Aristotle’s Politics and Ptolemy of Lucca JAMES M. BLYTHE I am that one, who after investigating the causes of things and the arts, Taught those things through which every republic may ascend to the stars. As your civil exemplar, famous city of Siena, I show you these men, for while you follow in their Sacred footsteps your glory will grow at home and abroad, And freedom will always preserve your men in their honors. I am great Aristotle, who in hexameters, For six is a perfect number, leads you to action. I show you these men of virtue, through whom and with supernal help The Roman Republic grew powerful and approached the heavens. —inscriptions on Taddeo di Bartoli’s painting of Aristotle in the Sienese Palazzo Publico (1414) 1 In the late Middle Ages Aristotle was seen as the embodiment of politi- cal thought, the teacher of how best to create, maintain, and administer a political community. Modern scholars have traditionally regarded Aristotle’s ascendency after the translation of the Politics around 1260 (a year that Joachites anticipated would transform the world) as initiating a revolu- tion in political thought and practice. Recently, this has been challenged. While accepting the
Vivarium – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2002
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