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Forms of Government in the Renaissance: Uniqueness of the Dubrovnik Model

Damir Grubiša ; Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 118 Kb

str. 161-178

preuzimanja: 646



The author looks into the forms of political government in the Renaissance,
and the typology thereof as provided by Niccolo Machiavelli in The Prince
and in Discourses on Livy. The article aims to examine whether there is a differentia
specifica distinguishing the Dubrovnik form of political order from
similar forms of political government in Renaissance times. Republican forms
of political government are analysed here, and the author stresses the existence
of forms situated along the transition line from republic to principate,
i.e. monarchy, and vice versa. An expos of presuppositions of Machiavelli’s
initial analysis of comparative political orders is followed by a comparative
analysis of the Florentine republican model of government, the Venetian form
of political government, and, finally, the Dubrovnik model of political order.
Although each model had distinctive features, they were similar inasmuch as
each preserved the common idea of civil republicanism (repubblicanesimo
civile), and then shaped its political order in accordance with the interests
of the main social and political forces in the country, i.e. in its territory. For
instance, the Florentine republicanism developed into a so-called “democratic
republicanism” (here the term democracy means exclusively that which
Machiavelli refers to as governo dei molti – the government of many). Although
such forms of wider participation of citizens in decision-making satisfied
most citizens of Florence, the system was unstable, because it was subject
to internal conflicts between factions and parties, and to external pressures.
The Venetian system of aristocratic republicanism was much more stable, but
its social base was narrower and, ultimately, prior to its downfall, it transformed
into a self-contained police system. The Dubrovnik model of political
order was also a form of aristocratic republicanism, but its uniqueness lies in
the fact that, unlike Venice or Genoa, it limited the authority and prerogatives
of the head of state, in this case the rector, who guaranteed the stability and
non-corruption of the system. The inclusion of commoners through confraternities
in the city’s public affairs made it possible to expand the social basis
of such an order. These two characteristics also make the Dubrovnik political
model unique.

Ključne riječi

Machiavelli; civil republicanism; Florentine “democratic” republicanism; Venetian aristocratic republicanism; Dubrovnik Republic; rector

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