The Early-Modern Reception of Machiavelli in Spain: A Critical Edition of Juan Lorenzo Ottevanti's Discursos de Machiaueli (1552)

Howard, Keith David, Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia
Gerli, Michael, Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia
Weber, Alison, Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia
Parker, Deborah, Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia

The reception of Machiavelli in Spain is a relatively unexplored object of investigation. The general trend among critics is to use the term Machiavellian uncritically, without examining whether or not their implicit definitions of the term are valid for their discussion. Instead, they use the word as if it conveyed some universal point of view with respect to politics, regardless of any particular cultural context and moment in history in which their definition might have been produced. As a point of departure to correct this tendency, this critical edition of Juan Lorenzo Ottevanti's sixteenth-century Spanish translation of Niccolò Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy recreates the translator's intention, based on the first edition (1552). This text is unique in the history of medieval and Renaissance Spanish translation. Unlike Juan Boscán's loose translation of Castiglione's Courtier, Ottevanti's translation is extremely literal. This gives us the opportunity to see that not only were Machiavelli's ideas available for the Spanish reading public, but his vocabulary as well. More specifically, this translation provided Spaniards access to Machiavelli's vocabulary of contingency, especially the conceptual relationship he establishes between the words fortune, prudence and the common good. iii In order to demonstrate this, the apparatus includes a list of comparisons between Ottevanti's translation and the original Italian. In addition, the Introduction reexamines Machiavelli's impact on early-modern Spanish political thought by tracing the development of humanist rhetorical and historiographical methods and concepts in Italy and Spain both before and after Ottevanti produced his translation. In this way, it is possible to pinpoint the specific impact that Machiavelli made on the Spanish monarchy's developing imperial ideology both before and after the Florentine's works were first prohibited in Spain in 1583. Specifically, before 1583 Spaniards such as Fadrique Furió Ceriol incorporated Machiavelli's vocabulary of contingency into their own political treatises. After 1583, and after Machiavelli's name had become a polemical catchword during the French Wars of Religion, Spaniards such as Pedro de Ribadeneyra continued to profit from Machiavelli's ideas and vocabulary while they simultaneously misrepresented Machiavelli as a diabolical man who encouraged rulers to be socially egotistical.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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