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Astérion, n°29/2023

Pour une histoire sémantique du politique. Études sur la res publica

Astérion. Philosophie, histoire des idées, pensée politique

A Semantic History of Politics. Studies about res publica

Claudia Moatti's 2018 book Res publica. Histoire romaine de la chose publique endeavours to reconsider the Roman notion of res publica, by seeking to move beyond the translation of "Republic". Res publica cannot be entirely defined as an abstraction or as a political regime. Three different conceptions emerge from Claudia Moatti's study, which coexisted in an ancient vision of the res publica: res publica as a legal practice, res publica as an institutional system, and res publica as power of governance.

This book is a breakthrough in the contemporary historiography of the political history of ancient Rome. At the heart of the author's contributions lies the question of the methodological method she follows, as she proposes a completely different way of looking at an ancient political concept and places background language and anthropology at the fore of her endeavour.

To understand what res publica is, we need to place the word in its context and see all the associations, constellations, aggregations and derivations to be able to give the concept its full semantic depth post-study.

The aim of this feature is twofold: to study the question of the relationship between language and the political praxis that Claudia Moatti’s book invites us to perceive, and to examine the way in which the concept of res publica has been received by posterity.