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Machiavelli's Three Romes
Religion, Human Liberty, and Politics Reformed
Vickie B. Sullivan
"So solidly argued it may well establish a new harmonic. Sullivan's incisive and clever analysis ... deserves a place on a shelf that includes Sebastian DeGrazia, Felix Gilbert, Harvey Mansfield Jr., J. G. A. Pockock, Leo Strauss, and Quentin Skinner.... Sullivan's clear prose and powerful insight will captivate."—Choice
"A lasting contribution to the perennial dialogue about Machiavelli's intention, historical significance, and contemporary relevance. This extraordinary account ... deserves a close reading by all who take political philosophy seriously."—Roger D. Masters, Dartmouth College
Machiavelli's ambiguous treatment of religion has fueled a contentious and long-standing debate among scholars. Whereas some insist that Machiavelli is a Christian, others maintain he is a pagan. Sullivan mediates between these divergent views by arguing that he is neither but that he utilizes elements of both understandings arrayed in a wholly new way. She develops her argument by distinguishing among the three Romes that can be understood as existing in Machiavelli's political thought: the first is the Rome of the Christian era, dominated by the pope; the second is the republican Rome of pagan times, which Machiavelli praises; and the third is an idealized Rome that is neither entirely pagan nor entirely Christian.
(1996) 247 pp.
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