Past Workshops
Ancient Republics

Ancient Republics: An International Workshop


  • Emily Fletcher (Philosophy)
  • Adrienne Hagen (Classics)
  • Daniel Kapust (Political Science)
  • Grant Nelsestuen (Classics)

Contact: Grant Nelsestuen ( or Daniel Kapust (

“Republicanism” has become an increasingly important area of inquiry for a variety of academic fields, but what do we exactly mean when we speak of the ancient “republic”?  This series of international workshops seeks to establish a basis for investigation into this question by pursuing ancient republics of the Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds, republicanism, and the “political sphere” (res publica) from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including classics, history, material culture, philosophy, and political theory.  It seeks (a) to understand the broader historical contexts for the ancient republic, including the relationship with other related ancient forms of civic governance and regimes; (b) to develop the institutional frameworks of ancient republics (imagined and real), including the roles that education, offices and magistracies, assemblies, law, and the courts played in their design and expression; and (c) to provide an account of the significance of ancient republics for early modern and modern approaches to philosophy, political theory, and ethics, especially in so-called “republicanism” as developed by Skinner and Pettit and “civic humanism” as formulated by Arendt and Rahe.   

The workshop at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which is the second of three installments and will be held in late Spring of 2015, focuses on the Roman Republic, the modalities of its jurisprudence, and its theoretical, intellectual, and cultural underpinnings .  The first installment will be held at Durham University, Durham, UK (in November 2014) and will focus on republics and related forms of government in ancient Greece and the Near East, while the third will take place at the University of California-San Diego (projected for late 2015-early 2016) and will consider the value of the previous discussions for modern philosophical and theoretical approaches to “republicanism” and “humanism.”  The workshop will itself benefit from a mixed constitution, with a portion devoted to individual presentations related to the assigned topics, and another portion devoted to group reading and discussion of selected ancient Greek and Roman texts, including some not often discussed in the context of republics and republicanism.


To receive event updates and participate in related conversations, or to get the password for protected readings, please e-mail Grant Nelsestuen ( or Daniel Kapust (

Full schedule and information available at