When Thomas Hobbes published Leviathan two years after the 270execution of Charles I, and three decades before ‘Classics’ began to emerge as the curriculum of choice for those who wanted to distinguish themselves from the working classes, he argued that reading Greek and Roman authors should be banned by any self-respecting monarch. Hobbes had studied the Athenian democracy in depth when he translated Thucydides (1628), and now argued that ancient political writings by authors such as Aristotle and Cicero foment revolution under the slogan of liberty, instilling in people a habit ‘of favouring uproars, lawlessly controlling the actions of their sovereigns, and then controlling those controllers’. 1 He would have been little surprised at the inspiring role played by classical civilisation, especially Athenian democratic and Roman republican history, in efforts to emancipate the British working class.