Let­ters from

The New York Review of Books - - Contents -

Al­lan Licht­man, Noah Feld­man and Ja­cob Weis­berg, E. Haberk­ern, Bill Roller and

Philip Zim­bardo, Colin Jones, Hen­rik Ot­ter­berg, and Albert J. Am­mer­man

To the Ed­i­tors: I write to clear up mis­con­cep­tions about the Con­sti­tu­tion, the law, and my book in the re­view of The Case for Im­peach­ment

[NYR, Septem­ber 28]. The re­view­ers’ most se­ri­ous er­ror, with pro­found im­pli­ca­tions for cur­rent de­bates, is their claim that im­peach­ment is in­ap­pli­ca­ble to of­fenses oc­cur­ring prior to the pres­i­dency. The re­view­ers cite no au­thor­i­ties for this propo­si­tion and ig­nore the lack of any such lim­i­ta­tion in the Con­sti­tu­tion. They dis­miss my ex­am­ple of a fed­eral judge im­peached for trans­gres­sions be­fore as­sum­ing the bench, say­ing, “Judges may be dif­fer­ent from pres­i­dents, since past crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity could im­pinge on their abil­ity to de­liver jus­tice fairly.” Yet they fail to draw the ob­vi­ous con­nec­tion that any col­lu­sion be­tween Trump and the Rus­sians would pro­foundly im­pact his abil­ity to gov­ern, even sub­ject­ing him to for­eign black­mail.

The re­view­ers in­cor­rectly claim that Trump could not be charged with trea­son if he col­luded with the Rus­sians, say­ing that trea­son re­quires “a state of war.” Yet Rus­sia had en­gaged in acts of war against Amer­ica, not with bul­lets and bombs, but through a mod­ern form of war­fare, a cy­ber­at­tack on our democ­racy. Ac­cord­ing to Rus­sia’s “Gerasi­mov Doc­trine,” pro­pounded in 2013 by Valery Gerasi­mov, chief of the gen­eral staff of the Rus­sian Armed Forces, “The very ‘rules of war’ have changed. The role of non­mil­i­tary means of achiev­ing po­lit­i­cal and strate­gic goals has grown, and, in many cases, they have ex­ceeded the power of force of weapons in their ef­fec­tive­ness.” The re­view­ers claim that in sug­gest­ing that Trump could be charged with a “crime against hu­man­ity” for throt­tling back ef­forts to com­bat cli­mate change, I ad­vo­cate im­peach­ment over a pol­icy dif­fer­ence, a po­si­tion I ex­plic­itly dis­avow, writ­ing, “Dif­fer­ences of pol­icy and val­ues do not make a case for im­peach­ment.” I say in­stead that im­peach­ment re­quires proof that his back­track­ing on cli­mate change threat­ens the well-be­ing and sur­vival of hu­man­ity. Crimes against the en­vi­ron­ment are well rec­og­nized in in­ter­na­tional law, and have grounded suc­cess­ful civil suits in sev­eral na­tions. A sim­i­lar suit is pend­ing in the United States. Trump him­self made the case of con­sid­er­ing in­ac­tion on cli­mate change a crime against hu­man­ity in a 2009 open let­ter to Pres­i­dent Obama, say­ing, “If we fail to act now [on cli­mate change], it is sci­en­tif­i­cally ir­refutable that there will be cat­a­strophic and ir­re­versible con­se­quences for hu­man­ity and our planet.”

The re­view­ers in­cor­rectly say that I cite Trump’s his­tory of ly­ing as a ground for im­peach­ment. Rather, I claim only that Trump’s propen­sity to lie could ex­pose him to im­peach­ment if, like Bill Clinton, he lies when tes­ti­fy­ing un­der oath. They claim that I present Trump’s “misog­yny” as an­other im­peach­able of­fense, al­though I cite his war on women only as a po­ten­tial im­peach­ment trap through a civil law­suit that might com­pel him to tes­tify un­der oath. Iron­i­cally, the re­view­ers draw ex­ten­sively on other parts of my book with­out at­tri­bu­tion. They closely track my lan­guage on why im­peach­ment need not in­volve an in­dictable crime, even re­quot­ing phrases from Alexan­der Hamil­ton pre­sented in my book. They make a case for Trump’s vi­o­la­tion of the Emol­u­ment Clause of the Con­sti­tu­tion that is nearly iden­ti­cal to my anal­y­sis, cit­ing many iden­ti­cal ex­am­ples, such as his trade­marks from China, his Trump Tower Manila, and for­eign profits from his ho­tels. They ig­nore my chap­ter on abuse of power, yet make nearly the same claims for im­peach­ment, in­clud­ing his at­tacks on the ju­di­ciary and the press, and his ac­cu­sa­tion that Pres­i­dent Obama had wire­tapped his phones.

