Roman Ideas on the Loose

Benjamin Straumann


In this essay, I first discuss the Roman concept of civil war and compare it to the Greek concept of internal discord (stasis). I then go on to offer some thoughts on the methodological implications of long-term intellectual history and the role concepts and institutions play in it. The essay concludes by discouraging the hunt for contingency, but encouraging historians to write about the ideas and institutional arrangements that have been devised over the long term in response to the breakdown of political and social order.

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