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…

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