To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
This chapter explores the crises of the Roman and American republics. Understanding these crises requires that we view politics as an arena of identity contestation rather than simply interest articulation. What changes in both Rome and the United States is that participants came to see each other as Strangers, no longer sharing the same background assumptions, the same sense of the past, nor the same anticipation of the future. Borne of distrust, norms of getting things down turned into norms of obstruction. This had implications for how politics was experienced. The changes in these norms not only disabled these institutions, making them unable to actualize a future, but also made possible alterations in the political framework that might have been inconceivable before. In particular, one sees the elevation of individuals who offered solutions by promising to bypass those ineffective and unresponsive institutions. That is, as institutions and processes become distant abstractions that no longer answer to fundamental questions of the future of the community, the individual becomes the tangible personification of politics, answering these questions in a singular voice.
Cicero claims to represent all right-thinking citizens, the boni, associated with an ideology of traditionalism, as opposed to the populares, whom he describes as a few seditious and degenerate outliers. This reflects a partisan rhetoric associated with the so-called optimates, even though it rests on the paradoxical claim that there are not two similar parties at all. In De Domo Sua and Pro Sestio, Cicero’s partisan rhetoric construes the optimates as having a monopoly on legitimacy, particularly on the legitimate use of violence as a political tool. In a letter to his brother in 56 BCE, Cicero gives a revealing report of an episode in which Clodius and Pompey were addressing simultaneous, partisan contiones. In the Philippics Cicero reflects on the role of factions in the 50s and attempts to resurrect his polarizing rhetoric in order to brand Antony a popularis and therefore an undesirable leader.
Cicero claims strength in numbers and the moral high ground for his political views by citing demonstrations of his popularity. Cicero claims popular support for his actions, especially when facing “popular” or populist opponents, but is careful to explain that he is not acting with the levitas of a stereotypical demagogue or popularis in doing so. In Post Reditum ad Populum, De Domo Sua, and Pro Sestio he points to real demonstrations of mass support for his recall and political career as a source of validation. He argues that his supporters on these occasions are the “true” Roman people, as opposed to Clodius’ masses of supporters, whom he dismisses as mercenaries or slaves. He repeats this strategy in Philippics 1, 6, and 7. In Pro Plancio he speaks as the populus itself in a prosopopoeia, emphasizing the people’s power over the republic.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.