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Machiavelli: 1940-1960 Author(s): Eric W. Cochrane Source: The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 33, No. 2 (Jun.

, 1961), pp. 113-136 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 23/08/2011 20:21
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No. 2



June 1961







of Machiavelli," re- own versatile genius runs freely. Machiavelli is still, as Rodolfo de Mattei puts it, "one of the poles of . .. scientific interest in the field of political thought."2 It is not surprising, therefore, that most authors have hesitated to let critical footnotes drive the text off their pages in order to acknowledge the work of their fellow scholars. And it is hardly less surprising that none of the occasional review essays has pretended to cover any but a small part of the vast critical literature of the last twenty years. This abundance is not wholly a blessing, to be sure. The almost imnpossible task of mastering all of it has at times led some writers to mistake the part for the whole-to explain Machiavelli's thought, for example, as the product exclusively of the social position of his family, or to hold up as a dominant characteristic such qualities as "straightforwardness" that become clear only when compared to the duplicity of Dante and the hypocrisy of the Democratic platform of 1932.3 It has permitted others to make generalizations about Machiavelli's contemporaries from little but Guicciardini's Ricordi and about his ex2 Gli studi itatiani di storia del pensiero politico (Bologna, 1951), p. 43. 3 James Burnham, The Machiavellians, defenders of freedom (New York, 1943); German translation as Die Machiavellisten (Zurich, 1949).

marked Benedetto Croce some years ago, is one "that will perhaps never be solved."' It has already been pondered, indeed, for over four hundred years. Every generation since the time of Machiavelli himself has claimed to have found a "new" Machiavelli different from the one discerned by its predecessor. But never has the puzzle provoked such a flood of literature as in the last two decades-dozens of books and scores of articles, essays, notes, and comments, written by philosophers, moralists, literary critics, linguists, and political scientists as well as historians, across whose disciplinary barriers Machiavelli's
1"Una questione che forse non si chiuderh mai: la questione del Machiavelli," Quaderni di critica, V, No. 14 (1949), 1-9. Bibliographical articles are cited with other works below. A list of some recent publications (but beware errors in detail) may be found in Studies in philology, LVII (1960), 379-80. For a brief statement of some recent theses, see Carlo Curcio, "Machiavelli antimachiavellico," L'Italia che scrive, XLII (1959), 182. A brief summary of a number of books published before 1940 (the moment at which this article begins) is given by Paul Hyland Harris in "Progress in Machiavelli studies," Italica, XVIII (1941), 1-11. I use English titles for all those of Machiavelli's works listed by J. R. Hale in the appendix to the book cited in n. 38, below; for all others I use the Italian. The following abbreviations are self-evident: M. or N. M., for Niccolo Machiavelli; P. for the Prince; and D. for the Discourses on the first decade of Livy.



perience as a statesman from the Prince rather than from the Legations. Worse yet, it has tended to divide up scholarship by nations and to lend some reality to the common, although absurd notion of a "German" or a "French" view of the subject.4 Perhaps, then, a consideration of at least the principal arguments of all the literature of the past two decades will serve to overcome the increasing fragmentation of the study of Machiavelli that now threatens to make Croce's puzzle more insoluble than ever. Even though it has recently been aided by the publication of several new editions5 and translations6 of Machiavelli's
4 For example, W. Preiser, whose otherwise very helpful "Das Machiavelli-Bild der Gegenwart," Zeitschrift fur die gesamte Staatswissenschaft, CVIII (1952), 1-38, has almost wholly Teutonic features, upbraided J. H. Whitfield for ignoring recent German scholarship. Whitfield similarly (Machiavelli [Oxford, 1947], pp. 11-12) dismissed many of his Italian contemporaries by accusing one of merely disguising De Sanctis' theses under the "stilted jargon" of Crocean philosophy and another of "playing to the gallery" with "a perversity of criticism." Vittorio De Caprariis then revenged his compatriots in Rivista storica italiana, LX (1948), 289-91, by showing that Whitfield had involved himself in useless polemics with "windmills" long since discarded south of the Alps. And Leslie J. Walker, S. J., The discourses of N. M., translated, with an introduction and notes (London, 1950; New Haven, 1952), although more thoroughly annotated than any of the Italian editions, gave the impression, as Delio Cantimori noted in Rivista storica italiana, LXIV (1952), 430-35 (see other reviews listed by Gennaro Sasso, ibid., LXX [1958], 335), that Machiavelli was the sole concern of certain professors at Oxford and Cambridge working nowhere but in the Bodleian and the British Museum and therefore, shockingly enough, aware neither of the standard editions nor of any "continental" criticism since Tommasini. 5 The new Tutte le opere of Francesco Flora and Carlo Cordie (Mondadori), of which two volumes have already appeared and of which a third is imminent (Rassegna della letteratura italiana, LXIII [1959], 504) will soon replace, as the standard edition, the Mazzoni-Casella edition of the major and many of the minor works (1929) as well as the incomplete Passerini-Fan-

works, and even though it has been broadened by the discovery of one or two hitherto unknown or neglected documents,7 the study of Machiavelli today is still heavily indebted to the work of preceding generations. It still relies for
fani edition of 1873 and the two editions of Lettere by Edoardo Alvisi (1883) and by Giovanni Papini (1915) for the legations and letters. Still more helpful will be the complete works edited by Sergio Bertelli and Franco Gaeta now being published in handsome and inexpensive paperbacks (800 lire the volume) by Feltrinelli (Milan), of which II Principe e Discorsi, with bibliographical and explanatory footnotes and a lengthy introduction by Giuliano Procacci, has already appeared and of which three other volumes will appear this year. Several good editions of individual works are now available, like Piero Pieri's Arte della guerra (1936) and the Legazioni al duca Valentino (1958), as well the more comprehensive Opere of Antonio Panella (1939) and of Mario Bonfantini (1954). Sansoni would do well to reprint Luigi Russo's heavily footnoted Principe of 1943 before the wartime paper crumbles away completely. Few of the editions contain adequate annotations, unfortunately; and the most complete edition of the diplomatic correspondence is in the French translation by Edmond Baricon as Toutes les lettres (2 vols.; Paris, 1955) (along with the magnificent Plhiade edition of the Oeuvres completes). 6 English-speaking readers must still refer to the massive Historical, political, and diplomatic writings of Christian E. Detmold (1891) (of which the Prince and the Discourses have now appeared in a Modern Library edition); but they can now read as well the more accurate version of the Prince by George Bull (Penguin) and of the literary works by J. R. Hale (1960), as well as some of the lesser writings in Allen H. Gilbert's The Prince and other works (Chicago, 1946). Fr. Walker's Discourses must be used with caution, as the somewhat harsh review by Whitfield in Italian studies, VI (1951), 100-106, has shown. 7 The only new bit by Machiavelli himself to turn up is a short letter printed by Felix Gilbert, with commentary, in American historical review, XLVII (1941-42), 288-92. Much more important is the Libro di ricordi of Machiavelli's father Bemardo, ed. Cesare Olschki (Florence, 1954), which has thrown much light on the hitherto obscure years before 1498. See Willy Andreas, "Der Vater Machiavelli's," Historische Zeitschrift, CLXXXVI (1958), 328-33, and Niccol6 Rodolico in Archivio storico italiano, CXII (1954), 438-39.

MACHIAVELLI: 1940-1960


much of its specific information on the two vast syntheses of the late nineteenth century-on the penetrating and monumental biography of Pasquale Villari and on the voluminous, if somewhat chaotic, erudition of Oreste Tommasini. And it is still inspired by the new questions raised in the 1920's by such scholars as Benedetto Croce, Friedrich Meinecke, Federico Chabod, and Francesco Ercole, many of whose works have recently been republished and, in the English-speaking world, translated for the first time.8 Indeed, one of the most widely discussed theses today is still that suggested as early as 1925 by Croce, reaffirmed by him in 1949, and elaborated, with some reservations, by most Italian scholars over the past thirty years. What is fundamental-and what has proved to be lasting-in Machiavelli's thought, Croce is his "clear recognition of the necessaid, sity and autonomy of politics, of politics which is beyond or, rather, below moral good and evil, of politics which has its own laws against which it is useless to rebel."9 Machiavelli did not deny the
8 Villari, N. M. e i suoi tempi (Florence, 1877; English tr.: N. M. and his times [London, 1878]); Tommasini, La vita e gli scritti di N. M. nella loro relazione col machiavellismo (Rome, 18831911); Croce, Etica e politica (3d ed.; Bari, 1945), of which the second part is translated by Salvatore J. Castiglione as Politics and morals (New York, 1945); Mcinecke, Die Idee der Staatsrason (chap. 1), first published in 1924 and now in English by Douglas Scott as Machiavellism: the doctrine of raison d'dtat and its place in modern history (London, 1947); Chabod, "Del Principe di N. M.," first published in Nuova rivista storica, IX (1925), 35-71, 189-216, and 437-73; and "An introduction to the Prince," first published in Vol. XXXV of the U.T.E.T. edition of Classici italiani (1924), now both, with other essays, in M. and the Renaissance, tr. David Moore with an introduction by A. Passerin d'Entr&ves (London, 1958). Ercole, La politica di M. (Rome, 1926). and morals, p. 59 (Etica e politica, 9Politics p. 251), quoted with approval by Chabod (1925)

validity of Christian morality, and he did not pretend that a crime required by political necessity was any less a crime. Rather he discovered, following what Leonardo Bruni and Leon Battista Alberti had done in historiography and the arts and anticipating what Giambattista Vico was to do in aesthetics,10 that this morality simply did not hold in political affairs and that any policy based on the assumption that it did would end in disaster. His factual, objective description of contemporary political practices, then, is a sign not of cynicism or of detachment, but of anguish. His spiritual exhortations and his pious death are actions not of a man who has rejected Christianity, but of one who still recognizes the validity of its theological and moral teachings. His admission that the maxims of the Prince would not work "if all men were good" (P. 18), finally, and his hesitation to follow the logical consequences of his argument in the case of Agathocles the Syracusan are indications of his surprise, if not his horror, at what he had discovered. To Machiavelli
in "The Prince, myth and reality" in M. and the Renaissance, p. 116. Ercole's thesis is similar: that Machiavelli created a new morality rather than abolishing the old one, by transposing moral judgment from the intention alone to intention plus act. See, further, Chabod on the importance of Croce's riimpostazione in "Gli studi di storia del rinascimento," Cinquant'anni di vita intellettuale italiana, 1896-1947: scritti in onore di Benedetto Croce (Naples, 1950), pp. 125-207. Of the recent efforts of Arturo Pasa to rearrange the texts in such a way as to facilitate the search for a coherent political philosophy (N. M., Teoria della politica [Treviso,, 1958]) I know only the review by Gianni Doro in Convivium, XXVIII (1960), 496-98. 10 This thesis is fully expounded, as part of a general interpretation of the Renaissance, by Federico Chabod in "The concept of the Renaissance," published in Italian in Questioni di storia moderna, ed. E. Rota (Milan, 1948), and in English in his M. and the Renaissance, pp. 149-200.



