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The Life of Roman Republicanism$
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Joy Connolly

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691162591

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691162591.001.0001

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Where Politics Begins

Where Politics Begins

Cicero’s Republic

(p.23) 1 Where Politics Begins
The Life of Roman Republicanism

Joy Connolly

Princeton University Press

This chapter begins with Cicero's dialogue de Republica, examining the roles of antagonism, consensus, and institutionalization in republic politics. For Roman citizens, contest and strife were daily features of their lives, from energetic verbal and physical abuse to the emphasis on competition in political discourse. Struggle characterized the relations within the governing elite, between senate and tribunes, between senate and popular assemblies, and among familial and economic interest groups. The chapter presents Cicero as a thinker concerned with a collective of antagonists and competing interests, against conventional portrayals of his ideal republic as a homogeneous, unified, harmonious community. It highlights three themes that will recur in different ways: the place of the people; the formation of concord and consensus; and the role of aesthetics in Cicero's conception of the constitution at the republic's foundation.

Keywords:   Roman political thought, Cicero, dialogue, de Republica, aesthetics, republicanism, concord, consensus

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