Repository logo

Giovanni Botero and English Political Thought



Change log


Trace, Jamie 


This dissertation is a study of the reception of the Jesuit-trained Italian author, Giovanni Botero (1544–1617) in early-seventeenth century England. It examines how Botero was translated for an English audience, and reconstructs the debates to which Botero was relevant and helped stimulate in late Elizabethan and Jacobean England. Part I examines the publication history of Botero’s books in England and finds that the translators and printers edited Botero significantly. Its primary focus is thus on who was translating Botero and for what purposes, and who was printing and selling the resulting books. It establishes that the most prominent of Botero’s books in England were the Della grandezza della città (1588), Della ragion di stato (1589), Relazioni Universali (1591–1595). Chapters I–III accordingly consider these works in turn. Chapter IV then briefly turns to consider Botero’s other works, including I prencipi (1600). Part II then turns to look at Botero’s readers. Four further chapters consider Botero’s reception in relation to four broad themes: geography and travel (Chapter I); climate and situation (Chapter II); colonies and commerce (Chapter III); and responses to Machiavelli (Chapter IV). Each of these chapters examine Botero’s contributions to these themes, other contemporary authors whom he was read alongside, and how and why people were reading him to speak to these debates. Ultimately, the backdrop to this story is English colonialism in the Americas and Ireland and a growing interest in understanding the political significance of trade. The dissertation therefore contributes to our understanding of the history of early modern political thought, translation and reception, and English-Italian intellectual exchange in the early modern period. Ultimately, the thesis tells two stories – one about the importance of this Italian author in seventeenth-century England, the other about the intellectual origins of certain key themes in British political thought of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.





Serjeantson, Richard


Giovanni Botero, Early Modern History, Early English Empire, Translation


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge