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R-MC Classics and Humanities Professor Author of Article

Apr 09, 2018


Rosanna LauriolaRandolph-Macon College Adjunct Assistant Professor Rosanna Lauriola (Classics/Humanities) is the author of a recently published article, "Democracy and Aristophanes: A Terminological Approach, Polis," in The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought 34.2 (December 2017) 336-365.

The article explores the seemingly simple concept of "democracy" through an etymological analysis based on the occurrences of the word (and its derivatives) in the literary production of one of the opponents to Athenian democracy (the democracy par excellence): the comic playwright Aristophanes.

The importance of helping students to deeply understand one of the more common political systems in which we live has led Lauriola to delve into the roots of that political system as the ancient Greece has both coined the word and the concept of "democracy" and provided equivocal, if not hostile, trends toward it. Therefore, she says, in ancient democracy we find the foundation both of modern democratic society and of anti-democratic thought.

A Resource for Reflection
"Aristophanes, an author who used political satire to convey serious critics, seemed to me to be suitable as a resource for reflection on matters that affect all of us who live in political systems based on democratic principles and ideals such as equality, freedom and tolerance,: says Lauriola. "By playing on the ambiguities of the terminology that centered on the very name 'democracy,' Aristophanes denounced the flaws of democracy in general, and Athenian democracy in particular."

Lauriola says the article is directed not only to scholars but also to students of classics and political science who "might want to investigate the 'problems' with such an 'ideal' form of government—starting with its very name and the contradiction it entails."

Rosanna Lauriola
Rosanna Lauriola earned her B.A. and M.A. at University of Pisa and her Ph.D. at University of Firenze. She currently teaches Our Past & Our Present: Gender-Based Violence and Child Maltreatment in the Ancient World in R-MC's Women’s Studies program.

Her research interests span a wide range of subjects that apply to the ancient classical world and the modern world, from philological topics to socio-cultural issues, including social justice, gender biases, race and ethnicism, and post-traumatic stress disorder, all analyzed through the lens of classical literature.

Lauriola has published a number of papers in International peer-reviewed Journals; several book reviews; and several books. She has a forthcoming book chapter titled "The Reception of Medea in the 20th and 21st centuries," which will be included in Medeas in Portuguese (Brill: Leiden-Boston 2018). In addition, she is currently working on a new book proposal focused on women in classical antiquity.