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CUSTOM, FEAR AND SELF-INTEREST IN THE POLITICAL THOUGHT OF POLYBIUS

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This article examines the role of customary behaviour in Polybius' political thought by tracing its functions in both his theoretical apparatus and his analysis of the Roman Republic. Not only providing theorists with a way to evaluate the quality and species of a particular polity, customs also partly determine political success and failure due to Polybius' commitment to certain views of human psychology. Proper recognition of the importance of customs for Polybius' political theory thus brings out the coherence of Book 6's political analysis more clearly and deepens our appreciation of Polybius as a pragmatic theorist of politics.
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Keywords: Carthaginians; Cicero; Polybius; Roman; Spartans; custom; fear; funeral ceremony; informal institutions; mixed constitution; norms; political theory; politics; psychology; religion; self-interest

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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