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History And Exemplarity In The Work Of Lipsius

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Chapter Summary

This chapter attempts a closer examination of Lipsius's conceptions of historiae and exempla. It begins by employing John Pocock's and Quentin Skinner's concepts of 'languages' or 'vocabularies' of political discourse for preliminary clarification. The most un-contentious, albeit anachronistic, identification of Lipsius is as a humanist or an adherent of humanism, but it remains un-contentious only so long as it is not elaborated. It is in the context of Lipsiuss twin and linked concerns with prudence and politica that the concepts of Tacitism and Spthumanismus have been suggested. Since Lipsius had no doubt about the justifiability of civilis doctrina in terms of utilitas, there seemed to be no difficulty either about the value of historia, or more precisely historiae, since, as Reinhart Koselleck has pointed out, history remains conceptually plural until the eighteenth century.

Keywords: exempla; historiae; humanism; Lipsius; prudence; Spthumanismus; Tacitism; utilitas



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