(Eric Haywood’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 10/23.)

In 1513, shortly after completing The Prince, Machiavelli (1469-1527) wrote a letter to a friend describing his life on the farm to which he had been banished following the return to Florence of the Medici, against whom he was suspected of having plotted. It was a boring life, and Machiavelli would much rather still have been involved in the hustle and bustle of politics. But, “come evening,” he wrote, “I enter into the ancient courts of ancient men where, received lovingly, I seek nourishment from that food which is mine alone […]and for the next four hours I do not have any worries.”

What Machiavelli is referring to is what Petrarch (1304-74), the poet and so-called Founding Father of the Renaissance, dubbed “talking with books”. The Renaissance is the period when Europeans were taught to put their faith in books. Books, they were told, had the answers to Life and so were worth studying. Yet it was not just any books they should study. Above all it was the books of the ancients: the Greeks and especially the Romans. 

http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/ireland-no-country-for-renaissance-men-1.1969986

(Eric Hayward’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 10/23.)

In 1513, shortly after completing The Prince, Machiavelli (1469-1527) wrote a letter to a friend describing his life on the farm to which he had been banished following the return to Florence of the Medici, against whom he was suspected of having plotted. It was a boring life, and Machiavelli would much rather still have been involved in the hustle and bustle of politics. But, “come evening,” he wrote, “I enter into the ancient courts of ancient men where, received lovingly, I seek nourishment from that food which is mine alone […]and for the next four hours I do not have any worries.”

What Machiavelli is referring to is what Petrarch (1304-74), the poet and so-called Founding Father of the Renaissance, dubbed “talking with books”. The Renaissance is the period when Europeans were taught to put their faith in books. Books, they were told, had the answers to Life and so were worth studying. Yet it was not just any books they should study. Above all it was the books of the ancients: the Greeks and especially the Romans. 

http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/ireland-no-country-for-renaissance-men-1.1969986

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