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The Reception of Machiavelli in Early Modern Spain

The Reception of Machiavelli in Early Modern Spain

Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    The Reception of Machiavelli in Early Modern Spain
    Book Description:

    Arguing against historians of Spanish political thought that have neglected recent developments in our understanding of Machiavelli's contribution to the European tradition, the thesis of this book is that Machiavellian discourse had a profound impact on Spanish prose treatises of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. After reviewing in chapter 1 Machiavelli's ideological restructuring of the language of European political thought, in chapter 2 Dr. Howard shows how, before his works were prohibited in Spain in 1583, Spaniards such as Fadrique Furió Ceriol and Balthazar Ayala used Machiavelli's new vocabulary and theoretical framework to develop an imperial discourse that would be compatible with a militant understanding of Catholic Christianity. In chapters 3, 4 and 5 he demonstrates in detail how Giovanni Botero, Pedro de Ribadeneyra, and their imitators in the anti-Machiavellian reason-of-state tradition in Spain, attack a straw figure of Machiavelli that they have invented for their own rhetorical and ideological purposes, while they simultaneously incorporate key Machiavellian concepts into their own advice. Keith David Howard is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Florida State University.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-310-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    In 1637, Claudio Clemente published hisMachiavelismo degollado por la Christiana Sabiduria de España y Austriain Alcalá de Henares. In it, after a brief introduction to the “Politicos,” whom he characterizes as members of a religious sect, Clemente takes his readers on an imaginary expedition in which he infiltrates their temple and witnesses an induction ceremony for a young noble.¹ It is worthwhile to recount this narration, because its overtly fictitious nature illustrates very well to what extent the anti-Machiavellians of the reason-of-state tradition had been utilizing an invented characterization (or, in this case, a caricature) of Machiavelli and...

  5. 1 Medieval and Renaissance Humanist Political Discourse and Machiavelli
    (pp. 13-40)

    The European reception of Machiavelli is an extremely complex subject and much work remains to be done. Perhaps the most important obstacle to an accurate understanding of the reception of Machiavelli in Spain and elsewhere is that today there exists a daunting number of different scholarly readings of Machiavelli. This problem is compounded by our current, popular usage of the term “Machiavellian,” which I argue ultimately derives from the anti-Machiavellian mischaracterization of Machiavelli popularized during the Counter-Reformation Baroque. Perhaps surprisingly, it is possible to find traces of this mischaracterization of Machiavelli in twentieth- and twenty-first-century scholarship, most notably in the...

  6. 2 Machiavelli and Spanish Imperialist Discourse in the Sixteenth Century
    (pp. 41-68)

    When Isabel and Ferdinand finally defeated their opposition and gained control of Castile, they effectively ended the internal political crisis which had been raging ever since the ascension of the house of Trastámara to the crown of Castile. They now turned their attention to a program of territorial expansion which eventually would become an empire so expansive that it would include colonies located all over the world. After conquering Granada, Ferdinand continued the kingdom of Aragon’s long tradition of economic and political interests in the Mediterranean; Isabel made the Indies her own personal imperial project. When Charles succeeded the Catholic...

  7. 3 Machiavelli and the Foundations of the Spanish Reason-of-State Tradition: Giovanni Botero and Pedro de Ribadeneyra
    (pp. 69-96)

    In an episode in the history of Machiavellian reception that would have a profound impact on European culture, whose effects are felt even today, the figure of Machiavelli simultaneously became immensely popular and greatly distorted. During the French Wars of Religion, anti-Machiavellism became a polemical weapon, used by both Catholics and Huguenots to slander their opponents. As Edmond M. Beame has put it, French pamphleteers who used Machiavelli’s name indiscriminately, rather than serious scholars, were responsible for the “French face” of Machiavelli.¹

    For three decades after his appearance in 1544 in French translation, Machiavelli remained tolerated in France, perhaps because...

  8. 4 Machiavellian Discourse in the Hispanic Baroque Reason-of-State Tradition
    (pp. 97-128)

    At the turn of the seventeenth century, Spain was entering into a social, economic and political crisis, the consequences of which would last well beyond the end of the early modern period. The death of Philip II and the coronation of his son, Philip III, in 1598 inaugurated the practice of thevalidoor favorite, whereby the king’s political power was wielded in practice by a grandee friend. While Philip II administered his kingdoms personally, Philip III handed over the responsibility of governing to his friend and mentor, Francisco Gómez de Sandoval y Rojas, Marquis of Denia and soon to...

  9. 5 Juan Pablo Mártir Rizo’s Rereading of the Prince
    (pp. 129-154)

    Juan Pablo Mártir Rizo was a well-known intellectual and historian at court who favored the Count-Duke of Olivares. He dedicated hisNorte de principes, published by Diego Flamenco in Madrid in 1626, to don Diego de Corral y Avellano, member of the Council of Castile and author of the famousconsultaof 1619, which had proposed to Philip III remedies for the “illness” of his kingdoms toward the end of his reign. Later Mártir Rizo was a personal correspondent and advisor to the Count-Duke of Olivares himself.¹ In 1632, one “Pablo Riccio” was accused of keeping “libros políticos y en...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 155-158)

    In this study I offer a new method for determining to what extent Spanish political prose writers should be considered Machiavellian, based not on their own self-fashioning, but on the observable appropriation of Machiavelli’s vocabulary and theoretical framework used to deal with the unpredictable and the contingent in political life. As such, this new method allows us to make historically valid judgments regarding the scope of Machiavelli’s influence over the subsequent political discourse in Spain. This method reveals that Maravall, over half a century ago, was in part correct, because he recognized that many Spaniards incorporated important aspects of Machiavellian...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 159-166)
  12. Index
    (pp. 167-172)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 173-173)