By Melissa Matthes

The bonds between republican electorate are created, partly, during the tales informed and retold because the foundational myths of the republic. during this publication, Melissa Matthes takes benefit of the best way republican theorists in several eras Livy, Machiavelli, and Rousseau retell the tale of the rape of Lucretia to aid their very own conceptions of republicanism.The habitual presentation of this tale as theater via those diversified theorists finds not just the performative components of republicanism yet, as Matthes argues, provides to Hannah Arendt s emphasis at the oral dimensions of speech and listening to the $64000 inspiration of public house as a visible box. Lucretia s tale additionally is helping light up the gendering of republicanism, relatively the elements of violence and subordination that lie at its very beginning. by way of focusing realization in this underlying and deeply gendered caliber of republics, Matthes brings republican concept into fruitful discussion with feminism.

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Additional resources for The Rape of Lucretia and the Founding of Republics: Readings in Livy, Machiavelli, and Rousseau

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Livy adroitly sought to reconcile the two, thus putting at the origin of Rome a divergence. In Livy’s version, Aeneas does not found Rome, but Romulus and Remus are descendants of his son Ascanius, who did set out to begin a new settlement. The return to the origin, the retelling of the founding, reveals a bifurcation, a double, the two-faced god of beginnings, Janus. The founding is thus unstable, itself a genealogy of possibilities. For Livy the founding is not a pristine moment of principled wholeness.

Elaine Scarry (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988), 27. 16. 57, 99. 17. Consider the ways in which this is still true, particularly in rape cases. Recall the rape trials involving the Central Park jogger and the St. John’s University student—in which the 31 Livy and the Republican Foundations Bronfen notes, “knowledge gained through a dead female body is ultimately analytic”; that is, knowledge achieved from a female corpse is contained and self-referential. , that of the alive male observer), this knowledge is not fecund; that is, it is not conceived in union with a speaking female, nor for that matter even an alive one.

She is what is covered over, entombed in the foundation, as it were. For Lucretia, this is both literally and metaphorically true. Lucretia kills herself after her violation, spurring the founding of the Roman republic. Nonetheless, her sacrifice is not memorialized among the virtues of the republic. Women are not accorded a privileged role in the new republic in honor of Lucretia. Rather, women are returned to their role as hostesses, as matrons of the domus—the very role that ignited Lucretia’s violation.

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