Dr Ingo Gildenhard is a member of the International Network "Zwischen Tyrannis und Gottesgnadentum. Antike Alleinherrschaften im interkulturellen Vergleich", which is part of Exzellenzcluster 16 of the Universität Konstanz, Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration.
In collaboration with Dr Andreas Pecar (Universität Rostock), he is also running a research project in this context that explores the figure of the tyrant from antiquity to early modern times. In the autumn 2010, they co-taught a joint, two-week seminar for postgraduate students at a summer academy of the German National Merit Foundation entitled 'In tyrannum: anti-monarchical discourses in antiquity and early modern times'.
Brief: Before the rise of modern nation-states, monarchy was the dominant form of government in Europe. At the same time, both specific monarchs and monarchy as such gave rise to critical questioning. Two ancient traditions, which decisively shaped the political imaginary of Europe more generally, contributed much to these reflections: the Bible and the political philosophy of Greece and Rome. The seminar will first study representative texts from antiquity to explore the variety of anti-monarchical thought in the ancient world, before investigating how writers and thinkers of early modern times resorted to this ancient repertory of themes, motifs, and arguments in exemplary moments of crisis: the English Civil War, the American War of Independence, and the French Revolution. As such, the seminar also offers a case study of the dynamic of reception of ancient ideas on the threshold of modernity.