Tyranny and Legitimacy, In and Out of Florence

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This paper will explore how explicit and implicit conceptions of tyranny contributed to common languages of legitimacy spoken far beyond fifteenth-century Florence’s typical sphere of influence. As previous scholars have noted, Florentines dressed their past and present in regal and/or Ancient Roman garments to legitimate their state, its actions, and refute accusations of tyranny. But beyond writing for the Florentines themselves, humanist texts by writers like Leonardo Bruni, Giannozzo Manetti, and Matteo Palmieri reveal attempts to reach a broad geographical audience, a move that suggests that this Florentine dichotomy between legitimacy and tyranny participated in a pan-European discourse. Whether a Renaissance Europe, a medieval Europe, a premodern Europe, or an early modern Europe, it was, in this sense, a connected Europe.



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