Religion comprises of a set of beliefs, feelings, and practices that show the relationship between human beings and their higher power. Each religion has their own given set of principles followed by a community of believers. Apart from principles, the believers might go through rites and interdictions while following laws from sacred books distinguishing them from each other. Italy is a culturally diverse country though it is characterized by analogous population with the majority being Christians and speaking Italian. The country’s constitution provides for freedom of religion. However, the country does not have a state religion. Analyzing the various religious activities in the Italian history, it is evident that religion has had an immense impact on the nation’s literature, social institutions, education, charitable activities, and dress code.
While Roman Catholic Church is widely recognized as an influential religious group in modern times, its string affiliation with the early Italian region did not reflect such close ties between the Christian religion and the Italian peninsula (Ormieres 307). Christianity was viewed as similar to Judaism, which the Romans found to be conflicting with their own polytheistic beliefs. Gaius Suetonius, one of the most well-known equestrians of the ancient roman era, claimed that the Christian religion gained recognition during Emperor Nero’s reign and having ‘mischievous’ beliefs (Hemming & Nicola 197). In the year 64 AD, the Great Fire of Rome exacerbated the antagonism that existed between the Romans and other religious groups in near the Empire. The Great Fire led to mass prosecutions of Christians. Christians perceived the Hellenistic practices of the Romans as unholy, particularly their monism that denied the core fundaments of Christian religion, the concept of heaven.
The heavy persecution of Christians led to the rise of apologists who defended the faith. Christians were facing prosecution for more than the Great Fire, with apostles being used as scapegoats for plagues and failures in harvests. Consequently, this led to the emergence of Roman nationals who subscribed to the polytheistic faith, but aimed to defend the Christians. This was achieved by putting the tenets of the Christian faith into philosophical contexts that allowed the Romans to sympathize with Christians. The Christian suffering sparked the philosophical debate on religion which would culminate in the Great Schism. From this initial struggle of the Christian faith to take hold in a largely polytheistic region, it is evident that the principle of enduring suffering found within Christian teachings has affected the Italian culture by transforming the previously barbaric practices of the Romans into the communal and family-oriented nature of religious Italian nationals.
The religion in Italy has also influenced Italian art and literature, making it one the most culturally rich areas during the Renaissance period. Many renown Italian artists such as Michelangelo and Da Vinci, as well as literary experts such as Dante Alighieri have helped to craft the current perception of religious concepts (Hemming & Nicola 197). The Divine Comedy, written by Dante Alighieri, is one of the most famous religious texts second to the Bible and the Koran. ‘Inferno’, one of the sections of the book, details the writer’s descent into hell. In fact, in the Florentine Cathedral there is even a mural of the levels of Hell from Dante’s book, which is quite interesting to see inside a magnificent chapel. Also, works such as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel have been inspired by religious stories such as creation and had such a tremendous effect on art in general that it spawned an entire generation of art in the same style.
Italian renaissance art has been noted to include some of the most famous works of art in world history. Pieces such as the Sistine Chapel paintings by Michelangelo and the Virgin on the Rocks by Leonardo Da Vinci are all inspired by religious stories such as the creation of Adam and Eve and the Virgin Mary (Hemming & Nicola 197). These paintings were done in a highly specific style, which marked the common artistic practices of that era, which in conjunction with the religious overtones, were the main characteristics of renaissance style art. Older European religions such as Grecian mythology, however, also played a role in renaissance art, with the Christian paintings and murals sharing portraits with pagan gods such as Apollo which were used to represent virtues, rather than the actual objects or entities (Ormieres 307). Therefore, Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings were not religious despite bearing heavy Christian overtones. Christianity simply provided the figures who represented his subject. In the same way, the symbol for purity, for example, resembles the calm faces of the Virgin and the angels in Italian renaissance paintings. It was fascinating to see the true prevalence that religion had on these artists during the Renaissance, and how even the most abstract of paintings could somehow relate back to religion.
