The Reception of Roman Republican Ideas and Practices: Comparing Textual Tradition and Built Environment

31. März 2023 bis 1. April 2023

Workshop Program, ERC Projects “The Just City” and “Law, Governance and Space”

The Roman legal and political heritage, especially Roman law, was one of the major legacies of the ancient world that shaped European history until the modern era. The rediscovery, adaptation and reuse of Roman law, from the Late Antiquity through the Middle Ages and the Early Modern era, has been studied in innumerable works. Consequently, the later reception of Roman law, meaning reuse of the texts of Roman law for contemporary legal needs, is one of the key fields of the study of Roman law. In comparison, the reception of Roman forms of governance, transmitted through public law, history and political philosophy, was reused in similar ways in shaping the politics and administration of communities, especially when discussing various forms of Republicanism and the workings of a Republican political community. This may be described as the second great legal legacy of Rome. However, in addition to this intellectual reception and transmission of a Roman textual tradition, there existed another form of reception, that of Roman places of governance, which were reused and imitated throughout Europe. In this sense, the development of the built environment and the use of Roman references in iconography, formed a second field of reception. The purpose of this workshop is to explore these two forms of reception of the ancient traditions, their modalities and forms. Of particular importance are the motivations of reception, ranging from seeking legitimation to problem-oriented practical usages. Originating under the auspices of the ERC projects of Kaius Tuori, University of Helsinki, and Benjamin Straumann of the University of Zurich ( and, which both investigate these dynamics from different angles, the workshop aims to be a multidisciplinary encounter where scholars of law, history, political philosophy, classical philology and archaeology discuss this important theme and the multifarious ways that reception took place and what it meant.


Friday, March 31:

8:30-9 Breakfast

9-10 Keynote: Andrew Monson (NYU): “Fiscal Justice: Rome in Comparative Perspective"

10:30-11:15 Luca Fezzi (Padova): “Roman libertas: Republican Vestiges in Benjamin Constant?”

11:30-12:15 Juhana Heikonen (Helsinki) “The Administrative Topography of Rome: Mapping Administrative Space and the Spatial Dynamics of Roman Republicanism”

12:30-13:15 Samuli Simelius (Helsinki) “Why Don’t Architects Care about Roman Law?”

13:30-14:45 Lunch

15-15:45 Nikolas Hächler (UZH): "Caring for the Poor: Ambrose on Cicero's Notions of Justice and the Institutional Organization of Welfare in the Early Christian Church"

16-16:45 Antonio Lopez Garcia (Helsinki/Granada) “Topography of Courts: Tribunalia and Secretaria in High Imperial and Late Antique Rome”

17-17:45 Anna-Maria Wilskman (Helsinki) “From Private Players to Public Rulers: The Individual’s Use of Ancient Iconography in Medicinian Florence”

19 Dinner

Saturday, April 1:

8:30-9 Breakfast

9-9:45 Jeffrey Dymond (UZH): "Association and Corporation in Humanist Jurisprudence."

10-10:45 Kaius Tuori (Helsinki) “Incorporated Legal Traditions and Petrified Social Structures: Tracking Changes in Legal Ideals from the Built Environment in Three Cases from Rome to the Early Modern European city”

11-11:45 Signy Gutnick Allen (UZH): “Adam Ferguson’s History of the Roman Republic, Thomas Hobbes, and the Struggle to Reclaim Politics”

12-12:45 Vesa Heikkinen (Helsinki) TBA

13-14 Keynote:
Michelle Clarke (Dartmouth): “Machiavelli’s Critique of Cicero in Discourses 1.52”

Organisiert von
ERC Projects “The Just City” and “Law, Governance and Space”


Scuola di Giurisprudenza, Università degli Studi di Padova, Palazzo Bo
Via VIII Febbraio, 2


Andreas Gyr

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