Coordinated by Filip STANCIU

The Politician in Machiavelli’s Work.

Insights for a Political Anthropology of Modernity



“Pierre Mendès” University of Grenoble

Abstract: Machiavelliis undoubtedly oneof the founders ofmodern political thoughtin the Western world. Due to thisposition, he hasinvariablybeen read and interpretedin a partiallyif notfullypositivistgrid:Machiavelliis a philosopherof politics. But hisinterpretershave often neglectedthe multipleaspects of his thoughtwhich connect himto his age.For example, theconceptof violence inpolitical actionis placed by Machiavelliratheratthemythical timeof the political foundationof a society. With Machiavellithe ancestralframeworks of religious natureof his societydisintegrate, transferring the sacrednesstothe new orders, which are this timeof political nature. This transfer ofsacrednesspasseseven in the writingsof Machiavellithrough the transformationof the mythicalstructuresof his society.


Keywords: Renaissance, modern politics, founding violence, Machiavellian bestiary, Christianity.

Nicolas Machiavelli, the most famous of the secretaries of the Florentine Signoria, is generally regarded as the “founding father” of modern politics. The place that European culture granted to him often finds itself within the frame of political philosophy or political science. His literary writings, if not downright ignored, are frequently seen as arguments to illustrate his art of writing, but never taken into account as arguments of his political thought. Was Machiavelli in his time as modern as Western intellectual tradition has often claimed? His political conception was it as “positivist” as the one set up by the vast majority of his commentators? Or on the contrary, one can also detect in the work of the Florentine master a sort of reminiscence of mythical thinking? Machiavelli, a man of the Renaissance and a special humanist, is he also a historian as certain scholars claim, therefore so firmly rooted in his space-time?

Machiavelli’s work lends itself easily to many degrees of interpretation, like any other seminal text, as the writings of the Florentine master have long since been confined in the camp of the basic texts of modern European thought. He is a Renaissance man who willingly shares the problems and concerns of his time with his friends. Unfortunately, posterity has made him a mirror, not of his time, but of each period in the history of the Western world, from Renaissance to our own days. As Felix Gilbert pointed out, there is not a generation that has not interpreted in its manner Machiavelli’s thought, according to its political interests, its intellectual concerns.[1] To restore his true historicity is a real challenge. Thus, to better penetrate and identify oneself in this “hermeneutic” maze we believe that an interdisciplinary approach is needed. And to begin, let Bernard Guillemain offer three councils that every commentator on Machiavelli should follow: 1. take into account all his texts, including his literary writings; 2. eliminate our prejudices about Machiavelli’s thought; 3. abandon the illusion that the author has hidden intentions.[2] We must try to extract another perspective on Machiavelli: a global interpretation that exceeds the purely philosophical and “partisan” analysis of his thought and attempt to decipher its anthropological, social, religious and mythical foundations.


His thought, even if it has been perceived over the centuries as an abrupt break vis-à-vis medieval thought, remains deeply immersed in his time. It is fair to note that one can observe in Machiavelli discontinuities and disruptions compared to his predecessors, but at the same time we must also highlight the continuities without which his thought can only be interpreted in a superficial way. Identifying and highlighting the “depths” of the Florentine Secretary’s thought, i.e. what Jung described as “archetype”[3], contribute to strengthening the historicity of Machiavelli. This is because to account for the complexity of his thought we have to emphasise the hardest and the most “hidden” structures of Machiavelli’s thought: the mythical structures that intermingle with rational constructions.

From the positivistperspective,talking aboutmythsin Machiavelliis equivalent toa sacrilege. Butmythsare, in our opinion, an integral andindispensable part of ourlife,whatever ourfield of activity might be. In addition,the fieldof politics isone of the mostpermeableas to myth, because it touchesthe whole humansociety. Thus,addressing the politicalmythsthat Machiavellihas implementedto supporthis new political visionhelps us to betterunderstand the thoughtofone of the foundingmasters of ourmodernity. The foundingmyth ofviolence andSaviourwill be analysedin direct relation tothe goalsMachiavelliadvanced tothe success ofthe new society.

Mythis one of theessential elementsto better understand thework and thoughtof Machiavelli.Brought into fashionin the past few years, this term sees itselfdepreciatedby misuse. Theusual meaningconfounds itwith manybanalities, such as fictions, prejudices and stereotypes. “Themyth is astory featuring usually supernatural characters,situations,events, whereinlogicescapesthe classical principles ofthe logic ofidentity”[4]. Thus itpresents itself as afounderorultimatediscoursewhich determines theentire logics ofsense.“Wenow knowwell enough that mythis notthe creation of a writer’sfantasy, itissomething else: it is the product ofan essential function ofthe human mind,concurrent with that ofrational and logicalthinking”[5].

We can therefore saythatmythis an imaginaryconstruction,whichoffers to the individualsof a communityan accesskeyto a systemof interpretation ofthe world and time, and offers them acode of ethics. Beinghighlysimplifyingand integrating,itintroduced into asocietyan organising principle, adequatetoits ideals andaspirations. Thenceforward,each member ofthe community feelsperfectly safe, a security made possible through the mediation ofmyth: itensures atotal understandingof lifeand the universe[6].

Machiavellidoes not addresstheological issues, forhe is nota theologian. He is interested mainly inhis societyand above allin the problems related toits politicalfunctioning. From thisperspective, the sacred changes of object: it passesfrom the metaphysicalrealmto politics. By contrast,the sacreddoesnot change of subject: i.e. man. SelimAbounotes that “if the gods havedesertedthe skyto descend to earthmeans that therewas a transition, not from a sacredmythologyto a secularmythology,butfrom a religiousmythologyto a secularmythology. What ensuresthe continuitybetween the oneand the other is precisely the function of thesacred,whichis the mythicalfunction par excellence”[7]. The new objectof worshipbecomesin Machiavellithe State. Forin his theologypoliticsis seenas an antidoteto the evil ofhis world: thesalvationof his societynecessarilycalls for a newpolitical organisation. Thus, the theology of Machiavellican be read asthe beginning of thesecularsacredness ofthe State. Anyway, the questions aboutthe problems of hisworldalwayspass through thisnew form of politicalsacredness. CarlSchmittalso admitsthat allpregnant conceptsof the modern theoryon the State aresecularised theologicalconcepts[8]

