After the Athenian Empire: Ancient Greece in the Time of Plato


Course Description

The end of the fifth century BCE saw the Athenian Empire vanquished and democratic Athens  subjugated by tyrants put in place by its enemy Sparta. Across the country, Sparta, Thebes, Athens, and other Greek cities kept warring, while Plato established philosophy on firm footing that would sustain it for millennia. In the same period, the renewed Athenian democracy had put to death its talkative philosopher Socrates. What led up to Socrates’ death? What was really happening across Greece during that period? How did Plato’s philosophy relate to these tragic events? Was Socrates a true philosopher, or only Plato’s mouthpiece?

In addition to these historical questions, focus will also be placed on the geopolitical situation in Greece at the time. For example, how did Sparta manage its hegemony over other Greek cities? Was the end of the Athenian empire related to the faults of its democracy, or was the Spartan oligarchy the catalyst? 

We will explore numerous contemporary writers of the time period, including Thucydides, Xenophon, Plutarch, Euripides, Aristophanes, Diogenes Laertes, Diodorus Siculus, and Aristotle, and we will read some important Platonic and Socratic dialogues.

Books to Purchase (will be available at Argo Bookshop during the weeks prior to the course beginning):

    • The Trials of Socrates by C.D. Reeve (9780801485749)
    • A History of My Times by Xenophon (9780140441758)

Please note that this course has a maximum enrollment of 18 students.

NEW PAYMENT POLICY: Participants must pay the course fees in order to be considered registered for the course. 

For fully registered courses, a waiting list will be created. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please note that we do not allow participants to audit courses for free.

Course Details

Location: Atwater

First Session: Tuesday 20 September 2022

Course Length: 12 weeks, Tuesdays, 6:15 to 8:15 p.m.

Discussion Team: Marilyn Kaplow, Christian Roy, Alberto Venturelli

Degree Credit: 3.0 credits

Course Fees: 

$150.00 (standard tuition)

$100.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$185.00 (standard tuition)

$135.00 (promotion for new students)


Course fees are refundable in full before the second session. After the second session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the third session. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Students pursuing studies for credit are encouraged to consult with their advisers as they register for courses.

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

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