LET THEM HATE, SO LONG AS THEY FEAR: THE EMERGENCE OF THE CONCEPT OF CRUELTY AND ITS TRANSFORMATION IN EUROPE (1250-1600)
NEFRET ETSİNLER, YETER Kİ KORKSUNLAR: AVRUPA’DA ZULÜM DÜŞÜNCESİNİN DOĞUŞU VE DÖNÜŞÜMÜ (1250-1600)

Author : Mehmet Talha KALKAN
Number of pages : 247-269

Abstract

One of the most important topics disscussed during the Early Modern Period in which the modern state structure started to emerge is “what the concept of cruelty is”, “how its nature appears” and “whether it is adopted by an ideal statesman”. Since the concept of cruelty, which was believed to have a divine, abstract and spiritual characteristic almost througout the entire Medieval Age, was considered in terms of the divine plan of God, it was not studied too much. However this consideration changed dramatically by Tommaso d’Aquino and then it was partially tried to be understood. It was seen as a concept which should be avoided as it did not cause anything but blood, violence and brutality. Later on, the cruelty caused many disputes in terms of its meaning and context. Even though it was seen as a awful concept by many thinkers, those who witnessed the Italian wars experienced to what extent the oppression has beneficial and functional characteristics for the sake of the rulers and states. Therefore, while the thinkers like Niccolo Machiavelli, Francesco Guicciardini and Paolo Rosello attributed importance to this concept, for many philosophers who had a traditional point of view, oppression and cruelty was nothing more than a despicable clothing that does not suit an ideal ruler. In this study herein, the discussion mentioned above will be made and the transformation process which the concept of oppression has been through will be addressed.

Keywords

Cruelty, Violence, Virtue, Reason of State, Absolutism

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