Non-domination and the libera res publica in Cicero's Republicanism

Journal Article (Journal Article)

This paper assesses to what extent the neo-Republican accounts of Quentin Skinner and Philip Pettit adequately capture the nature of political liberty at Rome by focusing on Cicero's analysis of the libera res publica. Cicero's analysis in De Republica suggests that the rule of law and a modest menu of individual citizens’ rights guard against citizens being controlled by a master's arbitrary will, thereby ensuring the status of non-domination that constitutes freedom according to the neo-Republican view. He also shows the difficulty of anchoring an argument for citizens’ full political participation in the value of non-domination. While Cicero believed such full participation (by elite citizens) was essential for a libera res publica, he, like other elite Romans, argued for participation on the basis of liberty conceived as the space to contend for and enhance one's social status. The sufficiency of the rule of law and citizens’ rights for securing a status of non-domination taken together with their insufficiency for ensuring a libera res publica suggests that neo-Republican accounts of liberty do not fully capture the idea as articulated in Cicero's Republicanism.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Atkins, JW

Published Date

  • August 18, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 44 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 756 - 773

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0191-6599

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/01916599.2018.1513705

Citation Source

  • Scopus