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Katharina Volk
Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York (New York, NY 10027-7922)
The Politics of Knowledge in Late Republican Rome

Preparation of a book on the intellectual and political activities of "senator scholars” such as Caesar, Cicero, and Cato that were shaped by simultaneous engagement with philosophy and the deepening crisis of the late Roman Republic.

My project is a work of intellectual history focusing on the last decades of the Roman Republic (50s-40s BCE). This was a period of both intense intellectual flourishing and extreme political unrest--and, curiously, the agents of both were often the same people. Members of the senatorial class who contributed to the development of Roman scholarship and philosophy were instrumental in the events that brought down the Republic, ending up in opposing camps during the civil war. I treat the intellectual and political activities of these individuals as two sides of the same coin, exploring how scholarship and statesmanship inform one another. My aim is to capture the complexity of this pivotal period by illustrating how the remarkable "republic of letters" of first-century Rome is involved with the fight over the actual res publica, and how in this period the organization of knowledge is always bound up with the question of what it means to be Roman in a time of crisis.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Classical Literature; Classics; Intellectual History


Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2019 – 6/30/2020