Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Guicciardini, Francesco

Born: 6 March 1483, Florence
Died: 22 May 1540, Florence
  • Paolo CartaEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_608-1


Strangely, philosophy has not given Francesco Guicciardini the same attention that Niccolò Machiavelli has received, although they both, from different perspectives and diverse backgrounds, focused their work on the very same object: the search for a way to establish in Florence a “well-structured and well-ordered regime that enjoyed genuine liberty” and promote a true political life. Both men thought about this subject from the vantage point of their experiences and their fears. Both belonged to a generation which lived under the constant threat of war, as Machiavelli wrote to Guicciardini (January 3, 1526): “Always, as far back as I can remember, war has either been going on or has been talked about.” Each of them, in his own individual way, was an original scholar and had a great influence on the subsequent philosophical and political tradition. The reason behind Guicciardini’s marginal position in the field of philosophical thought may lie in the posthumous success of his work, due to the late discovery of some of his most influential writings, which included the Dialogo del reggimento di Firenze (Dialogue on the government of Florence) and the final draft of the Ricordi (Maxims), both published only in the second half of the nineteenth century. The popularity he gained in the sixteenth century, and which could have indeed affected the history of ideas, was limited to the Storia d’Italia (History of Italy, 1561) and the partial collection of his Ricordi (1576). Nevertheless, these two works did not fail to have a profound impact on political as well as historical and philosophical thought.

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Primary Literature

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    1. Guicciardini, F. 1965. In Maxims and reflections (Ricordi), ed. M. Domandi. Philadelphia.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TrentoTrentoItaly

Section editors and affiliations

  • David A. Lines
    • 1
  1. 1.Italian Studies, School of Modern Languages and CulturesUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK