woensdag 11 september 2013


Over the past decades, ‘classical republicanism’ has become an indispensable term of analysis in scholarship on the history of early modern political thought. The importance of the classical world to republican theorists from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, from Machiavelli to Madison, has been firmly established. Yet all too often the role of the ancient world in early modern republican thought is described in rather abstract and general terms. Much work therefore remains to be done on the specific ways in which particular classical models were used in early modern republican contexts.

This conference studies the role of concrete and specific ancient republican models in the political thought of early modern republics. It focuses on the ways in which ancient republics such as the  Hebrew Commonwealth, Athens, Sparta, Carthage and Rome helped shape the republican political imagination in the Italian city-state republics, the Swiss Eidgenossenschaft, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Republic of the United Provinces, the English Republic under Cromwell, and the revolutionary republics of the late eighteenth century, including the USA. Bringing together scholars from different backgrounds, the conference crosses disciplinary boundaries and integrates the approaches of historians, art historians and literary historians.

Thursday 14 November

10h Welcome and Introduction

Benjamin Straumann (NYU) – The Roman Republican Constitution from the Principate to the Renaissance
Jacques Bos (Amsterdam) – The Model of Rome in Florentine Historiography and the Problem of Renaissance Historicism
William Stenhouse (Yeshiva University) – Republican Models in Late Renaissance Histories of Ancient Greece

Guido Bartolucci (University of Calabria) – The Hebrew Republic in the Political Debate of Sixteenth-Century Europe: The Struggle for Jurisdiction

Arthur Weststeijn (Rome) – Commonwealths for Preservation, Commonwealths for Increase: Debating Ancient Rome in Venice and the Dutch Republic

Jaap Nieuwstraten (Rotterdam) – A League of Cities, a League of Nations: The Use of the Classical Example of the Achaean League in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic

Thomas Maissen (Heidelberg/Paris) – The Classical Past in the Swiss Confederation

Friday 15 November

Tomasz Gromelski (Oxford) – ‘Classical Republicanism’ and Early Modern Poland-Lithuania

Freyja Cox Jensen (Exeter) – Reading the Roman Republic in Early Modern England
Christine Zabel (Heidelberg/Essen) – From a Failed Republic to a Polite Polis: Ancient Athens and the English Commonwealth

Eran Shalev (Jerusalem) – The Ancient Pasts in the American Revolution 

Wyger Velema (Amsterdam) – Ancient Republics as Anti-Model in the Revolutionary Dutch Republic

Daniele di Bartolomeo (Teramo) – Fatal Attraction. The Classical Past at the Beginning of the French Revolutionary Republic (1792-1793)

Wessel Krul (Groningen) – Images of Sparta in the French Revolution

For further information, please contact the conveners:

Prof. Wyger Velema (University of Amsterdam) w.r.e.velema@uva.nl
Dr. Arthur Weststeijn (Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome) a.weststeijn@knir.it

See also the website of the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome: www.knir.it 

More on Classical Reception Studies:

Classical Receptions Interdisciplinary Research Group (University of Amsterdam)

Classical Reception Studies Network (The Open University) 

The Legacy of Greek Political Thought (University of Reading)