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THE PLACE OF THE TYRANT IN MACHIAVELLI'S POLITICAL THOUGHT AND THE LITERARY GENRE OF THE PRINCE

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Abstract:

Contrary to the common interpretation, Machiavelli's notion of tyranny is quite elusive, for it is not based on moral or legal considerations. Machiavelli does not obliterate the difference between tyranny and principality, but he judges regimes and political behaviour according to the circumstances and to the end pursued by the statesman. His major political writings can be construed as aiming at the permanent education of the real statesman, to furnish him with a vision of the correct aim to pursue and, at the same time, to enable him to master 'the quality of the times'. Machiavelli's political works thus belong to the classic tradition of political treatises in the fashion of Aristotle's Politics and Cicero's De Officiis.

Keywords: Aristotle, the prince and prudence; Casuistry and education; Machiavelli; Machiavelli as educator; The State; despotism; principality; reason of state and status necessitatis; tyranny

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept. of Ancient History, University of Bologna, Via Zamboni 38, 40126 Bologna, Italy., Email: giovanni.giorgini@unibo.it

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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