politics was one thing and Christian Yet the philosophers and the theomorality another. The rules of one ap- logians, particularly those in the Arisplied to men in positions of public re- totelian or Thomist traditions, have far sponsibility; those of the other to men as outstripped the historians in this matter. private individuals. The two existed side Piero Conte, for instance, has accused by side, without touching. Machiavelli of putting forth what he In spite of the favor with which many himself admitted to be a "pseudo-docstudents of Machiavelli have received trine" and of placing himself thereby Croce's thesis, some are still not per- alongside the "irreligious liberals" suaded; and the age-old, and from Croce's (Locke, Mill, and compatriots) and point of view vain, battle over Machia- against the "true liberals" (Cicero, Aquivelli's morality and Christianity still nas, Savonarola, Paruta, Manzoni, and rages on. On one side stand the accusers. Cattaneo).12 Leo Strauss, similarly, has Giuseppe Prezzolini, first of all, calls brushed aside the "more sophisticated Machiavelli not only a "pagan," since he views" of "up-to-date scholars" (but attributed historical action solely to Goethe and Fichte are the most up-to"human passions" and took no account date mentioned) and has reasserted the of the Incarnation, but positively "anti- "old-fashioned and simple opinion" that Christian," since he consistently opposed Machiavelli was "a teacher of evil," one virtPl to ozio, bonta to debolezza. Herbert who corrupted the political life of all Butterfield, similarly, finds the Eliza- nations thereafter-of all, that is, except bethan caricature of the "preceptor of the United States. Jacques Maritain, inBarabbas" "not so wilfully wide of the deed, has held him guilty of mortal sin, mark as some writers have assumed." since his departure from ancient and And Gerhard Ritter thinks Machiavelli Christian moral principles was perfectly "erschreckend" (not "repulsive," as the conscious; and he condemns him for havtranslator would have it) because of his ing perpetrated "the most violent mutila"complete contradiction of the Christian tion ever inflicted upon the practical and Germanic view of the State"; and he intellect of man." Machiavelli's worksattributes the occasional talk about free- so the argument runs-taught Henry dom and virtue either to "outbursts of a VIII, who knew him through a manuSouthern temperament" or to a possible script copy brought back to England by influence of Lutheranism."1 Thomas Cromwell, to set up an autocracy in church and state; they taught 11 Prezzolini, M. anticristo (Rome, 1954), pp. Catherine de' Medici, "the daughter of 31, 115-16. The author is already well known in
the English-speaking world for his charming biography M. the Florentine, tr. Ralph Roeder (New York, 1928) (but note the biting remarks of J. H. Whitfield in "M. secondo i piu recenti studi," I problemi della pedagogia, III [1957], 295-310 [or pp. 1-16 of the offprint I have used through the kindness of Hans Baron]). Butterfield, The statescraft of M. (London, 1940). Ritter, Machtstaat und Utopie: Vom Streit um die Ddmonie der Macht seit M. und Morus (Berlin and Munich, 1940), renamed (and altered) as Die Diinonie der Macht after the war (6th ed.; Munich, 1948), upon which is based the translation of F. W. Pick, The corrupting influence of power, with introduction by G. P. Gooch (Hadleigh [England], 1952). The translation unfortunately leaves out the extensive notes, which frequently modify the statements in the text. 12 L'errore logico del M. e i fondamenti metafisici della politica (Rome, 1955). Somewhat similarly, but with a careful consideration of the principal theses of recent German scholarship, Judith Janoska-Bendl points out that, unlike Marx, Machiavelli tried to change the world without an ideology, without a systematic plan: "N. M.: Politik ohne Ideologie," Archiv fur Kulturgeschichte, XL (1958), 315-45.

MACHIAVELLI: 1940-1960


the man to whom the book was dedicated" to massacre "thousands of Protestants . . . for coolly calculated purposes of state" alone; and they outlined "almost exactly . . . what Adolf Hitler set out to do" four hundred years later. Let no one object that Machiavelli was interested in what would work rather than what was good; the experience of the ancient Israelites, Maritain says, shows that good succeeds better than evil even in this world. Hence, if Oxford undergraduates may now be exposed to such pernicious writings without permanent damage to their souls, it is only because Fr. Walker's extensive notes carefully instruct them on almost all occasions "where and why Machiavelli's doctrines conflict with Christian teaching" and leave them convinced that God and the Church can show us how to "promote security and prosperity" much better than any human being-especially if he be "an out-and-out pagan."13 Cui resistite fortes in fide!
13 Strauss, Thoughts on M. (Glencoe, Ill., 1958), pp. 9, 10 (repeated almost in the same words on p. 175). Chap. 2 appeared separately in American political science review, LI (1957), 13-40. France might have been added to the list of favored nations (see A. Cherel, La pensee de Machiavel en France [Paris, 1935]). See also comments of historians George Mosse and Felix Gilbert on Strauss in American historical review, LXIV (1958-59), 954-55, and Yale review, XLVIII (1959), 465-69, respectively. Maritain cited here in Italian translation with "various additions and corrections" as "La fine del Machiavellismo," Quaderni di Roma, I (1947), 19-31 and 124-41, in the hope that the reader may notice some of the other articles in the same volume. The article appeared in French in his Principes d'une politique humaniste (New York, 1944), pp. 173235, and in English as "The end of Machiavellianism," in Review of politics, IV (1942), 1-33. Ugo Spirito has turned this argument upside down in his M. e Guicciardini (2d ed.; Rome, 1945): the Jesuits, he maintains, not the Realpolitiker, were the real heirs of Machiavelli, since it was they who followed him in lopping off one of the poles of the eternal duality of the imminent and the transcendent. G. P. Gooch,

On the other side stand those who defend Machiavelli as a moral man and a Christian. Almost no one, to, be sure, has dared return to the position of Giuseppe Toffanin, which Luigi Russo wrote off as "cattolico-decadente" in 1922. Nor has anyone tried to follow up the attempts of the "cattoliconi" (the term again is Russo's) of the 1930's to effect a riconciliazione between the Church and her archenemy similar to that accomplished by Mussolini and Pius XT.14 Some, particularly the biographers of the Borgia, have partially rehabilitated Machiavelli by rehabilitating his heroes-by insisting, for instance, that Alexander was essentially a deeply religious man, that Cesare's just and popular regime in the Romagna fully warranted Machiavelli's praise, and that both strove above all to realize the noble

"Politics and morals," in his Studies in diplomacy and statecraft (London, 1942), pp. 311-48, obviously written under the stress of war: the essay ends with an appeal for a "great crusade" against the whole dreadful thing. Walker's Discourses begin with the warning: "To translate a work containing such doctrines without comment would have been out of the question"; Whitfield has shown that the horror is somewhat enhanced by mistranslations. Much more moderate is the "N. M., maestro di politica ai giovani d'Italia" of 1916, by Msgr. Giacinto Tredici, bishop of Brescia, in answer to the somewhat belligerent edition of the Prince by Michele Scherillo, now reprinted in his Saggi filosofici ed altri scritti (Brescia, 1958), pp. 159-70. 14 Toffanin, La fine dell'umanesimo (Turin, 1920), and M. e il tacitismo (Padua, 1921), politely called "unacceptable" by Chabod and severely criticized by Russo in "II pensiero del rinascimento," Rassegna critica della letteratura italiana, XXVII (1922), now reprinted in his Problemi di metodo critico (2d ed. "radicalmente rinnovata"; Bari, 1950), pp. 57 ff. Felice Alderisio, M.: L'arte dello stato nell'azione e negli scritti (Turin, 1930), which Russo said (1931) dreams up a "Catholic, Apostolic, Roman" Machiavelli who might "easily be included among the Jesuit fathers of the Counter-Reformation" (Machiavelli [3d ed.; Bari, 1949], p. 202).



dream of a free, united Italy.15 Others have been still more emphatic. Luigi Malagoli, for instance, credits Machiavelli with the "intuition of the unity of civil life and of its religious and moral character" (since he speaks of the state, which is inseparable from society, and therefore from civilta and religion).16 Edoardo Bizzarri calls his supposed immorality a myth concocted by certain malicious foreigners-by Pole ("an Englishman"), by the Jesuits ("a non-Italian institution"), by the Protestants (who reformed religion in the same way that free love reforms marriage), and, more recently, by a few "presunti dotti d'oltralpe"; even the Inquisition, indeed, found nothing objectionable in his works but the name of the author.17 Goffredo Quadri finds him motivated largely by a desire "to overcome the moral crisis" of his time, with which neither the theologians nor the clergy were any longer capable of dealing.18 Still others, par15 See Clemente Fusero's splendidly written Cesare Borgia (Milan, 1958). His defense is much more moderate than that of his Antipiagnoni predecessors Pastor and Giuseppe Ferrara. It is also more correct than that of Ignazio Dell'Orlo in II segreto dei Borgia (Milah, 1938), according to which Cesare "conquered the Romagna [Urbino is quietly forgotten] ... by a just and legal war" and put up Astorre Manfredi, who had not the slightest legitimate claim to Faenza, as a house guest "with all possible comfort" in Castel Sant'Angelo (pp. 48-49, 143). It agrees with that of Gustavo Sacerdote, Cesare Borgia: la sua vita, la sua famiglia, i suoi tempi (Milan, 1950), which confirms, with the texts of Cesare's edicts and hundreds of illustrations, the verdict of Gioacchino Volpe that the Romagna was "governed with more enlightenment, more justice, and greater satisfaction of the subjects" than any other state in Italy (pp. 443-44). 16 M. e la civilta del rinascimento (Milan, 1941), pp. 19-20. The words societa, civilta, and stato, are taken in their modern, not their Cinquecento sense. 17 M. antimachiavellico (Florence, 1940), pp. 16-17, 44. 18 N. M. e la costruzione politica della coscienza morale (Florence, [1947]), p. 202 and chap.

ticularly the Swiss historians Walder, Kaegi, and Von Muralt, have sought a higher ethical goal in Machiavelli's peaceful enjoyment of teachings-the the goods of life (P. 10 and D. II, 2), for instance, the spiritual regeneration of Catholicism, or the channeling of the "unbridled will to power" so disastrous at the time into a virtuous commonwealth like those already realized in Rome of the third century B.C. and Switzerland of the early sixteenth century A.D.19

Such theses have received at best a somewhat restrained applause.20 They have referred to what the authors, not to what Machiavelli or his contemporaries, have held to be eternal principles of right and wrong. They have had to dismiss as extraneous or insignificant all those parts of the texts that stubbornly resist being fitted into a harmonious portrait either of a perfect saint or of an irredeemable sinner. They have failed to answer the charge that the whole argument is irrelevant; indeed, few of them ever mention any of the works in which the Crocean position has been presented. Hence they have done little to impede the general acceptance of the thesis of the "autonomy of politics" as at least
4. His criticisms of Alderisio and Bizzarri appear in Giornale critico della filosofia italiana, XXII (1941), 177-81. "M. und die Virt& der 19 E. Walder, Schweizer," Studi svizzeri di storia generale, II (1944), 69-128 (on which see Cantimori in Rivista storica italiana, LXIV [1952], 431). Werner Kaegi, "Vom Glauben Machiavellis," Historische Meditationen (Zurich, 1942), I, 89-117, which distinguishes between Machiavelli's Glaube and his Wissen and admits that his interests were largely in the latter. L. von Muralt, Machiavellis Staatsgedanke (Basel, 1945). 20 Note A. Passerin d'Entreves in English historical review, LXII (1947), 96-99, and Augustin Renaudet in Revue historique, CXCIX (1948), 112-14.

