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The Scholar And The State

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Chapter Summary

Claude de Seyssel put forth his vision of the French state in the first book of the La Monarchie de France. Seyssel’s experience in Milan confirmed his extensive scholarship, and he grafted his conclusions on the nature of government onto the French monarchy. The chapter provides a discussion of Seyssel’s vision of the political order. Seyssel introduced his theory of the ‘mystical body politic’ in his discussion of Venice as an example of the aristocratic form of government. He advocated preference for members of the nobility. He eliminated the presence of any democratic element in the French government and divided the third estate into the peuple gras and the peuple menu. The conquest of Milan, the central concern of Seyssel throughout his political career, proves not only central in the story of Renaissance Europe, but also in the narrative of European expansion in the early modern era.

Keywords: Claude de Seyssel; French state; Milan; Monarchie de France; peuple menu



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