Literature in the Middle Ages was also heavily influenced by religion, whose influence reverberated over the modern visualizations of religious concepts. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri is one famous example of literature based on the Christian religion (Ormieres 307). It tells the story of a person who goes through the afterlife as described in the Bible in three distinct sections of the book. One of the sections, called ‘Purgatorio’ describes the writer’s experience in purgatory, while the other sections, ‘Inferno and ‘Paradiso’, explain his experiences in hell and heaven respectively (Garnsey & Saller 49). The encounters of Dante as recorded in the Divine Comedy are the basis for a large amount of the mental concepts we hold of the afterlife. The arrangement of hell in circles which get worse as the person’s sins get more severe was introduced by Dante and has become the religious basis through which we perceive damnation. Dante’s Inferno is a book read across the United States in many literature classes, so to understand the history behind the life of the author, and to truly see where Dante got his inspiration was amazing. The influence his stories had on the community are certainly shown throughout not only religious sites, but throughout the city of Florence in general.
Renaissance philosophy in Italy has also been inspired by religion, making the humanistic movement draw some of its principles from Biblical figures (Hemming & Nicola 197). Some common philosophical principles, such as evil, are rooted in Christianity. This problem, brought up by St. Augustine, attempted to answer the question of why God allows evil to exist despite His nature as perpetually good. St. Augustine’s observation of the heavy prosecution of Christians despite their undying faith led him to question where evil might come from (Garnsey & Saller 49). His questions led to his philosophy on free will as the cause of evil, a view which has been shared by many succeeding philosophers. The religious inspirations of St. Augustine’s philosophy are also in use today as the same thought process is still applied in answering the problem of evil.
The Renaissance Era, which bases its roots in Florence, also contributed significantly to the spread of scientific knowledge through the use of Latin. Around the thirteenth century, when Italian minds such as Niccolo Machiavelli were still alive, there was little literature published in Italian vernacular. Dante’s ‘Inferno’, is an example of literature written vernacular, which is why it was called a comedy (Garnsey & Saller 49). Typically, literature was written in Latin, which termed it a tragedy. Latin was more popular as a formal language through its use in translating the Bible in a single language that was legible throughout most parts of Europe (Ormières 307). The need for spiritual reading raised the level of literacy, which paved the way for the spread of scientific knowledge, which was also written in Latin. Religion, therefore, played a part in the rise of literacy and the spread of knowledge.
Major changes were realized in Italy after Spanish succession wars with independent Italian states gaining majorly from this. However, this period was a difficult one in the internal history of the Roman Catholic Church. The Austrian administration ensured peace and prosperity especially in the states of Lombardy and Tuscany especially with reforms being targeted at improving sectors such as taxation, agriculture and education. Areas outside the Papal states underwent repression of monasteries, clerical privileges were done away with while most of the church property underwent secularization (Casanova 124). This showed the adversity of the enlightenment policy and the effect it had on the government. Meanwhile, French philosophers were spreading their ideas in Italy as national form of patriotism began to develop.
By the time the French revolution began, the Enlightenment had already spread from France to Italy through Freemasonry. Meanwhile the church was undergoing a major structural quandary. This was due to the extermination of its economic privileges and most of the church property taken. The workers of Pio Lanteri, St. Thomas and St. Alphonsus fought this new system which was making progress. The second French invasion made a group of patriots support the Italian republic (Casanova 130). Between 1814 and 1815 the Congress of Vienna was held finally returning Italy to its former position. The Pope had his powers back with the church being handed back its prior privileges.
The Vatican council later on went on to define the papal entitlement of dominion and infallibility. The states of the church at this time were lost therefore ending the popes political power. During the 19th century, the church showed its superiority by fighting caustic structural and doctrinal elements and making changes to the suit their situation. During the Italian unification, two major developments occurred in church (Casanova 138). First the religious congregation increased in numbers. Secondly, there was development of modern catholic movements. Between 1815 and 1915 more than three hundred religious groups of women were formed in Italy. Many more existed for men. These people dedicated their time and energy to the church through giving services such as education, giving to charity, social services or missionary ventures.