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one of the most important aspects of Machiavelli's thought. Another interpretation that has provoked considerable controversy in recent years is the one which holds Machiavelli's principal innovation to consist less in the subjects he treats than in the way in which he treats them. It is his method, after all, that places him in relation to the gradual development of the modern world out of the medieval; and it is in part a consideration of his method that has led a number of scholars to discern an intimate connection between the humanism of the fifteenth century and the natural science of the seventeenth.21 But others, noticing the striking similarities between Machiavelli's statements on method and those of Leonardo, have concluded that Machiavelli's approach to questions of politics is essentially inductive. Morality or immorality, Ernst Cassirer has found, play no part even in the Prince; its author was exclusively "a scientist and a technician of political life" who, with the detachment of a chemist, offered lessons in "the art of politics" indifferently to republics or In fact, Leonardo principalities.22 has maintained, Machiavelli Olschki ',transformed history into an empirical science and made of politics a system of universal rules," a "scienza nuova" (sic, but of Galileo, not Vico) based on the assumption "that political as well as natural phenomena are ruled by intrinsic laws to be discovered by an inductive

method of thinking."23 His scientific approach even made him a good historian -the first writer, according to Karl Schmid, after a noisy crowd of chroniclers and humanists, who wrote nothing but "reine Geschichte," and who "anticipated the fundamental notions of Galilean physics" by looking in history only "to the mass of things, not to their essence." Or perhaps it made him instead a bad historian, one who, according to Raffaello Ramat, consistently tore his heroes from their historical context and turned them into "eternal symbols."24 But what matters is his quality as a scientist, not as a historian; for his works all bear the imprint of a method similar to that used in the investigation of the physical universe. Such theses have at least succeeded in drawing attention to several aspects of Machiavelli's thought that had previously been overlooked. Fredi Chiappelli, for instance, has noticed that he attempts to achieve in language and syntax the "massima assolutezza possible" and frequently endows words and expressions current at the time with a more abstract meaning.25 Giuseppe Prezzolini, similarly, has pointed out that he consistently assumes that politics, like nature, operates according to fixed laws. And Eugenio Dupre Theseider has underlined the precision and objectivity of his. spe23

M. the scientist (Berkeley, 1945), pp. 25, 26,.

24 Schmid, "M.," in Grosse Geschichtsdenker: ein Zyklus Tiubinger Vorlesungen, ed. R. Stadelmann (Tiubingen and Stuttgart, 1949), pp. 111-29 (with few references to the texts and none to critical literature); and Ramat, "II Principe," in his Per la storia dello stile rinascimentale (Messina and Florence, 1953), pp. 77-118 (again with no consideration of modern scholarship), quotation on p. 87. 25 Studi sul linguaggio di M. (Florence, 1952), pp. 45-46. This important work is considered more fully below.

21 See especially the observations of Hans Baron in "Towards a more positive evaluation of the fifteenth-century Renaissance," Journal of the history of ideas, IV (1943), 21-49 (esp. p. 37), and of Eugenio Garin in "La cultura fiorentina nell'eta di Leonardo," Med ioevo e rinascimento (Bari, 1954), pp. 311-40. 22 The myth of the state (New Haven, 1946), chap. 12.



cific observations of contemporary phenomena. It is just these observations, indeed, that Augustin Renaudet holds to be his most important accomplishment, for his program of action rested on little but dreams and he completely overlooked such important elements in political life as economics and culture.26 Nevertheless, the search for a scientific character in Machiavelli has run into a number of difficulties. The word "scientific," first of all, can apparently be interpreted in different ways. In Olschki alone, for instance, it may mean the reduction of active political forces to virtu' and fortuna (corresponding to gravity and inertia in Newtonian physics); it may mean the "technical" use of such terms, which Olschki defends against the "inextricable entanglement of farraginous interpretations" put forth by Ercole and J. H. Whitfield; it may mean also a "strictly rational and abstract system of historical knowledge" (whatever that may be), which makes Machiavelli just the opposite of "a realistically minded political technician"; and it apparently also means the uncritical acceptance of Livy's account of Roman history. Whatever meaning may be associated with it, secondly, the word "scientific" seems totally inappropriate when applied, for example, to the biblical imagery in P. 26. It is no more appropriate, according to Chabod,27 when applied even to the
26 Dupr6 Theseider, N. M. diplomatico (Como, 1945), pp. 51 ff.; and Renaudet, Machiavel: Atude d'histoire des doctrines politiques (Paris, 1942), especially chap. 4, on which see the reviews by Henri Hauser of the first edition and by J. Delumcau of the second (1947) in Revue historique, CXCIV (1944), 163-65, and CXCIX (1948), 364-67, respectively. 27 M. and the Renaissance (from an article originally published in 1924). See his most recent work on the subject, N. M., Vol. I: II segretario fiorentino (no second volume) (Rome, 1953), p. 20. This work remains in the form of

Legations, which, however accurate, lack any trace of the emotional detachment essential to the scientist and characteristic, incidentally, of most other diplomatic documents of the time. Observation, then, he concludes, was not an end in itself, but only a means to future action; and the course of action was less a product of "cold calculation" than of a completely unscientific, and often unrealistic, passion. Vittorio De Caprariis, indeed, along with Chabod and Gennaro Sasso, has even rejected the compromise suggested by Renaudet: that passion and science are both present as two different "moments" in Machiavelli's thought. The first, he insists, completely dominates the second. Machiavelli was above all a man of passion, whose desire to realize a vast and perhaps wholly impractical ideal led him to make, and at times to misinterpret, his observations.28 An analysis of Machiavelli's citations, moreover, has suggested that his use of "evidence" is at times somewhat less than "scientific." Friedrich Mehmel, for instance, has contended that even the earliest writings consistently distort Livy; Paul Mesnard has ascribed the inclusion of what he supposes to bhe irrelevant subjects (e.g., P. 8-9) in the Prince to a "souci d'analyse complete," possibly of Averroist inspiration; and Aldo Scaglione has held that by searching for science in a field that does not admit of a "naturalistic approach," Machiavelli ends up merely with a hodgepodge that is neither induction nor deduction.29 Apa course survey and is now almost impossible to find. I have used the microfilm in the Newberry Library. Similar statements in Whitfield, M., p. 14. 28 Reviewing Renaudet, Machiavel, in Rivista storica italiana, LX (1948), 287-89. 29 Mehmel, "M. und die Antike," Antike und Abenland, III (1948), 152-86. Mesnard, L'essor de la philosophie politique au XVIe siecle (Paris,

MACHIAVELLI: 1940-1960


parently, then, Machiavelli often looked to history, both ancient and modern, not for data from which to draw general laws, but for exempla with which to illustrate the "laws" he had already formulated in petto. Whitfield's examination of the sources of the Life of Castruccio, it is true, seems to contradict such a position, for it shows Machiavelli to have aimed at nothing more than a narrative of what happened in the past and to have erred in matters of fact no more than did the chronicles upon which he was forced to rely.30But Machiavelli's maxims rest, as Lauri Huovinen has demonstrated, not so much upon an objective examination of political reality as upon certain "axioms" concerning the nature of man, some of which in fact contradict others and none of which is ever backed up by further argument.31 And his military doctrines depend, according to Piero Pieri, largely on a view of the Roman army that completely ignores Livy's observations of its increasingly professional character well before

the time of Marius.32 Machiavelli erred, Pieri concludes, in overestimating the militia and not, as generally believed, in underestimating firearms; and his real achievement lies in the "strategic vision" that military science is a branch of politics. Hence the whole "scientific" hypothesis must be reconsidered. A carefully defined and even original method may well support all Machiavelli's various arguments; but it is deductive, not inductive, and therefore not Galilean at all. And there the question rests-in a chicken-or-egg dilemma (Whitfield).33 It is tempting, indeed, to dismiss the question entirely and to return to Russo's thesis (of 1931, reaffirmed in 1949), that Machiavelli was really "the artist-hero of pure politics, who combined the charm and detachment of an artist with the pathos and rectilinear logic of a hero," and who rose from the particular to the general by an act of "sublimation" rather than of reason.34 Were it not for Russo's
82 Guerra e politica negli scrittori italiani (Milan and Naples, 1955), especially the first essay on Machiavelli; and now further, J. R. Hale, "Armies, navies, and the art of war," in the New Cambridge modern history, II, 481509. These works supersede, although they frequently agree with, Felix Gilbert, "M.: The Renaissance of the art of war," in Makers of modern strategy, ed. E. M. Earle (Princeton, 1943), pp. 3-25, which shows Machiavelli to have conceived of military science as "an autonomous field, with its own logic and method." Chabod has some doubts about the essential dissimilarity of the militia of Machiavelli and that of medieval Florence, which even Guicciardini thought identical, but he says only that the question "va chiarita e precisata" (N. M., pp. 153-54). The second edition of Pieri's II rinascimento e la crisi militare italiana (Turin, 1952) contains little evidence of what Gilbert called the "nationalistic bias" of the first (1934) and fully deserves the applause of Chabod (Cinquant'anni di vita intellettuale italiana, p. 191). 33 Italian studies, XIII (1958), 28. 34"Prolegomeni a M." and "M. uomo di teatro e narratore" in his M., pp. 17, 91-183, as well as his Commedie fiorentine del '500 (Florence, 1939).

