We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near East


Ancient Republics: An International Workshop (Part 1)

14th November 2014, 16:00 to 15th November 2014, 16:00, Department of Classics and Ancient History, Durham University, 38 North Bailey, Durham DH1 3EU

This is Part 1 of a multi-year, international workshop on Ancient Republics, to be held in Durham 14-15 November 2014 under the auspices of the Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East (CAMNE). The workshop is co-organized by Phillip Horky (Durham University), Monte Ransome Johnson (University of California - San Diego), and Grant Nelsestuen (University of Wisconsin - Madison). Part 1 is generously supported by a Global Engagement Facilitation Grant from the International Office at Durham University. Part 2, which will take place at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, is supported by the A.W. Mellon Foundation at the Center for the Humanities.

What do we mean when we speak of the ancient ‘republic’? This international workshop seeks to establish a basis for investigation into this question by pursuing ancient republics, republicanism, and the ‘political sphere’ (res publica) from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including classics, philosophy, and political theory. It seeks to develop (a) the broader historical contexts for the ancient republic, including the relationship with other related ancient forms of civic governance and regimes, especially aristocracy, oligarchy, and ‘mixed’ government; (b) the institutional frameworks of ancient republics (imagined and real), including the roles that education, offices and magistracies, assemblies, law, and the courts played in their design and expression; and (c) an account of the significance of ancient republics for contemporary approaches to philosophy, political theory, and civic ethics, especially in so-called ‘republicanism’ as developed by Skinner and Pettit and ‘civic humanism’ as formulated by Arendt and Rahe. 
This workshop will take place in three installments: the first, at Durham University, Durham, UK (14-15 November 2014), will discuss republics and related forms of government in ancient Greece and the Near East; the second, at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Madison, WI, USA (projected for late spring – early summer 2015) will focus on the Roman republic and the modalities of Roman jurisprudence; the third, at the University of California – San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA (projected for late 2015 – early 2016) will consider the value of the previous discussions for modern philosophical approaches to ‘republicanism’ and ‘humanism’. The workshop will itself benefit from a mixed economy, with a portion devoted to individual presentations related to the assigned topics, and another portion devoted to group reading and discussion of selected ancient Greek and Roman texts in their original languages, including some not often discussed in the context of republics and republicanism.
Here is the schedule of events for the first part of the workshop:
Ancient Republics: A Workshop (Part I)
Friday, 14 November - Saturday, 15 November 2014
All sessions take place at the Ritson Room (CL007)
Department of Classics and Ancient History
Durham University
38 North Bailey, Durham, DH1 3EU
Friday 14 November
Coffee/Tea/Biscuits (from 3pm, Classics and Ancient History Department Library)
Brief Introduction by Phillip Horky (4pm)
Session 1 (4pm-8pm, including break)
Chair: P.J. Rhodes (Durham University)
  • S. Roy (Haverford College): 'Republicanism in the Ancient Near East' (4pm-5:15pm)
  • C. Atack (St Hugh's College, Oxford): 'The tension between monarchy and republic in Xenophon'sCyropaedia' (5:15pm-6:30pm)
Short Break: (6:30pm-6:45pm)
  • R. Brock (University of Leeds): 'koinônia politôn politeias’: membership and participation in the polis'(6:45pm-8pm)
Saturday 15 November 
Session 2 (9:30am-12pm)
Chair: Malcolm Schofield (St. John's College, Cambridge)
  • P. S. Horky (Durham University) and M. R. Johnson (University of California-San Diego): 'A Pythagorean Republic? On Law and Justice attributed to Archytas of Tarentum' (9:30am-10:45am)
  • C. Rowe (Durham University): 'Platonic Republics' (10:45am-12pm)
Lunch 12pm-1:30pm
Session 3 (1:30pm-4pm)
Chair: A. Russell (Durham University)
  • B. Gray (University of Edinburgh): 'Hellenistic poleis' civic ideals, humanism and republicanism' (1:30pm-2:45pm)
  • V. Arena (University College London): 'The koinon of the Lycii: libertas/demokratia?' (2:45pm-4pm)
The workshop is free and open to the public. For further information, including how to register, please email the Durham organizer Phillip Horky ( 

Contact for more information about this event.