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Vernacular Encounters with Aristotle’s Politics in Italy, 1260‒1600

Citation: Allen, Grace (2015) Vernacular Encounters with Aristotle’s Politics in Italy, 1260‒1600. Doctoral thesis, University of London.

This dissertation explores the use and dissemination of Aristotelian political theory in Italian literature from the late medieval period, when the first fragments of Aristotle’s political thought appeared in the West, to the sixteenth century, when vernacular Aristotelian literature flourished. I show how late medieval and Renaissance authors employed Aristotle’s Politics in various ways, according to their political background and allegiances, their approach to the text and their intended audience. I also demonstrate how, reciprocally, the vocabulary and classifications in the Politics shaped their understanding of their own political context. The thesis is divided into six chapters. The first chapter offers an overview, for comparative purposes, of the Latin and Greek reception of the Politics in Western Europe. The remaining chapters proceed chronologically. Chapter Two explores the place of the Politics in Italian vernacular literature of the late thirteenth and the fourteenth centuries. Chapter Three does the same for the fifteenth century, as well as considering the impact of Neo-Platonism and the ‘questione della lingua’on vernacular political Aristotelianism. The three remaining chapters cover the sixteenth century. Chapter Four concerns Antonio Brucioli, who composed a series of Aristotelian political dialogues in the 1520s and in 1547 produced the first vernacular translation of the Politics. The subject of Chapter Five is Bernardo Segni, whose translation of the Politics, accompanied by the first full vernacular commentary, was published in 1549. Chapter Six deals with a representative selection of the wide-ranging vernacular material written on the Politics in the second half of the sixteenth century. The dissertation concludes with an evaluation of the changing uses of the Politics in Italy from the late thirteenth century to the end of the sixteenth, examining the different ways in which the treatise served as a key to understanding politics and political reality.

Creators: Allen, Grace and
Subjects: History
Divisions: Warburg Institute
Collections: Theses and Dissertations
  • May 2015 (submitted)


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