Leadership and Initiative in Late Republican and Early Imperial Rome


What does it mean to be a leader? This collection of seventeen studies breaks new ground in our understanding of leadership in ancient Rome by re-evaluating the difference between those who began a political action and those who followed or reacted. In a significant change of approach, this volume shifts the focus from archetypal “leaders” to explore the potential for individuals of different ranks, social statuses, ages, and genders to seize initiative. In so doing, the contributors provide new insight into the ways in which the ability to initiate communication, invent solutions, and prompt others to act resonated in critical moments of Roman history.

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Roman M. Frolov (Ph.D. 2013, Lomonosov Moscow State University) is Lecturer in Ancient History at P.G. Demidov Yaroslavl State University, Russia. He has published extensively on contiones, magistrates-elect, the suspension from office, and promagistrates in the Roman Republic.
Christopher Burden-Strevens (Ph.D. 2015, University of Glasgow) is Lecturer in Roman History at the University of Kent. He has published numerous studies on Roman historiography, most recently his monograph Cassius Dio’s Speeches and the Collapse of the Roman Republic (2020).

Contributors are: Henriette van der Blom, Christopher Burden-Strevens, Vera V. Dementyeva, Roman M. Frolov, Oliver Grote, Wolfgang Havener, Karl-J. Hölkeskamp, Alexander V. Makhlaiuk, Hannah Mitchell, Kit Morrell, Katarina Nebelin, Josiah Osgood, Tassilo Schmitt, Catherine Steel, Claudia Tiersch, Lewis Webb, Alexander Yakobson.
List of Figures
List of Abbreviations
Notes on Contributors

1 Introduction
Roman M. Frolov

Part 1 Locating Political Initiative in Republican Rome

2 Governing a City-State: Magistrates, Assemblies, and Public Space in Republican Rome
Karl-J. Hölkeskamp

3 Public Opinion and Political Initiative in Republican Rome
Alexander Yakobson

Part 2 Seniority and Status as Factors of Political Agency

4 Acting Up: The Post of Master of the Mint as an Early-Career Move in the Late Republic
Christopher Burden-Strevens

5 Consulars, Political Office, and Leadership in the Middle and Late Republic
Catherine Steel

Part 3 Women’s Initiative in Roman Politics

6 Female Interventions in Politics in the libera res publica: Structures and Practices
Lewis Webb

7 Urgulania, Plancina, and Livia: Women’s Initiative in Early Imperial Politics
Josiah Osgood

Part 4 Political Initiative in Emergencies

8 “He Took Care of the City and Supported It”: Initiative as a Prerequisite for Fabius’ cunctatio
Tassilo Schmitt

9 Political Initiative during interregna in the Late Roman Republic
Vera V. Dementyeva

Part 5 Leadership at a Time of Change

10 Leadership through Letters: Cicero and Cassius’ Correspondence in 44–43 bce
Henriette van der Blom

11 The Dynamics of Elite Agency in a Post-Caesar World (44–31 bce)
Hannah Mitchell

12 Seizing Initiative in the Sphere domi: Magistrates, Promagistrates, and the Senate at the Outset of 32 bce
Roman M. Frolov

Part 6 Fighting for Initiative

13 Potentiality through Conflict: Political Initiatives, Conflict, and the Political Evolution of the Roman Republic
Oliver Grote

14 Losing the Lead: The Crisis of the Late Roman Republic as a Crisis of Senatorial Leadership
Claudia Tiersch

Part 7 Political Initiative outside of Rome

15 Late Republican Local Rebellions and Marches against Rome: Agency and Initiative in the “Catilinarian Insurgency”
Katarina Nebelin

16 Petitioning for Change in the Republican Empire
Kit Morrell

Part 8 Political Initiative and Leadership in Military Contexts

17 Omnia deinde arbitrio militum acta: Political Initiative and Agency of the Army in Late-Republican and Early Imperial Rome
Alexander V. Makhlaiuk

18 The Emperor and His Generals: Military Agency in the Early Principate
Wolfgang Havener

This collection will be of interest to all students and specialists in the politics of Late Republican and Early Imperial Rome, especially those interested in innovative, sub-elite and/or non-male approaches to the period.
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