The Garments of Court and Palace - Machiavelli and the World That He Made
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
A “serious and thoughtful” interpretation of Machiavelli’s life and thought—and its relevance today—from the acclaimed author of Terror and Consent (The Times, London). Constitutional scholar Philip Bobbitt turns his expert attention to the life and work of Niccolo Machiavelli, the sixteenth century political philosopher whose classic text The Prince remains one of the most important and controversial works of political theory ever written. In The Garments of Court and Palace, Bobitt argues that the perception of Machiavelli’s Prince as a ruthless, immoral tyrant stems from mistranslations, political agendas, and readers who overlooked the philosopher’s earlier work, Discourses on Livy. He explains that Machiavelli was instead advocating for rulers to distinguish between their personal ethos and state governance. Rather than a “mirror book” advising rulers, The Prince prophesied the end of the feudal era and the birth of the neoclassical state. Using both Renaissance examples and cases drawn from the current era, Bobbitt shows Machiavelli’s work is both profoundly moral and inherently constitutional, a turning point in our understanding of the relation between war, law, and the state.