BernardGuillemainunderlines the importance ofthe historicalpath: Machiavelli’scommentatorshave often falleninto error, forthey have usedan “ahistorical” approach[9]. However,the best methodto understandMachiavelli is torestore hishistoricity.His integration intohissocial and historicalenvironment should be granted. The Machiavelli ofthePrincecannotbe understoodwithoutthe Machiavelli of Asino d’oro or without that of Mandragola. For very similar tohis time,he is made ofstrong contradictionsso thatit looks like thereare severalMachiavelli.This shouldhardlybe surprising, asRenaissanceitself ismade ​​ofcontradictions: on theone hand, thearts,the discovery ofman,the ideal of abetter life; on the other hand,uncertainties,apocalypticfears, customary superstitions. Lights and shadows,just likethe personality of ourhero. Nothing could be morecharacteristic ofthe portrait ofMachiavellithanthe image hehimself givesin theGolden Ass: during the dayhe meditates, he reflects on thefate of the worldandthe best way togovern it,whilstat night helets himself be carriedby the love ofcourtesans[10]. Moreover, just ashis contemporaries,Machiavellialso likescontroversyto such an extent thathe is almostalwaysagainstthe conventional wisdomconveyed byhis age[11]. Ifto all thiswe addthemelancholy character, the result will undoubtedly be the Machiavelli “cocktail”.

AlainGuerreauhas shownin his bookThe Futureof an Uncertain Past thatuntil the seventeenthcenturyit isimpossible to speak ofa modernspirit, according tothe meaning givenin the last centuries. He argues that, in fact, modernity,with its two largeruptures-dominiumandecclesia-, cannot beidentifiedbeforethe seventeenth century[12]. His observationscompel us totake into account theepistemologicaldistancethat separates us fromthe thought of aRenaissance manand avoid the semantictrapsthat such an approachinvites. To finish withthis topic,Machiavellicould be neitheran atheistnoran Antichrist.MichelBergèsadds that “by reading all his writings, we see that he wasthe bearer of areligionof his own, i.e. of Florence andhis time”[13].

Machiavellican also be readthroughtheliterary grid ofhypertextuality[14]. In fact,Machiavellirewrites,and thereforetransformsin his ownway a series ofthemes and motifswhich have already been presentfor a long timein Western thought. To take justthe most obviousexample: the Discoursesare nothingbut ahypertextwhereMachiavelliglorifies themythof ancient Romeas a guide tothe political actionof the present[15].

The relationship Machiavellimaintainswith the ancientsis a very special one:whenseekingremediesfor his society,he calls themto his aid. Wanting toreviveancientvalues ​​andpropose themasstandards of conductfor his society, Machiavelli actuallycreatesa new world. Here-reads, rewritesandthus transformsthe ancientsaccording to the needsof his society. In his workwe can easily identifya kind of dialoguewith the eldersonmatters that concern him closely. Above all heseeks tofind answers andsolutions to problemsthat are not lackingin thistime of fundamental change.

In fact, perhaps Machiavelliwanted to achievein politics,by action orreflection,whatothers had donein art,jurisprudence, and medicine:clarify and codify theprincipleswhich had beenpursued by the elders”[16].

Machiavelliis perceivedhereas a mirror ofhis ownsociety. His ideas,even the mostpersonal politicalideas, aredeeply rootedin theculture of his time, forhewillingly shares themwith his friends. Hispolitical thinkingis the result ofan ongoingcontroversy with the ancients, on the one hand, andwith his friends, on the other hand. Hence, it would be amistake toconfineMachiavelliwithin our categoriesof thought:that wouldnecessarilyengender a Machiavellidifferent fromwhat he really was.Hecannot belongto our modernschematism. He is a manof the Renaissance andwe must accept himas such.


Most moderncommentators, and above allLeoStrauss,blame Machiavelli for havingdisenchanted” modern politics.MyriamRevault d’Allones resumesin her turnthis ideaby dubbing itthe “radicalism of the Modernswhich obviously,starting fromMachiavelli,rests onthe death ofimmortality[17]. Indeed,in classical antiquity, political life in the city,that is tosay, thereason for livingpoliticson the earthwas the eternalcontinuityof the city. In other words,what matteredwastheimmortalityof the system,of the city and itsprotecting gods. Violence,regardless of itsnature,hadasgoalthe preservationof immortality. Starting fromMachiavelli,tells usLeoStrauss, modern mengive themselves lawsfor the sake ofsurvival, security andself-preservation[18]. As comparedto the founding gods andheroesofAntiquity, “the founders of modern civilisationwere notheroes, not even incestuousandfratricidalheroes, butpoornaked andtrembling withfeardevils”[19]. With Machiavelli,Western civilizationpasses from man “measure of all things” to manmasterof all things”[20]. Thuswe gettoone of the founding principlesof modern politics:death is theraison d’être ofpolitics. ToHobbes’ mind,it hasbut a negativemeaning: it isto protect themselves fromaviolent deathcausedor inducedby othersthat men areforced tomake themselvespoliticians.  However,a fewcenturieslater, for CarlSchmitt,this principlecovers apositiveconnotation: the political communitycan dispose ofthe lifeand deathof its members, forthe fundamental statusof manis also based onthe almost permanent possibilityof causing the physical deathof another man[21]. AsLeoStrausspointed out,the crisisof modern politicsconsists inthe loss of its values:Western manno longer knows whathe is worth. This misfortuneofnot being able toreach theknowledge of rightand evil, good and bad isascribed toMachiavelli.Why him?

He was the firstto adviseprinces(in fact itis for newPrincesand notfor ancient ones that he speaks) use with no regrets, if the situation of theground requires it, violence against their subjects[22]. This advicerests onan epistemologicalfoundation: knowledge according to Machiavelli(and particularlypolitical knowledge) is possible only by starting fromwhat he calls “real truth”[23]. A farewell tothe absoluteknowledge of rightand evil! Asemphasised byEugenioGarin[24],for Machiavelliand his age, the religiousaxiologicalreferentis relativised:there isnoknowledge of rightand evilrelative toa system oftranscendentalvalues,but rathera permanent changeof assessmentbased onhuman realities. A quick example:the Prince ofMachiavellishould notworry abouthis reputation,because he knowsonly too well thatall scalesofvaluesare systematically revolving.[25]

What isthe violenceprophesied byMachiavelli? Is thisthe end of theenchantment of the worldas claimed byhis opponentssince the very sixteenthcentury? And first of all, what is violence? Differentdefinitions haveemerged in thecourse of history[26]. Thesociological, philosophical, psychological, political, etc. aspectcanbe invokedto supportsuch and suchdefinition. In his book onviolence and the sacred, RenéGirardunderlines themythicalside andthe anthropological functionof violence[27]. As partof thefounding myth,violencereveals itsidentifying function. Those whobelong to the communitywillalwayscommemoratethetime ofprimordial violence, as it is aritualisedmoment.The communitystill livesonce againandforeverthe experience of thefoundation ofsociety by theintermissionof the ritual. Violenceagainst a victimis thusmade sacred: the mythicalbeginning of the worldreveals itself in allits significance. Violencecontributes therefore to theunderstanding of the world, a world that has becomecomprehensibledue tothis foundingviolence.

