Article

Political Theory

Joy Connolly

in The Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199211524
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199211524.013.0046

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 Political Theory

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It is something of a miracle that Rome continues to exert influence on political thought in today's liberal egalitarian democracies. Roman political theory grew out of the experience of a traditionalist, militaristic oligarchy whose priorities may be fairly described as the acquisition of glory and riches and the domination of the ancillary populace. In contrast, the establishment of democratic government in Athens in the revolution of 508/7 BCE and the crucial reforms of the 460s guaranteed legal and political equality among all free adult Athenian-born men, regardless of economic standing. Theorists of popular deliberation, free speech, the formation of collective identity, and civic education, in particular, seek inspiration in Athens. This article examines some of the central issues associated with Roman politics and political theory, focusing on Cicero's treatment of the nature and the purpose of the state. It also discusses civic virtue, education, and citizenship.

Keywords: Rome; politics; political theory; political thought; collective identity; state; Cicero; civic education; civic virtue; citizenship

Article.  6675 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Classical History

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