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Justus Lipsius, political humanism and the disciplining of 17th century statecraft

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 October 2008

Abstract

Justus Lipsius (1547–1606) was among the most influential thinkers of the late 16th/early 17th centuries. His guides for action were highly influential in the establishment of moderate absolutism and what has been called the fiscal-military state across Europe. In this article I explore Lipsian thought in an International Relations context. Special attention is paid to his ideals of discipline, which were meant to order both the ruler and those that he ruled. Dignity, self-restraint and discipline were the recipes for the foreign policy of the prince, while the individual was subordinated to the purposes of the state, and taught to control his own life by mastering his emotions. If not a seminal thinker in his own right, it is necessary to understand Lipsius’ thought and influence to be able to fully understand the 17th century theoretical approaches to peace and prosperity and the relative discipline of early-modern statecraft.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © British International Studies Association 2008

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