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Humanism and EmpireThe Imperial Ideal in Fourteenth-Century Italy$
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Alexander Lee

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199675159

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199675159.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 September 2021

Introduction

Introduction

Empire and Humanism

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Humanism and Empire
Author(s):

Alexander Lee

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199675159.003.0001

Although the humanists greeted the revival of imperial aspirations in Northern Italy with unvarnished enthusiasm, their conception of Empire has been treated rather dismissively in scholarly literature. In most surveys of political thought, it has simply been ignored. But even where it has been acknowledged, it has been portrayed either as a digression from a dominant discourse of communal liberty, or as a flight of nostalgic whimsy divorced from the ‘real’ spirit of humanism. Challenging the assumptions on which such attitudes have been based, this chapter demonstrates that the political life of the regnum Italicum cannot be described solely in terms of the conflict between communes and signori; that the ideal of liberty was not tied to any one form of government; and that there was no ‘natural’ connection between humanism and republicanism. In doing so, it provides the rationale for, and the methodology employed in, this study.

Keywords:   humanism, civic humanism, scholasticism, Roman law, liberty, Cicero, communes, signori

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