Majority of non-state schools are owned by the catholic church. According to the Italian constitution, entities and private persons have the right to establish schools and institutions of education at no cost to the state. With over seventy five percent of private schools in the past twenty years, the law has provided a specific guarantee of autonomy and freedom to Roman Catholic Schools. With majority of parents having strong religious backgrounds, the likeliness of them having higher educational expectations for their children is high (Baker & Joseph 1630). The beliefs of the catholic church on education and its strong influence in its spread throughout the world has influenced its application in different cultures.
The cultural values being followed by a religious society is important in creating the conducive environment for academic success for young adults. Religious societies have the tendency of investing in formation of ethics built around different disciplines such as medicine, math and technology (Baker & Joseph 1628). The indirect contribution of religious norms and the direct influence of a student’s religious beliefs have the effect of promoting academic achievement. This concept was extremely interesting to learn about since often times religion and the topic of science do not always go well together. Yet throughout Florence specifically, there were so many scientific discoveries during the Renaissance, it seems almost impossible not pairing the two together in some form.
Most religions are based on principles that aim for a better human life. With doctrines such as selflessness and generosity being taught in religions such as Christianity, most members in these faiths tend to take part in charitable endeavors. It has been established that people aligned towards a given religion tend to give more of their resources and time towards charity as compared to their counterparts who do not belong to any religion affiliation. Even in non- religious endeavors, religious people tend to participate more actively in charitable activities.
Religion as a whole, can also have a positive effect on relationships. The practice of religion has been proven to stabilize and increase the quality of relationships. The doctrines of most religion are based on fundamental human values taught to believers. The believers tend to follow these doctrines to the later hence ensuring formation of healthy relationships. According to past research, it was found that husbands who frequently attended church services had happier wives who appreciated the amount of time and appreciation their husbands provided. Also, participation in religious activities tend to culminate a warm, expressive, and active form of parenting. religious parents have a better chance of enjoying healthy relationships with their children.
Active participation in religious activities has a mirror effect of reducing unwanted behaviors. Most religious beliefs shun both minor and major forms of crimes therefore controlling crime by a large margin almost rivaling government institutions. Participation in activities such as drug abuse are reduced significantly with more contact with religious doctrines.
The Schism of 1054 is the most talked about event of the religion in Italy. It symbolized the last split between the churches of the East and West of Italy led by Michael Cerularius and Pope Leo IX respectively (Cox 55). The two sides had bickered from the 5th mainly driven by political significance and jealousy. In the 11th century, the differences between the two sides were irreconcilable. Both the pope and the patriarch expelled the opposing party. It was a landmark year in Christian history. Talks to lift the excommunications placed did not succeed until 1965 (Cox 55). Through the schism, many religions were able to spring up like Protestants. Settling the schism encouraged Muslims, Jews, and other small religious groups to find shelter in Italy. The diversification of religion was only possible through the schism of 1054. The change in religions was a marker for other various changes that Italy saw in the following years.
Italian fashion has always had a sense of class, maturity, and order. This can be traced back to the Catholic strict dress codes that had to be upheld while in the holy grounds. The Vatican City has stood for years and is respected all over Italy. In places like St. Peters Basilica, an individual should be fully dressed; no shoulders, back, and knees should be exposed. This forces the short skirts, dresses in shoulder cut-outs and men shorts out of the places of worship. It is a tradition that has been upheld by all churchgoers. In some places there are even guards at the door who will force people out of line if they are dressed “inappropriately.” However, these rules do not apply to grounds outside the church. In the streets, individuals wear t-shirts and jeans which makes it very easy for tourists to blend in. Modern Italian born designers such as Armani, Versace, and Prada all draw inspiration from their upbringing (Reinach 171). Their styles vary depending on where they were born. The classiness of Italian fashion is reflected by the fact that it has three cities included in the fashion capitals. Italians always dress to fit the occasion.