In ancient societies,violencealways manifests itselfin asacralisedform,ritualisedand storedby thefounding myth[28]. Theatoningfunction of sacred violenceenforced byeachritualallows the participants tolimit thereal violencefrom thecontext of thecommunityto the detrimentof the victim.Anotherexpiatory functionis superposedoradded:those who transgressthe rules of societywill bear the bruntofviolence. “Sacrificeisindeedthe necessaryoutflowthrough whichviolenceshould be able toexpress itself: it channelsviolencewhich, withoutit,would unleashwitha terrifyingbrutality.In this way too, it ritualises violence.”[29]


2.1. The Founding Violence


The beginningof society residesin Machiavelli’s opinioninthe passage of man from thewild stage to thecivilisedlevel. Politically, this is reflectedby theestablishment of justice:the regulation oflegitimateviolence.At thebeginning of the world, beingfew,theinhabitantslivedfor atimescattered like animals.Then,the species multiplying, they regrouped and, in order to better defend themselves, began to seek the one thatwasthe most robustand the mostcourageous,chose him as theirleader andobeyed him. Then people began todiscerngoodand honestthingsand distinguish them from thebadand pernicious ones. Seeing that, if someone harmedhis benefactor, he arousedhatredfor one andpity forthe other, theungratefulwere blamed, the most grateful was honouredand it was believedthat similarviolencecouldbe made to you too. Toprevent suchevils,people began tomake laws andto ordainpunishmentsagainst offenders:such wastheorigin of justice”[30].

Eachbeginninghas a doublemeaning:it does indeed markthe endof an old order(or ratherof a disorder) and at the same time itannouncesthe arrival ofa new order,forhumankindcannotdo withoutsense. The cosmos, history, thepast and the present, as well as the futuremusthave a meaning. Itis precisely thefounding violencethat puts an end todisorder(or toan incomprehensiblesense) andinaugurates thenew world. In Machiavelliviolence orviolent actsare not designedas an ordinarymeans ofthe art of governing[31]. They are part ofa broader socialframework that seeksto establisha new and moreadequateworldto new challenges andthey try to give a meaning tothe incomprehensibleeventsof history. Machiavelliemphasisesthe necessityofthe founding violence, since “there is nopolitical communitywithouta violencethat underpins andsustains it”[32]. Violence is alsoarite of passage:the political communitypasses from one levelcharacterisedby lack ofmeaningto a levelmarked bysense. A senseimposedby the newPrince. It is clear thatwithoutthis foundingviolenceand without thisrite of passage, thePrincecannotfound thenew politicalworld of whichMachiavelli is dreaming. We are herein atthe very heartof mythical thought. MachiavelliadviseshisPrinceto useforcein that mannerand nototherwise, in a ritualised way, so that societymay understandthe sensehe wantedto bestow to it[33].Thus thePrincemanages toimpose himself byviolence,which ismost of the timethe case of newPrinces[34]. Yet it is notdesirable, argues Machiavelli,to extend thisstageasade facto status. For ifviolenceis not usedwith moderation, it could easily slideto its own detriment[35]. ThereforeacautiousPrincewillalways know how toleadviolenceto his profit. Machiavelli is the firstto havetried to put intoa political languagethe mythicalstructuresof the origin ofthe State,because “theorigin of the staterestson violence andfear of death. Truthoftenturned intomyth... This is whythe State mustconceal the factof its birth,whichis the initialunlawfulnessof its birth[36]. Machiavelli presents himselfhereas an advocate of thedisenchantmentof politics,sinceinrevealingthe mythical mechanisms of theorigin of the State,he puts an endto the old enchanted orderof theworld[37].

Machiavelli is theadvocate of thecommencementof the State. He admits that itwould have been desirablefor all,for the Prince, as well as forhis subjects, not to have had touse violence, but unfortunately the reality ofthingsforces him to actin such a manner.

“Everyone understands how praiseworthy it is in a Prince to keep faith, and to live uprightly and not craftily. Nevertheless, we see from what has taken place in our own days that Princes who have set little store by their word, but have known how to overreach men by their cunning, have accomplished great things, and in the end got the better of those who trusted to honest dealing…”.[38]

To ensure thatthe foundations of thestatewithstandthe vicissitudes of history, the founding violencemust be strong andtime limited. In other words,the violenceexhibited bythe Princehas a foundingnaturefor society and at the same time itwill be strongenough tomake a lasting impression, limited to this sole moment(it will notkeep thechaoticaspect of thebeginning). Let us be honest: Machiavellistatesthat there is noother more effective meansto establisha new politicalorderthanmythicalviolence. Whenanalysingthe foundingrole ofviolencein Rome,he attacksthose who “judge asabad example”the violent deedsofRomulus.In fact, says Machiavelli, another historicalhermeneutics should be used in order to understand,finally,the true meaning ofthe violence of themythical founder ofRome: we must consider “the end that pushedRomulusto commitsuch ahomicide[39].

As regardsthe relationship betweenmorality andviolenceMachiavelli is silent. In fact,this aspectdoes not interesthim. The advicecovers onlypolitical behaviour. What is botheringis probablythe harshness of themethod envisaged:the physical elimination ofthe opponent(i.e.politicalopponent)[40]. Machiavellihas headopteda Manicheanworldview? Just asin Christianity,wherethere isroom only forgood andevil? A world withoutcolour, painted only in blackand white?For Christians,there isnointermediate space, no territoryof refuge. For themthere are onlytwooptions: for or against. Anyway,those who are “against”will experience one day, more orless near,theviolenceof the Lord. ForMachiavelli, in politics, there is noneutralspace.Theopponent hasno other choice: he either adheres tothe positionsof power,or hemust disappear[41]. In the political spaceof the city ofMachiavellithere isno place forany kind of“purgatory”.

