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Mommsen and Cicero. With a section on Ciceronianism, Newtonianism and Eighteenth-Century Cosmology

Vincenzo Merolle
ISBN 978-3-8325-3945-0
226 pages, year of publication: 2015
price: 36.00 EUR

Table of contents (PDF)

Stichworte/keywords: Cicero, Mommsen, Theodor, Roman History, Social History, Cosmology

In the introductory essay the author sketches a short history of the German anti-Ciceronianism, from Drumann to Mommsen and, after summarizing Mommsen's judgment, criticizes and counteracts it, observing that Cicero was faithful to the ideals of the Republic to the last moments of his life.

Sketching a short history of the `liberal' literature, he demonstrates that the author of the Römische Geschichte was philosophically far from being a liberal, but was in fact a supporter of Caesarism. Therefore, he was unable to understand Cicero's concept of a mixed constitution, `concordia ordinum' and republican ideals.

Nevertheless, during the last quarter of a century German historians have largely moved beyond Mommsen, producing at least seven biographies of Cicero, which ignore Mommsen altogether.

In the second section of the essay the author demonstrates that Newton's cosmology and eighteenth-century cosmology - see, in particular Adam Smith's philosophical works, and Hume's The Natural History of Religion and Dialogues concerning Natural Religion - are in fact nothing more than Cicero's cosmology, as discussed especially in On the Nature of the Gods. Therefore, Ciceronian philosophy was superseded - if it ever was - only with those of Kant and Hegel and, in part, with the physics of Maxwell and Einstein.

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