Filippo Del Lucchese : Machiavelli and the Spartan Equality

On The January 28, 2021

18:00 - 20:00
Ecole Normale Supérieure de Pise

As part of the 'Seminario permanente di filosofia e politica' given at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Pisa: Machiavelli and the Spartan Equality.


This paper explores the meaning and function of Lycurgus in Machiavelli’s thought. My thesis unfolds in three points, at the economic, institutional, and political level. From an economic point of view, although the exemplarity of the mythical Spartan legislator is set aside by Machiavelli, the contents of his reforms take on full centrality in his works on two issues of primary importance: the reflection on wealth and the distribution of land. From the institutional point of view, the figure of Lycurgus shows how Machiavelli, far from favouring mixed government as the best form of government, instead promotes a strongly anti-aristocratic model. On the political level, Lycurgus is found at the origin of another central figure in Machiavelli’s analysis, namely the virtuous ruler, traitor of the aristocracy, in the chapter on civil principality.

Filippo Del Lucchese is Senior Lecturer in History of Political Thought at Brunel University, London, and Senior Research Associate, University of Johannesburg; he is a 2020-2021 fellow at the Collegium de Lyon.