Introduction to the second edition

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript


While working on the first edition of The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Republic in 2004, I came face to face with the complex issues confronting a historian trying to analyze and to teach a time period (now more than 2,000 years in the past) that consists of a grand sweep of history, covering many centuries of dynamic growth and change.What is “the Roman Republic”? How should we approach and characterize this long and multifaceted time period? In this sense, The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Republic is fundamentally different from other Cambridge Companions (more than 500 titles by now), most of which treat discrete topics such as a single century, an individual author, or a single work of literature. As noted in the introduction to the first edition, because the Latin language does not have words for “the” or “a,” the Romans themselves did not speak of “the Roman Republic.” Moreover, the Latin expression res publica (from which our word republic is derived) can refer to a broad spectrum of political concepts from a state or commonwealth in general (regardless of its political culture) to a particularly Roman form of government characterized by annual election of magistrates, voting to pass legislation in assemblies of citizens, and equality of these Roman citizens before the law.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to
Subtitle of host publicationThe Roman Republic, Second Edition
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781139424783
ISBN (Print)9781107032248
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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