To no surprise, most Italian holidays are Christian based. There are some Christian holidays that are celebrated globally. For instance Easter Monday, Good Friday, and Christmas. In Italy, it is mandatory for cities and towns to partake in feasts to honor their patron saint, depending on their city. Rome, for example, celebrates the festival of St. Peter and St. Paul on the 29th day of June. All businesses are closed just like any other public holiday to allow people to take part in the feast. There are religious formalities involved that aim to remind people of the work that the two apostles did and to continue the unity of the Catholic faith. Families make up the majority of the crowds during these holidays. An impression of the importance of the institution of marriage in religion is observed widely in Italy.
Marriages are considered a sacred ceremony in the modern Italian culture. During weddings, people wear gowns, well-tailored suits and the church is appropriately prepared as well. There is usually a big feast that follows because it is a celebration of the union of two souls. A well-founded marriage leads to a healthy family. Religious institutions offer a lot of guidance before and after marriage. This facilitation is in an effort to pass on teachings of the church on marriage and family (Van Die 1). Teachings in the Bible point to the family being a pivotal entity in the functioning of the society. Italians also value the importance of family, which is also evident by the amount of family owned businesses throughout the country. Families will share what they have with each other. The parents, especially the fathers, are authoritative figures in a home. The elderly are well taken care of and respected by all. Children learn these life lessons through the family but vital lessons are also obtained through the church.
Families introduce their children to the church at a young age to undergo religious rites of passage. Baptism is the most widely practiced religious initiation act in Italy. In Catholic churches, Children undergo catechism. They learn and practice the ways of the Catholic Church. By the end of it all, they are able to recite a variety of prayers, learn about important events of the church and are able to practice acts of respect while in the church. Religious institutions teach children the true way of life from a spiritual perspective. Through these activities, churches create a platform for children to socialize and relate with people. As someone who has grown up in a much smaller, less practiced religion, the practicing of Catholicism brought about any questions. The intricate detailing in cathedrals, the intense altars, and the amazing paintings captivate anyone who walks in.
Perhaps the most emphasized teaching in the bible is the story of creation. Children have conditioned from an early age that a man marries a woman. When they were born they had a mother and a father and when they are taken to church they learn about Adam and Eve. Religious leaders stand by the religious teachings and discourage same-sex marriages. The views of the lesbian, gays, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) have little to no say in a church set up (Harrison, Brian and Michelson 1418). The religious values instilled in the nation from a young age discourage the friendliness of Italy towards this group of individuals. This may be the reason why Italy has amongst the highest number of homophobic incidences in the world. Though the church is trying to repress the LGBT, the modern society around the world has already accepted this particular group. Italy will soon have to accept these people for who they are and teach their children that they are free to exercise their right to live a life of their choice. Despite the fact this issue is not something seen on a day to day basis, the strictness of this church compared to churches in Nashville is definitely different and creates a different atmosphere.
Religion has had a great influence on many varying aspects of the society. For instance, the Roman Catholic Church was influential in a number of issues in Italy including having political powers vested upon it. Religion has had a major input in influencing different works of art with artist such as Da Vinci being heavily influenced in their works by religious factors. Also, literature has had contribution from religion with concepts borrowed from religious stories. There are many different ways in which religion has influenced the Italian culture, and therefore created a different feeling than the United States. As a country that is more lenient towards liberal views and not as rooted in faith, it was amazing exploring a Catholic country. The roles religion has played in not only many historical events, but the lives of many famous artists and scientists, can be seen daily when walking through the streets of Italy.
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Casanova, José. “Globalizing Catholicism and the return to a “universal” church.” Transnational religion and fading states. Routledge, 2018. 121-143.
Cox, Anna M. “THE GREAT SCHISM: The Great Divide of the West, the East and Christianity.” Int’l J. Soc. Sci. Stud. 6 (2018): 55.
Garnsey, Peter, and Richard Saller. The Roman Empire: economy, society and culture. Univ of California Press, (2014): 49-57.
Harrison, Brian F., and Melissa R. Michelson. “God and marriage: The impact of religious identity priming on attitudes toward same‐sex marriage.” Social Science Quarterly 96.5 (2015): 1411-1423.
Hemming, Peter J., and Nicola Madge. “Young people, non-religion and citizenship: insights from the Youth on Religion Study.” Young 26.3 (2018): 197-214.
