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Inspired Leaders versus Emerging Nations: Varro’s and Cicero’s Views on Early Rome

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Chapter Summary

This paper aims at contrasting Cicero’s and Varro’s conceptualization of the foundation of Rome and the genesis of the Roman state as an instance of competing cultures of memory in late Republican Rome; whereas Cicero’s approach might be described as stressing graduality, intentionality, and the relevance of superior individuals, Varro leaves room for discontinuity and unintentional emergence; Cicero aligns himself with the traditional, nobilitarian culture of memory in Republican Rome, whereas Varro presents himself rather as an ‘archeologist’. These different attitudes can be understood within the theoretical framework of a competition between ‘memory and history’ as formulated by Pierre Nora.



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