1st Edition

Democracies and Republics Between Past and Future
From the Athenian Agora to e-Democracy, from the Roman Republic to Negative Power

ISBN 9780367672591
Published March 30, 2021 by Routledge
130 Pages

USD $59.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Democracies and Republics Between Past and Future focuses on the concepts of direct rule by the people in early and classical Athens and the tribunician negative power in early republican Rome – and through this lens explores current political issues in our society.  

This volume guides readers through the current constitutional systems in the Western world in an attempt to decipher the reasons and extent of the decline of the nexus between ‘elections’ and ‘democracy’; it then turns its gaze to the past in search of some answers for the future, examining early and classical Athens and, finally, early republican Rome. In discussing Athens, it explores how an authentic ‘power of the people’ is more than voting and something rather different from representation, while the examples of Rome demonstrate – thanks to the paradigm of the so-called tribunician power – the importance of institutionalised mechanisms of dialogic conflict between competing powers.  

This book will be of primary interest to scholars of legal history, both recent and ancient, and to classicists, but also to the more general reader with an interest in politics and history.

Table of Contents

Introduction. Democracies, Republics and Beyond: Challenges and Questions

Chapter 1. The Need for New Paradigms

1. The Crumbling Constitution.

2. Post-Democracy.

3. In Quest of Alternative Models.

4. From Montesquieu to the Federalist Papers

Chapter 2. Δημοκρατία: Back to the Future

1. Δημοκρατία and Democracy.

2. The Athenian Model.

3. Δημοκρατία and New Technologies: From Athens to Tomorrow?

4. Some Conclusions.

Chapter 3. Tribuni and Res Publica: At the Roots of the Concurrent Majority

1. The Social Contract and Its Roman Inspiration.

2. The Roman Tribunes.

3. The Roman Foundations of the Rousseauian Republic.

4. Negative Power: Its Ancient Paradigms and Its Modern Versions.

5. The Rousseauian and Roman Tribunate.

6. Some Conclusions.


View More



Carlo Pelloso is Associate Professor of Roman Law at the University of Verona, Italy, and Adjunct Professor of Ancient Greek Law at the University of Padua, Italy. He has been 'visiting scholar' at the Universities of Edinburgh, UK, Berlin (Freie Universität), Germany; and La Habana, Cuba. He has published more than fifty articles and four monographs on the legal experiences of the ancient Mediterranean. He is co-director of the international review RΔΕ - Review of Hellenic Law.