WolfgangSofskyalso speaksin his bookof three importantaspects of violence:thefounding moment, the spectacle it offers andthe complex relationshipit establisheswith culture[42]. Why does violence necessarilyremainthe founder? Orwhy is there no political communitywithoutviolentfoundation? SofskysketchesfromHobbes’ Leviathanan answer.At first,all men werefree and equal,and everyone hadeverything to fear from the others.Which is the worstmisfortunethat can happen toa man,heasks himself? To see thatthe other ishis equal. Man thusrealisesthat the othercan impose upon himthe same level ofviolencethat hecan causeto others. This equalityis the cause ofall evil:it entailsmistrustand war.Those who cando usephysical violence; the others,less strong,usecunning.Certainly, men found themselvesone day in ahopeless situation. If everyonecan killeveryone, man isthreatened todisappear.Thuspolitics entershuman society: compelledby the fearof violent death,they transferredall their powerto kill toonly one institution[43]. Wethenarrive at MaxWeber’s formula, “the modern state holds the monopolyof legitimate physicalviolence”[44]. Machiavelliwho did not imaginethe Statethe same wayasWeber didwantedonlythat all legitimateviolence beowned bythe NewPrince. He, whohas seenthe misfortunesof an Italytorn betweenequal groups[45], recommends thePrinceto introduceanotherkind of equality:the equality beforethePrince,theonly one authorised touse violence[46].Or, in other words,atotal inequalitybetween thePrincewho holds thelegitimate violence,and his subjects, irrespective of their social status,who have assignedtheirviolence to him.


2.2. The Spectacle of Violence


Afterthe founding momentof the State,or of the newworld,should thePrincemake violencevisibleor should he ratherhide itout of the sightof his people? Machiavelliimagines solelyavisibleand legible violence,so thateveryonemight understand it. Should thePrince be obliged to use it, then he’d better show nohesitation.Machiavellithus highlightsanothermythical andsociological dimension of violence:violence asspectacle.

Sofskyconnectsthe audienceand violence:whoeverattends violenceparticipates inthe act by way of derogation[47]. The spectatorsare thus involved ina sort of collectiveritual.And all specialists inmythagree thatthe primary functionof aritual is commemorativeand identifying.  

As part of thespectacle of violence,the audiencedeliver their violence, repressed inthe normalsocial setting.They take partin the showby proxy. Machiavelliconcedesat the end ofChapter VIII of ThePrincethat “violences, we ought tocommit themalltogether, so that, as tastedless, they might be lesspainful”[48]. Anyway, concludesMachiavelli, viewers willalways take the strongest man’s side[49]. They identify themselveswith the “executioner” by exercising at the sametime with himviolenceagainstthe victim.By makingthe liberation of violencepossible through theshowthe Princerenders himselfa great service:his subjectswill not feel the needto express their violenceagainsthim.

Participationby proxycreates at the same time aninvisiblebondbetween the audience andwhoeverinflicts theviolence.Hence, Machiavelli encourages thePrinceto doeverything that isin his power tostrengthenthis relationship. The violencepreached by Machiavelliis butan educationalviolence.It is nota goal in itself, but insteadit is a wayto educatethe spectators:an educational,exemplary andcorrectiveviolence!

2.3. Machiavellian Bestiary and Violence


For Machiavelli the NewPrinceshould be both alionand a fox[50]. Why notjusta lion? Ora foxonly? Howcan the cunningof the foxbe of help whenthe Princeindulges thepower andsymbolism of thelion?

Machiavelli’s Prince should be asuperman,for,as pointed out bySofsky, the greatest threatfora man(especiallyfor a politician) is to be equalto the others.Imaginingthe anarchy ofthe beginning ofsociety,Hobbesassumes thatmenwere threatening their fellow meneitherby force(the most powerful), or by exercisingtheir shrewdness (those lackingphysical force). Thus,in the mythicallogic employedbyMachiavelli, we find both symbols, the one of thephysical powerof thelionand that of thecunningof the fox. The Princethus conceivedis asort of hybrid, asymbolic and political “mutant”:alion-fox. By usingthe symbolism of thewildbestiary, Machiavelli succeeds to outline the new political supermanwho will found by forceandguilea new state and willbringorder andmeaning in a worldtorn apart.

2.4. Machiavellian Violence and Christianity


In Christian theologythe adventof the New Jerusalemis preceded by thedestructionof the wicked.This is nota simpleexecution,forthisdestructionis also the guarantee ofrenewal[51]. In other words,the new worldis founded on thejoyfulviolence of thesavedinflicted tothe wicked. This is a total violence: it implies,on the one hand,the finaland permanentdestructionof sinners,and on the other hand, it representsthefinal adhesion of the spectators(those who have been redeemed). Canthe samemythic structureof violence be tracedinMachiavelli too? The new cityis based onlegitimate violenceagainstthe “guilty”, whetherreal or imaginary. It is violenceby proxy,since only thePrinceis mandatedto exercise it. The only change: the contextin whichviolenceoccursis political,notreligious.

The violence proposed byMachiavelliis however notan absolute one,since according tohis anthropologythe entire humanity shouldbe destroyed: “men areungrateful, fickle, simulators anddissimulators, cowardsbefore danger, greedytogain[52]. Hedoes not conceive violencein a total manneras “the lastjudgment”,but he sees it as aspectacle (thisimplies the acceptanceof the subjects), exemplary(this shouldserve as a lesson), atoning(this purifies publiclythe political space) violence.

The conflict between thePrinceand his subjectsdoes not passin Machiavelli’s opinionby aclass structure. The Princeis notthe representative of therichwhose privileges he has to protect.On the contrary,a kind of equality can be perceived: equalityofeverybodybefore thePrinceor with respect toviolence.

In the Bible the violence ofthe Lordmanifestedin the Last Dayis purifying,for evil andthe guiltywill be forevereliminated[53]. ForMachiavelli, the violence of the NewPrincehas a pronouncedatoning nature[54]. Machiavelliplacesface-to-face the violence ofa Cesare Borgiaand that of theFlorentinepeople[55]. Thushehighlights theambiguity of the term: what is violencein the days ofthe Renaissance?Ifwe sticktoChristian concepts, violence is the opposite ofmercy.And according toreligious ethicsit ismercythat prevailsover violence.But as thesystems of valuesare in constantmotion,violence compared to othergridsproves to be superior toclemency. The new city ofMachiavelliglorifiesatoning violenceas a value,a virtueof its political power: it thus makesthe political body more united.

Machiavelliadmitsthatit would be betterfor the Princenot to have to use violence, but the conditions ofthis worldprevent him from doing it[56]. Therefore, to achievehisenterprise, the New Princeshould demonstrate that he possessesmany other qualities: cunning,(good!) use of violence, lying and so on and so forth[57]. These arenew values​​in the city andtheirscope is a political one.We cannotjudge themotherwise thanpolitically! APrincewhowill implementthese new values​​to rebuilda society andgive ita sensewill be glorifiedby posterity. We must notforget that theRenaissance menhave an increasedsense of history, insofar astheyare very sensitive to the potentialassessments of the future. This accounts forthe fact that theirpolitical actionsoftenseekfuture glory. In fact,whatthe men of theRenaissancevaluedinmythicalheroes was,besidetheir courageand bravery, the outcome oftheiractions:the founding of anew world.

