30109 - Greek Institutions (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

Students will learn how to arrange and update knowledge concerning some of the most important public and private Greek institutions. They will learn how to use different historical sources (literary, documentary, archaeological, iconographic) and how to select the most appropriate methodologies for the explanation and the interpretation of data.

Course contents

By focusing on selected passages of Aristotle’ Politics (in particular from books IV-VI), as well as on some relevant epigraphic documents, we will analyze the most important magistracies of the Greek poleis of classical and hellenistic age, with regard both to the different constitutional profiles of the Greek cities and to the events that allows us to identify the close relationship between the constitutional changes and the features of the political institutions.

It should be noted that the knowledge of ancient Greek language (understanding a text with the dictionary or at least understanding the correspondence with the translations offered), if not already acquired, must be reached before the oral examination. 


Attending students will have to study:

  1. For the problems and sources discussed in class: the lesson notes and documents distributed by the teacher
  2. M.H. Hansen, La democrazia ateniese nel IV secolo a.C. (It. transl.), LED, Milano 2003 [available for consultation at the Library of Ancient History, 38 Zamboni st., 2nd floor, section “ESAMI CONS”]
  3. G. Camassa, Forme della vita politica dei Greci in età arcaica e classica, Monduzzi, Bologna 2007, pp. 27-89 [available for consultation and loan at the Library of Ancient History, 38 Zamboni st., 2nd floor, sections ESAMI CONS and ESAMI PRES]
  4. One reading among:

C. Bearzot, Nomophylakes e nomophylakia nella Politica di Aristotele, in Istituzioni e costituzioni in Aristotele tra storiografia e pensiero politico (Atti del Convegno, Salerno, 30 settembre-1 ottobre 2010), Tivoli 2012, pp. 29-47.

L. Bertelli, Stasis: la «rivoluzione» dei Greci, «Teoria Politica » 2/3, 1989, pp. 53-96.

L. Bertelli, “Salvare la città” in Aristotele, in S. Cataldi-E. Bianco-G. Cuniberti (a cura di), Salvare le poleis, costruire la concordia, progettare la pace, Edizioni dell’Orso, Alessandria 2012, pp. 281-297.

M. Canevaro, Nomothesia in Classical Athens: what Sources Should We Believe, «Classical Quarterly» n.s. 63, 2013, pp. 139-168.

E. Culasso Gastaldi, La ginnasiarchia ad Atene. Istituzioni, ruoli e personaggi dal IV sec. all’età ellenistica, in O. Curty, (éd), L’huile e l’argent. Gymnasiarchie et évérgetisme dans la Grèce hellénistique, De Boccard, Paris 2009, pp. 115-142.

U. Fantasia, I magistrati dell’agora nelle città greche di età classica ed ellenistica, in D. Erdas-M.I. Gulletta (a cura di), Agora greca e agorai di Sicilia, Edizioni della Normale, Pisa 2012, pp. 31-56.

M. Faraguna, I nomophylakes tra utopia e realtà istituzionale delle città greche, in «Politica Antica. Rivista di prassi e cultura politica nel mondo greco e romano», V, 2015 (L’UTOPIE POLITIQUE ET LA CITÉ IDÉALE), pp. 141-159.

P. Fröhlich, Les magistrats militaires des cités grecques au Ive siècle a.C. I. Athènes, «Revue des Études Anciennes» 110, 2008, pp. 39-55.

F.D. Harvey, Two Kinds of Equality, «Classica & Mediaevalia» 26, 1965, pp. 101-146.

D. Musti, Pubblico e privato nella democrazia periclea, «Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica» 20, 1985, pp. 7-17.

Bibliographic resources are available at the DiSCi Library of Ancient History (Bologna, via Zamboni 38).

Teaching methods

The course consists mainly of workshops: students will take part in lessons and practise studying institutions and solving related problems. 

Those who never studied ancient Greek language and alphabet before are strongly recommended to start immediately. The knowledge of ancient Greek will be strengthened through the reading of selected inscriptions.

Assessment methods

The oral examination will test the knowledge of: a) the general outlines: M.H. Hansen’ book (La democrazia ateniese nel IV secolo a.C., see above), e G. Camassa’ book (Forme della vita politica dei Greci in età arcaica e classica, see above); b) the course contents (including selected ancient texts and inscriptions); c) the individual reading texts.

Attending students will be requested to:

a) answer three questions:

  1. A question on M.H. Hansen’ book, with discussion of related problems
  2. A question on the second part of G. Camassa’ book
  3. A question on the reading chosen among those listed above

 b) translate into Italian and comment an inscription and a literary source among those discussed in class.

Non-attending students will be requested to: 

a) answer three questions:

  1. A question on M.H. Hansen’ book (see above)
  2. A question on the whole G. Camassa’ book (see above)
  3. A question on the reading chosen among those listed above

b) translate into Italian and comment five inscriptions – from the following book: C. Antonetti, S. De Vido, Iscrizioni greche. Un’antologia, Carocci 2017, and 2 excerpts from Aristotle, Politics.

For more information, they must individually contact the teacher.

If the student achieves a complete vision of the topics discussed in class and required for the discipline, provides an effective critical commentary, shows mastery of expression and of the specific language, both written and oral, he obtains excellence in the evaluation.

Average marks will be awarded to a student who has memorized the main points of the material and is able to summarise them satisfactorily and provide an effective critical commentary, while failing to display a complete command of the appropriate terminology.

A student will be deemed to have failed the exam if he displays significant errors in his understanding and failure to grasp the overall outlines of the subject, together with a poor command of the appropriate terminology.

Students enrolled in the course as part of an Integrated Course (I.C.) are required to pass the oral examination of the two parts in the same date (the evaluation will be the arithmetic mean resulting from the final grades of the two courses).

Teaching tools

The sources will be supplied in class and online (cf. Teaching material).

Office hours

See the website of Maria Elena De Luna