Eric Robinson

Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of History

Professor, Department of History

Adjunct Professor, Department of Classical Studies

IU; IU Bloomington

Full Biography

I am a historian of ancient Greece and Rome. I teach courses on a variety of subjects in ancient history, from introductory surveys to undergraduate and graduate-level seminars. My research has focused on questions of ancient Greek politics, warfare, and historiography, but most especially on Greek democracy. My first book, entitled The First Democracies, explores the emergence of the ancient form of popular government in numerous city-states in the Archaic Age of Greek history (800-480 BC). My second monograph, Democracy Beyond Athens, describes democracy’s expansion and character in the Classical Age (480-323 BC), and was published in 2011 by Cambridge University Press. Connections between ancient and modern forms of democracy, war, and imperialism have been an interest of mine as well, to which I have devoted a few articles. My current research project explores the consequences of Sparta’s unique military reputation in Classical Greece. I am also writing the ancient and early medieval portions of a new Western Civilization textbook.

Research Interests

  • Archaic and Classical Greece
  • Democracy
  • Political and military history


  • B.A. at Yale University, 1986
  • Ph.D. at University of Pennsylvania, 1994

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Ancient Civilization
  • Greek History, Bronze Age to the Persian Wars
  • Greek History, Persian Wars to the Legacy of Alexander
  • Sparta at War
  • Ancient Greek Democracy
  • The Peloponnesian War
  • Cities on the Edge of War: Greek History Through Games
  • Greek Historians: Herodotus and Thucydides



  • Democracy Beyond Athens: Popular Government in the Greek Classical Age (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011)
  • Ancient Greek Democracy: Readings and Sources (Oxford and Malden, MA:  Blackwell, 2003).
  • Oikistes: Studies in Constitutions, Colonies, and Military Power in the Ancient World Offered in Honor of A. J. Graham (Leiden: Brill, 2002). [Co-editor with Vanessa Gorman].
  • The First Democracies: Early Popular Government Outside Athens (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1997).

Recent Articles

  • “Populism Ancient and Modern: of Government, Demagoguery, and Donald Trump,” in Chr. Riedwig et al. (eds) Demokratie und Populismus in der griechischen Antike und heute (de Gruyter, forthcoming).

  • “Designing Sustained Game-Based Learning Environments to Engage Undergraduate Students in History,” (fourth co-author with Zach Ryan, Christina Stiso, and Joshua Danish) in International Society of the Learning Sciences/Rapid Community Report Series (September, 2021).