The Languages of Political Theory in Early-Modern Europe (Ideas in Context)
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This volume studies the concept of a political 'language', of a discourse composed of shared vocabularies, idioms and rhetorical strategies, which has been widely influential on recent work in the history of political thought. The collection brings together a number of essays by a distinguished group of international scholars, on the four dominant languages in use in Europe between the end of the fourteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century. They are: the language of political Aristotelianism and the natural law; the language of classical republicanism; the language of commerce and the commercial society; and the language of a science of politics. Each author has chosen a single aspect of his or her language, sometimes the work of a single author, in one case the history of a single team, and shown how it determined the shape and development of that language, and the extent to which each language was a response to the challenge of other modes of discourse.
at all 'for allowing the title of nobility' to those who merely happen to be members of a leisured class and live a life of iners otium, 'sluggish idleness'.91 The main point the humanists make, however, is that it is even more ridiculous to suppose that the possession of inherited wealth can in any way entitle someone to be regarded as truly noble. Niccolo flatly declares in Poggio's dialogue that 'riches cannot in the least ennoble us',92 while Erasmus in the Institutio offers an anatomy of
Book II should be read as an account of the social benefits that flow from espousing the true instead of the counterfeit view of nobility. By contrast, his famous analysis of the injustices of English society in Book I forms a perfectly balanced account of the dire effects that stem from accepting the counterfeit view in its place. That the English endorse the counterfeit view is emphatically asserted in the course of Book II, especially at the point where Hythloday compares 'what is now
Vinegalite, Rousseau puts forward the same arguments 62 64 65 The most influential is B. Constant, Principes depolitique (Paris, 1957), pp. 1215, 63 1231. De I'honneur et de la vertu, III, p . 5 0 3 . See p. 138 above. Discorsi, Bk I, ch. 16 and Bk III, ch. 25; cf. also Dedicace au discours sur I'inegalite, III, pp. 117-18 and 222-3. 174 MAURIZIO VIROLI Machiavelli had used in the Dzscorsz, namely that it is public opinion, la voix publique, which should decide who from among the citizen
destroyed when it loses, either completely or in part, those common rights which unite it as a people.' 71 When the republic dissolves, the people become a multitude. There is no longer a 'common way'; there are only individuals. A multitude may be governed by a tyrant but it does not then constitute a people. The links which bind individuals in a political society, which is an artificial moral body, are constituted by the obligation which all its members have towards their sovereign and which
development of Antwerp was in part due to an earlier association with Venice. Justus Lipsius also praised the thousand-year-long stable and moderate government of Venice. So, too, did Hooft, despite his reservations, when he came to formulate his objections against accepting a prince in Holland. It is evident from such remarks that elements of what has been called the myth of Venice were present in the Netherlands by at least the end of the sixteenth century.14 This myth was not only propagated