The re­view­ers make an­other dam­ag­ing mis­take by claim­ing that even if Trump col­luded with the Rus­sians, “the is­sue re­ally is the cover-up, not the crime.” This triv­i­al­izes the im­por­tance of such col­lu­sion, which would con­sti­tute the most se­ri­ous threat to our democ­racy in the his­tory of the na­tion. An em­pha­sis on the “cover-up” plays into the hands of Trump and his apol­o­gists who have been im­ply­ing that col­lu­sion was not a se­ri­ous mat­ter. In re­sponse to rev­e­la­tions of the June 2016 meet­ing be­tween lead­ers of his cam­paign and the Rus­sians, with the in­tent of get­ting dirt on Hil­lary Clinton, Trump said, “Most peo­ple would have taken that meet­ing . . . it’s very stan­dard.” If such con­duct were ever to be­come stan­dard, Amer­i­can democ­racy would suf­fer a griev­ous, per­haps even fa­tal blow.

Al­lan Licht­man Distin­guished Pro­fes­sor of His­tory Amer­i­can Univer­sity Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Noah Feld­man and Ja­cob Weis­berg re­ply:

Con­trary to Pro­fes­sor Licht­man’s as­ser­tion, the text of the Con­sti­tu­tion does spec­ify that crimes a pres­i­dent may have com­mit­ted be­fore tak­ing of­fice are not im­peach­able of­fenses—by us­ing the word “high” to mod­ify “crimes and mis­de­meanors.” High crimes, as we ex­plained, are those that re­late to the of­fice oc­cu­pied by the per­son be­ing im­peached. Ac­tions taken with­out con­nec­tion to po­lit­i­cal of­fice, such as prior wrong­do­ing un­con­nected to the pres­i­dency, are not and can­not rea­son­ably be con­strued to be “high.” Prece­dent over­whelm­ingly sup­ports this un­der­stand­ing. From 1789 un­til 2010 not one fed­eral of­fi­cial was im­peached for ac­tions taken be­fore as­sum­ing of­fice.

As Alan Baron, a for­mer spe­cial coun­sel on im­peach­ment, points out in an­other let­ter to the ed­i­tors not pub­lished here, the 2010 im­peach­ment of fed­eral judge G. Thomas Por­te­ous went against this tra­di­tion to a de­gree. One of the four ar­ti­cles of im­peach­ment against Por­te­ous was for “a long­stand­ing pat­tern of cor­rupt con­duct”— tak­ing kick­backs from a bail bonds­man— that had be­gun when he was a state court judge and con­tin­ued while he served on the fed­eral bench. The other three ar­ti­cles re­lated ex­clu­sively to Por­te­ous’s fed­eral ju­di­cial ser­vice. To the ex­tent that the ci­ta­tion of the judge’s ear­lier con­duct could be un­der­stood as a depar­ture from prece­dent, as was jus­ti­fied at the time by then Sen­a­tor Jeff Ses­sions, it was in our view highly doubt­ful.

