Excellence Unleashed: Machiavelli's Critique of Xenophon and the Moral Foundation of Politics
by Paul J Rasmussen (9780739128244)

Excellence Unleashed: Machiavelli's Critique of Xenophon and the Moral Foundation of Politics
 
Paul J Rasmussen
Release Date: 10 December 1160
Format: Hardback
Pages: 149
Category: Political Science
ISBN: 9780739128244
ISBN-10: 0739128248



What is Machiavelli's place in the history of political thought? Did he seek to revive the civic virtues espoused by ancient Greek and Roman political theorists, or was he an intellectual rebel whose radical critique of the classical philosophic tradition made him a harbinger of the modern era? Almost every significant book on Machiavelli since the beginning of the twentieth century has addressed the question of his relation to classical thought in one form or another. Yet, there has never been a comprehensive study of the relationship between Machiavelli and Xenophon, the classical political theorist whose shrewd analysis of effective politics comes closest to Machiavelli's. Excellence Unleashedis a detailed comparison of Machiavelli and Xenophon's political philosophy, focusing on Xenophon's Education of Cyrus and Hiero or On Tyranny and Machiavelli's The Prince and Discourses on Livy. This study examines a number of major themes essential to both writers: the moral and political requirements of healthy republics; imperial expansion; the relationship between human nature, politics, and virtue; the role of religion in politics; the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate rule; and the influence of philosophy on politics. By elucidating the remarkable scope, depth, and subtlety of the debate between these two great thinkers, this book offers a fresh perspective on the philosophic and political significance of Machiavelli's proto-modern break from the classical tradition.

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