 57-91.
  • Ian Morris and Barry Powell (eds), A New Companion to Homer (chapters on Homeric Society, Homeric Warfare, Homeric Ethics, Homer and the Iron Age, Homer and the Bronze Age).
  • Robin Osborne, Greece in the Making, 1200-479 BC, pp. 1-160.
  • Joachim Latacz, Troy and Homer: Towards a Solution of an Old Mystery (trans. Kevin Windle and Rosh Ireland).

2.) Athenian Democracy

Primary sources

  • Dillon, M. – Garland, L. 2010. The Ancient Greeks. History and Culture from Archaic Times to the Death of Alexander, 3rd ed. London – NY – you are expected to have studied chapters 1; 8; 10; 12; 13
  • P.J. Rhodes, The Athenian Constitution / Aristotle ; translated with introduction and notes, Harmondsworth 1984.

Secondary readings

A. Required
  • Forrest, W. G. 1966. The emergence of Greek democracy, 800-400 B.C., NY
B. Historical section

Choose one:

  • Kagan, D. 1991. Pericles of Athens and the Birth of Democracy. NY
  • Hansen, M.H. 1991. The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes. Structure, Principles and Ideology, Oxford, chapters 6-13, p. 125-320

You have to be familiar with five contributions from this list, some of which might be substituted after consultation with the Chair of the Examination Committee.

  • Ostwald, M. 1986. From Popular Sovereignty to the Sovereignty of Law Law, Society, and Politics in Fifth-Century Athens, Berkeley, ch. 1, p. 3-83
  • Rosivach, V.J. 1992. “Redistribution of Land in Solon, Fragment 34 West,” Journal of Hellenic Studies 112, 153-157.
  • Hansen, M.H. 1989. “Solonian Democracy in Fourth-Century” in W.R. Connor, Aspects of Athenian Democracy (Classica Et Mediaevalia, Dissertationes). Copenhagen, 71-99
  • Develin, R.- Kilmer, M. 1997. “What Kleisthenes did”, Historia 46: 3-18
  • A. Boegehold, 1995. The Lawcourts at Athens: Sites, Buildings, Equipment, Procedure, and Testimonia. The Athenian Agora, in: The American School of Classical Studies, vol. 28, Princeton
  • Versnel, H.S.,1995. Religion and Democracy, in: Walter Eder (Hrsg.), Die athenische Demokratie im 4. Jahrhundert v. Chr. Vollendung oder Verfall einer Verfassungsform? Stuttgart, 367-388
  • Yunis, H. 1988. Law, Politics, and the Graphe paranomon in Fourth-century Athens, GRBS 29 361-382
C. Perception

Primary Sources:

  • Ps. Xenophon Ath. Pol.
  • Plato Rep. book VIII
  • Arist. Pol. III ch.s 1; 6-8; 11; IV ch.s 4-6; 12; VI ch. 4

Secondary Material (choose one):

  • Ober, J. 1998. Political dissent in democratic Athens : intellectual critics of popular rule. Princeton
  • Rowe, Ch.- Schofield, M. 2000. The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Political Thought. Cambridge. Chapters 10; 18

3.) The Athenian Empire

Primary texts

  • Review Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War.
  • Review Xenophon, The Landmark Xenophon’s Hellenika, books 1 and 2.

Secondary readings

  • Simon Hornblower, Thucydides
  • Polly Low (ed.), The Athenian Empire.
  • Russell Meiggs, The Athenian Empire, chapters 1-3, 8, 11-12.
  • Harold B. Mattingly, The Athenian empire restored : epigraphic and historical studies, forward, introduction, chapters 21, and 27.
  • Loren Samons II (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Pericles, chapters 1-4, 8, 10, 11.

4.) The (short) Fourth Century (404-322)

Primary texts

  • Review Xenophon, The Landmark Xenophon’s Hellenika with all appendices and introduction.
  • Review Connor (ed.) Greek Orations.
  • Review Plutarch, The Age of Alexander, Agesilaus, Pelopidas, Demosthenes, Phocion.

Secondary readings

  • Lawrence Tritle (ed.), The Greek world in the fourth century: from the fall of the Athenian Empire to the successors of Alexander
  • Cargill, J. (1981) The Second Athenian League: Empire or Free Alliance?
  • G. L. Cawkwell, Philip of Macedon (with Phillip Harding’s review in Phoenix 33: 173-178).
  • Ernst Badian, “The ghost of empire: reflections on Athenian foreign policy in the fourth century BC,” in Die athenische Demokratie im 4. Jahrhundert v.Chr.: Vollendung oder Verfall einer Verfassungsform, (ed. W. Eder), 79-106.
  • G. T. Griffith, “Athens in the fourth century” in Garnsey and Whittaker, eds., Imperialism in the Ancient World.
  • G. L. Cawkwell, “The crowning of Demosthenes,” CQ 19 (1969) 163-180.
  • Phillip Harding, “Rhetoric and politics in fourth-century Athens,” Phoenix 41: 23-39.
  • Phillip Harding, “Athenian foreign policy in the fourth century,” Klio 77: 105-125.