As we noted, the Por­te­ous ar­ti­cle of im­peach­ment could ar­guably be jus­ti­fied on the the­ory that the con­sti­tu­tional sta­tus of judges dif­fers from that of pres­i­dents. Un­der Ar­ti­cle III of the Con­sti­tu­tion, judges serve “dur­ing good be­hav­ior”—a re­stric­tion not ap­plied to the pres­i­dent. It could be main­tained that prior wrong­ful acts by judges con­sti­tute a vi­o­la­tion of “good be­hav­ior” de­serv­ing im­peach­ment in­so­far as they make it im­pos­si­ble for judges to be seen to be do­ing jus­tice—es­pe­cially when the course of con­duct is on­go­ing, as Por­te­ous’s was. In any event, Congress’s im­peach­ment of him in 2010 should not be in­ter­preted as a “seis­mic change” in the law of im­peach­ment, as Baron sug­gests, but rather as an out­ly­ing case that does not set a clear prece­dent for pres­i­den­tial im­peach­ment. Whether this mat­ters in prac­tice will prob­a­bly de­pend on what the Mueller in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­ports. As we ar­gued, col­lu­sion over the elec­tion would be a bor­der­line case, since the elec­tion re­lates to the pres­i­dency. How­ever, col­lu­sion dur­ing the cam­paign would likely be linked to un­am­bigu­ously im­peach­able of­fenses in of­fice, such as a cover-up or re­wards to co-con­spir­a­tors. Some of Licht­man’s other as­ser­tions also rest on mis­takes of law. The US is not now in a le­gal state of war with Rus­sia de­spite that coun­try’s at­tempts to af­fect the 2016 elec­tion. The Con­sti­tu­tion re­quires Congress to de­clare war or au­tho­rize the use of mil­i­tary force. Fur­ther­more, Pres­i­dent Trump’s an­nounc­ing an in­tent to with­draw from or rene­go­ti­ate the Paris cli­mate accord, while in our view bad pol­icy, does not vi­o­late in­ter­na­tional law ac­cord­ing to any re­motely plau­si­ble the­ory, much less con­sti­tute a crime against hu­man­ity. This sort of hy­per­bole tends to un­der­cut se­ri­ous dis­cus­sion of im­peach­ment.

Fi­nally, Alexan­der Hamil­ton’s ac­count of im­peach­ment has been dis­cussed by every scholar on the topic since Joseph Story in his 1833 Com­men­taries on the Con­sti­tu­tion.

Trump’s at­tacks on the ju­di­ciary and vi­o­la­tion of the emol­u­ments clause have been front-page top­ics for months, writ­ten about at length by both of us among thou­sands of other com­men­ta­tors. We re­spect­fully sub­mit that dis­cus­sion of these top­ics does not re­quire at­tri­bu­tion to Pro­fes­sor Licht­man. HOW THE TER­ROR FELT To the Ed­i­tors: Colin Jones, in his re­view of Ti­mothy Tack­ett’s The Com­ing of the Ter­ror in the French Rev­o­lu­tion [NYR, June 22], ig­nores the role of the pop­u­lar move­ment on the left that op­posed the dic­ta­tor­ship of Max­im­i­lien Robe­spierre and the Ter­ror. Nei­ther Tack­ett nor Jones is un­usual in this.

In par­tic­u­lar, the role of the most im­por­tant op­po­si­tion group, La So­ciété des Ci­toyennes Répub­li­caines Révo­lu­tion­naires (The So­ci­ety of Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Repub­li­can Women), is com­pletely ig­nored. There are two se­ri­ous his­to­ries of this move­ment in French: Daniel Guérin’s La Lutte des classes sous la pre­mière République: Bour­geois et “bras nus” and Le Club des Ci­toyennes Répub­li­caines Révo­lu­tion­naires by Marie Cer­rati. A re­cent book in English by Hal Draper, Women and Class, in­cludes a dis­cus­sion of this move­ment. Albert Soboul’s The French Rev­o­lu­tion 1787–1799, also in English, briefly notes that the club, and all other women’s clubs, were abol­ished by Robe­spierre on Oc­to­ber 30, 1793. The his­tory of the pop­u­lar move­ment in the French Rev­o­lu­tion is one that has been largely ig­nored.

E. Haberk­ern Berke­ley, Cal­i­for­nia To the Ed­i­tors: Colin Jones’s re­view of Ti­mothy Tack­ett’s The Com­ing of the Ter­ror in the French

Rev­o­lu­tion presents us with some cu­ri­ous propo­si­tions. Un­doubt­edly, hu­man emo­tions fu­eled the pas­sage of the French peo­ple from the le­git­i­mate as­ser­tion of the public in­ter­est ver­sus the royal pre­rog­a­tives in 1789 to the wholesale scape­goat­ing of the roy­al­ist class as well as fel­low rev­o­lu­tion­ists caught up the frenzy of ter­ror in 1793. But how do we un­der­stand the struc­ture of these emo­tions and their ori­gin in the public con­scious­ness?

That ques­tion takes us from in­tel­lec­tual his­tory to the realm of be­hav­ioral and so­cial sci­ence. And prompts an­other ques­tion: Must rev­o­lu­tion­ary move­ments take such de­struc­tive—and ul­ti­mately self-de­struc­tive—mea­sures as part of their evo­lu­tion?