Millenarian violencesignifiesthe end of theold world andthe birth of anew world,through a single act: thedirect and brutalintervention of Godin human history[58]. The newworld cannotbe bornwithoutthis interference,because man isfar too weakdue tohis “humanity”. Hence, the new world ofMachiavelliemergesthroughthe decisive andenergetic interventionof the Prince. In any case,the transition from the previousto the new one necessarily impliesviolence. Machiavelliknows it only too well, for hismethod of investigationallows himto know it: men are toowickedto succeed tocreateby themselvesa new world. Only thePrince,a kind of politicalMessiah,willmake possiblethe passage towardsthe new city.

“[…] a Princewho becameGod on earth, or better yet,in the city. It is notan institution,a magistrate with respect to whomeachcivispreserves hisentire liberty... butan omnipotentGodon earth, just as the LordGod wasalmightyin heaven”.[59]

Despite all theaccusationsthat history hasprofessedagainsthim since his days,Machiavellisheds light onthe importance of violencein politics: even ifone wants todo without it, onecannot avoid it. He is the firstto recognise the roleit plays in thefunctioning of society. Hewiped outthe dustwhich was concealingthe meaning of ancient texts, namely that there isno sustainablepolitical basiswithoutviolence: “This is what ancient writershave taught toprincesin veiled terms”[60].Machiavelli’s genius lies in the fact thathe bestowed asense toviolence. Before his time, with the exception ofa fewinitiates,those who used violencedid not thinkto give it a sense.ForMachiavelli, violence is an absolutelynecessary politicaltool(because ofthe shiftinghuman nature) in order to impose the New World. Any otherchoice,warns usMachiavelli, leads directly and undeniablyto the destruction of thepolitical society!


The futureimagined byMachiavelliis notheaven on earth.Machiavellidoes not adhereto thehumanists’dreamsof a perfect society. He does not proposehis readers,whether informedor not, a kind of harmonious society,where goodinstitutionswould regulatethe humoursof its citizensin a perfect way. He hasno illusions, because for him itis notwithgood intentions thatmankindwill build abetter society. Man isabove all(the pessimistic Florentinetakes advantage of it) an animal, butnot just a political animal, as Aristotle had put it. Furthermore, inMachiavelliman turns intoa genuinewild beast. Machiavelliseeks thesolution:to overcome therageof this beastone needs an evenmoreintensedegree offerocity. Hence,where othersofferedpeace andsocial concordas a solution, he proposes bestiality.Theviolence of this worldandof man canonly be overcomeby violence. Thus,in total contradiction withthe utopiandreamsof his contemporaries,Machiavelli builds theperfect societyon conflict andno longer onharmony,on violencerather thanon peace, onthe pessimism andwickedness of maninstead of onoptimism andillusorygoodness. To succeed, new political toolsshould be available to him,becausethe construction of thefutureis first and foremost of a political nature.

That man iswicked,many others before himhave said it. But inMachiavelli, thiswickednesshas nomoral or religious solutions.It is politicsthat should take this on. The politicalbeastrepresentsboth the old andthe new man.Heremainsdownright badbecause human naturewon’t change. The future ofsociety will bemainly political: Machiavelli places politics above all things. Instead ofa staticillusory“harmony”so much dreamed ofby the politicalwriters of those times, Machiavelli features adynamic balance: the humours of thecitymustbepurgedregularlyby conflicts. Thusthe newpolitical societywill introducethenecessary issues and solutions that might purge theevil of man.

In spite ofthe cautionsthatWestern historiographyexpressedabout myths, considering them unworthyto make the objectofscientific research, things have changed significantlyover the pastdecades. Theimaginaryand myths areno longer regarded asthe exclusive privilege of “distracted” scholars, but as afieldessential tothe understanding ofancient civilisations,as well as, and we should admit it, of our own civilisation.Mythical thought,previouslyattributedonly totribal societies,without history, was later on acknowledged, including bythe most complex social and politicalsystems. Indeed, arguemythologistsand sociologists, there can be nosociety withoutmyths.Mythis thereforea narrativeof the originsof the world andhumanitywhich structuresand organisessocial lifein closeassociation withthe great cosmicconstructions, which confersmeaning tolife,and allowsman tofit into themajor movementsof the Universe andof History. In a nutshell,the mythis vitalto socialconstructionsand theirpreservation. Machiavelli undoubtedlyknewthis truth,for heastutelyused themythical structuresof his ageto convey hismessage andhis conception ofthe universe. Claude-Gilbert Duboisreminds us that weshould notseek in thefield ofpolitical imaginarythe oppositionbetweenreal and unreal. The most appropriatecomparison wouldinsteadbe to seek the relationbetweenthe established powerandanalternativeto the established power. Political imaginaryis thus characterised bythe abolition of all distancebetween desire andits object[...], the substitution of conceptsto referents[...]and finallythe phenomenon ofspecularity: the repressedappears under theimage of theOther”[61].

AntiquityisforMachiavelli,as it was also forhis contemporaries, an importantsourceof inspiration. There were thenmore free peoples thantoday,forvirtuehad not yet beencorruptedas it is now[62]. In the Discourses, Machiavelli reflectshis faithin the possibilityofrenewing thegolden ageof the Roman republicin the Florenceof his days. Machiavelli argues thatonlya return to thepurestrootscancontinuously regeneratea corrupt society[63]. He is convinced thatthis age ofhappiness which will certainly comecannot be builtonan illusoryhuman harmony, but quite the opposite, on conflicts and thewickedness of man. These realfoundations,fordrawn from the experienceof the elders,are the guarantee ofthe success of thisproject. “While Romeremainedmixed, it was anidealstate, whichreached itsperfectiondue to the disunionof the plebeiansand the senate”[64]. Consequently, Machiavelli does not hesitate to enter into polemics with those whodid not understandormisinterpretedthe role of conflictin Rome. Heforceshistoryto deliverhimargumentswhich may rendermorecomprehensiblehis versionof“myth” ofthe golden age. He maximizesthe effects ofconflict: there werenoexiles, no death penalty.Indeed,he presents usanother facet ofthe history ofRome,because he wantsa strongRome. Hence heconverts theRomanweakness into power. Theengine ofits strength lies inits internal conflict: “We cannotin any way reasonablyblame ofdisordera republicwhere we can seeso many examples ofbravery”[65].

