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Western Political Thought by Shefali Jha

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FIVE

Machiavelli (1469–1527): Humanism and Republicanism

THE REPUBLICAN CITY-STATES OF ITALY

In our popular imagination of the European middle ages, alongside the large landed estates of the countryside, are also placed the many vibrant city-states of late medieval Italy. The city-states of the Lombardy and Tuscany regions of northern Italy—Milan, Venice, Verona, Padua, Ravenna, Modena, Genoa, Florence, Arezzo, Bologna and Pisa—to name only a few, had all emerged by the end of the first millennium. Ever vigilant of their independence not only from the Holy Roman Emperor, but also from the Roman Catholic Church, these city-states defined their liberty in terms of rule by the people of the city, rather than by a few selected notables.1 By the end ...

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