It doesn’t have to go in that di­rec­tion—as our re­cent study of group be­hav­ior demon­strates (Group Dy­nam­ics and the New Hero­ism: The Eth­i­cal Al­ter­na­tive to the Stan­ford Prison Ex­per­i­ment). The norms of group be­hav­ior are set from the top and com­mu­ni­cated both ex­plic­itly and im­plic­itly, ver­bally and non­ver­bally. In this so­cial con­text, the emo­tional con­tent of a group is car­ried by spe­cific lead­er­ship roles that emerge from the group as part of its or­ga­ni­za­tional struc­ture and process of for­ma­tion. One of the most salient fea­tures of this par­a­digm is the scape­goat lead­er­ship role that can ei­ther sum­mon a spirit of col­lec­tive ac­cep­tance and in­clu­sion or lead to sus­pi­cion, para­noia, and mur­der. How the scape­goat­ing be­hav­ior is man­aged by the task lead­ers is the de­ter­min­ing fac­tor. His­to­ri­ans and so­cial psychologists as dis­tinct dis­ci­plines have not en­joyed much cross-fer­til­iza­tion. But there may be

room for fruit­ful col­lab­o­ra­tion when in­ves­ti­gat­ing the struc­ture of rev­o­lu­tion­ary lead­er­ship.

Bill Roller and Philip Zim­bardo Berke­ley, Cal­i­for­nia Colin Jones replies: Ti­mothy Tack­ett’s The Com­ing of the Ter­ror in the French Rev­o­lu­tion seeks to go be­yond fac­tional ma­neu­ver­ings in 1793 to fo­cus on how ap­par­ently per­fectly re­spectable mem­bers of the mid­dling classes were drawn to­ward ac­cep­tance of ac­tions from which they would or­di­nar­ily have shrunk in hor­ror. He wants to un­der­stand that ac­cep­tance from the in­side, more­over, as a felt phe­nom­e­non, and thus draws on the di­aries and let­ters of or­di­nary men and women (who in­evitably there­fore are pre­dom­i­nantly from the lit­er­ate classes).

This em­pha­sis on the emo­tional life of what his­to­ri­ans used to call the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary bour­geoisie is per­ti­nent and wel­come in that it re­jects most ear­lier dis­cus­sions of emo­tions in the Rev­o­lu­tion, which luridly high­lighted the al­legedly ir­ra­tional, hys­ter­i­cal, and blood­thirsty mo­ti­va­tions of the lower classes, par­tic­u­larly women in fact. Far from “com­pletely ig­nor­ing” the So­ci­ety for Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Repub­li­can Women, more­over, Tack­ett cites it on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions, high­light­ing the ways that it in­spired and pi­o­neered a set of fem­i­nist de­mands that re­main brightly rel­e­vant in our own day. He is surely cor­rect, how­ever, not to view the so­ci­ety as “the most im­por­tant op­po­si­tional group” at the time. It com­prised less than two hun­dred mem­bers, had very lim­ited in­flu­ence within Paris, and de­vel­oped a fluc­tu­at­ing po­lit­i­cal agenda over its short life of a few months be­fore it was crushed in late 1793—to dis­ap­point­ingly low lev­els of pop­u­lar protest.

Like Dr. Zim­bardo and Mr. Roller, I too some­what re­gret that Tack­ett’s his­tory of the emo­tions in the Rev­o­lu­tion fails to sig­nal what the field might gain from in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary links to so­cial psy­chol­ogy. In my re­view, I noted that he did not uti­lize the work of Wil­liam Reddy, whose study of eigh­teenth-cen­tury France (no­tably The Nav­i­ga­tion of Feel­ing, 2001) draws heav­ily on so­cial sci­ence method­olo­gies. Tack­ett’s own ap­proach adapts the me­dieval his­to­rian Bar­bara Rosen­wein’s idea of “emo­tional com­mu­ni­ties,” a con­cept that might of­fer bridges into the kind of lead­er­ship stud­ies cited by Roller and Zim­bardo. THOREAU IN TRANS­LA­TION To the Ed­i­tors: I was sur­prised at Robert Pogue Harrison’s as­ser­tion in “The True Amer­i­can” [NYR,

Au­gust 17] that “Thoreau hardly makes it onto the list of no­table Amer­i­can au­thors out­side his home coun­try,” and that “his pe­cu­liar brand of Amer­i­can na­tivism has lit­tle in­ter­na­tional ap­peal.” In fact, Thoreau’s in­ter­na­tional re­cep­tion is both broad and deep at this sum­mer’s mark of his bi­cen­ten­nial. Al­ready Tol­stoy ap­pre­ci­ated what he saw as Thoreau’s back-to-the-land ethics of sim­plic­ity, while later on Mo­han­das Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of sev­eral emanic­i­pa­tory move­ments, in­clud­ing the Span­ish op­po­nents of fas­cism dur­ing the civil war and the Dan­ish re­sis­tance to Nazi oc­cu­pa­tion dur­ing World War II, found value and in­spi­ra­tion in Thoreau’s brand of civil dis­obe­di­ence.

