From Plato to Machiavelli
Allegories and Metaphors in Early Political Thought: From Plato to Machiavelli examines allegories and metaphors that best exemplify the ideologies of Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Niccolo Machiavelli. Author Kevin Dooley’s approach allows readers to gain a greater understanding of each thinker’s ideas through the lens of metaphor, which stimulates imaginative discussions and more thoughtful reflections.
Chapter 6: Niccolo Machiavelli (1469–1527): The Lion and the Fox, the River
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NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI (1469–1527)
The Lion and the Fox, the River
As the spirit of the Renaissance enveloped the disunited Italian city-states, Florence awoke to find itself born anew. Of all the Italian city-states, it was Florence that became the cultural epicenter of Italy. Botticelli, Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli were all born there. In the 14th century, Florentine city planners started to publicly finance a new curriculum for its centers of learning.1 Schools utilized new streams of revenue and as a result several generations of Florentines grew up in a culture that drew its inspiration from the classic civilizations of Athens and Rome. This dedication to the rediscovery of the ancient world paid dividends. By the middle of the 15th century, Florence’s economy was thriving as a handful of wealthy artisan guilds profited from an international trade and banking regime that helped generate greater revenue used to support further artistic, literary, and scientific endeavors.
However, Florence’s economic and cultural development reveals only part of the story. The competitive nature of the international system made the Italian city-states vulnerable to domestic and foreign instability. Disease and political upheavals plagued Florence throughout much of the 14th and ← 105 | 106 → 15th centuries. When Cosimo de Medici assumed power (1434), Florence had been engaged in periodic warfare for nearly half a century with its rivals Milan and Naples.
Although the Medicis are most famous for banking...
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