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On the Causes of the Greatness and Magnificence of Cities

On the Causes of the Greatness and Magnificence of Cities

Giovanni Botero
Translation and Introduction by Geoffrey Symcox
  • Book Info
    On the Causes of the Greatness and Magnificence of Cities
    Book Description:

    This edition of the treatise - which includes an introduction by Geoffrey W. Symcox on the intellectual context within which it was conceived - is a must-read for anyone interested in the life of cities both historical and contemporary.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6541-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
    Geoffrey Symcox
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xxxviii)

    Giovanni Botero (1544–1617) is principally known today for his treatiseThe Reason of State (Della ragion di Stato),published in 1589. It won immediate acclaim as a fundamental work of Counter-Reformation political theory for its supposed refutation of Machiavelli and its reassertion of Christian morality as the guiding principle of politics. It went through several revisions and numerous editions in its author’s lifetime. Its fame has overshadowed the highly original, perceptive treatise printed along with it, entitledOn the Causes of the Greatness and Magnificence of Cities (Delle cause della grandezza e magnificenza delle città). Botero had published this...

  5. Note on the Translation
    (pp. xxxix-2)
  6. Dedication to Duchess Cornelia Orsini di Altemps
    (pp. 3-6)
    Giovanni Botero
  7. BOOK I
    (pp. 7-28)

    A city is defined as a gathering of people drawn together in order to live happily,⁴ and the greatness of a city does not consist in the extent of its site or the circumference of its walls, but in the number of its inhabitants and their strength. Now, men are gathered together through authority, or force, or pleasure, or the utility that results from it.

    Cain was the first founder of cities, but the poets (followed in this by Cicero) recount that in ancient times human beings were scattered here and there through the mountains and the plains, and led...

  8. BOOK II
    (pp. 29-68)

    So far we have discussed the suitability of our city’s site, the fertility of its land, and the ease of its communications. Now let us look for the things that induce people – by their nature indifferent to whether they live here or there – to move, and for goods to be transported to one place rather than another. Let us speak first of the particular methods the Romans employed for this purpose, and then of the methods common to them and to others.

    The first method was to grant sanctuary and citizenship, as Romulus did, so that Rome’s population...

    (pp. 69-77)

    The ancient founders of cities, considering that it is not easy to uphold law and civil order where there are large numbers of people, because multitudes engender confusion, therefore set limits to the number of citizens, beyond which they believed the form and the constitution of their cities could not be maintained: such were Lycurgus, Solon and Aristotle. But the Romans, believing that strength, without which a city cannot long maintain itself, derives chiefly from a numerous population, did all they could to increase and populate their city, as we demonstrated above, and at greater length in the book on...

    (pp. 78-80)

    As far as one can judge, Rome was one of the largest and most populous cities that have ever existed in the world, both because of the many policies employed to attain this end (for no other people took so much care to propagate itself), and because of the greatness of its empire, all of whose strength was gathered into the city. So it would not be amiss, since we are discussing the greatness of cities, for us to try to discover the total number attained by the people of Rome – which can be called the queen of cities...

  11. Bibliography of Works Cited
    (pp. 81-86)
  12. Index
    (pp. 87-95)