Thoreau’s Walden was pub­lished in Eng­land in the late nine­teenth cen­tury, aided by the pro­mo­tion of­fered by the fa­mous pro­po­nent of veg­e­tar­i­an­ism cum so­cial ac­tivist Henry S. Salt. Dur­ing the early-to-mid decades of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury, the book was also trans­lated into Ger­man, French, Span­ish, Rus­sian, Ital­ian, sev­eral Nordic lan­guages, Ja­panese, and Chi­nese. By all ac­counts it has been a de­cided suc­cess, see­ing new trans­la­tions and edi­tions sur­face reg­u­larly—among them a very re­cent one in Farsi in Iran. In 1971 Thoreau’s in­ter­na­tional re­cep­tion had reached a point where it re­ceived due at­ten­tion in the an­thol­ogy Thoreau Abroad (1971), con­tain­ing a dozen es­says by Amer­i­can and in­ter­na­tional Thoreau schol­ars cov­er­ing dif­fer­ent re­gions. While it is cer­tainly true that Thoreau re­search re­mains over­whelm­ingly Amer­i­can, which fact will be am­ply ev­i­dent al­ready by the Thoreau books cov­ered by Harrison’s om­nibus re­view, it seems er­ro­neous to claim that Thoreau is too quirk­ily and idio­syn­crat­i­cally Amer­i­can to ap­peal to for­eign read­ers. As Harrison him­self states, pu­ta­tively “Amer­i­can” out­looks or be­hav­iors are eas­ily con­trasted by their ev­i­dent op­po­sites. Thoreau like­wise pro­vokes and in­spires read­ers near and far for the in­ter­pre­tive choices and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties his writ­ings prompt. Work­ing be­side his en­vi­ron­men­tal­ism and abo­li­tion­ism, Thoreau’s never-fail­ing pen­chant for proud para­dox and plu­ral en­ten­dre, along with his ever-rich veins of hu­mor, con­tin­u­ally prod his read­ers to self-in­quiry and ac­tion both pri­vate and civic.

Yet there is also, and un­de­ni­ably, a vi­brant and on­go­ing schol­arly ex­change on Thoreau be­yond the shores of Amer­ica. In 2009 Euro­pean and Amer­i­can Thoreau schol­ars joined for an am­bi­tious con­fer­ence in Lyon, France, to dis­cuss his writ­ings and their legacy. The en­su­ing well-re­ceived an­thol­ogy, Thore­au­vian Moder­ni­ties: Transat­lantic Con­ver­sa­tions on an Amer­i­can Icon (2013), was pub­lished by the Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia Press. A fol­low-up bi­cen­ten­nial Thoreau con­fer­ence, also to be held in Lyon, is sched­uled for this mid-Oc­to­ber, and next spring a Thoreau sym­po­sium will be held in Gothen­burg, Swe­den, in early May. These are just in­di­ca­tions of Thoreau’s con­tin­ued in­ter­est among schol­ars, of course, while there are bound to be more Thoreau-re­lated pan­els and events un­fold­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally in the near fu­ture. Writ­ing from provin­cial Swe­den, I can re­port that the last decade has seen the fol­low­ing Thoreau pub­li­ca­tions dis­sem­i­nated to cu­ri­ous Swedish read­ers: a new, an­no­tated trans­la­tion of Walden (2007); two trans­la­tions of “Re­sis­tance to Civil Govern­ment”; an edited se­lec­tion of Thoreau’s bird notes in his jour­nal; as well as a wider swath of his 1850s jour­nal. While he can­not com­pete for at­ten­tion with our pop­u­lar crime au­thors, recipe-book writers, and other ped­dlers to the pop­u­lar mo­ment, Thoreau’s im­pact has re­mained dis­tinct and steadily grow­ing over time. He has had sev­eral more lives to live be­yond his na­tive Concord and Amer­ica.

