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    The virtue politics of Cristoforo Landino’s Disputationes Camaldulenses

    Thomson, Benjamin (2021) The virtue politics of Cristoforo Landino’s Disputationes Camaldulenses. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Abstract

    The purpose of this thesis is to present a study of the aims, contexts, philosophical basis, and intended praxis of the system of virtue politics in Cristoforo Landino’s Disputationes Camaldulenses, a philosophical dialogue completed in 1474 whose stated aim is to investigate what a republican politician can learn from Plato. Landino presents a programme for the ascent of the soul which involves both the moral virtues, which involve political activity and the purgation of the soul, and the intellectual virtues, which are concerned with the cognition of God and from which one can gain the wisdom to guide and direct the state. Since the best way of life involves the use of each kind of virtue as far as is necessary, Landino grants the statesman the capacity to move between government and detachment from direct civic intervention as desired. I show how Landino’s purpose is, therefore, to justify the exercise of political power in a republic by an individual who does not occupy a governmental role, and in doing so legitimise the position of Lorenzo de’ Medici. My thesis consists of three parts. In the first I outline the political-historical and intellectual contexts for the composition of the Disputationes, situating the work within contemporary humanistic debates about political virtue and the Florentine political currents of the late Quattrocento. The second part of the thesis analyses Landino’s system of virtue politics, its philosophical and psychological underpinning, and how it reconciles Ciceronian republicanism with Platonic perfectionism. In the third part of the thesis I show how the allegory of the Aeneid in the third and fourth books of the Disputationes describes a course of practical ethics which the statesman must undertake if he is to purify himself of vice, attain knowledge of the divine, and impart this wisdom to the state while remaining outside of government.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2021 13:14
    Last Modified: 06 Sep 2021 13:14
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/45850

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