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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: 17 September 2021

The Twilight of Empire

The Twilight of Empire

(c.1369–1402)

Chapter:
(p.141) 4 The Twilight of Empire
Source:
Humanism and Empire
Author(s):

Alexander Lee

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199675159.003.0005

Following Charles IV’s second Italian expedition, a new conception of Empire began to emerge. In place of the Petrarchan vision of the emperor as an agent of ‘Italic peace’, humanists in Florence, Padua, and Milan developed a vision of Empire similar to that voiced at the beginning of the century. Anxious to defend the liberty of their own city or commune against the threat of ‘tyranny’, they appealed to imperial authority for protection. But rather than simply reproduce earlier patterns of thought, they based their imperialism on a fuller—and more dynamic—appreciation of Dante’s political thought. As this chapter shows, however, the more the Empire became embroiled in Italian affairs, the less confidence the humanists had in its ability to act in the interests of peace and liberty. And as the Visconti Wars reached their climax, the Empire at last became a tyrant to all.

Keywords:   humanism, Florence, Padua, Milan, Coluccio Salutati, Leonardo Bruni, Benvenuto da Imola

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