Descending to the Particulars: The Palazzo, The Piazza, and Machiavelli's Republican Modes and Orders

Lukes, Timothy J.
April 2009
Journal of Politics;Apr2009, Vol. 71 Issue 2, p520
Academic Journal
Scholars of late have attempted to implicate Machiavelli in their various takes on republican ''traditions,'' but their tendentiousness obscures a clear picture of Machiavelli's own thinking. The key to understanding Machiavelli's concept of the republic, which requires new modes and orders, is his comparison of the piazza and the palazzo. Where the hyperbole and irresponsibility of the piazza retard republican development, the deliberateness and detail of the palazzo inspire an indispensable sophistication. The responsive republic recognizes elements in society capable of the palazzo mentality and adjusts authority relative to the capacities of its constituents. I show that Machiavelli's engaging account of the Ciompi Rebellion is central to understanding his republican musings.


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