Against Throne and Altar: Machiavelli and Political Theory Under the English Republic
Modern republicanism - distinguished from its classical counterpart by its commercial character and jealous distrust of those in power, by its use of representative institutions, and by its employment of a separation of powers and a system of checks and balances - owes an immense debt to the republican experiment conducted in England between 1649, when Charles I was executed, and 1660, when Charles II was crowned. Though abortive, this experiment left a legacy in the political science articulated both by its champions, John Milton, Marchamont Nedham, and James Harrington, and by its sometime opponent and ultimate supporter Thomas Hobbes. This volume examines these four thinkers, situates them with regard to the novel species of republicanism first championed more than a century before by Niccolo Machiavelli, and examines the debt that he and they owed the Epicurean tradition in philosophy and the political science crafted by the Arab philosophers Alfarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes.
• Argues that Machiavelli was profoundly indebted to Epicurean Lucretius for foundations of his argument and contends that for his political science he was no less deeply indebted to Alfarabi, Avicenna, Averroes, and Maimonides • Suggests that John Milton was a classical republican and that Machiavelli was not, and it is the first book to link Milton with Averroism • Comprehensive coverage of the thinking of Marchamont Nedham.