Love and Friendship in the Classical World

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Course Number



D. O'Higgins

Course Long Title

Love and Friendship in the Classical World


The ancient meanings of friendship and the ways in which friendship was distinguished from love are the subject of this course. Students read and analyze ancient theorists on friendship and love, such as Plato and Cicero, and also texts illustrating the ways in which Greek and Roman people formed and tested relationships within and across gender lines. The topics under discussion include: friendship as a political institution; notions of personal loyalty, obligation, and treachery; the perceived antithesis between friendship and erotic love; the policing of sexuality; friendship, love, and enmity in the definition of the self. All discussions use the contemporary Western world as a reference point for comparison and contrast.

Modes of Inquiry

Analysis and Critique [AC], Historical and Social Inquiry [HS]

Writing Credit


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