1st Edition

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

By Carlo Pelloso Copyright 2021
    130 Pages
    by Routledge

    130 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    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.



    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.

    "[P.] provides an interesting overview of the arguments, many insights grounded in detailed knowledge of ancient legal and constitutional arrangements, and useful comparative examples from beyond the Anglosphere...[his] expertise and perspective make this an interesting addition to scholarship on the predicaments of democracy."
    - The Classical Review

    "If one follows the author on the narrow but profound path of a search for conceptual and institutional arrangements that would reduce the weight of the elites in favor of greater effective participation of the people, one is rewarded with beautiful and concise analyses of Greek democracy and the tribunate of the people in Rome. "
    -Hinnerk Bruhns, Anabases