Roman Reflections: Studies in Latin Philosophy

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9780199999767: Roman Reflections: Studies in Latin Philosophy

When the Romans adopted Greek literary genres and artistic techniques, they did not slavishly imitate their models but created vibrant and original works of literature and art in their own right. The same is true for philosophy, notwithstanding the fact that the rich Roman philosophical tradition is still all too often treated as a mere footnote to the history of Greek philosophy. This volume aims to reassert the significance of Roman philosophy and to explore the "Romanness" of philosophical writings and practices in the Roman world, endeavoring to show that the Romans in their creative adaptation of Greek modes of thought developed sophisticated forms of philosophical discourse shaped by their own history and institutions, concepts, and values--and last--but not least--by the Latin language, which nearly all Roman philosophers used to express their ideas.

This volume of thirteen chapters by an international group of specialists in ancient philosophy, Latin literature, and Roman social and intellectual history moves from Roman attitudes to and practices of philosophy to the great late Republican writers Cicero and Lucretius, then onwards to the early Empire and the work of Seneca the Younger, and finally to Epictetus, Apuleius, and Augustine. Using a variety of approaches, the essays demonstrate the diversity and originality of Roman philosophical discourse over the centuries.

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About the Author:


Gareth D. Williams is Professor of Classics at Columbia University.
Katharina Volk is Professor of Classics at Columbia University.

Review:


"According to the preface, the volume was designed to answer the question, "Is there a
Latin philosophy?" It certainly succeeds in indicating the specific concerns Romans display in their philosophy as well as the distinct philosophical questions opened up by writing in their language." --Miriam Griffin, Journal of the History of Philosophy


"This volume makes a distinctive and striking contribution by focusing on the question what is Roman about Roman philosophy. The contributors make a genuine and sustained attempt to bring to bear on the subject a combination of philosophical, literary, and cultural perspectives. The result is a highly illuminating collection of new essays." --Christopher Gill, University of Exeter


"This is a wide-ranking and thought-provoking collection...the thirteen papers presented here provide (in addition to many excellent specialist discussions) a rich resource for reflection on those topics." --Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews


"This terrific collection of essays contributes to the discussion by scrutinizing philosophical arguments, historical exempla, and applications of the Latin language to philosophy that are uniquely Roman... As the contributors demonstrate, the Romans did not simply deck out Greek philosophy in the Roman toga...but rather reflected seriously upon Greek thought, and then responded to, adapted, criticized, reframed, and even altered it to suit their own interests and to appeal to a new contemporary context." -The Classical Journal


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