Roman Political Thought and Its Modern Legacy

CLST 278S

What can the Romans teach us about politics? The Roman world developed political ideas of lasting significance, from the consequential constitutional notions of the separation of powers, political legitimacy, and individual rights to key concepts in international relations, such as imperialism, just war theory, and cosmopolitanism. The Romans addressed issues that remain matters of great political concern and debate in contemporary politics, including the expansion of citizenship, the freedom of dissenting political speech, the toleration of minority religions, and the balance between individual liberty and the collective security.  In this course, we will consider these and other important ideas and debates in their original contexts, trace their evolution across all major periods of Roman history, and examine Christianity’s important contributions to their development. Using the politics and political thought of the United States as a case study, we will also explore the relevance of Roman political thought for modern liberal democracies.

Explore the culture and customs of these countries: 
Italy
Explore these religions: 
Christianity, Paganism
Relevance to other majors: 
The courses will appeal to history and political science majors by offering an exercise in comparative politics and political theory through the lens of an important and powerful historical regime.
Faculty: 

Jed Atkins, jed.atkins@duke.edu

Crosslisting Numbers: 
HISTORY 233, ETHICS 276S, POLSCI 278S
Areas of Knowledge: 
CCI, CZ
Modes of Inquiry: 
EI
Film, Visual & Performing Arts?
No
Literature in Translation?
Yes