Specialized Themes

Appeasing the Civil Wars in the Greco-Roman World
Session code
Date Time
Monday, August 22nd / 09.00-12.30
Luca Fezzi
Collegium Maius, Sala Śniadeckich

Civil war is considered, at the geopolitical level, as the major form of organized violence, particularly insidious for two characteristics which sets it aside from interstate conflicts: length and proneness to relapse. In relation to this, it is interesting to notice that eminent contemporary voices have remarked the lack of a political theorization of civil war. With regards to the Greek-Roman world, the situation is partly different. Even though the concept of civil war was not invented by it – although some scholars tend to conceive it as the primary form of organized conflict – the Greek-Roman world experienced it deeply and with terror, and as a result it produced thorough reflections on the topic. Scholars of the Ancient World reflected continuously on the topic. The related literature is sound and vast, with a renewed interest in the ways of managing internal conflicts, and a focus on its less institutionalized aspects. Such complex and plural stances mirror the complexity of the issue. Indeed, we cannot forget that conflicts were looked at through different standpoints; for instance, the two concepts of ‘stásis’ and ‘bellum civile’ present different shades of meaning between the Greek and the Roman world, and indicate a wide and flexible evaluation of conflict and its dangerousness.
The aim of this Specialized Theme is to reflect upon the ‘pacifying practices’ of civil conflicts in the Greek-Roman world, both at the level of individual historical realities and at the theoretical level.