Machiavelli,stillarguing withhis contemporaries andthe humanist tradition, refuses the dreamof a cityat peace withitself. Moreover,Machiavelli never tiresto demonstrate the impossibilityof such a society.Andthe supreme argument, repeatedlyinvoked,is the “wickedness of man”. In the Discourses he highlightsthe insolubleconflict betweenthe great” and the people. He breaksthe utopia ofseveral authors, stating that elites arejust as bad asthe people, becausethe greatalwayswant to order,while the peopledo not like beingsubjected”[66].He thusbrings to lightone of the essentialcharacteristicsofhis political project: there isnomiraclesolution.According toMachiavelli, Christianity failed to win the bet of renderingthe world a better place to live in. The societythatChristianity has createdis notmore harmoniousthan thatit replaced.On the contrary,the explosiveexampleof ancient Romeservesas a lesson forhis contemporaries. Therefore whatcouldsave”the cityin theMachiavelliansystem is Politics,becausethrough political actionmankindwill have a chanceto advance. It will be atortuousjourney, full of turns andconflicting ups and downs,withmany moments ofpurging,but, again according to Machiavelli,which could lead to anew socialconstruction,whosereferentialframe moves fromthe domain of Godsto the domainof Men. There remains onlypoliticalpurging to regulatethe humours ofhumans.To paraphraseMalraux, Machiavelli’s bet couldbe summed up astomorrow’s societywill be either politicalor it will no longer be at all.

After a timeof political action, the former Florentinesecretaryfocuses, as he himself admits, onpolitical study and reflection.From this imposedreflection,because ourfunctionarywould have gladlyresumed hisjobratherthan keep on writing,are borntheDiscourses. An intenseand programmaticwork,by which ourformer politicianmakes every effortto express himself.He does nothesitate, likemany other humanists, to dipinto the exampleof the ancients. Of course, hetakes care toexhibit hisoriginality:Roman historyis not readin the same waytheothers did.There isalwaysinMachiavellithisquest for originality.Hedoes not followbeaten paths.His way ofreviving Roman historyconsists inmaking a kind ofarchitext inspired by Livy’s history.

Isit possibleto detect inthisnew approachreminiscences ofmythical thinking too? And ifin wanting so deeply tomake ofRomethe politicalexample par excellence,isn’t Machiavelliincreasinglyedifyingthe myth ofRome? Is it possibleto advance in theMachiavellianterritoryby a return to mythicalstructures? How can one, in an authoras rational ashim,findrelics ofmythical thinking? Ismythin Machiavellia permanent structureof his thoughtor does itoccur onlyon an occasional basis? An approachinternalising theepistemologicaland hermeneuticprinciples ofthe analysis of mythcan only enrich andbetter highlightthe complexity andoriginality of Machiavelli’sthinking.


Major works

MACHIAVEL, De principatibus. Le Prince, trans. Jean-Louis Fournel & Jean-Claude Zancarini, PUF, Paris, 2000 (Coll. Fondements de la politique).

MACHIAVEL, Œuvres (Editions établie par Christian BEC), Robert Laffont, Paris, 1996 (coll. Bouquins).

MACHIAVEL, Le Prince (trans. Thierry Ménissier), Hatier, Paris, 1999 (coll. Les classiques Hatier de la philosophie).

MACHIAVEL, Le Prince, trans. & introd. Yves Lévy, Flammarion, Paris, 1980.     

MACHIAVELLI, Niccolo, The Discourses of Niccolo Machiavelli (Translated from Italian with an introduction and notes by Leslie J. WALKER), Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1950 (coll. Rare Masterpieces of Philosophy and Science).

MACHIAVEL, Toutes les Lettres officielles et familières, celles de ses seigneurs, de ses amis et des siens (présentées et annotées par Edmond Barincou), Gallimard, Paris, 1955 (coll. Mémoires du passé pour servir au temps présent).

DUBOIS, Claude-Gilbert, L’Imaginaire de la Renaissance, PUF, Paris, 1985 (coll. Ecriture).

PAREL, Anthony J. The Machiavellian Cosmos, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1992.

BOCK, Gisela, Quentin SKINNER, Maurizio VIROLI (eds.), Machiavelli and Republicanism Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York, 1990 (coll. Ideas in Context).

SKINNER, Quentin, Les fondements de la pensée politique moderne, Albin Michel, 2001. Paris (coll. Bibliothèque de l’Evolution de l’Humanité).

SKINNER, Quentin, Political Thought from Machiavelli to Rousseau, Penguin Books, London, 1965 (coll. Pelican History of Political Thought).

SCHMITT, Carl, Théologie politique, Gallimard, Paris, 1988 (coll. « Bibliothèque de Sciences Humaines »).

BERGES, Michel, Machiavel, un penseur masqué?, Editions Complexe, Bruxelles, 2000 (coll. Théorie politique).

GUILLEMAIN, Bernard, Machiavel. L’anthropologie politique, Droz, Genève, 1977.

LEFORT, Claude, Le travail de l’œuvre, Machiavel, Gallimard, Paris, 1972 (coll. Tel).

MANENT, Pierre, La naissance de la politique moderne: Machiavel, Hobbes, Rousseau, Payot, Paris, 1977 (coll. Critique de la politique).

MANSFIELD, Harvey Claflin, Le Prince apprivoisé. De l’ambivalence du pouvoir, Fayard, Paris, 1994 (coll. “Esprit de la cite”).

MENISSIER, Thierry & Yves Charles ZARKA, Machiavel, le Prince ou le nouvel art politique, PUF, Paris, 2001 (coll. « Débats Philosophiques »).

MÉNISSIER, Thierry, Le vocabulaire de Machiavel, Ellipses, Paris, 2002. (coll. « Vocabulaire de … »).

MÉNISSIER, Thierry, Machiavel, la politique et l’histoire. Enjeux philosophiques, PUF, Paris, 2001 (coll. Fondements  de la politique).

POCOCK, J.G.A., Le moment machiavélien. La pensée politique florentine et la tradition républicaine atlantique, PUF, Paris, 1997 (coll. « Léviathan »).

STRAUSS, Léo, Pensée sur Machiavel, Payot, Paris, 1982 (coll. Critique de la Politique).

Epistemology and Methodology

ARISTOTE, L’homme de génie et la mélancolie, trans. J. Pigeaud, Editions Rivages, 1988.

ARNAUD-LINDET, Marie-Pierre, Histoire et politique à Rome. Les historiens romains (IIIe av. J.-C. – Ve ap. J.-C.), Bréal, Rosny, 2001 (coll. Grand Amphi).

