On the traumatic origins of Machiavelli’s The Prince

I have been watching Medici: Masters of Florence and The Borgias over the last fortnight, and remembering some of my knowledge of Renaissance history, which I have never formally studied. Both series take some liberties with history, but nonetheless present a fresh account of these remarkable times. Of all the figures of Italian Renaissance history … Continue reading On the traumatic origins of Machiavelli’s The Prince

Poem: The monstrosity of power

Today I am posting a newly written poem, "The Monstrosity of Power".   The monstrosity of power Eyes make an abyss, and we swim in pain. The iron staff, tipped in blood, Discarded on Persian carpets, Extinguishes the last truth of this dynasty. The scrawled notes instructing murder In the margins of decrees, Urging the … Continue reading Poem: The monstrosity of power

Myths of power: merchant, soldier, sage…?

David Priestland has written a provocative book, Merchant, soldier, sage: a new history of power. His main idea is that power is controlled by "castes" or social orders defined by occupation, a prevailing social ethos and characteristic ways of wielding power. These castes or elite groups cycle through positions of dominance or alliance with each … Continue reading Myths of power: merchant, soldier, sage…?