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The Roman censors in the renaissance political imagination

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Between about 1500 and 1620, the Roman censors were repeatedly invoked as a useful political model. Besides being discussed by antiquarians and political theorists, they were actually imitated in early sixteenth-century Venice, and figured in polemics over office-holding in early seventeenth-century France. This episode throws an interesting light on civic humanism. The censors were generally seen not as a means of creating the virtuous citizen body of classical republicanism, but as a supplement to the modern legal system, capable of creating a capable and honest class of magistrates. A few theorists even suggested that they might be adapted to promote purely economic efficiency.

Keywords: Antoine de Montchrestien; Bernard de la Roche Flavin; Carlo Sigonio; Census; Charles Loyseau; Domenico Morosini; Donato Giannotti; France; History of classical scholarship; Jean Bodin; Johannes Althusius; Magistrates; Marino Sanute; Republicanism; Roman Republic; Rome; Venice

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Liberal Studies, Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605, USA.. Email: jparsons@roosevelt.edu

Publication date: January 1, 2001

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