Humanism and Empire
Bringing together the arguments advanced in the previous chapters, this Epilogue offers a concise overview of humanist conceptions of Empire between the death of Frederick II and the failure of Rupert of the Palatinate’s Italian expedition. It then goes on to examine some of the implications that this study has for wider scholarly perceptions of humanist political thought. Contrary to what has sometimes been suggested, it argues that the humanists did not perceive communal government, signorie, and Empire to be monolithic or mutually exclusive bodies of constitutional thought; that their thought developed in dialogue with—rather than in isolation from—other fields of intellectual endeavour; and that they cannot be said to have departed radically from earlier ‘medieval’ attitudes. Finally, it raises provocative questions about the influence that the collapse of the imperial ideal may have had on the humanists’ later perception of the nature and sources of political authority.
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