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Roman Republics
Harriet I. Flower

Paperback | 2011 | $27.95 | £22.95 | ISBN: 9780691152585
224 pp. | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | 1 line illus.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400831166 |
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From the Renaissance to today, the idea that the Roman Republic lasted more than 450 years--persisting unbroken from the late sixth century to the mid-first century BC--has profoundly shaped how Roman history is understood, how the ultimate failure of Roman republicanism is explained, and how republicanism itself is defined. In Roman Republics, Harriet Flower argues for a completely new interpretation of republican chronology. Radically challenging the traditional picture of a single monolithic republic, she argues that there were multiple republics, each with its own clearly distinguishable strengths and weaknesses. While classicists have long recognized that the Roman Republic changed and evolved over time, Flower is the first to mount a serious argument against the idea of republican continuity that has been fundamental to modern historical study. By showing that the Romans created a series of republics, she reveals that there was much more change--and much less continuity--over the republican period than has previously been assumed. In clear and elegant prose, Roman Republics provides not only a reevaluation of one of the most important periods in western history but also a brief yet nuanced survey of Roman political life from archaic times to the end of the republican era.


"Flower's analysis of the early republican institutions, the breakdown of constitutional rule after 133 BCE, and the republic of Sulla is provocative and insightful. She demonstrates how the Roman political elite adapted and reinvented their republican institutions in the face of successive crises. A lucid, imaginative analysis that is required reading for all serious students and scholars of Rome."--Choice

"Roman Republics is a highly readable, highly persuasive volume intended to revitalize the study of the republican period in Rome. The volume is not aimed exclusively at beginners or experts; both will find much of value in the reassessment presented."--Colin Bailey, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"This book is highly recommended. It is rich and thought provoking, beautifully written and argued. It touches on and weaves together a remarkable number of topics in Roman republican history and historiography. Most welcome is the emphasis on evolution and change over time, sometimes dramatic, of Roman political institutions and culture. I am largely persuaded by Flower's conclusion that late republican authors are not trustworthy guides to Roman republican culture since they themselves had never witnessed a properly functioning republican system."--Michael P. Fronda, New England Classical Journal

"There is little doubt that Harriet Flower's book has opened up a field which has been more intensively studied than any other in ancient history. She has given us a new way to look, and new questions to ask. For those reasons alone, this is an important book."--David Rafferty, Melbourne Historical Journal

"Flower deserves full credit for the boldness of her challenge to the traditional approaches. [Her] exciting and illuminating study will long remain essential reading for everyone with a serious interest in what I shall persist in calling the Roman Republic."--John Rich, Journal of Roman Studies

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Table of Contents:

Preface ix
Acknowledgments xiii
Abbreviations xv

Chapter I: Introduction
Periodization and the End of the Roman Republic 3
Chapter II: Toward a New Paradigm: "Roman Republics" 18
Chapter III: Early Republics (Fifth and Fourth Centuries) 35

Chapter IV: Political Innovations: A Community in Transition (Second Century) 61
Chapter V: Violence and the Breakdown of the Political Process (133-81) 80
Chapter VI: External Pressures on Internal Politics (140-83) 97

Chapter VII: An Alternative to a Crisis: Sulla's New Republic 117
Chapter VIII: After the Shipwreck (78-49) 135
Chapter IX: Implications 154
Appendix: An Assortment of Timelines, the Hellenistic Age and Republican Time, Temple Time 173

Bibliography 181
Index 201

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