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Classics and Imperialism in the British Empire$
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Mark Bradley

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199584727

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199584727.001.0001

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Imperial Encounters

Imperial Encounters

Discourses on Empire and the Uses of Ancient History during the Eighteenth Century

(p.29) 1 Imperial Encounters
Classics and Imperialism in the British Empire

Kostas Vlassopoulos

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the various ways in which empire was conceived and debated during the eighteenth century and the role of ancient history within these debates and discussions. It identifies four significant aspects of empire that were examined during this period: empire and universal monarchy; empire and civilization; empire and liberty; and empire and colony. Ancient history played a crucial role in these debates, as it provided a mechanism for understanding contemporary issues and a model for anticipating future developments. The chapter also examines the role of ancient history in imperial debates triggered by the American Revolution, as well as various European responses to this situation.

Keywords:   ancient history, American Revolution, colonialism, British Empire, imperialism, liberty, Enlightenment

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