Machiavellian otium

Discover the different practices and forms of Machiavellian otium across a selection of letters taken from Niccolò Machiavelli’s correspondence between 1512 and 1527.

The Project

Practices of Retreat in Machiavelli’s Letters

Welcome to the world of machiavellianotium! This website documents the research of a project dedicated to discovering a somewhat different side of Machiavelli: not the public servant engaged in Florentine politics and diplomacy, writing about the forces and schemes of power, but rather, a man who lives, writes, and struggles in a period of forced otium: the famous ‘ozi letterari’ which Niccolò nevertheless uses strategically, as a practice of retreat. We invite you to trace the forms and facets of Machiavellian otium in the former secretary’s correspondence from 1513 to 1527 at the crossroads of literature, philology, history, political thought, and digital humanities.

 

The Database

Categorize and Quantify otium and Leisure in Machiavelli’s Correspondence

At the heart of our project is a database which processes and edits the results of our research for various scientific contexts and goals. It has evolved from our philological, historical, and conceptual analysis of the epistolary corpus and its contexts. The interactive platform allows users to discover different forms, practices, and categories of otium and leisure in Machiavelli’s correspondence as well as to quantify them. As such, it documents our own insights, in addition to offering innovative perspectives and useful tools for future scholarship on Machiavelli as well as on early modern literature and culture.

 

*Please note that not all letters are available yet, as we are uploading them incrementally for a comprehensive research experience. You can conduct your research in various ways, either through free text searches or by using specific categories.

Explore the twists and turns of Machiavelli's letters through dynamic network visualizations created with Flourish.

Discover the different practices and forms of Machiavellian otium across a selection of letters taken from Niccolò Machiavelli’s correspondence between 1512 and 1527.

Studying otium with Machiavelli

The Scientific and Conceptual Framework of the Project

When investigating otium, leisure, and related practices, we enter into an area of research which asks for an interdisciplinary approach. The project “Machiavellian otium: Strategies of Retreat in Machiavelli’s letters from 1512-1527″ evolved from the context of the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 1015 Otium, which was based at the University of Freiburg (Germany) between 2013 until 2020. The results and insights of this interdisciplinary cooperation were of key importance for developing our conceptual framework and terminology as well as being useful for devising the analytical tools and conducting evaluations of the results of our philological, historical, and political analysis of Machiavellian practices of otium and leisure.

Read more about the concepts and the interdisciplinary context of our research project...

The Team


This project was conducted by an interdisciplinary team of researchers working in philology and literary criticism as well as in history and political thought.

We are happy and grateful for feedback. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions, comments, or corrections. Thank you!

Froemmer_Judith-image-Square

Judith Frömmer

Principal Investigator

Andrea-Guidi-Foto-Bologna-Bearb-Square

Andrea Guidi

Senior Researcher

Stefano_Saracino-bearb-144px-Square

Stefano Saracino

Postdoctoral Researcher

Feichtinger_Christian-New-Square

Christian Feichtinger

Doctoral Researcher

We are happy and grateful for feedback. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions, comments, or corrections. Thank you!

Our research was supported and generously funded by:

Judith Frömmer

Principal Investigator

Judith Frömmer is a specialist of Romance and Comparative Literatures. She has a long track record of interdisciplinary research and has developed a special interest in the relationship and interactions between literary and political forms. As director of the project, she has been working especially on the conceptual framework and output of the project as well as on the literary analysis of the correspondence. Her publications which have evolved from the project include:

Relevant Publications:

“Rückzug”, in: Muße und Mußeforschung. Ein Kompendium, ed. by Gregor Dobler/Tilman Kasten, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2023, 195—203 (in print).

“Machiavellis Kriegskunst: Die Lehren des Libro dell’arte della guerra”, erscheint in: Romanistisches Jahrbuch (2023).

“Out of office? Machiavellische und machiavellistische Muße im Briefwechsel mit Francesco Vettori”, in: Comparatio 14:1 (2022), 27–51 (Themenheft Machiavelli).

“Die Lenkung der Dinge bei Machiavelli: Magische (Ver-)Bindungen im Principe, den Discorsi und der Mandragola”,in: Zeitsprünge 25:1–2 (2021): Lenkung der Dinge (Special Issue), ed. by Kirsten Dickhaut/Stefan Bayer/Irene Herzog, 169–199.

Between vita activa and vita contemplativa. Epistolary Forms of otium in Early Modern Italy, ed. by Judith Frömmer and Andrea Guidi, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2023.

(with Andrea Guidi) "Between vita activa and vita contemplativa: On Letter Writing and Epistolary Culture in Early Modern Italy", in: ibid., 3-15.

