Sallust's theorem: a comment on ‘fear’ in western political thought

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Let me hasten to affirm that this essay, despite its title, is not so much about Sallust as it is a way of examining a specific constellation of ideas. I have used his conception of Roman social change because it seems to bring into focus a prudential commonplace rooted in Greek and Roman culture. No doubt Sallust's views had a strong formative effect on subsequent social and political thought, but I shall make no effort to explore and define this influence. I have simply chosen ‘Sallust's Theorem’ as a point of departure, a heuristic device encapsulating and emphasizing an important notion of ancient antecedents which, together with its ramifications, may possibly illuminate a significant and neglected aspect of early modern political thought.

Keywords: Augustine; Bodin; Hobbes; Machiavelli; Rome; Sallust; Sallust's Theorem

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: York University, Toronto.

Publication date: January 1, 1995

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