1st Edition

Antonio Gramsci and the Ancient World

Edited By Emilio Zucchetti, Anna Maria Cimino Copyright 2021
    402 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    402 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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.

    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


    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

    "Capita più raramente, insomma, di vedere una grande casa editrice pubblicare un’opera sul mondo greco o romano in cui sia dichiarata, e coerentemente sviluppata, la “epistemologia” cui l’autore si ispira, ovverosia i fondamenti teorici in base ai quali vengono ripresi in esame determinati aspetti della cultura antica. Eppure è soltanto così, sulla base di robusti modelli di pensiero, che la ricerca e la comprensione del passato può non solo progredire, ma rendersi nuova e interessante. Colpisce dunque vedere una casa editrice importante, come Routledge, che pubblica un volume in cui le categorie (gramsciane) che animano le singole ricerche sono dichiarate e sviluppate." - Maurizio Bettini, La Repubblica

    [It is much rarer to see a large publisher releasing a work about the Greek and Roman world whose authors’ "epistemology" (i.e. the theoretical foundation through which certain aspects of ancient culture are observed) is declared and consistently developed. Yet it is only in this way, based on robust thought patterns, that research and understanding of the past can not only progress, but become new and interesting. It is therefore striking seeing an important publisher, such as Routledge, releasing a volume in which the (Gramscian) categories animating the specific pieces of research are declared and developed.]

    "[This book] gathers a miscellany of fourteen essays by scholars who share an interest in exploring possible links between the Italian thinker’s works and Classical Studies[...]presenting a variety of approaches that can be easily summarised as two main paths of analysis, which we may identify respectively as a historio-graphical and an applicational approach.
    Although they all start from the same methodological outlook, each essay con>centrates on a different aspect of the ancient world addressed by Gramscian works, either directly or indirectly. "

    -Eugenia Vitello, thersites

    "All in all, this volume provides an extensive introduction to Gramsci’s thought and its uses in contemporary historical research. However, I think the main strength of this volume is that it does not take Gramsci’s ideas as a static canon, but something that should be used and transformed in order to better describe society and its power structures. It invites reader to improve and engage, which is a wonderful and ambitious suggestion from any volume." - Bryn Mawr Classical Review