1951), p. 37, and in general all of chap. 1. Scaglione, "M. the scientist?" Symposium, X (1956), 243-44. 30 "M. and Castruccio," Italian studies, VIII (1953), 1-28. Roberto Ridolfi has noted (in the work cited in n. 41, below) that Machiavelli checked at least some information in his father's copy of Biondo, so that Renaudet's assertion (chap. 5, "Machiavel historien," in Machiavet) that his purpose as a historian was merely oratorical can be accepted only with reservations. The biographers of the Borgia have in general accepted the veracity of his reporting without question; e.g., Dell'Orlo (p. 125): "seguendo il M. nella sua esposizione . . noi siamo certi di narrare la pura verita." im politischen 31 Das Bild vom Menschen Denken Niccolo Machiavellis (Helsinki, 1951), discussed by Butterfield in Historical journal, II (1959), 79, and by Sasso (who finds little to criticize except that it does not do what he himself has done since-a real compliment) in Rivista storica italiana, LXV (1953), 446-55.



warning that Machiavelli's thought cannot be traced to the personal reaction of an embittered man, it might even be tempting to return, with Ren6 Konig, to Burckhardt, Hobohn, and Walser (N. M. artista [1927]). Like the painters of the Renaissance, K6nig suggests, Machiavelli took refuge from a disagreeable reality in a "dream," and he "transfigured" the world he could not change into a "thing of beauty," to be contemplated but not put into practice.35After all, Machiavelli wrote three plays, a novel, a discourse on language,36 and many pages of verse as well as the Prince and the Discourses. It may be, of course, he "was a better poet when he wrote prose than when he wrote verse," particularly in the light of Vichian poetics (Ridolfi). It is certainly true that the Mandragola as well as the Decennali contain numerous reflections of his political thought-that Callimaco, for instance, is a "kind of Prince" in whom virtiu triumphs over fortuna. It may even be true that the Mandragola is "not a beginning" in Italian theater, and certainly not "the best play written up until then, and perhaps ever since," as Ridolfi supposes, but rather "the most exhausted and lifeless of endings," the "mirror of a soul which is profoundly dried up"-so, at least, thinks no less an artist than Alberto Moravia.37 But in the
35 N.M.: Zur Krisenanalyse einer Zeitwende (Erlenbach-Zurich, 1941). 36 On which see Cecil Grayson, "Lorenzo, M. and the Italian language," Italian Renaissance studies: a tribute to the Late Cecilia M. Ady, ed. E. F. Jacob (London, 1960), pp. 410-32. Hans Baron has now established the date of composition in September-October 1515 ("M. on the eve of the Discourses: the date and place of his Dialogo intorno alla nostra lingua," to be published in Bibliotheque d'humanisme et renaissance (October, 1961). 37 "Portrait of M.," Partisan review, XXII (1955), 357-71. It is not apparent to me that Moravia carries out these critical principles in his own novels.

absence of any further investigation of the purely aesthetic values of Machiavelli's literary works, Russo still has the last word: even the Clizia contains a sense of "humanity so new and original" that it far surpasses any of its modelseither Plautus, whose heroes are merely farcical, or Boccaccio, whose characters are stereotypes; and both Ridolfi and Ferruccio Ulivi agree that for Machiavelli, as for so many of his contemporaries, imitation was a spur, not an impediment, to creativity.38 Machiavelli, in other words, was not a "scientist," in the sense of one who arrives at his conclusions by a process of careful induction. He was rather an artist, one who saw the general immanent in the particular, who summarized his thought in brilliant epigrams and witty proverbs, and who reinforced it with vivid portraits and plastic images. And his political differ from his literary works only in that, for the first, art is the foundation and for the second, it is the "beginning and end." The failure, then, of the attempt to find in Machiavelli's "scientific" method a key to the apparent contradiction among his various works has encouraged historians to look elsewhere. Some of them, first of all, have taken up the proposal Russo made some thirty years ago: remembering that Machiavelli was, after all, a man and n.ot just a name attached to a certain number of ideas, he sug38 See Ulivi, L'imitazione nella poetica del rinascimento (Milan, 1959). Critics have long wondered why Machiavelli's first play is superior to the others. A recently discovered manuscript of the Clizia, upon which an article by Ridolfi will soon appear in La bibliofilia, may help clear up the problem. In the meantime, J. R. Hale has pointed out that the Clizia is really a good (and original) play after all (M. and Renaissance Italy [London, 1960], pp. 213-14 [the author kindly let me read the book in page proof]).

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gested that perhaps "the successive states of mind" of the author himself might reveal the unity that an examination of his thought alone had yet done little to discern.39 Unfortunately, most biographers so far have simply continued the Voltairian practice of relegating thought to one chapter and personal details to another, without noticing any connection between the two.40Not until Roberto Ridolfi's Vita of 1954, which has justly been acclaimed for its "sense of humanity" and its style (a delightful blend of modern Italian and Cinquecento Florentine) as well as for its erudition,4' were the possibilities of Russo's suggestions fully explored. And not until J. R. Hale's Machiavelli and Renaissance Italy of 1960 have they been fully supported by the results of recent scholarship. To be sure, omitting the "greater questions," as Hans Baron has observed,42still leaves them unanswered; and it may be somewhat mislea(ling to separate the man from the thinker. Yet thanks in part to
39 Russo, M.,p. 15.

For instance, Marcel Brion, Machiavel (Paris, 1948) (see review by De Caprariis in Rivista storica italiana, LX [1948], 291-92), tr. Anja Hegemann as M. und seine Zeit (Dusseldorf, 1957) (see review by Willy Andreas in Historische Zeitschrift, CLXXXVI [1958], 623-26). 41 N. Rodolico in Archivio storico italiano, CXII (1954), 439, reviewing Ridolfi's Vita di N. Ml. (Rome, 1954), which will appear in the English of Cecil Grayson at the University of Chicago Press. Hale is cited above, note 38. To my knowledge Roberto Weiss (English historical review, LXXI [1956], 147) is the only reviewer to have drawn attention to Ridolfi's style, although it is certainly not the least of his merits as a historian. See further the compliments of Sasso in Rivista storica italiana, LXVI (1954), 303-8. 42 "New light on the political writers of the Florentine Renaissance," Journal of the history of ideas, VIII (1947), 241-48, on Ridolfi's earlier Opuscoli di storia letteraria e di erudizione (Florence, 1942), containing besides a chapter on Machiavelli the most complete biography of Machiavelli's friend and follower Donato Giannotti.

the biographical approach, much more is now known about the details of Machiavelli's life and times-about the functions of his office, about the circumstances of his election, about the nature of his diplomatic career.43 And thanks to Ridolfi's unrivaled abilities as a philologist, many of the errors long accepted on the authority of Villari and Tommasini have now been corrected. Other scholars at the same time have turned from Machiavelli's thought as a whole to the language in which it is expressed; they have sought, that is, to arrive at the precise meaning of the words he used in the context of his own and others' writings. Inspired directly by Ercole's careful definition of such key terms as stato and virtut, Chiappelli has pointed out that Machiavelli frequently broke with accepted standards of syntax and vocabulary, sometimes for reasons of style, but more often for purposes of precision. He has even insisted, like Ercole, that the modern concept of "state" is already fully developed in Machiavelli, without adding Ercole's qualification that the concept is usually designated as vivere civile, as is "nation" by provincia.44 T. H. Hexter. on the other hind.
43Nicolai Rubinstein, "The beginnings of Niccolo Machiavelli's career in the Florentine chancery," Italian studies, XI (1956), 72-91. Dupr6 Theseider's N. M. diplomatico is based almost wholly on the vast quantity of diplomatic and official papers of which Machiavelli was definitely or probably the author. Those selected for publication in the Mazzoni-Casella edition (Corrispondenza di N. M. con Francesco Vettori dal 1513 al 1515 [Florence, 1948]) are accompanied by Alfredo Moretti's running commentary, which is padded with long quotations from Varchi, Villari, and Tommasini, which Sasso calls "di scarsa utilita," and which adds very little. 44Chiappelli, Studi sul linguaggio di M., pp. 45-46. Chiappelli might have avoided such a position had he not limited his investigations almost wholly to the Prince (as Riccardo Scrivano has noted without criticism in Rassegna della



ing to Sasso, has nothing to do with mysterious or transcendent forces; it means simply "the limitation of human nature, . . . that obscure zone which even the most virtuous of men contains within himself and which, by denying him the control of certain historical situations, brings about his ruin."48 To be sure, the investigation of Machiavelli's language, particularly of his constitutional terminology,49 has only begun; and it is still somewhat obstructed by a tendency to assume that a word meant the same in 1527 as it did in 1502. Still, it promises to be of considerable value, both in clarifying the ideas behind the words and in preventing the misinterpretation of Cinquecento expressions in the light of the new meanings given them by later ages. Other historians, at the same time, cole.46 Politica and its derivatives, ac- have pointed out that Machiavelli may cording to Whitfield, are always associ- well have been referring, in some of the ated with expressions like civile, buono, less clear passages, to ideas and assumpand incorrotto, without any pejorative tions whose currency at the time made connotation, while ordini always refers unnecessary any further elaboration; and to constitutions and institutions of a they have consequently sought to undervivere civile.47 Similarlyfortuna, accord- stand him through the intellectual and cultural environment in which he lived. letteratura italiana, LVII [1953], 201-3)-upon Hoping that a study of the republicanthe assumption, since strongly questioned, that ism of Della vita civile might clarify that the Prince was composed after most of the Disof the Discourses and that a glance at courses and therefore reveals a greater degree of "tecnificazione" in language. On the dangers Petrarch and Giovanni Simonetta would of misreading such terms as umori, see A. Gilbert lessen the tendency to attribute it all to in American historical review, LIII (1948-49), Polybius,50 they have looked first of all 105.
45 "Ii principe and lo stato," Studies in the Renaissance, IV (1956), 113-38. 46 Whitfield, "The anatomy of virtue," Modern language review, XXXVIII (1943), 222-25. Gilbert, "Machiavelli's idea of virtit," Renaissance news, IV (1951), 53-54, and the objections of Loren C. MacKinney and Gilbert's answer in V (1953), 21-23 and 70-71, respectively. Chabod, N. M., p. 24. 47 The politics of M.," Modern language review, L (1955), 433-43; and "On Machiavelli's use of ordini," Italian studies, X (1955), 19-39. Hans Baron has pointed out (in the article cited in n. 96, below) that such a definition may be

has shown that in 109 out of the 114 times the word stato occurs in the Prince it has to do with politics rather than with a "condition of things"; and that in all but a few of the 109 cases it appears as the object, not the subject, of action-as something, that is, that one gets, loses, or keeps, not as something that acts by itself.45 The word virtu' has given still more trouble. To Ercole (pp. 29 and 158) it meant the energy and will power necessary to form and maintain a body politic; to Whitfield it means both virtus and virtutes as well as so many other things that apparently "there is no doctrine of virtut in Machiavelli" at all; to Felix Gilbert it has at least an overtone of the medical term used figuratively by Bernardo Rucellai; and for Chabod it has, in the Prince at least, much the same meaning it had for Er-

valid for the Discourses; but it is not, as Whitfield contends, for the Prince as well, since "nuovi ordini" are attributed even to such a rascal as Oliverotto da Fermo. 48 Rivista storica italiana, LXIV (1952), 205. 49 Observation of Baron (see n. 96, below) on H. de Vries, Essai sur la terminologie constitutionelle chez Machiavel (Amsterdam, 1957). 50 Cantimori in Rivista storica italiana, LXIV (1953), 431, and Whitfield (whose reference to Petrarch is well chosen, for any student of Machiavelli should be familiar with his Petrarch and the Renascenzce [Oxford, 1943]) on Walker's