5.) Alexander the Great

Primary texts

  • Read Alexander the Great : historical texts in translation (edited by Waldemar Heckel and J. C. Yardley)

Secondary readings

a) Read one of the following books:

  • Peter Green, Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C.: a historical biography
  • A. B. Bosworth, Conquest and Empire: The Reign of Alexander the Great

b) Read the following articles and book sections:

  • Ernst Badian, “Alexander the Great and the Loneliness of Power,” in Studies in Greek and Roman History 192-205.
  • A. B. Bosworth, Alexander and the East: The Tragedy of Triumph, “The Justification of Terror,” 133-165.
  • Eugene Borza, “Fire from heaven: Alexander at Persepolis” and “The Royal Macedonian tombs and the paraphernalia of Alexander the Great” in Eugene Borza, Makedonika.
  • Eugene Borza, In the Shadow of Olympus: The Emergence of Macedon 198-252
  • Donald W. Engels, Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian army 1-25.
  • Jeanne Reames-Zimmerman, “An Atypical Affair. . .” Ancient History Bulletin 13.3 (1999) 81-95.
  • Joseph Roisman (ed.), Brill’s Companion to Alexander the Great, chapters 1, 3-10

6.) Warfare and Society

Primary texts

  • Aineias the Tactician: How to Survive under Siege (ed. and trans. David Whitehead)
  • Michael Sage (ed.), Warfare in Ancient Greece: A Sourcebook

Secondary readings

  • Victor Hanson, The Western Way of War
  • Victor Hanson (ed.), Hoplites : the Classical Greek Battle Experience, introduction and essays 3, 6-9.
  • P. Sabin, H. V. Wees and M. Whitby (eds.) The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Warfare. Volume I: Greece, the Hellenistic World and the Rise of Rome chapters 5, 8-9, 11, 14-15.
  • Hans Van Wees, Greek Warfare: Myths and Realities
  • J. E. Lendon, Soldiers and Ghosts 1-161

7.) The Ancient Economy

Primary texts

  • Xenophon, Ways and Means (Poroi) and Oeconomicus

Secondary readings

  • M. I. Finley, The Ancient Economy (1999 edition with forward by Ian Morris)
  • Ed Cohen, The Athenian Economy, A Banking Perspective
  • Robin Osborne, Classical Landscape with Figures
  • D. W. Tandy, Warriors into Traders with BMCR review by David Schaps.
  • Paul Cartledge, Edward Cohen, and Lin Foxhall (eds), Money, Labour and Land: Approaches to the economies of ancient Greece
  • Walter Scheidel and Sitta von Reden (eds.), The Ancient Economy, chapters 1-3, 5-7, 11-12

8.) Sparta

Primary texts

  • Review Xenophon, “The Politeia of the Spartans” in Aristotle And Xenophon On Democracy And Oligarchy (ed. J. M. Moore).
  • Review Plutarch, “Lycurgus,” “Lysander,” and “Agesilaus.”

Secondary readings

  • Paul Cartledge, Sparta and Lakonia: A Regional History, 1300-362 BC
  • Paul Cartledge, Agesilaos and the Crisis of Sparta, chapters 1-3, 6, 10-11, 17-22

In consultation with the Chair of the Examination Committee select ten articles to read from the following collections:

  • A. Powell (ed.), Classical Sparta: Techniques behind her Success
  • A. Powell and S Hodkinson (eds.) , The Shadow of Sparta
  • N. Luraghi and S. Alcock, Helots and Their Masters in Laconia and Messenia: Histories, Ideologies, Structures

9.) Male Homosexuality

Primary texts

  • Thomas Hubbard (ed.), Homosexuality in Greece and Rome. A Sourcebook of Basic Documents, 1-307.

Secondary readings

  • K.J. Dover, Greek Homosexuality
  • David M. Halperin, One Hundred Years of Homosexuality, essays 1, 2, 3, 6.
  • J. K. Winkler, The Constraints of Desire essays 1, 2, 3, 5.
  • David Cohen, Law, Sexuality, and Society: The Enforcement of Morals in Classical Athens
  • James Davidson, The Greeks and Greek Love: A Radical Reappraisal of Homosexuality in Ancient Greece
  • Reviews of Davidson by Verstraete and Hubbarb (via the Verstraete review) are best accessed at, which provides Davidson’s response