Costumi e consuetudine in Machiavelli

Abstract : This work aims at analysing the way Machiavel used words and concepts from the legal tradition of Antiquity and Middle Age in his political thought. Preference was given to the “ius non scriptum” in order to measure the direct influence of Latin categories such as “mores” and “consuetudo” elaborated by the Roman Law and the Canon Law and reemployed by Machiavel in a (much)more common form in all his writings. More broadly, it consists in a genealogy of the political vocabulary of the Italian Renaissance which is born in the Latin language borrowed from its Latin roots to highlight the logic of formation of modern political languages. In our research, we try to reconsider the modernity of Machiavel by contextualizing his thought in the medieval tradition which ends with Machiavel himself. First of all, we had to identify the main uses of the word “costumi” in Machiavel’s writings in order to emphasise its theoretical and major practical meaning in his thinking. By taking a short step back from the Machiavellian corpus, we tried to rebuild a history of the “ius non scriptum” doctrine from two medieval sources: The Corpus Iuris Civilis (VI century) and the Decretum Gratiani (XII century). At this point, we had to go back to the Machiavellian corpus to show the importance of the notion of “consuetudine” in his political vocabulary. It qualifies the people’s identity, the relation to orders, and more than everything it is the basis for the existence of Republics.
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Giorgio Bottini. Costumi e consuetudine in Machiavelli. Philosophy. Université de Lyon, 2017. Italian. ⟨NNT : 2017LYSEN077⟩. ⟨tel-01968049⟩

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