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April 11-13, 2014

People, politics and res publica: strategy and ideology in Republican Rome

University College London, England

How did politics in the Roman Republic actually work? This colloquium, part of the European Research Council-funded project ‘The Fragments of the Republican Roman Orators’ based at the University of Glasgow (www.frro.gla.ac.uk), seeks to explore this question.

Themes to discuss include factionalism and networking, political careers, ideology, bureaucracy, speakers and audience, and the relationship between mass and elite. Lobbying and networking were inescapable elements of the political landscape, but how are we to understand the nature and impact of personal alliances in Roman Republican politics? How exactly did politicians manage their public careers, explain successes and failures, and negotiate the unpredictable elements in a highly competitive political environment? What was involved in claiming to be popularis, or in having that label imposed by others? Writing speeches for others may not have been widespread, but can we detect a bureaucracy of clerks, researchers, and coaches behind the polished public facades and eloquent speeches presented by Roman politicians? What were the factors which influenced audience responses to Roman politicians, whether speaking or silent, and in what ways did discrete events form individual careers, programmes of action and recognisable political groupings?

Keynote speakers are Anna Clark, Claudia Tiersch, and Alexander Yakobson.

Proposals (300 words max.) for 25 minute papers on these or any other relevant topics should be submitted to Professor Catherine Steel (catherine.steel@glasgow.ac.uk) or Dr Henriette van der Blom (henriette.vanderblom@glasgow.ac.uk) by September 13th 2013. Programme decisions will be made by the end of October 2013.


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