A Florentine bureaucrat of the late 15th and early 16th century has continued to fascinate politicians, scholars, and the public alike. Although he witnessed at close hand the deeds of both hapless and ruthless European rulers of the Renaissance that resulted in devastating wars for the Italian peninsula, it is not the life but rather the words of Niccolò Machiavelli that have earned him fame—and infamy. Both types of notoriety derive from his most well-known work, his small treatise The Prince.

In this online seminar, led by scholar Vickie Sullivan, fellows will carefully study this classic text to understand Machiavelli’s account of virtue and the low, but solid ground on which he recommends we construct our political regimes. The chronology in The Prince (pp. xxix–xxxi) and the indexes and glossaries in both works can assist in elucidating the particular characters, incidents, and key terms one finds in his writings. In particular, fellows explore the following themes and terms: founding, corruption, renewal, fortune vs. virtue, ordinary vs. extraordinary, appearance vs. truth, nature, necessity, acquisition, glory, and prudence.

Image: Statue of Niccolo Machiavelli, Circa 1500

Vickie Sullivan on Machiavelli & Religion

Faculty

Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is the Cornelia M. Jackson Professor of Political Science and teaches and studies political thought and philosophy.  She also maintains teaching and research interests in politics and literature. She has published extensively on Montesquieu and Machiavelli and is the co-editor of  Shakespeare’s Political Pageant.

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