Constitutional Republic - History - Classical Republics

Classical Republics

The concept of the "republic" itself was not a meaningful concept in the classical world. There are a number of states of the classical era that are today called republics by convention. These include the city states of ancient Greece such as Athens and Sparta, the Roman Republic and Carthage. The structure and governance of these states was very different from that of any modern republic. There is a debate about whether the classical, medieval, and modern republics form a historical continuum. JGA Pocock has played a central role, arguing that there is a distinct republican tradition that stretches from the classical world to the present. Other scholars disagree. Paul Rahe, for instance, argues that the classical republics had a form of government with few links to those in any modern country.

The political philosophy of the classical republics have had a central influence on republican thought throughout the subsequent centuries. A number of classical writers discussed forms of government alternative to monarchies and later writers have treated these as foundational works on the nature of republics. Philosophers and politicians advocating for republics, such as Machiavelli, Montesquieu, Adams, and Madison, relied heavily on these sources.

Aristotle's Politics discusses various forms of government. One form Aristotle named politeia, which consisted of a mixture of the other forms. He argued that this was one of the ideal forms of government. Polybius expanded on many of these ideas, again focusing on the idea of mixed government. The most important Roman work in this tradition is Cicero's De re publica.

Over time, the classical republics were either conquered by empires or became ones themselves. Most of the Greek republics were annexed to the Macedonian Empire of Alexander. The Roman Republic expanded dramatically conquering the other states of the Mediterranean that could be considered republics, such as Carthaginian Republic. The Roman Republic itself then became the Roman Empire.

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Other articles related to "classical, republic":

History Of Europe
... The period known as classical antiquity began with the rise of the city-states of Ancient Greece ... traditionally founded in 753 BC, would grow to become the Roman Republic in 509 BC, and would succeed Greek culture as the dominant Mediterranean civilization ... the rule of Julius Caesar led to reorganization of the Republic into the Roman Empire ...

Famous quotes containing the words republics and/or classical:

    Royalty is a government in which the attention of the nation is concentrated on one person doing interesting actions. A Republic is a government in which that attention is divided between many, who are all doing uninteresting actions. Accordingly, so long as the human heart is strong and the human reason weak, Royalty will be strong because it appeals to diffused feeling, and Republics weak because they appeal to the understanding.
    Walter Bagehot (1826–1877)

    Several classical sayings that one likes to repeat had quite a different meaning from the ones later times attributed to them.
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749–1832)