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The Political Ideology of the Renaissance and Early Modern City - From Bruni to Althusius

Thursday, December 16, 2021, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

This event is part of the Urban Governance and Civic Participation in Words and Stone Lecture Series.

The final lecture summarizes some of the major themes of the series. The lecture’s own focus, however, will be the explicit and implicit principles of political thought in the medieval and Renaissance European city. It takes as its paradigm case Bruni’s short overview, In Praise of Florence (c. 1403-4). As an example of Florentine civic humanism, it will help us see the basic principles of the medieval Italian „city-state”. With the conclusions drawn from that material, we shall jump to Max Weber’s own meta-description of the Western city. Although controversial as a theoretical piece, it will comfortably offer us the key elements which contributed to the birth of the Western city as a political community and as an architectural compound. Weber’s work leads to the third part of the lecture: the Northern European city. Special attention will be paid to the consequences of humanism and the Renaissance in that context. We shall look at the relevant chapter of Althusius’ Politica (1603), and will consider the question how the birth of the modern state influenced the self-governance and autonomy of cities.

Please note that registration is required to attend this online lecture. Please register here.

About the speaker

Ferenc HorcherFerenc Hörcher is Research Professor and Head of the Research Institute of Politics and Government at the University of Public Service, and a senior fellow of the Institute of Philosophy, in Budapest. His research in the history of political thought focuses on the specific political arrangement of the political community of the European City, with particular focus on the Renaissance and early modern towns. His publications in this field include the chapter entitled ‘Philosophers and the City in Early Modern Europe’, in The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of the City, (2020), as well as the monograph: The Political Philosophy of the European City, Lexington Books, Lantham, etc. (2021).