This module explores major themes and topics within ancient political thought, examining how, where and in what contexts key ancient political thinkers from Plato to St Thomas Aquinas developed distinct approaches to the relationship between individuals and their political communities. We shall pay particular attention to debates over the relationship between law, theology and theories of political action. Another major theme of the course will be the relationship between texts and theorists: the formation of different and distinctive 'schools' of thought and the gradual development of a canon of texts which remains foundational for modern Western political theory today. We will study some of the important and influential theorists in the history of ancient political thought - such as Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Cicero and St Augustine - contextualising their ideas in the time and circumstances under which they were writing, as well as exploring some key aspects of their legacy in later 'medieval' political thought.
This module is taught at Birkbeck.
Dr Caroline Humfress (Birkbeck)
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