Machiavelli And Empire

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Excerpt from The Third Great War in Relation to Modern History "Machiavelli is the earliest conscious and articulate exponent of certain living forces in the present world. Religion, progressive enlightenment, the perpetual vigilance of public opinion, have not reduced his empire, or disputed the justice of his conception of mankind. He obtains a new lease of authority from causes that are still prevailing, and from doctrines that are apparent in politics, philosophy and science.

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The sixteenth century was a critical time for Christianity and politics in Europe; the birth of Protestantism and Machiavelli's new approach to politics, morality, and religion are only two examples of the turbulence of the time. Don Quixote, argues Henry Higuera, was a response to this turbulence. Higuera's careful examination of the novel against the background of Christian theology and European moral and political theory demonstrates that Don Quixote portrays, analyzes, and criticizes Christianity's tendency toward a kind of imperialism fueled by eros.

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Key protagonists in these debates included Erasmus, Luther and Machiavelli. Today we might call them intellectuals, yet mostly they did not travel, and direct contact with the Ottoman Empire was scarce or nonexistent. Nor were they well disposed to its predecessor, the Byzantine Empire, whose fall presented them with an intellectual conundrum: how were they to explain the irresistible advance of the Ottomans across the Balkans and the inability of Christian Europe to hold the line? They also felt compelled to incorporate this significant new threat into their vision of a world order, to rationalise it, to unravel its origins.

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Key protagonists in these debates included Erasmus, Luther and Machiavelli. Today we might call them intellectuals, yet mostly they did not travel, and direct contact with the Ottoman Empire was scarce or nonexistent. Nor were they well disposed to its predecessor, the Byzantine Empire, whose fall presented them with an intellectual conundrum: how were they to explain the irresistible advance of the Ottomans across the Balkans and the inability of Christian Europe to hold the line? They also felt compelled to incorporate this significant new threat into their vision of a world order, to rationalise it, to unravel its origins.

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Exploring both the political and intellectual contexts within which Machiavelli's political vision was formed, Mikael Hornqvist stresses the classical and rhetorical character of Machiavelli's thought. He analyzes his preoccupation with glory and liberality in relation to the revival of Roman ideas of triumphalism. The result is a revealing account of the formation of Machiavelli's characteristic preoccupations.

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