Dr David Rafferty, The University of Adelaide
‘Revisiting Christian Meier’s Res Publica Amissa’

Christian Meier’s Res Publica Amissa, and especially the long introduction to its second edition of 1980, is the most theoretically sophisticated explanation of the collapse of the Roman republic that we possess. Yet, the book has not been translated into English and has made relatively little impact on Anglophone scholarship. It has belatedly become influential in German scholarship and has been a starting point for much of the recent work on Rome’s political culture. This paper will explore what we can gain from Meier’s work in the light of fifty years of detailed scholarship on the republic and recent work in Political Science that is theoretically similar. The simple concept of ‘crisis without alternative’ is only one of the riches that Meier’s approach offers.