You are cordially invited to a seminar entitled “Machiavelli’s Florentine Histories — An Essay on the Birth of “Constıtutional” Law ” organised by the Department of History.
Date: 08.04.2021, Thursday
Time: 16.30 (Ankara Time Zone)
Title: Machiavelli’s Florentine Histories — An Essay on the Birth of “Constıtutional” Law
Speaker: Prof. Levent Yılmaz, University of Paris Nanterre
Please contact to the department for the Zoom Meeting information details.
In the decade that preceded 1293 and especially after the victory of Campaldino against the Ghibellines and the people of Arezzo on June 11, 1289, the city of Florence was plunged into complete chaos. The Guelph nobility, unbearable and responsible for a distressing situation (“assai mala condizione”, says Machiavelli, Florentine Histories, II, XI), committed unscrupulous massacres and unforgivable crimes without any fear of being punished. Thus begins Machiavelli’s Florentine Histories (Istorie Fiorentine, II, XI-XIV) on these events of the end of the 13th century in Florence, which led to the “Ordinamenti di Guistizia” of 1293. This text may probably be considered an early version of constitutional law. Machiavelli, in this work, largely follows Bruni’s History of Florence (IV, 15 et seq.; as well as the chronicles of Dino Compagni and Giovanni Villani), but with, as we shall see, a great difference in the elaboration. Giano della Bella being the protagonist.
Indeed, this history written by Machiavelli at the end of his life (commissioned by Giulio dei Medici, in 1520, presented in May 1526 to the same who in between had been elected as the Pope Clement VII, and first published in 1532) is a history of Florence from its origin to the death of Lorenzo di Piero de’ Medici in 1492, and takes up a theme that was dear to him: the universal nature of cities. He had already dealt with this point elsewhere, in another form and for other purposes (The Prince, IX and Discourses, I, 5).
Levent Yilmaz is a professor of intellectual and cultural history of the early modern and modern Europe. He received his Ph.D. from EHESS on the Quarrel of the Ancients and Moderns (2002, under the supervision of François Hartog), worked at the Istanbul Bilgi University between 2003-2015 (Chair of the History dept. between 2011-2014), and later joined the History Department at Koç University. He was the director of the Akmed – Suna & Inan Kiraç Center for Mediterranean Studies until 2017 when he went to EHESS.
He directed and edited the Turkish translation of Yves Bonnefoy’s Dictionnary of Mythologies. His publications include : Le Temps moderne (Gallimard, 2005), Giambattista Vico and the Basic Concepts of The New Science (ed., 2007) and The Vico Road (ed., 2016, with Manuela Sanna). He is also the author of seven books of poetry in Turkish: his poetry had been translated into English (Saturn, Sheep Meadow Press, 2006), German, French and Italian, and has appeared on the Grand Street, Raritan, Neue Rundschau etc.
He was a Senior Braudel Fellow at the European University Institute, Directeur d’études invité at the EHESS, Mellon Fellow at the Villa I Tatti (Harvard University), Fellow of the Paris Institute of Advanced Study, Senior Fellow of Iméra, and since 2017 he has lectured at the Collège de France, NYU in New York and at the University of Paris Nanterre (ongoing).