CONCEPTIONS OF POLITICAL CORRUPTION IN ANCIENT ATHENS AND ROME
The identification and amelioration of political corruption has long absorbed political science. But has corruption always been a problem about abuse of public trust for private gain, or a lack of probity, integrity and transparency in governance? For some, the 'modern' conception of corruption is radically different from the classical, whereby corruption is held to be conceived in exclusively moralistic terms as a loss of virtue in the polity, a generalized condition afflicting political elites and citizens indiscriminately. But, as will be shown in the following discussion, the so- called 'modern' conception of corruption (corruption 2) was very well developed in the classical period, particularly in Athens and Rome. This did not mean, however, that this conception always prevailed, therefore this paper is just as concerned to map and comprehend the fractures and contradictions in antique attitudes to 'corruption 2' that prevented it from being either monolithic or universally honoured.
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