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John M. Warner and John T. Scott - Sin City: Augustine and Machiavelli's Reordering of Rome | JSTOR: The Journal of Politics, Vol. 73, No. 3 (JULY 2011), pp. 857-871
We examine Machiavelli's critical appropriation of Augustine's analysis of Rome's decline and fall in order to understand his own interpretation of Rome and the lessons it offers for a successful republic. If Machiavelli's departure from Augustine is obvious, as seen for example in his exculpation of Romulus for the fratricide Augustine condemns, equally illuminating is what Machiavelli borrows from him. For Augustine, Romulus' fratricide discloses the limits of pagan virtue and politics and reveals that the civic republican view of an early virtuous republic is nostalgic if not impossible. Machiavelli agrees with Augustine about the character of Rome, yet embraces the ambitious and acquisitive politics Augustine rebuffs. Machiavelli not only excuses Romulus' fratricide in "ordering" Rome, but makes it the archetypal act that must be repeated through "reordering" to sustain the state against the perennial problem of corruption. We thereby address two of the primary issues in Machiavelli scholarship—the character of his republicanism and the nature and extent of his innovation with regard to his ancient sources—and suggest that the "civic republican" or "neo-Roman" interpretation of Machiavelli is incorrect in its conclusions concerning his republicanism as well as his relationship to his ancient sources. -- paywall Cambridge journals -- see bibliography on jstor information page
article  jstor  paywall  intellectual_history  political_philosophy  Renaissance  Machiavelli  Roman_Republic  Roman_Empire  Livy  Augustine  pagans  civic_virtue  neo-Roman  republicanism  republics-Ancient_v_Modern  Strauss  Skinner  Pocock  Cambridge_School  bibliography  EF-add 
january 2014 by dunnettreader

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