MEDVL 3510

MEDVL 3510

Course information provided by the Courses of Study 2015-2016.

This course explores the writings of the most famous and controversial political theorist in the Western tradition. We begin with the political and cultural context of Machiavelli's early life and education, and his work in the government of the Florentine republic from 1498 to 1512 as head of the second chancery, diplomatic envoy, and military reformer. We then examine – in his correspondence, poetry, and especially in The Prince (1513) – the impact on his early political thought of this experience and of the republic's collapse in 1512, an event with traumatic personal consequences for Machiavelli. Although he is best known for the ideas in The Prince, Machiavelli subsequently engaged in a constant process of rethinking and revising those ideas. In the works of his most prolific and creative period from 1515 to 1525 – the Discourses on Livy, the Art of War, the plays Mandragola and Clizia, the Florentine Histories, and more poetry – Machiavelli challenged prevailing notions of history, of antiquity as a model for imitation, of political agency, and of the relative merits and weaknesses of different political systems. His analysis of politics increasingly focused on how relations among social classes conditioned the possibilities for liberty, law, and the various forms of government. These issues will be explored through close analysis and discussion of the primary texts.

When Offered Fall.

Breadth Requirement (HB)
Distribution Category (HA-AS)

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Syllabi: none
  •   Regular Academic Session.  Combined with: HIST 3510ITAL 3510

  • 4 Credits Stdnt Opt

  • 16393 MEDVL 3510   LEC 001