Machiavelli and Empire by Mikael Hoernqvist (Uppsala Universitet, Sweden)
Mikael Hoernqvist challenges us to rethink the overall meaning and importance of Machiavelli's political thinking. Machiavelli and Empire combines close textual analysis of The Prince and The Discourses with a broad historical approach, to establish the importance of empire-building and imperial strategy in Machiavelli's thought. The primary context of Machiavelli's work, Hoernqvist argues, is not the mirror-for-princes genre or medieval and Renaissance republicanism in general, but a tradition of Florentine imperialist republicanism dating back to the late thirteenth-century, based on the twin notions of liberty at home and empire abroad. Weaving together themes and topics drawn from contemporary Florentine political debate, Medicean ritual and Renaissance triumphalism, this study explores how Machiavelli in his chancery writings and theoretical works promoted the long standing aspirations of Florence to become a great and expanding empire, modelled on the example of the ancient Roman republic. This is a distinctive and important work.