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The Heart of Rome

Ancient Rome's Political Culture

Jan H. Blits

The essays in this book examine the political activities and institutions of pre-Imperial Rome in conjunction with the habits of the hearts and the minds of the Romans. Relying on the writings of ancient authors, the essays analyze significant political developments and events. They attempt to draw out the meaning of what the authors say and impose no theory on the ancient writings. Nor do they pursue the methodological techniques of contemporary historiography. While avoiding such common present-day anachronisms, they take their guidance directly from the ancient historians themselves and examine their understanding of Rome’s political history and culture. Harking back to the ancient view that a political culture or regime is both a city’s form of government and its way of life, the essays, trying to be true to the full character of Roman political life, seek to understand the political activities and the souls of the Romans, and to understand each in the light of the other. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 216Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7391-8920-7 • Hardback • December 2013 • $84.00 • (£54.95)
978-1-4985-3224-2 • Paperback • December 2015 • $39.99 • (£24.95)
978-0-7391-8921-4 • eBook • December 2013 • $37.99 • (£24.95)
Jan H. Blits is professor in the University Honors Program at the University of Delaware.

1. Rome and the Sea
2. Hannibal and Roman Blunders
3. The Power of Spectacle
4. Roman Memory and Time
5. Public Life, Private Virtue: The Roman Censorship
6. The Decay of Politics and the Growth of Philosophy
7. Endemic Monarchism and Emergent Caesarism

Appendix 1; Who’s Who
Appendix 2: Timeline of Events
[This book] is a rich and engaging study of Roman beliefs, attitudes, and values that makes sense of the political choices that Romans were inclined to make and illuminates the broader complexion of their political world. . . .All of these essays are a delight to read, and together they provide a lively and encompassing picture of the Roman psyche. . . .Heart of Romeis a book worthy of its subject matter and a great asset to readers looking to familiarize themselves with this extraordinary city.
Review of Politics

Professor Blits offers erudite and provocative readings of the ancient sources to illuminate the political culture of Rome as well as the aspirations of its citizens. His depiction of Rome is one that will be sure to fascinate all those who wish to fathom the full range of possibilities for political life.
Vickie B. Sullivan, Tufts University