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Reappraising Political TheoryRevisionist Studies in the History of Political Thought$
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Terence Ball

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198279952

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198279957.001.0001

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Machiavelli and Moral Change

Machiavelli and Moral Change

(p.65) 3 Machiavelli and Moral Change
Reappraising Political Theory

Terence Ball (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Machiavelli's conception of princely virtue—virtù—is entirely consistent with the brutal precepts and practices prescribed in The Prince, and for which his own and succeeding generations have roundly condemned him. Here, I recover and re‐examine Machiavelli's central concept of princely virtù and its place in his political thinking. My claim is that Machiavellian virtù shares some crucial conceptual affinities with the older Homeric conception of virtue (αρετη), or role‐related specific excellence.

Keywords:   arete, conceptual change, Homeric ethics, Machiavelli, morality, Niccolo, political theory, virtù, virtue

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