Hen­rik Ot­ter­berg Gothen­burg, Swe­den MAP­PING AN­CIENT ROME To the Ed­i­tors: An­drea Caran­dini stands out from other schol­ars who have stud­ied an­cient Rome over the last forty years in his en­thu­si­asm for cre­at­ing vis­ual re­con­struc­tions of the early city and in his fas­ci­na­tion with Ro­mu­lus as a fig­ure in his­tory. Mary Beard had her hands full in re­view­ing The At­las

of An­cient Rome [NYR, July 13], and, on the whole, she ably rose to the chal­lenge. I would like to of­fer two brief com­ments that may help to round out the story.

The first con­cerns the many at­tempts that have been made at re­con­struct­ing the an­cient city of Rome since the time of the Re­nais­sance. A re­con­struc­tion of a city is noth­ing if it does not take risks. And yet it must not go too far: oth­er­wise it be­comes sim­ply an imag­i­nary city or an ar­chi­tec­tural caprice. There is a del­i­cate bal­ance in tak­ing just a few steps be­yond the bounds of knowl­edge at the time and in com­plet­ing the un­known ac­cord­ing to cul­tur­ally ac­cepted rules (again at the time), so that the re­con­struc­tion will be seen as con­vinc­ing. Over the years, re­con­struc­tions of an­cient Rome have taken many dif­fer­ent forms: maps, paint­ings, prints, gar­dens, theater scenery, scale models, and now an at­las. In 1561, Pirro Lig­o­rio, an ar­chi­tect, was the first to pro­duce a bird’s-eye-view map of the en­tire an­cient city. Ste­fano Du Perac (1574) and Mario Car­taro (1579) then fol­lowed in his foot­steps—each claim­ing, of course, that his re­con­struc­tion was bet­ter than the pre­vi­ous ones. Michel de Mon­taigne formed his ini­tial ideas about an­cient Rome by study­ing such “pic­tures,” as he called them. When he made his first visit to Rome in 1581, he walked around the city and soon re­al­ized that all of the re­con­struc­tions had their lim­i­ta­tions.

What Caran­dini and his coau­thors are do­ing is more than just read­ing the ru­ins of Rome. They are re­turn­ing to a time­honored en­deavor and giv­ing us the most re­cent edi­tion of Mon­taigne’s “pic­tures.” It will be the task of the next gen­er­a­tion of schol­ars to probe the strengths and the weak­nesses of their re­con­struc­tions.

The sec­ond com­ment in­volves the par­al­lels in the lives of Caran­dini and Gi­a­como Boni (1859–1925), who have made ma­jor con­tri­bu­tions to the ar­chae­ol­ogy of early Rome. They both had charis­matic per­son­al­i­ties, a pas­sion for dig­ging well and deeply at sites in the cen­ter of an­cient Rome, and an en­thu­si­asm for see­ing Ro­mu­lus as a fig­ure in his­tory. To­day most ar­chae­ol­o­gists and an­cient his­to­ri­ans view the first king of Rome as a leg­endary fig­ure. And this was the case in Boni’s time as well.

In 1899, Boni made two im­por­tant dis­cov­er­ies at the Comi­tium in the Fo­rum: the first was the Lapis Niger (the shrine where he thought Ro­mu­lus was buried) and the sec­ond was the fa­mous early in­scrip­tion writ­ten in ar­chaic let­ters with the word rex (king) in it, which dates to the sixth cen­tury BC. Boni’s be­lief in the his­tor­i­cal Ro­mu­lus led him to draw con­nec­tions with what he was find­ing in his ex­ca­va­tions that have not sur­vived the test of time. In ret­ro­spect, it would have been bet­ter for him to fol­low the ad­vice of Domenico Com­paretti, a lead­ing scholar at the time, and take a more cau­tious ap­proach to read­ing the an­cient sources on Ro­mu­lus.

In the case of Caran­dini, there are lead­ing schol­ars to­day who tried to wave him off this quixotic course but to no avail. In­stead, he forged ahead and bet the whole house on Ro­mu­lus. Whether or not this was such a good de­ci­sion on his part, only time will tell.

Albert J. Am­mer­man Depart­ment of Clas­sics Col­gate Univer­sity Hamil­ton, New York

Alexan­der Hamil­ton; por­trait by James Sharples, circa 1796

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