Rome and Modern Discipline

Rome and Modern Discipline July 17, 2006

Rome was a model society for Europeans throughout the early modern period. But the Rome that served as a model differed from era to era and from writer to writer. Foucault writes: “the Roman model, at the Enlightenment, played a dual role; in its republican aspect, it was the very embodiment of liberty; in its military aspect, it was the ideal schema of discipline. The Rome of the eighteenth century and of the Revolution was the Rome of the Senate, but it was also that of the legion; it was the Rome of the Forum, but it was also that of the camps.” Interestingly, Foucault finds the Roman military model particularly at work in Jesuit colleges, whose student body, which was divided into two groups, Roman and Carthaginian.

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