Penguin Book

Greek and Roman Political Ideas

Melissa Lane

An essential and accessible overview of the foundations of Western political thought.

In many ways, the ancient Greeks and Romans seem to be distant ancestors - their buildings lie in ruins, their writings in fragments. But we call ourselves citizens (from the Latin civis), name our regimes democracies (from the Greek demokratia), and claim to practice politics (Greek: ta politika). To understand fully what those words mean, and what possibilities and dangers these ideas might express, we must return to their sources in ancient philosophy - to the Greeks, who invented democracy, and the Romans, who created the republic and then transformed it into an empire.

In The Birth of Politics, acclaimed Princeton professor Melissa Lane traces the birth of political philosophy from archaic Greece to early Christianity, Lane introduces the key political philosophers of this remarkable era, from Socrates to Plutarch, as well as lesser known figures like Hypatia, who defended traditional teachings against a rapidly Christianizing society. Yet she also places these towering figures within the context of their times, reminding the reader that the birth of political philosophy is a story of individuals as much as ideas.

Melissa Lane is Professor of Politics and Director of the Program in Values and Public Life at Princeton. Previously she taught for fifteen years at the Faculty of History of the University of Cambridge, and was a Fellow of King's College. She has written several books about political philosophy. A fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Lane appears frequently on BBC Radio. She was awarded a Fellowship of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

Publication date
  • Philosophy and Religion
Format TPS
181 x 111mm
Princeton University Press (PRH Rights)
Mulcahy Sweeney Associates (Previously Mulcahy Conway Associates Ltd)
Mulcahy Sweeney Associates (Previously Mulcahy Conway Associates Ltd)
Mulcahy Sweeney Associates (Previously Mulcahy Conway Associates Ltd)
Audio (Unabridged)
Mulcahy Sweeney Associates (Previously Mulcahy Conway Associates Ltd)
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