Meaningful Differences?

Perhaps not.  I’m worrying about how RRC 234/1 differentiates its oath swearing scene from its prototype and whether those differences are meaningful or just ‘sloppy’.  So for instance the two figures present less different on 234/1.  Does the left hand figure have beard?  Is he not wearing armor?  Why was the right hand figure’s spear pointing down on the original? etc…


Consequences of Empire

Gellius Attic Nights 6.3.6

 Cato’s own words, as follows: “And I really think that the Rhodians did not wish us to end the war as we did, with a victory over king Perses. But it was not the Rhodians alone who had that feeling, but I believe that many peoples and many nations agreed with them. And I am inclined to think that some of them did not wish us success, not in order that we might be disgraced, but because they feared that if there were no one of whom we stood in dread, we would do whatever we chose. I think, then, that it was with an eye to their own freedom that they held that opinion, in order not to be under our sole dominion and enslaved to us. But for all that, the Rhodians never publicly aided Perses. Reflect how much more cautiously we deal with one another as individuals. For each one of us, if he thinks that anything is being done contrary to his interests, strives with might and main to prevent it; but they in spite of all permitted this very thing to happen.”

I want to think about this more in future as it relates Polybius’ project in extending his histories by 10 books and in the debates over the destruction of Carthage found in other authors…

Constitutional Forms: Mixed vs. Balanced

Derow taught not to talk of Rome (at least so far as Polybius’ Bk 6 goes) of a mixed constitution (a little of this, a little of that), but instead as balanced.  He didn’t mean this so much as checks and balances but more the balancing act of not letting the anacyclosis (the cycle of constitutions) role on to the next form: monarchy to tyranny to aristocracy to oligarchy to democracy to ochlocracy.  Rome was (precariously) balanced: the wheel wasn’t rolling (yet).

That’s background (and how I teach the republican government a la Polybius most semesters).

This blog post is because I just read again a sentence from the Cicero’s Republic (2.42):

For those elements which I have mentioned were combined (mixta) in our State as it was then, and in those of the Spartans and Carthaginians, in such a way that there was no balance (temperata) whatever.

I’ve never thought my views (via Derow’s) of aligned with those of Cicero’s…