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Politics, Religion and Foundation in Machiavelli. A Reading from the Origins of Rome

Agustin Volco


This article intends to analyse the Machiavellian treatment of the Romans' religion. This is, we will argue, a fundamental issue to understand the way the relation between religion, foundation and politics is thought in Machiavelli’s work. In the first part, we will analyse the chapters of the Discourses on Livy dedicated to the roman’s religion, and contrast the statement of this section with statements on the religious phenomenon from other parts of Machiavelli’s work, paying special attention to the understanding of the relation between the phenomenon of belief and popular obedience Machiavelli expresses. In the second part, we will face the question of the way in which it is possible to interpret Machiavellian writing, with special emphasis in the problem of how to make sense of the recurrent contradictions the text presents. In the third section, and as a conclusion, we present some reflections on Machiavelli’s understanding of the relation between politics and religion, and the possibilities of a secular thought in the modern context.


people, modernity, writing, secularism


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