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to his immediate predecessors, particularly to the humanists of the Tre- and Quattrocento. They have had to resist, to be sure, the temptation to run off on what Russo calls a "caccia ai precursori" -to explain away Machiavelli, that is, by supposing that ideas, like footballs, are just passed from one player to the next without being changed in the process.5' They have had to protect themselves against the pitfalls of those who try to squeeze Machiavelli into an arbitrary definition of the age-of those, for example, who characterize the Renaissance by Epicureanism (Quadri), a "cult of the ego" (Malagoli), a slavish imitation of antiquity (Butterfield), a reawakening of the Roman spirit in Italic blood (Bruno), or a faith in the power of individual virtu' (Santonasto).52 They have had to guard even more carefully against proposing anything more definite than similarities between Machiavelli
annotations in Italian studies, VI (1951), 100-106. For work done up to 1940 on this question, see Felix Gilbert, "Political thought of the Renaissance and Reformation," Huntington Library quarterly, IV (1940-41), 443-68. 51 Russo, Al., p. 207. Similarly Sasso's criticism of the same tendency in the study of Machiavelli's classical heritage in Rivista storica italiana, LXX (1958), 334-35. 52 See nn. 11, 16, 19, above; as well as Giuseppe Santonasto, M. (Milan, 1947), especially the chapter entitled "M. e il rinascimento"; Federico Bruno, Romanita e modernita nel pensiero di M. (Milan, 1952), without notes or references and almost wholly in this vein: "Volle richiamare a nuova vita la grande tradizione di Roma, che e quella tradizione secolare, che e segno della nobilt'a della stirpe italiana e romana e che rappresenta lo spirito animatore delle pilu sane energie del popolo italiano"; and Enrico Castelli in Umanesimo e machiavellismo (Padua, 19,49), pp. 8-16 (the volume is not so helpful as the title suggests). A somewhat less likely bit of "background" is suggested by Eric Voeglin ("Machiavelli's Prince: background and formation," Review of politics, XIII [1951], 142-68), according to whom Tamurlane, not Valentino or Romulus, is the model for the Prince and the Life of Castruccio.

and postclassical authors, whom he almost never cites any more definitely than as "many writers" or "others" (D, III, 20 and P, 15). Nevertheless, inspired by Allan H. Gilbert's discovery in 1938 of a great number of treatises very close in subject matter as well as in form to the Prince,53 they have found that the similarities are often very close indeed. Renaudet, for instance, has pointed out that Machiavelli had the Quattrocento humanists to thank for having first overcome a sense of inferiority toward the ancients, for having insisted that contemporary political affairs were as worthy of study as ancient, and for having subjected history and science to the same purely rational treatment that he himself applied to politics. De Mattei has credited Matteo Palmieri and Giovanni Pontano with first having admitted just what everyone from Plato and Cicero to St. Ambrose had consistently denied: that justice and utility might not be so inseparable after all.54 Baron has shown that Leonardo Bruni buried the myth of an Eternal Empire a century earlier, and that indeed he proposed many of the same ideas -on republican government and on the militia, for instance-that later appeared in the Discourses.;55 Myron Gilmore, sim53 Machiavell's Prince and its forerunners (Durham, N.C., 1938), reviewed by Renaudet in Revue historique, CXCIX (1948), 112-14. See also Felix Gilbert, "The humanist concept of the prince and The Prince of M.," Journal of modern history, IX (1939), 449-83. 54 De Mattei, "Politica e morale prima di M.," Giornale critico della filosofia italiana, XXIX (1950), 56-67. 55 The crisis of the early Italian Renaissance (Princeton, 1955) (see the index for the many references to Machiavelli). Similarly, Bernardino Barbadoro, "Il problema politico," II rinascimento: significato e limiti (Atti del III Congresso Internazionale sul Rinascimento) (Florence, 1953), pp. 147-66, and Renaudet's comments, ibid., pp. 165-69. Note further the comments of Sasso in Rivista storica italiana, LXVI (1954), 306.



ilarly, has found in Pontano's Actius further evidence in favor of Chabod's (and now Hale's) thesis that Machiavelli's propensity to explain history in military terms may reflect a reaction common to many of his compatriots after 1494.56 Claudio Varese has noted in the Florentine historian Goro Dati much the same use of contemporary events to prove the possibility of overcoming fortuna by virtu'.57 And Garrett Mattingly has demonstrated that Quattrocento diplomats had long accepted in practice the principle formulated well before Machiavelli by Ermolao Barbaro: that their commissions bound them to serve the interests of their governments alone, and not the peace and quiet of the Respublica Christiana.58

Was Machiavelli, then, a humanist? Such parallels suggest he was, even though most scholars would concur in Allan Gilbert's warning that borrowing in no way precludes originality and that indeed Machiavelli "developed what earlier writers had [merely] suggested, perhaps without realizing the full significance of what they said" (p. 233). Yet at the same time a number of passages seem to echo other sources that have little apparent connection with Renaissance humanism. The moralists mentioned in D. III, 12 and P. 15, first of all, may well be patristic and medieval theologians, for Huovinen has found almost
56 Gilmore, "Freedom and determinism in Renaissance historians," Studies in the Renaissance, III (1956), 47-60, esp. p. 51; J. R. Hale, "War and public opinion in Renaissance Florence," in Italian Renaissance studies, ed. Jacob, pp. 94-112. 57 "Una 'Laudatio Florentinae urbis': la 'Istoria di Firenze' di Goro Dati," Rassegna della letteratura italiana, LXIII (1959), 373-89, esp. p. 382. 58 Renaissance diplomacy (Boston, 1955), chap. 11, and "Changing attitudes toward the state," Facets of the Renaissance (Los Angeles, 1959), pp. 19-40.

direct quotations from St. Augustine, St. Bonaventura, and St. Thomas in the speeches of Fra Timoteo. In the second place, the whole concept of the autonomy of the state closely resembles the thought of Pierre Dubois, Marsilius of Padua, and Bartolus of Sassoferrato, as Ercole long ago and as students of medieval and Renaissance jurisprudence more recently have suggested.59 According to Whitfield, moreover, both Machiavelli's plan for a militia and the implied condemnation of irresponsible tyranny in the Prince reflect the language and the ideas of such works as Domenico Cecchi's Riforma santa e preziosa (1496) and Savonarola's Del reggimento (1497); and most scholars, while hesitating to accept all of Ridolfi's thesis, have at least agreed in attenuating considerably the sharp contrast between Machiavelli and the Piagnoni once drawn by De Sanctis and Villari.60 Thus the answers to the question have differed. To Ramat, Machiavelli is the most revolutionary representative of a revolutionary age, one who summarizes a century of speculation about the rela59 Lauri Huovinen, "Der Einfluss des theologischen Denkens der Renaissancezeit auf M.: Mandragola, die Scholastiker und Savonarola," Neuphilologische Mitteilungen: Bulletin de la Societe neophilologique de Helsinki, LVII (195657), 1-13; Ercole, La politica di M., p. 114 (asking that the subject be further investigated); Alan Gewirth, Marsilius of Padua, the defender of peace (New York, 1951), makes only a few references to Machiavelli; and a more extensive comparison may well prove profitable in the light of the recent studies of Domenico Maffei, Gilmore, and others on Renaissance jurisprudence. 60 Ridolfi, Vita di N. M., pp. 15-16 (as opposed to Russo, M., pp. 201 ff.); and, above all, Whitfield, "Savonarola and the purpose of the Prince," Modern language review, XLIV (1949), 45-59, which Garin calls "perfettamente convincente" in Il Quattrocento (Florence, 1954), p. 132. On Savonarola and humanism, see Ridolfi's own Vita di Savonarola, now available in the English translation of Cecil Grayson (New York, 1959).

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tion of the creative individual to society in "The Renaissance code of politics," the Prince.61 To August Buck, he is the representative of the crisis of humanism, in which pessimism "without escape" (unlike Luther's) took the place of the faith of Salutati and Bruni in man's ability to construct a harmonious political society.62 To Gilmore and Felix Gilbert, he follows the humanists in turning to antiquity for answers to current problems, but he breaks with them completely in his method and in his conclusions.63 To Hiram Haydn, he belongs to a wholly new generation, one driven by an enthusiasm for empirical observation into open rebellion-a "CounterRenaissance"-against Christian humanism.64

