Antonio Gramsci and the Ancient World  book cover
1st Edition

Antonio Gramsci and the Ancient World

ISBN 9780367193140
Published June 15, 2021 by Routledge
402 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Antonio Gramsci and the Ancient World explores the relationship between the work of the Italian Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci and the study of classical antiquity.

The collection of essays engages with Greek and Roman history, literature, society, and culture, offering a range of perspectives and approaches building on Gramsci’s theoretical insights, especially from his Prison Notebooks. The volume investigates both Gramsci’s understanding and reception of the ancient world, including his use of ancient sources and modern historiography, and the viability of applying some of his key theoretical insights to the study of Greek and Roman history and literature. The chapters deal with the ideas of hegemony, passive revolution, Caesarism, and the role of intellectuals in society, offering a complex and diverse exploration of this intersection.

With its fascinating mixture of topics, this volume will be of great interest to students and scholars of classics, ancient history, classical reception studies, Marxism and history, and those studying Antonio Gramsci’s works in particular.

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables

List of Contributors



Introduction: The Reception of Gramsci’s Thought in Historical and Classical Studies
Emilio Zucchetti

1. Negotiating Hegemony in Early Greek Poetry
Laura Swift

2. Upside-down Hegemony? Ideology and Power in Ancient Athens
Mirko Canevaro

3. Gramsci and Ancient Philosophy: Prelude to a Study
Phillip Sidney Horky

4. A Gramscian Approach to Ancient Slavery
Kostas Vlassopoulos

5. The Etruscan Question. An Academic Controversy in the Prison Notebooks
Massimiliano Di Fazio

6. Polybios and the Rise of Rome. Gramscian Hegemony, Intellectuals and Passive Revolution
Emma Nicholson

7. Antonio Gramsci Between Ancient and Modern Imperialism
Michele Bellomo

8. Plebeian Tribunes and Cosmopolitan Intellectuals: Gramsci’s Approach to the Late Roman Republic
Mattia Balbo

9. Between Caesarism and Cosmopolitanism: Julius Caesar as an Historical Problem in Gramsci
Federico Santangelo

10. Gramsci and the Roman Cultural Revolution
Christopher Smith

11. Caesarism as Stasis from Gramsci to Lucan: an "Equilibrium with Catastrophic Prospects"
Elena Giusti

12. Hegemony in the Roman Principate: Perceptions of Power in Gramsci, Tacitus and Luke
Jeremy Paterson

13. Gramsci’s View of Late Antiquity: between longue durée and Discontinuity
Dario Nappo

14. Cultural Hegemonies, ‘NIE-orthodoxy’, and Social Development Models: Classicists’ ‘Organic’ Approaches to Economic History in the Early XXI Century
Cristiano Viglietti


1. The Author as Intellectual? Hints and Thoughts for a Gramscian ‘Re-reading’ of the Ancient Literatures
Anna Maria Cimino

2. Hegemony, Coercion and Consensus: A Gramscian Approach to Greek Cultural and Political History
Alberto Esu

3. Hegemony, Ideology, and Ancient History. Notes towards a Development of an Intersectional Framework
Emilio Zucchetti

General Index

Index of the Ancient Sources

Index of Gramsci’s Texts

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Emilio Zucchetti is Germanicus Scholar of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies (London, UK) and Teaching Assistant at Newcastle University, UK.

Anna Maria Cimino is a PhD student in Classics at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy.


"The authors and editors of this volume persuasively contend that this alertness to the challenges of conjunctural moments in world history that was a characteristic of the great Italian Marxist is equally insightful when applied to the ancient world. Connected to this innovative perspective is an equally enlightening examination of how Gramsci’s thoughts throughout his political career were affected by his own knowledge and understanding of the ancient world."
-Sean Ledwith, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books