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Hearsay, History, and Heresy


Collected Essays on the Roman Republic by Richard E. Mitchell


Edited with an Introduction by Randall Howarth
A collection of articles by Richard E. Mitchell presenting all the major historiographical problems scholars encounter in reconstructing the early Republic. Mitchell was one of the first scholars to question the practice of taking the broad outlines of the accounts handed down by Roman historians (writing hundreds of years later) at face value in writing modern accounts of the period.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-59333-642-4
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jun 14,2013
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 380
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-59333-642-4
$177.00

A selection of articles by Richard E. Mitchell concerning the origins and development of the ancient Roman state and the modern historiography that supports our understanding of that history. The publication of these articles in a single volume provides a comprehensive commentary on the assumptions governing modern reconstructions of the period and the problems informing those assumptions. An introduction to the volume and commentary are provided by one of Mitchell's PhD students, Randall S. Howarth.

The social and institutional history of the Roman Republic, especially that of its earliest years, is one of the most problematic and convoluted areas of study in the ancient world. Modern scholars have tended to assume that the broad outlines of the traditions transmitted by the Romans should be taken at face value, despite their invention hundreds of years after the fact. The inevitable result is that the dominant modern narrative contains a core of assumptions of dubious historicity. While some scholars have made significant attempts to correct portions of the obviously flawed narrative, virtually none have gone so far as to question its most fundamental elements.

Mitchell’s work has always done exactly this and when originally published, many of his arguments were regarded as radical. Nevertheless, over the last twenty years or so, scholarly consensus has inexorably moved toward Mitchell. This collection traces the development of Mitchell’s thought processes and highlights the most important evidence.

A selection of articles by Richard E. Mitchell concerning the origins and development of the ancient Roman state and the modern historiography that supports our understanding of that history. The publication of these articles in a single volume provides a comprehensive commentary on the assumptions governing modern reconstructions of the period and the problems informing those assumptions. An introduction to the volume and commentary are provided by one of Mitchell's PhD students, Randall S. Howarth.

The social and institutional history of the Roman Republic, especially that of its earliest years, is one of the most problematic and convoluted areas of study in the ancient world. Modern scholars have tended to assume that the broad outlines of the traditions transmitted by the Romans should be taken at face value, despite their invention hundreds of years after the fact. The inevitable result is that the dominant modern narrative contains a core of assumptions of dubious historicity. While some scholars have made significant attempts to correct portions of the obviously flawed narrative, virtually none have gone so far as to question its most fundamental elements.

Mitchell’s work has always done exactly this and when originally published, many of his arguments were regarded as radical. Nevertheless, over the last twenty years or so, scholarly consensus has inexorably moved toward Mitchell. This collection traces the development of Mitchell’s thought processes and highlights the most important evidence.

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Contributor Biography

Randall Howarth

Randall S. Howarth is an Associate Professor of History at Mercyhurst College, Erie PA. He studied under Richard E. Mitchell at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and received his PhD there in 1997. His publications center on the Roman Republic, its institutions, and the evolution of the Roman historical tradition.

  • Dedication (page 5)
  • Table of Contents (page 7)
  • Abbreviations (page 9)
  • The Assumption Is...Ž An Introduction by Randall S. Howarth (page 11)
  • The Fourth Century Origin of Roman Didrachms (page 23)
  • Roman-Carthaginian Treaties: 306 and 279/8 B.C. (page 57)
  • Hoard Evidence and Early Roman Coinage (page 89)
  • The Aristocracy of the Roman Republic (page 111)
  • Historical Development in Livy (page 157)
  • Roman History, Roman Law, and Roman Priests: The Common Ground (page 183)
  • The Historical and Historiographical Prominence of the Pyrrhic War (page 207)
  • The Struggle of the OrdersŽ is a Fiction (page 233)
  • Demands for Land Redistribution and Debt Reduction in the Roman Republic (page 273)
  • Ager Publicus: Public Property and Private Wealth During the Roman Republic (page 295)
  • What Exactly is TraditionŽ in the Context of Roman Republican History? (page 329)
  • The Role of Maritime Colonies in Roman Expansion (page 343)
  • Works Cited (page 355)
  • Index (page 379)
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