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Continuity through change: Augustus and a change without a break
Published July 12, 2020

“Everything needs to change, so everything can stay the same”: this sentence, overstepping the borders of its novel (the famous G. T. di Lampedusa’s “The Leopard”) and the context of the reaction of local nobles to Garibaldi’s Sicilian expedition, has entered in a sort of timeless dimension, becoming appropriate for several ages and... events. It effectively depicts the case of the “Augustan Revolution” – recalling Ronald Syme – when the birth of the new regime brought with it a pivotal change and the need to hide it under the cloak of continuity. Augustus’ absolute preeminence was by itself the proof of a completely new situation; the will and the need to show continuity was instead evident in his flaunted adherence to republican laws, according to which he assumed only the powers prescribed by the Roman “constitution”, but exceeding them in virtue of his superior “auctoritas”. In this continuous dualism between persistence and rupture, I shall attempt to consider what in actual fact changed and what did not. I think that behind the idea of a complete transformation it is possible to see a politics that was still working in accordance with the same guide-lines and in the same ways.

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The Island of Laws
Published August 9, 2020

According to the well-known opinion of Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Plato was not familiar with Cretan customs when he wrote the Laws. If we compare the text of Nomoi with Cretan law inscriptions from the 7th-5th centuries, we can conclude that Plato’s knowledge of the laws of Cretan poleis was more profound than it had been assumed. It is true in the case of the regulation of alcohol consumption on the basis of Laws 666a-b and an inscription form Eleutherna (Nomima II.98; Lupu 323).

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