Ormières, Jean-Louis. “Religion Italian Style. Continuities and Changes in a Catholic Country.” (2015): 307-309.
Reinach, Simona Segre. “Fashion Museums and Fashion Exhibitions in Italy: New Perspectives in Italian Fashion Studies.” Fashion Curating: Critical Practice in the Museum and Beyond (2017): 171.
Van Die, Marguerite. “Review of Tine Van Osselaer, Patrick Pasture (eds.) Christian Homes. Religion, Family and Domesticity in the 19th and 20th Centuries, Leuven; Leuven University Press, 2014, 227 pp., ISBN 978-94-62-70018-5.” (2017).
Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince – leadership and power: essay help site:edu
Niccolo Machiavelli’s, The Prince, is one of the most controversial books of its time. Because of its contents, Machiavelli is seen by many as symbol for evil and vice. The book was thought to be so abhorrent that it was banned by the Catholic church, and harshly critiqued by many of Machiavelli’s contemporaries. The Sixteenth Century treatise was meant as an advice book for princes on how to gain power and maintain it, but the methods he proposed for achieving these aims were unsavory to many. In the years following its publication, The Prince, horrified and shocked the general populace due to its challenging of the current view that a leader had to be virtuous and moral, asserting that it was better for a leader to be feared than loved, challenging the idea that a ruler gained his power from divine right alone, and its proposition that a ruler might employ unethical actions to secure his position and better his country.
One of the first of things that Machiavelli tried to do in his treatise is to separate ethics from princes. While, many of his contemporaries believed that a successful prince would be one filled with the usual virtues, like honor, purity, and integrity, Machiavelli threw this idea out a window. He did not believe that being simply having the “right” value system would grant a leader power and security. In fact, he argued that often, being tied down by such morals would be counterproductive to one maintaining their position. Moreover, “if a ruler wishes to reach his highest goals he will not always find it rational to be morale” (Skinner 42).
So, what characteristics did Machiavelli think would actually make a strong leader? His ideal prince is one who is cunning and ruthless. Machiavelli believed that, “a ruler who wishes to maintain his power must be prepared to act immorally when this becomes necessary” (26). A ruler should also not be worried about being miserly, for overall this will help rather than hurt his control (Mansfield). If a prince is too generous his people will also become accustomed to such generosity and be angered when it is not forthcoming, and in the long run he will have to tax his people to make up for what he has given away. Such ideas went directly against the Christian and humanist ideas about morality in Machiavelli’s time.
Another major point of interest that Machiavelli discussed throughout The Prince was the concept of fortune and its role in a princes rule. He believed that it was of the utmost importance that a prince try to win fortune to his side as best he can. Here again, Machiavelli differentiates from his predecessors. Many past philosophers believed that fortune would smile upon a ruler who was just and virtuous. Machiavelli disagreed with such notions. Morales had nothing to do with pleasing fortune. Instead, it was the more violent and ambitious ruler, who would seize the moment, that would have a better chance of winning fortune (Spencer). Machiavelli went so far as to compare fortune to a woman and stated that, “If you want to control her, it is necessary to treat her roughly” (87).
While Machiavelli did not think it was in a prince’s best interest to always be kind and good, he did note the importance of his subjects thinking him to be so. It is very hard to hold control a region, in which the people believe their ruler to be completely immoral. However, they may put up with questionable actions of a ruler if once in a while he does something that appears to be in their best interest. The crueler a ruler is the more crucial it is to appear to the public as being the opposite. Once the people are convinced of a ruler being virtuous, he will be able to get away with the most unscrupulous behavior.
Most people would consider it essential for a ruler to keep his promises and appear trustworthy, maintaining a good relationship with his subjects, not Machiavelli. Sometimes it is not realistic for a ruler to be able to make good on every promise. It may even be better for the people in the long run if he does not. A prince should not have qualms about breaking his word, “plausible reasons can always be found for such failure to keep promises” (Machiavelli 62). Moreover, if a prince prides himself on always keeping his word the people will always expect this. When unfortunate circumstances force him to deviate from what he swore to do, the people will be outraged, whereas if they expect promises to be broken it will not garner as much anger.
