Naples in the History of Europe: Rosario Villari and «Un sogno di libertà»

ANNO 54 2013
N. 2, APRILE-GIUGNO
John A. Marino
OPINIONI E DIBATTITI. Dalla rivolta antispagnola a un sogno di libertà

From the anti-Spanish revolt of Naples to a dream of liberty
The three review essays in this section were presented at a discussion of Rosario Villari’s book, Un sogno di libertà. Napoli nel declino di un impero 1585-1648 (Milano, Mondadori, 2012) on 19 February 2013 as part of the Doctoral Course in History at the University of Naples Federico II. John Marino discusses Villari’s work together with the one of John Elliott, as he considers them both among the most important contributors to the history of seventeenth-century Spain for their collection of original sources in investigating the political life, ideas, and actions of the time. Machiavelli and his ideas on how to govern a republic provide the guiding principles for Marino’s reflections. Giovanni Muto retraces the main points in the political developments associated with the explosive events of July 1647 in order to draw a detailed comparison between Villari’s original 1967 book on the origins of the anti-Spanish revolt and this new publication, which completes the story of the revolt to its conclusion. Muto examines some significant changes, which as a result of new documentation and additional research, have revised some of Villari’s original interpretations that were tied to the historiography of the 1960s. Anna Maria Rao examines Villari’s research on the revolt of 1647 and its maturation from 1967 to the present time in relation to the more general historiographical debates on the theme of revolts in the Old Regime by placing in relief the originality of Villari’s position and his ability to anticipate approaches and themes employed by successive scholars. The overall picture drawn from the different perspectives adopted by the three reviews reveals the many riches of a book that is very important not only for the history of Naples and Italy, but for that of Europe in the seventeenth century.


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