CAIRE-JABINET, Marie-Paule, Introduction à l’historiographie, Nathan, Paris, 1994.

CERTEAU, Michel de, L’écriture de l’histoire, Gallimard, Paris, 1975.

CHARTIER, Roger, Au bord de la falaise. L’histoire entre certitudes et inquiétude, Albin Michel, Paris, 1998 (coll. Bibliothèque Albin Michel Histoire).

FINLEY, Moses I., Mythe, mémoire, histoire: les usages du passé, Flammarion, Paris, 1981 (coll. Nouvelle bibliothèque scientifique).

GENETTE, Gérard, Palimpsestes ; La littérature au second degré, Seuil, Paris, 1981.

GINZBURG, Carlo, Mythes, emblèmes, traces: morphologie et histoire, Flamarion, Paris, 1984.

GUERREAU, Alain, L’avenir d’un passé incertain. Quelle histoire du Mayen Age au XXIe siècle ?, Seuil, Paris, 2001.

KLIBANSKY, Raymond, Erwin PANOFSKY, Fritz SAXL, Saturne et la Mélancolie. Etudes historiques et philosophiques: nature, religion, médecine et art, Gallimard, Paris, 1989 (coll. Bibliothèque illustrée des histoires).

THOMAS, Jöel (dir.), Introduction aux méthodologies de l’Imaginaire, Ellipses, Paris, 1998.

WHITE, Hayden, Metahistory, the Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore & London, 1973.

WHITE, Hayden, The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation, The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore & London, 1987.

WHITE, Hayden. Theory of History, The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore & London, 1978.

Myths and Imaginary

BERLIOZ, Jacques, Marie Anne POLO DE BEAULIEU (textes rassemblés par), L’animal exemplaire au Moyen Âge (Ve-XVe siècle), Presses Universitaires de Rennes, Rennes, 1999.

BOIA, Lucian, Entre l’Ange et la Bête. Le mythe de l’Homme différent e l’Antiquité à nos jours, Plon, Paris, 1995.

CAILLOIS, Roger, L’homme et le sacré, Gallimard, Paris, 1950 (Folio. Essais).

CAILLOIS, Roger, Le mythe et l’homme, Gallimard, Pris, 1981 (coll. Idées)/ Ière édition 1938.

CASSIRER, Ernst, Essai sur l’homme, Les Editions de Minuit, Paris, 1975.

DETIENNE, Marcel, L’Invention de la mythologie, Gallimard, Paris, 1981 (coll. Tel).

ELIADE, Mircea, Aspects du mythe, Gallimard, Paris, 1963 (coll. Folio. Essais).

ELIADE, Mircea, Le sacré et le profane, Gallimard, Paris, 1965 (coll. Folio. Essais).

ELIADE, Mircea, Images et symboles, Gallimard, Paris, 1952, 1980 (coll. Tel).

GIRARDET, Raoul, Mythes et mythologies politiques, Seuil, Paris, 1986 (coll. Points. Histoire).

SOLE, Jacques, Les mythes chrétiens de la Renaissance aux Lumières, Albin Michel, Paris, 1979 (coll. L’aventure humaine).

STIERLIN, Henri, L’Astrologie et le pouvoir. De Platon à Newton, Payot, . Paris, 1986 (coll. Bibliothèque historique).



BEAUCHARD, Jacques, “La violence”, (No. spécial de:) Actions et recherches sociales, revue interuniversitaire des sciences et pratiques sociales, No. 1-2, Erès, Paris, 1981.

BERGERET, Jean, La violence fondamentale: l’inépuisable Œdipe, Dunod, Paris, 2000 (coll. Psychismes).

CAZIER, Pierre, Jean-Marie DELMAIRE (textes réunis par.), Violence et religion, Université Lille 3, Villeneuve d’Ascq, 1998.

CORBIN, Alain, Le village des cannibales, Paris, 1990.

DADOUN, Roger, La violence: essai sur l’homo violens, Hatier, Paris, 1995 (coll. Optiques: philosophie).

D’ALLONES, Myriam Revault, Ce que l’homme fait à l’homme: essai sur le mal politique, Éd. du Seuil, Paris, 1995 (coll. La couleur des idées).

DETIENNE, Marcel, Jean-Pierre VERNANT, La Cuisine du sacrifice en pays grec, Gallimard, Paris, 1979 (coll. Bibliothèque de l’histoire).

GIRARD, René, La violence et le sacré, Bernard Grasset, Paris, 1972.

FRAPPAT, Hélène (introduction, choix de textes, commentaires, vade-mecum et bibliographie par), La violence, Flammarion, Paris, 2000 (coll. Corpus).

MAFFESOLI, Michel, La Violence totalitaire: essai d’anthropologie politique, Presses universitaires de France, Paris, 1979 (coll. Sociologie d’aujourd’hui).

MICHAUD, Yves, La violence, Presses universitaires de France, Paris, 1998 (coll. Que sais-je?).

SIBONY, Daniel, Violence: traversées, Seuil, Paris, 1998 (coll. La couleur des idées).

SOFSKY, Wolfgang, Traité de la violence, Gallimard, Paris, 1998 (coll. NRF essais).

SOREL, Georges, Réflexions sur la violence, M. Rivière, Paris, 1972 (coll. Etudes sur le devenir social. Nouvelle série).

WATTHEE-DELMOTTE, Myriam (études réunies par), La violence: représentations et ritualisations, L’Harmattan, Paris, 2002 (coll. Structures et pouvoirs des imaginaires).

WENIN, André, Pas seulement de pain...: violence et alliance dans la Bible. Essai, Ed. du Cerf, Paris,1998 (coll. Lectio Divina).

[1] Felix GILBERT, Machiavel et Guichardin. Politique et histoire à Florence au XVIe siècle, Seuil, Paris, 1996, p. 165.

[2] Bernard GUILLEMAIN, Machiavel. L’anthropologie politique, Droz, Genève, 1977, p. 2.

[3] Cf. Jöel THOMAS (dir.) Introduction aux méthodologies de l’Imaginaire, Ellipses, Paris, 1998, pp. 83-91. By archetype we mean the permanence of ancient and traditional structures which transcend eras.

[4] Gilbert DURAND, “A propos du vocabulaire de l’imaginaire: mythe, mythanalyse, mythocritique”, Recherches et travaux, Université des langues et lettres, Grenoble, 1977.

[5] Problèmes du Mythe de son interprétation. Actes du colloque de Chantilly, 24-25 avril 1976, published by Jean Hani, Les Belles Lettres, Grenoble, 1978, p. 9.