Another stable argument of Machiavelli’s book is the power of fear. Machiavelli believes fear is one of the best way to keep subjects in line. Fear is strongest of all the emotions and will give a ruler the most control. Striving for the people’s love is not as fruitful, due to mankind’s fickle nature. Andrew Curry of the Washington Post notes that for Machiavelli, “ Man’s weak nature was a constant as unchanging as the bright sun that rose above his beloved Tuscan hills.” A leader who relies on love to gain loyalty from his subjects, will find his people nowhere to be found when hard times come. Men tend to what they think is best for them, and due to this they will changes sides quickly. They will adopt a new prince quickly and shed their old one if they believe it will be prosperous for them. However, if the subjects greatly fear their leader they are more likely to obey him. If they believe their ruler to be lax they will think they can get away with some disobedience, but if a prince has made it clear that the consequences will be great they will hesitate (Machiavelli .
One of the main ways Machiavelli demonstrates the power of fear, is through generals and their handling of the troops under them. He praises the Carthaginian general, Hannibal, for his ability to lead such a large army of various peoples with little discord or trouble among his troops. Despite going through many lands unknown to his soldiers, and enduring times of trial, Hannibal was able to keep his soldiers in order because of their respect and fear of him (Machiavelli 60). How did Hannibal make his troops fear him? Through great cruelty, which made him the perfect Machiavellian leader. It was this cruelty that was key of his success according to Machiavelli. He argued that, “if he had not been so cruel, his other qualities would not have been sufficient to achieve that affect” (60).
Scipio was another general of the same period as Hannibal. Like Hannibal he was a brilliant military mind, and one of the greatest leaders of the era. Unlike Hannibal however, he did not exercise brutality with his troops to keep them in check. Whereas Hannibal’s troops would have never dreamed of revolting, for fear of the consequences, Scipio did lose control over his soldiers at fort Sucro, in Spain. Machiavelli harshly critiqued Scipio for this mutiny and no one else. It was Scipio’s easiness with his soldiers that had caused them to grow rebellious. Had he have been more severe in his command they would have been better disciplined (Machiavelli 60). Machiavelli praises Hannibal’s cruelty, while condemning Scipio’s friendliness with his soldiers.
Another aspect of the power of fear, which Machiavelli touched on was with the capturing of new regions. Under most circumstances successfully maintaining control over a newly vanquished city, and keeping its citizens in check can be quite difficult. However, in cases where subduing a city takes great force and bloodshed it will actually be much easier to keep. Most would think the opposite to be true, but Machiavelli argues that those who have been defeated will be to imitated to revolt, due to knowing what the conquerors are capable of (Mansfield). Machiavelli has complete faith in the power of fear. Essentially he believes that a prince should not be concerned about being excessively brutal when trying to defeat the defenders of a town, because in the long run it may actually help him keep dominances over said town. With advice like this, advising one to be cruel, it is no surprise that Machiavelli’s contemporaries were so shocked by his treatise (Spenser).
All of Machiavelli’s pondering about fear begs the question how far should a ruler go to be feared by his people? Machiavelli does acknowledge that there is a lined that can be crossed. A prince must strive to be feared without being completely hated by his subjects (Machiavelli 59) . It is fine for a leader to exercise extreme ruthlessness for the greater good as long as he is able to redeem himself in the eyes of the people. At a certain point, if pushed too far, a prince’s subject’s fear of their ruler will turn to anger and they will grow unruly. Therefore it is important for a prince to be calculated with his cruelty, and not just unnecessarily brutal.
A major issue during Machiavelli’s time was that of Divine right to rule. Essentially, king’s could justify their rule by it supposedly being God’s will, and they had to answer only to him. Only those chosen by God could rule. Machiavelli did not fully agree with this doctrine. He thought that almost anyone should have the right to rule as long as they were cunning enough to do so. Machiavelli cares most about leaders being competent. The foxes and lions should rise above the lambs. That is the best way for country to be assured of gaining strong leaders. With divine right there is no guarantee that a prince will be capable of ruling, and do what is best for his people. In his own region of Florence Machiavelli wanted a ruler who was effective, not one that was supposedly endowed by the creator. All of the advice given in the book is a challenge against divine right, as it shows how someone may gain power by his own actions and not divine right.