One possible way out of the difficulty may lie in a comparison not so much to Machiavelli's immediate predecessors as to his contemporaries. Here again, to be sure, dangers abound, particularly if the term "contemporary" is taken to refer exclusively to relationships in time. Machiavelli may well have been a contemporary of Luther, More, and Commynes, for instance. Like the first he may
See n. 24, above. "M. e la crisi dell'umanesimo," Rinascimento, III (1952), 195-210, and in German, "Die Krise des humanistischen Menschenbildes bei M., Archiv fur das Studium der neueren Sprachen, CLXXXIX (1953), 304-17. 63 Gilmore, The world of humanism (New York, 1953), p. 131 (Gilmore emphasized the differences even more strongly in his comment on Baron's paper at the American Historical Association meeting in December 1959). Gilbert in Makers of modern strategy, ed. Earle, p. 22 (Machiavelli, while trying, like Egidio Colonna, to adapt Vegetius to his own times, "stood in direct opposition to the tradition of military thought on all these points"). 64 The Counter-Renaissance (New York, 1950), on which note Cantimori's discussion in "L'antirinascimento" and "De Sanctis e il rinascimento," now both (but why not some of his more important studies as well?) in his collected Studi di storia (Turin, 1959), pp. 455-60, 321-39.
61 62

have held the Roman Church responsible for the corruption of Apostolic Christianity; like the second he may have expressed the "coincidence of rapid social change with the classical revival" (though he would then have been a century behind time in Italy!); and like the third he may have had a taste for the concrete and an admiration for a prince like Louis XI. But if such similarities are permitted to obscure the much more profound differences between Florence on one hand and Germany, England, or France on the other, then little remains of the argument but the attribution to two men who never heard of each other of such indefinite qualities as a "biirgerlich-realistische Richtung," or the supposition that Machiavelli "could not but have loved the Reformation."65 The study of those with whom Machiavelli came into contact, on the other hand, has often provided valuable insights. Rudolf von Albertini, first of all, in one of the most important books on the period in many years, has placed Machiavelli in the perspective of a vast movement of political thought ranging over half a century-from Savonarola to Segni and Varchi.66 Felix Gilbert, similarly, after a long and painstaking exploration of the Florentine archives, has shown that Machiavelli's colleagues in the chancery often shared many of his points of view, although not his more important
Massa, "Egidio da Viterbo, M., 65 Eugenio Lutero e il pessimismo cristiano," Umanesimo e machiavellismo, pp. 75-123; E. Harris Harbison, "Machiavelli's Prince and More's Utopia," Facets of the Renaissance, pp. 41-71; Georg Weise, "M. und Philippe de Commynes," Universitas, I (1946), 36-60, and the much more cautious article by Kenneth Dreyer, "Commynes and M.: a study in parallelism," Symposium, V (1951), 38-61. 66 .Das florentinische Staatsbewusstsein im Ubergang von der Republik zum Principat (Bern, 1955); on Machiavelli in particular, pp. 53-74.



judgments; and he has found that the friends of another commentator on Livy, Bernardo Rucellai, were discussing many of the same problems as early as 1502-6.67 Mario d'Addio, moreover, has discovered many of Machiavelli's ideas hidden beneath the legal jargon of Mario Salamoni (d. 1533); and Giuliano Procacci has pointed out that neither Francis I nor the anonymous author of the Instructions sur le fait de la guerre of 1534 thought the Art of war inapplicable to the military situation of France.68 Many students of Machiavelli, now as ever, while overlooking the possible parallel in the development of his thought with that described by De Caprariis,69 have noticed that he addressed himself to many
67 "Florentine political assumptions in the age of Savonarola and Soderini," and "Bernardo Rucellai and the Orti Oricellari: a study on the origin of modern political thought," Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, XX (1957), 187-214, and XII (1949), 101-31. For Machiavelli's originality in respect to his Florentine colleagues and contemporaries, see further Gilbert's "The concept of nationalism in Machiavelli's Prince," Studies in the Renaissance, I (1954), 38-48. The breadth of Gilbert's researches in hitherto untouched material has made these articles indispensable for historians of Renaissance Florence. Similarly, Nicolai Rubinstein finds much the same faith in the efficacy of constitutional arrangements among republicans like Parenti during the period of Savonarola: "I primi anni del Consiglio Maggiore a Firenze (1494-99)," Archivio storico italiano, CXII (1954), 151-94. 68 D'Addio, L'idea del contratto sociale dai sofisti alla Riforma e il De Principatu di Mario Salamonio (Milan, 1954); Procacci, "La fortuna del M. in Francia," Rivista storica italiana, LXVII (1955), 493-528. Both Prezzolini and Walker have shown that Agostino Ninfo cannot be cited in this respect, for he simply plagiarized the Prince. 69 Francesco Guicciardini: dalla politica alla storia (Bari, 1950). See also Spirito, M. e Guicciardini (see n. 13, above). Another contemporary writer who may provide clues to certain aspects of Machiavelli's thought is Ariosto; see Ramat, "Il momento dinamico nel pensiero del M.," Sette contributi agli studi di storia della letteratura italiana (Palermo, 1958), pp. 203-20.

of the same questions in much the same terms as his friend and his first critic, Francesco Guicciardini, although both were perfectly conscious of the differences between the answers they offered. A few, finally, have continued the study of the fate of Machiavelli among his successors. They have shown that his Elizabethan critics saw him exclusively through the eyes of Gentillet, that his Italian admirers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries read into him the preoccupations of their own times, and that his Spanish opponents of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries knew him much better than the absence of contemporary translations might suggest, or than they themselves would admit.70 The
70 The standard work on England is still that of Mario Praz, M. and the Elizabethans, first published in Vol. XIV of the Proceedings of the British Academy (London, 1928), pp. 49-97, then separately (London, 1930), and more recently in Italian as M. in Inghilterra ed altri saggi (Rome, 1943). But Napoleone Orsini has since extended research in this field, first in his Studi sul rinascimento italiano in Inghilterra (Florence, 1937), and then in "'Policy' or the language of Elizabethan Machiavellianism," Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, IX (1946), 122-34, in which he shows that the Elizabethans added a pejorative connotation to the word "policy" that the Italian politica did not acquire until the end of the century. On Italy: Luigi Russo, "Il Cuoco e il Foscolo interpreti di M.," Belfagor, IV (1949), 505-12, as well as his introductioni to the new edition of Alfieri's Del Principe e delle lettere (Florence, 1943); Alberto Vecchi, "Un giudizio di Agostino Paradisi sul M.," Atti e memorie dell'Accademia delle Scienze, Lettere, ed Arti di Modena, XIV (1956), 118-35; Guiseppe Italo Lopriore, "Baretti e M.," Lettere italiane, X (1958), 455-70; and C. F. Goffis, "N. M.," in W. Binni (ed.), I classici italiani nella storia della critica (Florence, 1954), I, 350-57. Someone may eventually notice a proposal for a popular militia in Venice in 1563 by Giordano Orsino printed in Archivio storico italiano, VI (Appendix) (1848), 201 ff. On Spain: Gonzalo Fernandez de la Mora, "Maquiavelo, visto por los tratadistas politicos espafioles de la contrarreforma," Arbor, XIII (1949), 417-49, and Giovanni Maria Bertini, "La fortuna di N. M. in Spagna," Quaderni iberoamericani, I2 (1946), 21, 25-26. Some supposed



study of Machiavelli's associates, then, may clarify considerably what he really said, and the study of his later accusers or defenders may clarify almost as much what he really did not say; but both leave untouched the question of the relationship of Machiavelli or of his age to the humanism of the preceding century. A more profitable approach to the problem, therefore, may lie in an examination of his position with regard to that particular aspect of the Renaissance culture usually known as "the rebirth of classical antiquity." That he was familiar with a least some of the works of the ancients-those, for example, that he one has ever specifically mentions-no is now possible, thanks to denied; but it the painstaking comparison of texts in recent years, to establish more clearly just what he did read and when he read it. His knowledge of Livy, for instance, which Walker has confirmed by looking up all the possible references in the Discourses, may go back as far as his childhood; it goes back at least to 1502, when he inserted almost ad verbum the account of Camillus in his study of the rebellion in the Valdichiana. Similarly, it is now generally accepted that Aristotle's Politics is reflected in P. 15 as well as in many other passages, that Cicero's De officiis (IV, iii) parallels P. 18, and that Polybius as a whole is present in many parts of the Discourses and that the fragments of Book VI are present particularly in the first chapters of D. 1.71 It is also possible
influences of Machiavelli cannot be accepted; see Hans Baron, "Marvell's 'An Horation Ode' and M.," Journal of the history of ideas, XXI (1960), 450-51. The history of "Machiavellianism" has recently been enriched Jy the republication of the Anti-Machiavel of Frederick II, ed. Charles Fleischauer, in Studies on Voltaire and on the eighteenth century, Vol. V (Geneva, 1958). 71 On Walker's notes, see Cantimori in Rivista storica italiana, LXIV (1952), 430-35.

to establish more clearly what he did not read: few today would follow Triantaphylos (1875) in crediting him with a knowledge of that part of Greek literature not available to him in translation, and still fewer would agree with Toffanin in supposing the inspiration of Tacitus to be greater than that of Livy. Yet it is the use of and the attitude toward, rather than the knowledge of classical literature, as Chabod has shown, that distinguishes the age of Petrarch and Poliziano from that of Dante and St. Thomas Aquinas on one hand-and, it might be added, from that of Bembo, Sadoleto, and Justus Lipsius on the other. How, then, did Machiavelli look upon the ancients, and what use did he make of their writings? On such questions scholars disagree widely. They all point out that he took liberties with his texts; but whereas Pieri and Ridolfi say that his reading of the ancients colored his view of his own times, Sasso insists that his observations of "the live and suffering experience of Florentine and Italian history" determined his view of what he read.72 To be sure, much remains to be done, both in checking Machiavelli's references and in studying what he does with them. Several commentators, for instance, have noticed certain parallels between Machiavelli and Thucydides. But no one has yet decided whether Machiavelli ever read the Peloponnesian War, which indeed had been known in Florence since the time of Bruni; and it is still unclear, therefore, whether the un-Thucydidean interpretation of the Corcyran Revolution in D. II, 2, shows that he used another source, or whether he simply abused P. W. III, 70-86, in the same way that Sasso shows him to have altered Polybius

Rivista storica italiana, LXX (1958), 372-73.