(with Andrea Guidi) “Machiavellian Missions. The Carpi-Correspondance with Francesco Guicciardini", in: ibid., 81–99.

Andrea Guidi

Senior Researcher

Andrea Guidi is a historian and internationally recognized Machiavelli specialist with a long track record of research in military history, the history of ideas, and early modern cultural history. A long term-time member of the editorial team of the Edizione Nazionale delle Opere di Niccolò Machiavelli and co-author of the extensive comments on the three volumes of Machiavelli’s correspondence therein, he was responsible for the selection and philological analysis of otium– and leisure-related letters. This involved the reconstruction of their historical contexts as well as the philological problems involved. Together with Marcello Simonetta he was able to provide evidence for Machiavelli’s collaboration in the context of the design of a Papal fleet against the pirates. The results of his research have been published among others in:

Relevant Publications:

Between vita activa and vita contemplativa. Epistolary Forms of otium in Early Modern Italy, ed. by Judith Frömmer and Andrea Guidi, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2023.

(with Judith Frömmer) "Between vita activa and vita contemplativa: On Letter Writing and Epistolary Culture in Early Modern Italy", in: ibid., 3-15.

(with Judith Frömmer) “Machiavellian Missions. The Carpi-Correspondance with Francesco Guicciardini“, in: ibid., 81–99.

Niccolò Machiavelli, Lettere ("Edizione Nazionale delle Opere"), dir. and coord. by Francesco Bausi, ed. by Francesco Bausi, Alessio Decaria, Diletta Gamberini, Andrea Guidi, Alessandro Montevecchi, Marcello Simonetta, Carlo Varotti, with the collaboration of Luca Boschetto and Stella Larosa, 3 vols., Roma: Salerno Editrice 2022

Books, People and Military Thought. Machiavelli’s Art of War and the Fortune of the Militia in Sixteenth-Century Europe, Leiden: Brill 2020.

Dalle antiche alle nuove ‘corti’. Machiavelli dai ‘castellucci’ di San Casciano all’epoca della comunicazione globale. Proceedings of the Conference, Sant’Andrea in Percussina, Casa Machiavelli, San Casciano (Florence), Italy, organized and edited by Andrea Guidi, Manziana (Roma): Vecchiarelli, 2019.

(with Marcello Simonetta) “Machiavelli, Paolo Vettori e la caccia ai pirati nel Mediterraneo: ancora sui ‘negozi’ di Niccolò nell’‘ozio’ di Sant’Andrea”, in: Dalle antiche alle nuove ‘corti’. Machiavelli dai ‘castellucci’ di San Casciano all’epoca della comunicazione globale, ed. by Andrea Guidi, Manziana (Roma): Vecchiarelli 2019, 19-33.

“Ozio forzato e strategie di comunicazione nelle Lettere di Machiavelli: una riconsiderazione”, in: Scrivere «a ventura» o «col compasso». Le lettere degli scrittori del primo Cinquecento, Proceedings of the Conference Pisa, ed. by Veronica Andreani/Veronica Copello, SNS 24 Oct. - Firenze, INSR 25 Oct. 2019, Pisa: Edizioni della Normale 2024, 27-38.

Stefano Saracino

Postdoctoral Researcher

Stefano Saracino has a strong interdisciplinary background in intellectual history as well as in political sciences. He had entered the project with a special interest in the political dimensions of friendship and focused on the respective parts of the correspondence. He has also worked on the epistolary and historical context of Machiavelli’s comedies and especially on the role of Machiavelli’s lover and artistic soulmate Barbara Salutati. His publications from the project include:

Relevant Publications:

“Barbara Salutati Raffacani (‘“la Barbera’”): ‘“Amica’” di Niccolò Machiavelli?”, in: Culture, guerra, strategie e contesti da Machiavelli al Novecento, ed. by Andrea Guidi, Manziana (Roma): Vecchiarelli 2021, 229–258.

“Private or Political Friendships? Machiavelli’s Sociability after 1512 and his Strategies of Retreat and Rehabilitation”, in: Vera Amicitia. Classical Notions of Friendship in Renaissance Thought and Culture, ed. by Patrizia Piredda/Matthias Roick, Frankfurt 2023, 151-180.

Christian Feichtinger

Doctoral Researcher

Christian Feichtinger is currently a member of the Research Training Group Empires: Dynamic Transformation, Temporality and Postimperial Orders and preparing a doctorate on the forms and functions of the translatio imperii in Niccolò Machiavelli’s writings. Together with Judith Frömmer he took care of the visualization of research results as well as the structure and technical realization of the website.