Machiavelli’s key argument against any sort of right to rule is that it is power alone that guarantees a prince his control. “a Machiavellian perspective directly attacks the notion of any grounding for authority independent of the sheer possession of power. For Machiavelli, people are compelled to obey purely in deference to the superior power of the state” (Nederman). Simply having the right virtues, divine right, or any other quantifiers of rule do not matter if one does not have true power. A prince’s subjects will stay in line if they know he has great power over them, but not always so if he his relying on their respect of his “divine right” alone.
One of the main themes running throughout all of Machiavelli’s advice seems to be that the ends always justify the means. Now even though Machiavelli never directly states this, he comes very close, and despite his advice being a bit more nuance than that simple phrase, it is not out of line to say that it represents his key ideas on princeship. Machiavelli was one of the first pessimistic realists of his time, and he based his advice on the negative side of humanity. He argued that a prince’s subjects will not always do the moral thing and so a prince should not either. Instead, he should take what actions he believes to be best for securing his rule and his province. Sacrificing a few is a necessary evil if it guarantees the safety of many (Machiavelli 58).
Machiavelli base much of his advice on the topic on real life rulers of his time. History.com points this out saying, “Machiavelli’s guide to power was revolutionary in that it described how powerful people succeeded—as he saw it—rather than as one imagined a leader should operate.” While his contemporaries where dreaming up the qualities of an ideal leader, Machiavelli believed he was giving a guide based on those he had seen be successful. Almost all of the leaders Machiavelli studied, he found to have exercised cruelty and brutality. Mansfield says thus of Machiavelli’s points on necessary evil, “The amoral interpretation fastens on Machiavelli’s frequent resort to “necessity” in order to excuse actions that might otherwise be condemned as immoral.”
One of the main ruler’s who Machiavelli based much of his advice on was Cesare Borgia. Borgia was the perfect Machiavellian leader. He was, “a crude, brutal and cunning prince of the Papal States” (History.com Editors). He lived in a chaotic time, and the entirety of his rule was face with challenges and uncertainty. Machiavelli admired his ability to handle the problems of his times with such decisive ferocity. He embodied all the traits the Machiavelli was advising the readers of his book to adopt.
Cesare was a man with many enemies and part of his genius lay in his ability to get rid of them. Where others would hesitate to move against powerful men, Borgia did not. He would kill remorselessly if he thought it would help him maintain his land. One of the main examples Machiavelli used to point out Borgia’s cunning, was his luring of the Orsini leaders to the town of Senigallia. He lured them with lavish gifts and lulled them into a false sense of security, promising treaties of peace, but once they had delivered themselves into his hands he killed them (Machiavelli 25). Machiavelli praised this exploit thinking it an exceptionally clever deception.
Borgia also proved his competence as a leader to Machiavelli in his handling of the land he inherited from his father, Pope Alexander VI. The people dwelling there were disorderly and defiant. They had not been well disciplined by their previous ruler, and were not used to really having to obey a leader. Borgia set out to right this wrong. He put an utterly ruthless man, Remirro de Orco, in charge of the area (Machiavelli 26). Many rulers would have told Orco to use caution when dealing with the subjects of the region. He should slowly begin to discipline them so that they would grow use to it over time. However, Borgia did the exact opposite. He gave his new governor complete control to be as severe and merciless as he saw necessary. He new that the cruelty the people would endure under de Orco would be for the better down the road as there would be more order and less lawbreakers.
