Books, People, and Military Thought

Machiavelli’s Art of War and the Fortune of the Militia in Sixteenth-Century Florence and Europe


Author: Andrea Guidi
How did the evolution of new gunpowder weapons change the nature, structure and composition of the Florentine militias during the first decades of the sixteenth century? Via an examination of little-known and unpublished sources, this book provides a comparative exploration of two Florentine republican experiments with a peasant militia: one promoted and created by Niccolò Machiavelli (1506-12) and a later one (1527-30). Using this comparison as the basis for a new reading of Machiavelli’s Art of War (which drew on the author's experience with the militia), the book then investigates the relationship between the circulation and reception of Machiavelli’s influential work, changing conceptions of militia, and the formation of new cultures of warfare in Europe in the sixteenth century.

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Andrea Guidi, Ph.D. (Florence, 2008), is Assegnista at the Università dell’Insubria and Associate Member of the SFB 1015 Muße, Freiburg. Co-editor of both Machiavelli’s diplomatic and private correspondence, his archive-based monograph and articles on Machiavelli and the history of archives use long-overlooked documents.
Machiavelli scholars, students, readers and researchers interested in the Italian Renaissance or in early-modern cultural and military history. Scholars working on the circulation of books and ideas in sixteenth-century Europe or on the intersection of military and intellectual history. Keywords: early modern armies, infantry battle, ordinanza, ordnance, ordonnance, guns, tactics, Ravenna (battle of Ravenna), Burgkmair, Weiss Kunig, woodcut, Du Bellay, Renaissance, Rinascimento, storia militare, Florentine, Firenze, Florence.