Populism and the Roman Republic: Demagogues, Democracy and the Limits of Debate

Public lecture, Tuesday, 7 February, 6:00
Venue: Forum Theatre (Level 1, North Wing), Arts West, The University of Melbourne

Professor Catherine Steel, University of Glasgow

The Roman Republic was a political system which combined direct participatory democracy with a restricted and wealthy political class who monopolised public office and sought to direct policy through the Roman Senate. Political life was marked by deep divisions in policy and method, between those who worked through the elite and those who appealed directly to the people. The resulting clashes became increasingly violent until the Republic ended in the first century B.C. to be replaced, after prolonged civil war, with a monarchy. In this lecture, Professor Steel analyses the political and constitutional factors which underpinned this complex and frequently unstable system and explores the range of solutions which the Romans sought to adopt to protect and sustain their fragile Republican system.

Catherine Steel is Professor of Classics at the University of Glasgow, where she has worked since 1999. Prior to that she completed a BA and DPhil at the University of Oxford. Her field of research is the political history of the Roman Republic, with a particular focus on oratory and political communication. She edited the Cambridge Companion to Cicero and is the author of the third volume in the Edinburgh History of Ancient Rome (The End of the Roman Republic, 146-44 B.C.: Conquest and Crisis); she is currently working on a new edition of the Fragments of Republican Roman Oratory, as part of a project funded by the European Research Council.

Download the flyer.

Free event, please register at URL http://alumni.online.unimelb.edu.au/CatherineSteel.

Immediately prior to this lecture, a brief Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Classical Association of Victoria (CAV) will take place, beginning at 5:55 pm. The AGM will include the election of office bearers.