[6] Lucian BOIA, Pour une histoire de l’imaginaire, Les Belles Lettres, Paris, 1998, p. 40.

[7] Selim ABOU, L’identité culturelle. Relations interethniques et problèmes d’acculturation, Anthropos, Paris, 1986, p. 157

[8] Carl SCHMITT, Théologie politique, Gallimard, Paris, 1988.

[9] Bernard GUILLEMAIN, Machiavel...cit., p. 12.

[10] MACHIAVEL, Œuvres, trans. Christian BEC, Robert Laffont, L’Âne d’or, Coll. Bouquin, Paris, pp. 1046-1049.

[11] Felix GILBERT, Machiavel et Guichardin...cit., p. 139. Every time he starts a topic, he attacks an imaginary interlocutor who, according to him, finds himself on the wrong track. In P XIV he argues with the author of the Courtier, in Discourse I, Preface, he fights against those who do not know how to interpret history, or in Discourse II, 2 against those who spread false interpretations of Christianity.

[12] Alain GUERREAU, L’avenir d’un passé incertain. Quelle histoire du Moyen Age au XXIe siècle? Seuil, Paris, 2001. pp. 23-40. The seventeenth century is the frontier between old and modern times: the concepts of dominium that structured social relations and ecclesia which was the framework of the functioning of society are then shattered. Their place will be quickly taken by politics, religion and economics. The use of these concepts in the modern historical language about ancient and medieval periods contains many epistemological and semantic ambiguities.

[13] Michel BERGÈS, Machiavel, un penseur masqué? Editions Complexe, Bruxelles, 2000, p. 125 (coll. Théorie politique).

[14] Gérard GENETTE, Palimpsestes. La littérature au second degree, Seuil, Paris, 1981. The hypertextuality represents a relationship uniting a “text B (which I would call hypertext) to a previous text A (which I would call, of course, hypotext) on which it is grafted in a manner which is not that of the comment”. In other words, the derived text from another preexisting text.  

[15] Felix GILBERT, Machiavel et Guichardin...cit., p. 151.

[16] Ibidem, p. 134.

[17] Myriam REVAULT D'ALLONES, Ce que l'homme fait à l'homme: essai sur le mal politique, Seuil, Paris, 1995, p. 108.

[18] Léo STRAUSS, Droit naturel et histoire, Flammarion, Paris, 1993.

[19] Leo STRAUSS, Qu’est-ce que la philosophie politique?, PUF, Paris, 1992, p. 52.

[20] Myriam REVAULT D’ALLONES, Ce que l'homme…cit., p. 135.

[21] Ibidem, p. 136.

[22] MACHIAVEL, Le Prince, Vol. VIII, p. 44.

[23] Ibidem, Vol. XV, p. 70.

[24] Eugenio GARIN, La Renaissance - histoire d’une révolution culturelle, Marabout, Paris, 1970, p. 132.

[25] Ibidem, p. 133.

[26] Yves MICHAUD, La violence, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 1998; Hélène FRAPPAT, La violence, Flammarion, Paris, 2000.

[27] René GIRARD, La violence et le sacré, Bernard Grasset, Paris, 1972.

[28] Ibidem, pp. 19-20.

[29] Ibidem, p. 77.

[30] Niccolo MACHIAVELLI, The Discourses of Niccolo Machiavelli, I, 2, p. 192.

[31] MACHIAVEL, Le Prince, Vol. VIII, p. 43. Machiavelli speaks of a politico-moral paradoxof the well-used violence”, stressing that it should be done “all of a sudden, pursuant to the necessity of security, and upon which it should not be insisted afterwards”.

[32] Hélène FRAPPAT, La violence...cit., p. 29.

[33] MACHIAVEL, Le Prince, VIII, p. 44.

[34] Ibidem.

[35] Ibidem, p. 44. Machiavelli advises the Prince not to encourage popular revolts through unnecessarily prolonged violence!

[36] Hélène FRAPPAT, La violence...cit., p. 35.

[37]It is precisely what Leo Strauss reproaches him, that is to say, to have introduced evil as an operative concept in politics. Voir Pensée sur Machiavel, Payot, Paris, 1982.

[38] MACHIAVEL, Le Prince, XVIII, p. 79.

[39] Niccolo MACHIAVELLI, The Discourses of Niccolo Machiavelli, I, 9, p. 208.

[40] MACHIAVEL, Le Prince, VIII, p. 40. Machiavelli takes the example of Agathocles who ensured the success of the new state by killing all potential opponents, be they imaginary or not.

[41] Ibidem, p. 11; Ibidem, V p. 25. At least for the new principalities the Prince must take good care (worry) to remove the former executives, for otherwise there will be no (one) new beginning. Or in all founding myths there is first of all an end (physical and symbolic destruction of the former), and then a new foundation.

[42] Wolfgang SOFSKY, Traité de la violence, Gallimard, Paris, 1998.

[43] Idem, pp. 11-25.

[44] Max WEBER, Le savant et le politique, Plon, Paris, 1959.

[45] Eugenio GARIN, La Renaissance…cit., p. 132.

[46] MACHIAVEL, Le Prince, VIII, p. 40.

[47] Wolfgang SOFSKY, Traité de la violencecit., p. 96.

[48] MACHIAVEL, Le Prince, VIII, p. 44.

[49] Ibidem, p. 44.

[50] Ibidem, XVIII, pp. 79-82.

[51] Jacques SOLÉ, Les mythes chrétiens de la Renaissance aux Lumières, Albin Michel, Paris, 1979, p. 24.

[52] MACHIAVEL, Le Prince, XVII, p. 76.

[53] Jacques SOLÉ, Les mythes chrétienscit., p. 24.

[54] MACHIAVEL, Le Prince, VIII, pp. 42-44.

[55] Ibidem, XVII, p. 75.

[56] Ibidem, XVIII, p. 79.

[57] Ibidem, XV-XXII.

[58] Jacques SOLÉ, Les mythes chrétienscit., p. 30.

[59] Eugenio GARIN, La Renaissance…cit., p. 131.

[60] MACHIAVEL, Le Prince, XVIII, p. 79.

[61] Claude-Gilbert DUBOIS, L’Imaginaire de la Renaissance, PUF, Paris, 1985, p. 176.

[62] Niccolo MACHIAVELLI, The Discourses of Niccolo Machiavelli, II, 5, p. 207.

[63] Ibidem, I, 17, p. 229.

[64] Ibidem, I, 2, p. 194.

[65] Ibidem, I, 4‚ p. 197.

[66] Niccolo MACHIAVELLI, The Discourses of Niccolo Machiavelli, I, 7, p. 233.