The Discourse on Florentine Affairs contains a proposal for constitutional reform in which Machiavelli directly addresses Pope Giovanni de’ Medici. With the aim of contributing to the recent radical republican readings of Machiavelli, this paper argues that the best way to understand the Discourse is to read it as an example of Machiavelli’s use of irony. Machiavelli disguises his radical republican ideas in the Discourse with paradoxes, omissions and implausible reforms that, though clearly leaning towards a popular republic, are presented as part of the oligarchic or princely option that was defended by the Medici. His subtle critique of the Medici’s client-based politics, his implicit rejection of the oligarchic mixed regime, his description of the institution of such pro-popular magistrates as the Provosts and the Gonfaloniers of the Companies of the People, make one suspect that Machiavelli is hiding a disguised preference towards a popular, rather than a mixed, republic.

Machiavelli’s Ironic Discourse to Defend a Radical Republic

Alessandro Mulieri
In corso di stampa

Abstract

The Discourse on Florentine Affairs contains a proposal for constitutional reform in which Machiavelli directly addresses Pope Giovanni de’ Medici. With the aim of contributing to the recent radical republican readings of Machiavelli, this paper argues that the best way to understand the Discourse is to read it as an example of Machiavelli’s use of irony. Machiavelli disguises his radical republican ideas in the Discourse with paradoxes, omissions and implausible reforms that, though clearly leaning towards a popular republic, are presented as part of the oligarchic or princely option that was defended by the Medici. His subtle critique of the Medici’s client-based politics, his implicit rejection of the oligarchic mixed regime, his description of the institution of such pro-popular magistrates as the Provosts and the Gonfaloniers of the Companies of the People, make one suspect that Machiavelli is hiding a disguised preference towards a popular, rather than a mixed, republic.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5011884
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