Yet for the moment both those who insist on the priority of the lezione and those who emphasize esperienzia agree in regarding Machiavelli more as an heir to than as a rebel against Renaissance humanism. In calling for a rebirth of antiquity in politics, as Russo suggests, he may simply have been extending to a new field the principle of creative imitation already applied in the arts and letters. In treating the ancients critically, in taking from them only what he found useful or relevant, and in considering them as men rather than as infallible authorities, he seems to have been acting in accord with those many other followers of Petrarch who, as Baron has shown, resolved the Querelle in favor of the moderns long before Fontenelle.74 But a final answer must await a fuller definition of Renaissance humanism itself; and that, as the experience of the past century has shown, may be still a few years off. Hence it may be still more profitable to put aside lezione altogether for a moment and concentrate wholly upon esperienzia-upon Machiavelli's contact with the political reality of his age. In spite of the careful researches of Felix Gilbert, Rubinstein, and others, to be sure, many aspects of the contemporary political situation still remain largely unknown: the revolutionary changes in the internal administration of the Italian states, for instance, upon which Chabod had been working for a number of years
73 Karl Reinhardt, "Thukydides und M.," in his Von Werken und Formen: Vortrage und Aufsitze (Godesberg, 1948), pp. 237-84, does no more than search for certain of Machiavelli's ideas in Thucydides. 74 Russo, Problemi di metodo critico, pp. 25-26 (article of 1946), and Hans Baron, "The Querelle of the ancients and the moderns as a problem in Renaissance scholarship," Journal of the history of ideas, XX (1959), 3-22.

before his tragic and premature death last summer.75 But the study of political thought has principally suffered, as Vittorio De Caprariis pointed out in 1947, not so much from the lack of information concerning the historical background as from the tendency to treat one in isolation from the other and thus to reduce the thought of any one writer to a single Hauptidee (like "the autonomy of politics").76 The study of few periods, moreover, has suffered from this dichotomy as much as the Renaissance. Each specialist, as Chabod complained in 1950, has stuck to his own field and has missed completely "that intimate and inseparable connection . . . between the events and the thought of the age" that alone can give a true picture of either the one or the other. Historians of ideas, consequently, have treated Machiavelli's thought as "a monolithic block"; and historians of politics, at least before Nino Valeri, have often dismissed ideas as mere propaganda.77 It is just this dichotomy that Federico Chabod and his disciple Gennaro Sasso have sought to overcome by what has
75 Gilbert points out, for instance, that the histories of Parenti and Cerretani, so important for the study of this period, have never been published. Chabod posed the problem of the internal political changes of the time in "Y a-t-il un 6tat de la renaissance?"-a lecture given at the Sorbonne in June 1956 and published in the Actes du Colloque sur la renaissance organisd par la Societe d'histoire moderne (Paris, 1958), pp. 57 ff.; and he presented the results of his vast research in a course at the University of Rome in 1956-57. See his Lo stato di Milano nella prima meta del secolo XVI (Rome, 1955), Part 3, chap. 1. 76 "Appunti sul metodo nella storia del pensiero politico," Atti della Accademia Pontaniana, N.S. I (1947-48), 127-39. Cantimori has made just this criticism of Albertini (Belfagor, XI [1956], 108-10. 77 Hans Baron, "Die politische Entwicklung der italienischen Renaissance," Historische Zeitschrift, CLXXIV (1952), 31-56.

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been called the "genetic approach." Machiavelli's ideas, they have insisted, come not so much from a reflection on the ideas of other writers as from his own experience in political affairs; and the study of his ideas should begin therefore not in 1513, with the Prince, but in 1498, with the first letters. Machiavelli at first limits himself to observing particular phenomena alone, often with little understanding of the complexities involved in them. He advances first to a perception of the single phenomenon in its historical surroundings and then to a more "perfect comprehension of the essential terms of the historical and political problem" presented by the particular. And finally he arrives at a concept of the general nature of politics and political institutions.78 The last part of the process differs only in degree, not in kind, from the first. Thus the various judgments of Cesare Borgia given in the Legations of 1502, in Description of the manner in which Duke Valentine put . . . Vitelli . . . to death of 1503, and in the Prince are not contradictory, as Pepe has contended; the last is simply a fur-

78 Chabod, first in "N. M.," II Cinquecento (Unione Fiorentina) (Florence, 1955), pp. 3-21, then in N. M., further developed and extended to the major works by Sasso in N. M. (Naples, the most important book on 1958)-certainly Machiavelli in many years, though students may wish that the author had left out some of the superlatives and illustrative quotations and shortened the text to about half of its 500-odd pages. Other writers have used a similar approach, albeit independently: e.g., J. R. Hale, "International relations in the West: diplomacy and war," in the New Cambridge modern history, I, 273-74, and Ramat, "Vigilia machiavellica," in Studi letterari: miscellanea in onore di Emilio Santini (Palermo, 1956), pp. 197-213. The beneficial effects that this approach may have on political history in general can be seen in Sasso's own "L'Italia del M. e l'Italia del Guicciardini," in the magnificent new Storia d'Italia, ed. Nino Valeri, II (Turin, 1959), pp. 185-366.

ther development from the first.79Every thesis, then, in the Prince and the Discourses is intimately and inseparably bound to the single events from which it emerged; and Machiavelli's ideas can be understood correctly only by a study of their genesis. This approach to Machiavelli has won considerable praise, at least as a "penetrating and fundamental revision," even from those who do not fully accept all its conclusions. It assumes, to be sure, that Machiavelli's "experience" includes only what he saw, not what he read-an assumption that Sasso makes more explicit in his study of Machiavelli's treatment of Polybius.80 It also apparently takes for granted a Crocean epistemology, which some non-Italians may find a bit bewildering, or at least the thought process Sasso discovers in Machiavelli at times sounds very much like the Logica and La storia come pensiero e come azione. Yet the chief difficulties have arisen less from the approach itself than from some of the conclusions its proponents have drawn from it. A few critics, first of all, have taken exception to its apparent confirmation of Chabod's former chronology of Machiavelli's intellectual development. According to Sasso, the optimism of the Prince and D. I, written at a moment when the Italian political situation seemed suddenly to offer the possibility of effective action, gradually gives way first to the detachment of D. II and III and then to the pessimism and utopianism of the Art of war and the Life of Cas79 Gabriele Pepe, La politica dei Borgia (Naples, 1946), pp. 277-78, and Sasso, "Sul VII capitolo del Principe," Rivista storica italiana, LXIV (1952), 177-207. 80 "M. e la teoria dell'anacyclosis," Rivista storica italiana, LXX (1958), 329-75. For a thorough, sympathetic, and critical evaluation of Sasso's work, see Nicola Matteucci, "L'utopia del M.," II mulino, VIIII (1959), 153-91.



truccio, written at a moment when the Italian governments seemed to have let the occasione slip by irretrievably. Ridolfi, however, has maintained that the crisis in Machiavelli's life comes not in 1515 or 1516 but in the 1520's, while Whitfield insists that no crisis occurs at all and that Machiavelli talks in just the same way about a mezzana vittoria in the History of Florence as about a "middle way" in the earlier works. And Baron has pointed out that the chronology takes no account of the evident optimism of the Discourse on Florentine affairs of 1519-20.81 Obviously the later works, particularly the History of Florence, could well stand the kind of minute analysis to which Chabod and Sasso have so far subjected only the earlier ones. Many more critics have expressed uneasiness about the solution offered to the age-old problem of the relation between the Prince and the Discourses. Meinecke may have thought, in the 1920's, that the question of whether Machiavelli was a republican or a monarchist had been buried once and for all. Alas! it was only dozing, as Renaudet showed in 1948 by printing a list of the contradictions that no one had yet satisfactorily accounted for;82 and the "genetic approach" has now fully awakened it once again. There are still those who think of Machiavelli
81Whitfield, "M. and Castruccio" (see n. 30, above) and 'M. e la via di mezzo," I problemi della pedagogia, IV (1958), pp. 33-50 of the offprint; and Baron reviewing Sasso's N. M. in American historical review, LXIV (1958-59), 952-54. Felix Gilbert finds Sasso more convincing on this point (Renaissance news, XII [1959], 95). Further: the long review article by Franco Catalano in Belfagor, XIV (1959), 107-13. The title here given (Discorso delle cose florentine dopo la morte di Lorenzo [1519-20]) follows Ridolfi's correction (Vita, pp. 275, and 450 ff.) of the work hitherto known as Discorso sopra il riformare lo stato di Firenze, unfortunately omitted in the Mazzoni-Casella edition. 82 Revue historique, CXCIX (1948), 113-14.

as basically a monarchist-like Toffanin, for whom Machiavelli dashed off the Discourses only to flatter a few old-fashioned friends and benefactors; like Caristia, for whom P. 26 is just one possible bella impresa devoid of any higher purpose;83 or even like Gramsci, for whom the Prince is a myth, an "anthropomorphic symbol" of a "collective will." 84 And there are many others who insist that he was basically a republican. According to Chabod, for instance, at least before 1950, Italian political institutions changed, gradually but irreversibly, during the period of the Renaissance, from those of republican communes to those of territorial monarchies; and Machiavelli put aside his republican sentiments in 1513 because he realized that the process was almost complete, and that the principate was the only living force left.85 According to Ramat, Martelli, and Catalano, on the other hand, Machiavelli sought to fill the void left by the failure of the republics, not with domestic tyrannies, but with a national, absolute monarchy, much like those just then
83 Toffanin, M. e il tacitismo, p. 6. The new edition of Carmelo Caristia, II pensiero politico di N. M. (Naples, 1958), takes no account whatever of any of the criticisms published since the first edition of 1930. 84 Antonio Gramsci, Note sul M., sulla politica, e sullo stato moderno (Opere, Vol. V) (Turin, 1949), pp. 1-2. As Matteucci has remarked, Gramsci's observations are based largely on Russo. 85 See Felix Gilbert's comment on Chabod's thesis (particularly the article "M." in Enciclopedia italiana) in American historical review, LXIV (1958-59), 951-52. According to Whitfield in Italian studies, XIV (1959), 91-94, proposing the Northern Italian signorie rather than the Florentine Republic as Machiavelli's model "is like explaining the rise of Hitler by the circumstances of Mrs. Simpson's marriages" (p. 93). Chabod abandoned this position in his later "Machiavelli's method and style" (1955), translated in Al. and the Renaissance, where he supports his arguments by reference to both works simultaneously.

