Roman Political Thought and Its Modern Legacy

CLST 278

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: 
Paganism, Christianity
Relevance to other majors: 
In examining Roman political life and its relevance to modern democracies, this course will touch on topics important not only to history and political science majors but also to anyone interested in ethics, law, public policy, and the transmission of ideas across millennia.
278
Faculty: 

Thomas J.B. Cole, tjc38@duke.edu

Crosslisting Numbers: 
HISTORY 262, ETHICS 276, POLSCI 278
Areas of Knowledge: 
CZ
Modes of Inquiry: 
CCI, EI
Film, Visual & Performing Arts?
No
Literature in Translation?
Yes