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Read e-book online A great and wretched city : promise and failure in PDF

By Mark Jurdjevic

Like many population of booming metropolises, Machiavelli alternated among love and hate for his local urban. He usually wrote scathing feedback approximately Florentine political myopia, corruption, and servitude, but in addition wrote approximately Florence with delight, patriotism, and assured wish of higher occasions. regardless of the alternating tones of sarcasm and melancholy he used to explain Florentine affairs, Machiavelli supplied a stubbornly power feel that his urban had the entire fabrics and power valuable for a wholesale, successful, and epochal political renewal. As he memorably placed it, Florence was once "truly an outstanding and wretched city."

Mark Jurdjevic specializes in the Florentine measurement of Machiavelli's political concept, revealing new elements of his republican convictions. via The Prince, Discourses, correspondence, and, so much considerably, Florentine Histories, Jurdjevic examines Machiavelli's political profession and relationships to the republic and the Medici. He indicates that major and as but unrecognized points of Machiavelli's political concept have been quite Florentine in notion, content material, and goal. From a brand new viewpoint and armed with new arguments, a good and Wretched City reengages the venerable debate approximately Machiavelli's dating to Renaissance republicanism. Dispelling the parable that Florentine politics provided Machiavelli purely adverse classes, Jurdjevic argues that his contempt for the city's shortcomings was once a right away functionality of his substantial estimation of its unrealized political potential.

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Writing in exile to republican politicians cast down from power, Machiavelli spoke in a different voice. Although he remained skeptical of Savonarola’s identity as a prophet, Machiavelli now acknowledged an ambiguity about that question that is absent in the Becchi letter. “The people of Florence do not suppose themselves either ignorant or rude; nevertheless they were persuaded by Brother Girolamo Savonarola that he spoke with God. ”33 This change in tone applied as much to Machiavelli’s estimation of Savonarola’s following as to the friar himself.

29 The most ubiquitous piece of evidence invoked to demonstrate Machiavelli’s antipathy toward Savonarola has been that blunt acknowledg ment of Savonarola’s “lies” (bugie). But Machiavelli of course had a complex view of the relationship between duplicity and virtue. If we examine the passages from the Discourses that discuss the relationship among religion, deceit, and the origins of states, we hear interesting echoes of the Becchi letter. Weinstein has argued that Machiavelli, in spite of his early dim view of Savonarola, eventually came to see him in admiring terms as a political and religious founder figure.

This acknowledgment further implies Machiavelli’s recognition that human rather than prophetic and hence supernatural qualities were sufficient to inspire his fellow Florentines. [ 28 ] The Savonarolan Lens According to him, Rome also owed more to Numa than to Romulus because Numa’s accomplishment was the harder to achieve. Machiavelli’s elaboration on this point returns us implicitly and explicitly to Savonarola, duplicity, and Machiavelli’s early reflections in the Becchi letter. Numa faced a greater challenge than Romulus because he wanted to establish unprecedented institutions in the city.

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