1st Edition

Liberty Ancient Ideas and Modern Perspectives

Edited By Valentina Arena Copyright 2021
    198 Pages
    by Routledge

    198 Pages
    by Routledge

    Liberty: Ancient Ideas and Modern Perspectives is the first study of the ancient notions of liberty in the interconnected societies of the Ancient Near East, Greece, Rome, and Byzantium and how they relate to modern political theory.

    This volume gathers the work of historians of antiquity, whose specialisms are geographically and temporally diverse, together with political theorists and legal and political philosophers interested in conceptions of liberty. Together they discuss the rival understandings of liberty in antiquity and the potential offerings of these ancient societies to our contemporary intellectual world. This book aims to broaden our understanding of the conceptual articulations of liberty in the ancient world, from beyond the Graeco-Roman world to other ancient societies to which this world was connected; and to shed light on rival understandings of liberty in antiquity and the role these might play in the current thinking about this concept.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the journal, History of European Ideas.

    1. Ancient history and contemporary political theory: the case of liberty

    Valentina Arena

    2. Liberty, bondage and liberation in the Late Bronze Age

    Eva von Dassow

    3. ‘Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof!’ Reading Leviticus 25:10 through the centuries

    Jonathan Stökl

    4. Placing Plato in the history of liberty

    Melissa Lane

    5. Freedom, ethical choice and the Hellenistic polis

    Benjamin Gray

    6. Non-domination and the libera res publica in Cicero’s Republicanism

    Jed Atkins

    7. Religion, toleration, and religious liberty in republican empire

    Clifford Ando

    8. The idea of freedom in the writings of non-Chalcedonian Christians in the fifth and sixth centuries

    Philip Wood

    9. Political freedom in Byzantium: the rhetoric of liberty and the periodization of Roman history

    Anthony Kaldellis

    10. The liberties of the ancients: a roundtable with Kinch Hoekstra and Quentin Skinner

    Kinch Hoekstra and Quentin Skinner


    Valentina Arena is Reader in Roman History at University College London, UK. Her work focuses on the history of ancient ideas and ancient political thought as well as the wider intellectual landscape of the Roman Republic, with a particular interest in the fields of Roman oratory and antiquarianism. She is the author of Libertas and the Practice of Politics in the late Roman Republic (Cambridge University Press 2012) and has edited and co-edited volumes on Roman political culture, Varro and the antiquarian tradition. Her essays have appeared in a wide range of scholarly journals and edited volumes. She is currently the Principal Investigator of the ERC funded research project Ordering, Constructing, Empowering: Fragments of the Roman Republican Antiquarians.