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Ritualization and Political Agency in the Late Roman Republic

Abstract : Cicero’s Philippics provide a useful case study of the interrelationship of different modes of ritualization: linguistic, religious, and political. In Cicero’s view mastery of ritualized protocols establishes political agency, and their violation by Antony marks his opposition to the entire project of republicanism. Cicero’s exercise of political agency at a moment of extreme duress makes clear his understanding of the republic as a ritualized entity. Analysis of the Philippics thus complicates the modern distinctions between religion, political action, and eloquent speech retroactively imposed upon the Roman material and allows us instead to interpret the Roman republic as a set of interlocking ritualized practices in accord with anthropological and evolutionary accounts of community formation.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02093249
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Submitted on : Monday, April 8, 2019 - 5:25:43 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 1:09:30 AM

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Thomas Habinek. Ritualization and Political Agency in the Late Roman Republic. Mètis - Anthropologie des mondes grecs anciens, Daedalus/EHESS, 2012, Dossier : Serments et paroles efficaces, N.S.10, pp.109-119. ⟨10.4000/books.editionsehess.2691⟩. ⟨halshs-02093249⟩

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