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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: March ::
Re: Julius Caesar's Protagonist
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0447  Tuesday, 11 March 2003

[1]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
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        Date:   Thursday, 06 Mar 2003 08:12:37 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0424 Re: Julius Caesar's Protagonist

[2]     From:   Hugh Grady <
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        Date:   Thursday, 6 Mar 2003 09:22:19 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.0424 Re: Julius Caesar's Protagonist


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 06 Mar 2003 08:12:37 -0500
Subject: 14.0424 Re: Julius Caesar's Protagonist
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0424 Re: Julius Caesar's Protagonist

Claude Caspar <
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 > wrote,

>Caesar was not just a link in the chain.  Though the Civil Wars were to
>become a great crux of Roman thought, even under Empire, Caesar broke
>the back of the Republic.

And Marius and Sulla did not?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh Grady <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 6 Mar 2003 09:22:19 -0500
Subject: 14.0424 Re: Julius Caesar's Protagonist
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.0424 Re: Julius Caesar's Protagonist

The short answer to the query about sources for Renaissance humanist
ideas of (republican) liberty is, I believe, Livy and Tacitus--the first
more hagiographic, the second more analytic and critical, but both
heavily invested in a story of a virtuous early Roman republic of
liberty, a later degenerate empire in need of renovation. The best
exemplar of Renaissance humanist construction and amplification of these
attitudes is Machiavelli's "Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus
Livius," read by many as a Tacitean re-write of Livy and still a
stunning book, particularly for anyone familiar only with "The Prince."
Its key terms are the binary pair "liberty" and "corruption," and J.G.
A. Pocock, in his celebrated 1975 book "The Machiavellian Moment,"
showed how it introduced the discourse that led in England to
Commonwealth republicanism and eventually to the republican ideals of
the American Revolution. One of the most cited studies of this influence
in 16th-century England is the historian Blair Worden, "Classical
Republicanism and the Puritan Revolution" in Lloyd-Jones, Pearl and
Worden (eds.), "History and Imagination: Essays in Honor of
...Trevor-Roper" (1981). Worden focuses on the Sidney family and its
political successor the Essex faction in this connection. I wish I could
say read all about this in my "Shakespeare, Machiavelli, and Montaigne,"
but these issues are only glanced at there since my focus was on "The
Prince" and the consequences of its instrumental rationality, whereas
"The Discourses" is a much more "value-laden" document.

--Hugh Grady

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