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The Birth of Territory$
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Stuart Elden

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226202563

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226041285.001.0001

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Renaissance and Reconnaissance

Renaissance and Reconnaissance

(p.242) Chapter Eight Renaissance and Reconnaissance
The Birth of Territory

Stuart Elden

University of Chicago Press

This chapter looks at the relation between the renaissance and the conquest and mapping of the new world in terms of their impact on the theory and practice of territory. Despite how Machiavelli is often read, and translated, he did not have a concept of territory and did not see political power as pre-eminently related to land but instead we need to make sense of his ambiguous notion of lo stato. The second part of the chapter looks at the Reformation, and in particular the political writings of Erasmus, Thomas More and Martin Luther. The establishment of polities with different confessions to Catholicism produced a political as well as religious fracturing within the Holy Roman Empire. Some of these issues are worked through in the writings of Jean Bodin and Giovanni Botero; the former known for his discussions of sovereignty and the latter for the notion of reason of state. But Bodin’s work is complicated by looking at the French and Latin versions of his writings, and Botero’s writings on the city and the world also need to be interrogated. The chapter concludes with a reading of the role of property in and struggles over land in Shakespeare’s King Lear.

Keywords:   Jean Bodin, Giovanni Botero, King Lear, Erasmus, Thomas More, King Lear, Niccolò Machiavelli, Renaissance, Reformation, Holy Roman Empire

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