I Turchi di Omero? Lucca e Costantinopoli in Hobbes.


Raffaella Santi (Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo)


In Chapter XXI of Leviathan Hobbes asserts that at his day the word Libertas is found, written in great characters, on the turrets of the Italian city of Lucca (in the Latin version of Leviathan he refers to the city gates and walls). However, this does not mean that the liberty of a citizen of Lucca, with respect to the laws, is different (greater) than the liberty of a citizen of Costantinople. Why does Hobbes use this example? He does so in order to persuade the reader to accept the idea that «Whether a common-wealth be monarchicall, or popular, the freedom is still the same». The thesis of this article is that the cases of Lucca and Costantinople are carefully chosen by Hobbes, who is preoccupied of demonstrating the political equivalence of the different regimes. He chooses to compare the two cities because they are as opposite as possible with regard to all the relevant aspects: Costantinople is the capital city of the vast Turkish empire, that is always expanding itself at the expenses of other nations, while Lucca is a small, fragile city, surrounded by the dominions of the Granduca of Tuscany. The article also explores some possible sources of Hobbes, such as the books by Giovio, Knolles and Sandys and, above all, the English translations of the works by Botero A Treatise, Concerning the causes of the Magnificencie and Greatnes of Cities (1606) and Relations, of the most famous Kingdomes and Common-wealths throughout the World (1630).

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