From Democracy to Autocracy: Demagogues, Tyrants, and Popular Media in Ancient Greece and Rome (FYS)|
Fall 2020 not offered
Although different, the political systems of Greece and Rome, many of which serve as a model for our own government, were carefully designed to balance military, social, and political participation and empowerment, and to defend against the consolidation of power by any single citizen or group. Eventually, both Greek democracy and the Roman Republic failed. Why? This course examines in depth the political and legal structures of two ancient societies which began with participatory or representative governments and slid toward autocracy. Drawing on a range of sources in translation (historical, legal, poetic), we will explore the emergence and evolution of political systems, from the rise of democracy in Greece to its lapse into oligarchy, and from the Roman Republic to its subversion by charismatic leaders and the advent of empire. Along the way, we will discuss the rise of a celebrity culture and the impact of the increasing importance of public spectacles and entertainments as a vehicle for the demoralization of citizens and the slide into autocracy. Where did they go wrong?
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Student Option|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None