Ancient History

Ref: C3673237

The city of Athens is well known for having created the world's first democracy. But there was more to life in Athens than politics and more to Athenians than the adult male citizens who had exclusive access to political life. In this course you will use the ancient evidence (mostly produced by free adult males) to try to discover what life was like for all the inhabitants of Athens and its territory. Our case studies will include women, the resident foreigners known as metics and the slaves who were critically important in a society which yet placed such value on freedom. We shall also look life beyond what we would consider political, for example the religious festivals and dramas for which Athens was also famous. Was the ancient city of Athens in its democratic heyday one that feels familiar or alien, a society to be admired or not? By the end of this course, you should be in position to judge for yourselves.

Course aim

To explore the society of Athens in the fifth and fourth centuries BC and to find out what it was like to be an inhabitant of the world's first democracy

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Give a basic chronology of city of Athens in the fifth and fourth centuries BC
  • Show knowledge of some key sources for the history of ancient democratic Athens
  • Show knowledge of the lives of the inhabitants of ancient democratic Athens
  • To provide an informed judgement on the strengths and weaknesses of democratic Athenian society

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member

Download full course information sheet

Ancient History


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  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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