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Lecture 2

POLSCI 3VV3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Timocracy, Tyrant

Political Science
Course Code
James Ingram

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Last time we were reading Pericles, one of the original and best democratic theorists, which is
unusual for his time. He was writing at the beginning of the Peloponnesian War 431-404 BCE.
Sparta, the conservative non-democratic side won in 404 BCE. The Republic was written roughly
around 380 BCE. Athens was a tyranny shortly after the war, and many of Plato’s friends were
part of the tyrant class or in support of them. They tried to model Sparta, but this was very
quickly overthrown and democracy was restored.
In 399 BCE, when the democracy was restored, there was a famous political trial, Socrates’ trial.
He got sentenced to death for corrupting the youth and failing to honour the city’s gods.
Socrates was Plato’s teacher, the hero of the Republic, executed by a democracy.
Democracy comes after oligarchy, in the sense that it is worse and less good. At the top was the
philosopher king, followed by aristocracy than a timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and at the
bottom was a tyranny.
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