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date: 19 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on the main characteristics of political writings in the early modern period and the related problem of the genre(s). An exploration is offered of princely advice literature, with a study of the major changes with regard to form and content. To illustrate this evolution, two works hold central place: Desiderius Erasmus’s Education of a Christian Prince (1516) and Justus Lipsius’s Six Books of Politics or Political Instruction (1589). The author addresses the study of political thought and its evolution from a rather loose and unsystematic field of study into a well-organized discipline. In this context it is unimaginable to pass over the legacy of the classical authors in general and Aristotle, Cicero, Seneca and Tacitus in particular. The chapter also includes a discussion of the contribution of the early modern scholastics.

Keywords: advice literature, mirrors for princes, Erasmus, Lipsius, Senecanism, Ciceronianism, Tacitism, Machiavellianism, Aristotelianism, natural law

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