MACHIAVELLI: 1940-1960


emerging in France and Spain.86 According to Mattingly, finally, at least for a moment in 1958, the Prince so completely contradicts all the other works and so completely misrepresents such villains and milk-toasts as Valentino and Giuliano de' Medici that it must be a satire.87 The specific interpretations may differ, then, but all agree that the Prince and the Discourses propose quite different solutions to the problem of political organization. There are still other students who uphold the basic unity of all the, works. Allan Gilbert, for instance, interprets the Prince as "a sort of excerpt from the great body of Machiavelli's thought," a brief consideration of some of the means by which the end, the common good fully explained elsewhere, may be achieved. And Whitfield, still more emphatically, insists that all Machiavelli's writings contain the same regard for justice and mercy, the same condemnation of the "debolezza de' capi" (P. 21), and the same respect for popular government; and he concludes that in fact the Prince seeks nothing more than to show how the "legislator" called for in the Discourses can attain the power necessary to found a new republic in Cinquecento Italy.88 None of these authors, therefore, can be fully satisfied either with Sasso's integration of the Prince and D. I or by
86 For Ramat see nn. 24 and 78, above. Catalano has stated the same thesis in his "La crisi italiana alla fine del secolo XV," Belfagor, XI (1956), 393-414, 505-27 (referring mostly to Russo), esp. pp. 525-27. Mario Martelli, "Popolo e principe in N. M.," ibid., XIV (1959), 447-51. 87 "Machiavelli's Prince: political science or political satire?" American scholar, XXVII (1958), 482-91. ss A. Gilbert in introduction to The Prince and other works, pp. 12 ff. Besides his other works already cited, see also Whitfield's "M. e il problema del Principe," I problemi della pedagogia, IV (1958), 61-78 (pp. 16-33 of my offprint).

his separation of D. II and III as successive moments in Machiavelli's development. The whole question has, in the last few years, become involved in a long and at times, unfortunately, rather heated controversy over the internal structure and the dating of the two major works. The Prince has given little trouble. One or two writers have tried to separate out (logically rather than historically) a "treatise" and a "tract for the times," usually with little regard for the literature on the subject. Felix Gilbert (who has since abandoned this position) sought in 1940 to distinguish various moments of composition. And Meinecke, finally, replied to the critics of his thesis of the 1920's merely by inserting the words "I was not convinced" in the recent English translation of his Statsraison (p. 30). But almost everyone else has accepted Chabod's careful argument of 1927: that the Prince is a slngle work, written completely between August and December of 1513, without any of the later "touching up" allowed for by Tommasini.89 But not so the Discourses: when Walker in 1950 split up the chapters into a commentary on Livy on one hand and a political treatise on the other, he opened a Pandora's box from which students of Machiavelli will probably suffer for many years hence. Felix Gilbert, much impressed by Walker's tables, quickly dismissed the traditional belief in a continuous, unbroken composition running from 1513 to 1519. Taking only the most important of the many references on each chapter, he found that with few exceptions D. 1, 19-59, and D. III, 30-4S, followed the narrative order of Livy I, IJI-VIH, and IX-X, while most of D. II followed that of Livy TI and VIII. These
89 Ghabod, "Sulla composizione del Principe di N. M.," Archivum romanicum, XI (1927). 330-83.



chapters, he concluded, form the core of the Discourses, a running commentary on Livy, which Machiavelli must have begun only after he joined the conversations in the Rucellai Gardens in 1515. This left D. III, 1-29, D. II, 1-2, and the last chapters of all three books, which must be the connecting links added when Machiavelli reworked the original commentary into its present form. It also left D. I, 1-18, which does not sound like Livy at all, and which may either have been written, as logic would have it, after the commentary, or else before even the Prince, as the reference in P. 2 to a treatise on republics (the "altra volta passage") had suggested to Chabod.90 "Very ingenious," retorted Sasso, but "poco persuasivo" and "almost never acceptable." Machiavelli had commented on Livy as early as 1502; the Rucellai conversations must have been the fruit of the commentaries, not vice versa; and therefore at least the first draft of the entire Discourses, in basically their present order, must have been finished much earlier. Moreover, added Whitfield, separating D. I, 1-1 8 from the rest in fact lops off most of Livy I, for Machiavelli nowhere else deals with Romulus and Numa; and only Walker's erroneous translations can support Gilbert's thesis about the origins of the commentary.91 By 1954 the argument was rapidly descending to a minute investigation of details, at times in a tone that even the patient editors of the Rivista storica italiana found a bit "fuori d'uso."
90 F. Gilbert, "Review discussion: the composition and structure of Machiavelli's Discorsi," Journal of the history of ideas, XIV (1953), 136-56. 91 Sasso's review of the above, Gilbert's answer, and Sasso's reply, in Rivista storica italiana, LXV (1953), 450-55, and LXVI (1954), 440-55. Whitfield, "Discourses on M.," Italian studies, XIII (1958), 2146.

Then, just two years later, Hexter threw in a completely new bit of evidence.92 D. I, 2, he noted, too closely resembles the argument of Polybius VI to allow its having been written independently. Yet only the first five books were available in Latin before 1520, a whole year, that is, after the latest possible terminus ad quem for the Discourses. How to escape the dilemma?through a certain Janus Lascaris, Hexter proposed, who must certainly have been responsible at the same time for the Polybian passages in a book that Claude Seyssel presented to Francis I at his accession and who may have let Machiavelli see the same translation during a visit to the Rucellai Gardens in 1515. The Prince contains nothing reminiscent of Polybius VI, even in places where a reference might be expected; so Chabod's dates may stand. But is 1515 then the earliest possible date for D. I, 1-18? If so, what about the reference in P. 2? Hexter left the question open; but to Baron, who approached Machiavelli from a long study of the civic humanists of the early Quattrocento, the implications were clear. The altra volta passage, Baron a rreed.93 does indeed refer to D. I. 1-18.
92 "Seyssel, M., and Polybius VI: the mystery of the missing translation," Studies in the Renaissance, III (1956), 75-96. 93 "The Principe and the puzzle of the date of the Discorsi," Bibliotheque d'humanisme et renaissance, XVIII (1956), 405-28. Meanwhile (although independently), Hexter, in a still unpublished article he kindly allowed me to read in manuscript, arrived at the same conclusion by showing the considerable dissimilarity in vocabulary between the Prince and D. I, 1-18. He has also cleared up some of the questions raised by Felix Gilbert in regard to the composition of the Discourses. The work must have begun, Hexter points out, only after Machiavelli's new friends in the Rucellai Gardens had acquainted him with Hellenic political thought and historiography (conspicuously absent in the Prince) and thus led him to expand into a general treatise

MACHIAVELLI: 1940-1960


which in turn was written not earlier than 1515. But the passage need not have been included in the 1513 draft, of which no manuscript has survived; hence, it is impossible to deny a priori that it may not have been inserted at the moment when Machiavelli added the dedication and released the text (September 1515-September 1516, according to Ridolfi; March-October 1516 as Baron has since shown).94 By 1516 Machiavelli had presumably been reading parts of the Discourses to his friends, and therefore felt obliged to put in a reference that would not have been necessary in 1513. Indeed, he may even have been referring to much more than just the first eighteen chapters-first, because the commentary on Livy probably predates them and, second, because the awkward fashion in which the seven or eight passages concerning events of 1517 fit into the text indicates that he had finished at least a fairly definitive draft somewhat earlier. His correspondence, moreover, reveals in 1513 a mood completely foreign to that of the first chapters of the Discourses and in 1514 no more serious occupations than his love affairs. Baron concluded, then, by proposing a new chronology: all of the Prince except for the altra volta passage from August to December, 1513; most of the Discourses in 1515 and 1516; the altra volta passage and the dedication of the Prince in 1516; and last-minute
on politics the marginal comments he may well have made in his father's copy of Livy over the preceding twenty years. He then apparently went hack over his comments and, at the last minute, threw in some of his old favorites (like III, 47, which he would not have dared read in the Gardens), without bothering to integrate them into the text. Hence the disorderly appearance of the work; it is not unfinished, but pad(led. 94 Ridolfi, Vita, pp. 439 ff. For Baron see paper cited below in n. 96.

changes to bring the Discourses up to date in 1517. While leaving untouched most of the results of Chabod's and Sasso's study of Machiavelli's development up to 1513, Baron's conclusions did upset their chronology of the major works (D. I, 1-18, before August and the Prince from August to December 1513; followed by the rest of the Discourses from 1514 on). Sasso thereupon replied-to Hexter and Gilbert as well as to Baron-in ninetynine tightly argued pages. Against Hexter he pointed out that Machiavelli could easily have obtained a translation of Polybius VI from any of a number of his fellow citizens and that the visit of Lascaris cannot of itself establish the initial date of the Discourses. Against Gilbert he fell back on Ridolfi's suggestion that Machiavelli may have been admitted to the Gardens only in 1517, by which time everyone admits the Discourses were largely completed. Against Baron he contended that in so active a man love and job-hunting were by no means incompatible with serious thought. And he concluded that at least some of the arguments brought against him were "easier to admire for their dialectical ability than for their persuasive force" and that, as a matter of fact, the whole discussion was rapidly becoming a great bore-a "fastidioso discorso perpetuo."95 Yet the question of dating is not just another empty academic quarrel. If
95 "Intorno alla composizione dei Discorsi di N. M.," Giornale storico della letteratura italiana, CXXXIV (1957), 482-534, and CXXXV (1958), 215-59 (quotations on pp. 509, 259). Sasso, on Ridolfi's dates for Machiavelli's participation in the Gardens, Rivista storica italiana, LXVI (1954), 303-8. See also H. Butterfield's criticisms in "Professor Chabod and the Machiavelli controversies," Historical journal, II (1959), 78-83, esp. p. 83.



Baron's chronology is correct, indeed, it casts a completely new light on the meaning of all Machiavelli's works, both major and minor. The Prince becomes not merely an occasional piece dashed off in the midst of more serious work, but the result of fifteen years' experience with practical politics; and Machiavelli intended it not as a general theory of government but as a passionate plea to take advantage of the political situation of 1513 for the very specific objective of throwing out the foreigners. Then, during the next two years, he at last found the leisure to take up more seriously the study of the ancients he had pursued only sporadically during the busy years in office. Still more important, he at last came into contact with the principal representatives of Florentine intellectual life and, through them, with the whole tradition of Florentine civic humanism that just then was coming back into fashion. From a blend, then, of the former esperienzia and of the more recent lezione emerged the thorough consideration of all aspects of political institutions in general, from the Discourses to the Discourse on Florentine affairs-a consideration constantly animated by the hope that the wisdom derived therefrom might eventually be used to bring about a transformation of the particular political institutions of Cinquecento Florence. When that hope waned, in the early 1520's, Machiavelli turned in his disappointment to the past alone; and the History of Florence may well mark a third, and final, step in his spiritual evolution. These tentative conclusions96 do not

necessarily conflict with the approach worked out by Chabod and Sasso. Indeed, as Baron has remarked, the specific ideas of which they have traced the genesis before 1513 are precisely those that appear in the Prince rather than in the Discourses. Separating the two major works, moreover, would permit the extension to the later years of the method so far applied thoroughly only to the period of Machiavelli's youth. Neither these, to be sure, nor most of the other theses proposed during the last two decades have been fully explored, although a few of them have been eliminated and some specific problems (like the dating of the two major works) have been pursued about as far as the evidence permits. Some of the new theses, in fact, still seem to contradict one another; and perhaps none of them has yet been able to account for all possible objections. The solution to Croce's puzzle, then, is apparently as far off as ever; and certainly many aspects of Machiavelli's life and thought still await discovery and investigation. Yet at least it is possible that the "genetic approach" may eventually provide the basis upon which a synthesis of all the many recent studies can be constructed. And it is also possible that such a synthesis may in turn call forth the most important reinterpretation of Machiavelli in many years.

These conclusions were proposed in a paper

read by Baron at the meeting of the American Historical Association in December 1959 and are now stated finally in "M.: The republican citizen and the author of the Prince," in the April number of the English historical review, LXXVI (19,61). The author kindly allowed me to read the article in manuscript.