I just finished correcting the proofs for a 24-page article that, through the time-bending magic of academic publishing, is forthcoming in the Summer 2007 issue of the International Journal of the Classical Tradition, published by the Institute for the Classical Tradition at Boston University. The article is titled: "'A Mirror of the Times': The Catilinarian Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century British and American Political Thought." I know you will all be rushing out to get your own personal copy!
Catiline, in case you've forgotten, was a dissolute Roman aristocrat who, in 64 BCE, launched a conspiracy to overthrow the republican government in Rome, attempting to win the people to his side with promises of debt relief. When the conspiracy was unmasked, some the conspirators were captured and, after a debate in the Senate, executed on the orders of the consul for that year, Marcus Tullius Cicero. In the Senate debates, Cicero delivered his most famous speeches, the Catilinarian orations. O tempora! O mores! After the fact, the historian Sallust wrote a short history of the conspiracy and of the government response (which, curiously, downplays Cicero's role).
Abstract: In the eighteenth century, the Catilinarian conspiracy, as portrayed by Sallust and Cicero, provided a cautionary tale for British and American political writers, both Whig and Tory, about the destabilizing nature of debt and the dangers of radical democracy. In the wake of the South Sea Bubble crisis of the early 1720s, writers like Thomas Gordon used the conspiracy to expose the dangers of political demagoguery and the precarious luxury that accompanied expanded credit. During the American Revolutionary period, Tories and Federalists branded as "Catilines" those who, like Daniel Shays, mobilized the forces of radical democracy with the promise of debt relief. Throughout the eighteenth century, Catiline represented the danger to a mixed constitution of demagogues who attempted to rally the democratic element in society against the privileges of the patrician class.
I bet you're hooked now! I began researching the article in the winter of 2006, when I was a visiting assistant professor of classics at Carleton College, and finished writing it in the early summer of 2006. It was provisionally accepted by the editor later in the summer, after we had moved to England, and underwent a lengthy peer-review and revision process (three rounds of peer-review, each followed by revisions). Thanks to the Dean of the College, I was able to publish the article with an academic affiliation (instead of as an independent scholar), since I am officially a research associate in classics at Carleton.
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