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Grant number: FEL-257493-18

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Susan D. Collins
University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN 46556-4635)

Constituting the Ancient City: The Political Regime and Classical Sparta

A book-length study on the political regime of classical Sparta.

This book investigates the principle that ancient thought presents as the constituting principle of political community: the politeia ("regime" or "constitution"). I analyze the treatment of the politeia by its greatest expositor, Aristotle, especially his examination of the foundational problems of internal faction and external war and the limits of political regimes in resolving them. I then examine Sparta, the city that ancient and modern authors alike represent as the fullest instantiation of a politeia, with the greatest civic unity, lawfulness, and success in war. I acknowledge Sparta's virtues but focus on the critique of the city by thinkers contemporary with it. Against Sparta's primary insistence on unity, obedience to law, and battlefield courage, this critique illuminates the pivotal role of prudence and wisdom in addressing factional conflict, disputes over justice, and the demands of war—insights that remain crucial for our world, still scarred by war and civil conflict.

Project fields:
History of Philosophy; Political Theory


Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2018 – 6/30/2019