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The Life of Roman Republicanism

The Life of Roman Republicanism

JOY CONNOLLY
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 256
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvf23
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  • Book Info
    The Life of Roman Republicanism
    Book Description:

    In recent years, Roman political thought has attracted increased attention as intellectual historians and political theorists have explored the influence of the Roman republic on major thinkers from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. Held up as a "third way" between liberalism and communitarianism, neo-Roman republicanism promises useful, persuasive accounts of civic virtue, justice, civility, and the ties that bind citizens. But republican revivalists, embedded in modern liberal, democratic, and constitutional concerns, almost never engage closely with Roman texts.The Life of Roman Republicanismtakes up that challenge.

    With an original combination of close reading and political theory, Joy Connolly argues that Cicero, Sallust, and Horace inspire fresh thinking about central concerns of contemporary political thought and action. These include the role of conflict in the political community, especially as it emerges from class differences; the necessity of recognition for an equal and just society; the corporeal and passionate aspects of civic experience; citizens' interdependence on one another for senses of selfhood; and the uses and dangers of self-sovereignty and fantasy. Putting classicists and political theorists in dialogue, the book also addresses a range of modern thinkers, including Kant, Hannah Arendt, Stanley Cavell, and Philip Pettit. Together, Connolly's readings construct a new civic ethos of advocacy, self-criticism, embodied awareness, imagination, and irony.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5247-5
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. IX-XVI)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. XVII-XXII)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-22)

    This book seeks to place Cicero’sVerrines, Caesarian orations,Republic, andLaws; Sallust’sCatilineandJugurtha; and Horace’sSatiresat the center of the republican tradition. In the process, I aim to rewrite the orientation and concerns of that tradition in a different idiom than they are currently understood. I address these writings as the literary texts that they are, not as sources of isolated quotations, and for this reason I proceed through close individual readings. Though I approach each text knowing a good deal about its intended audience and the conditions under which its words were first set down,...

  6. 1 WHERE POLITICS BEGINS: CICEROʹS REPUBLIC
    (pp. 23-64)

    In his famous 1967 essay “Art and Objecthood” Michael Fried argues that minimalist, or as he calls it, “literalist” art is an art of theatricality; that in its promise of interpretative endlessness—offered by Donald Judd’s boxes in figure 2, for example, which thematize the seriality of return—it fosters solipistic emptyheadedness; and that, banking on its anthropomorphic, dramatically powerful presence, it greets the viewer as a subject and panders to that subjectivity.¹ Pieces like Tony Smith’s black-painted steel box and Carl André’s figure-eight stack of rough cedar logs evade art’s primary responsibility and pleasure by dumping the job of...

  7. 2 JUSTICE IN THE WORLD: THE EXECUTION OF JUGURTHA
    (pp. 65-114)

    Life requires us to make judgments. John Dewey calls those choices to act that affect others “public” judgments.¹ How can we evaluate such public judgments? We are free to use the scale of bad, good, better, best—but this language seems more suited to judgments of exclusively personal interest, where benefits and disadvantages are simpler to weigh. For public matters a scale based on “just” suits better than one based on “good,” for justice connotes the distribution of good(s) across the commonwealth. I have in mind here not only judgments made in juries and the voting box but in our...

  8. 3 NON-SOVEREIGN FREEDOM IN HORACEʹS SATIRES 1
    (pp. 115-154)

    In chapter 1, I defended the claim that the republican conception of freedom is grounded in the understanding that politics is constituted in the fundamental antagonism between the haves and the have-nots. Chapter 2 turned to the the obstacles to justice as Sallust represents them: the vulnerability of the political process to greed and corruption; the dangerous failure of the senatorial order to recognize the poor and marginalized; and finally, the constraints on just judgment created by the irrepressible play of chance. I sought to point out, too, how Sallust exposes and works with the corporeal element in world-perception.

    Each...

  9. 4 DIVIDUAL ADVOCACY
    (pp. 155-172)

    Classical political thought is often understood as hostile to the disruptions, irrationalities, and banalities of quotidian experience: unity and order are taken to be its goals. In a much-quoted passage in Plato’sRepublic, musical harmony is used as a metaphor to describe the self and the city (401d–e, 432a); Aristotle praises genteel moderation and confines political theory to the variegated but contained sphere of rule; Cicero wrote his ownRepublic, which had its own memorable musical metaphor for concord (2.69). But as we saw in chapter 1, Cicero also theorizes political action as a contest, seeing the republic as...

  10. 5 IMAGINATION, FINITUDE, RESPONSIBILITY, IRONY: CICEROʹS PRO MARCELLO
    (pp. 173-202)

    Are the resources of premodern thought adequate to modernity? George Kateb argues that to understand the scale of modern horrors we must come to grips with the human imagination—specifically, the tremendous new capacity of the imagination of one or a few people to unleash itself on the world. Leaders construct society or law afresh in their minds with an energy that Kateb calls “hyperactive”; they go on to sway their followers to make the stuff of their imaginations real. In cases when change leads to atrocity, imagination is once again responsible—this time, the stunted imaginations of the followers,...

  11. CONCLUSION THE REPUBLIC REMASTERED
    (pp. 203-208)

    At the core of most classical and contemporary approaches to politics—including the recently fashionable Carl Schmitt and his epigones—lies the commitment to the concept of sovereignty and the tendency, dominant since the nineteenth century emergence of sociology and economics, to treat human beings primarily as rational calculators or creatures of practical reason. But it is not clear that the Romans who think constructively about politics privilege either sovereignty or reason as starting or end points—or indeed that they believe that politics can yield much to systematic analysis.

    This book has tried to recover the concept- and virtue-focused...

  12. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 209-218)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 219-228)