Even the he knew that it was necessary to use brutality when dealing with his newly acquired land, Borgia did not plan on taking the blame for that cruelty. de Orco’s harsh regime had served to bring discipline to the region, but Cesare Borgia was not blind to the growing anger in those who were suffering under it. Here, in Machiavelli’s mind, Borgia showed his true genius and heartlessness. He killed de Orco and displayed his body in a town, successfully wining the favor of his subjects and getting rid of a possible rival. It Borgia who had put de Orco in charge in the first place, knowing fully well that he was a cruel man, and told him to be a harsh ruler, but the people seemed to forget this and saw Borgia as a hero for killing their oppressor. Those subjects who still had a dislike for Borgia, where too terrified by the execution to cause any discord (Machiavelli 26). So Borgia was able to make his people both love and fear, Machiavelli’s ideal situation. It is clear that much of Machiavelli’s arguments for doing immoral things comes from him having observed Borgia and his callous methods.
Borgia may have been brilliant in the handling of his lands and his enemies, but it was not his own cleverness that gained him his territory in the Romagna. Instead it was the cunning of his father, Pope Alexander IV. Alexander wanted to give his son a state in Italy to help him grow more powerful and, hopefully, eventually make him into a great ruler. However, he knew that he would not be able to do this through peaceful negations, as there were too many other factions who would have been opposed to it. Instead, the Pope would have to use force to size a state. First he sought out to make the states of Italy unstable, by aiding a French invasion of Milan. Doing this helped cause chaos, and the French gave the Pope troops to conquer the Romagna with. The Pope was able his transfer the newly captured states to his son (Machiavelli 24). These actions by the Pope where highly immoral; he helped sow ruin in his own country of Italy to gain a province for Cesare to rule, and he misused the power given to him by his position as Pope to do so. However, Machiavelli praises his ability to take actions that are deemed unethical by society to attain success.
In one chapter of his treatise, Machiavelli addresses those who gained the power from evil deeds. The first example he gives is of Agathocles, of Syracuse. Agathocles is the epitome of doing whatever it takes to get what you want. He was a mere ordinary man, but by his own actions he was able to rise to a position of power in the city of Syracuse. Wanting to become the king of Syracuse he began scheming how this could be accomplished. Eventually he was able to execute a successful coup, and have all his soldiers kill any opposers. He was dishonorable, a murderer, and a traitor, but he did achieve what he set out to do. Machiavelli does point out that these methods wont exactly win someone glory and fame, or at least not the positive kind, but he did commend Agathocles ability to gain power. He also mentions that Agathocles used evil “well” since he had to use it at all (Machiavelli 30-33). Statements like this, that a murdering traitor used evil admirably, are what make Machiavelli’s writing so controversial.
Machiavelli did not stop with Agathocles, he also gave an example more current with the time of a similar situation. Oliverotto of Fermo. Oliverotto had the same cunning and ambition as Agathocles. He too wanted to become the ruler of his hometown Fermo. So, with his mentor he conspired to overthrow the current ruler, his own uncle, Giovanni Fogliani. Oliverotto used his relation to Fogliani to lure him into a trap where he assassinated him, as well as the other leaders of Fermo. With no one else in his way he took control of the region. His immoral actions would have been condemned by most, but Machiavelli’s main issue seems to be that he was not able to keep the power that he gained, as he was killed himself later on. Oliverotto did not use evil well as Agathocles did (Machiavelli 32-32).
Few books have the ability to stir up as much controversy as The Prince. With it Machiavelli tried to set a new example how a prince should act and think, but one that would be found troubling by many in the decades that followed its publication. Its readers would shun it, ban it, mock it, and even go so far as to say that it was satire, because surely there was no way that Machiavelli had actually meant what he wrote. The main cause of all animosity towards the book, came from Machiavelli’s attempt to separate ethics from politics. In the treatise he argued that princes need not be virtuous, and that fear was a great tool to be used to control one’s subjects, better even than love. Furthermore, the book challenged divine right, which put at odds with the churches of the time, and lastly, it promoted the idea of using scrupulous methods to gain power. It is the combination of these four arguments, that were so against the current ideologies of the sixteenth century, that caused many to look at the book with disgust, and the reason why Machiavelli became known as an embodiment of evil.
Organizational change – responding to internal drivers
Organizational change in any business organisation is predominantly influenced by two forces called internal drivers and external drivers. Both can cause favourable as well as unfavourable impacts on organisational change. However, this essay will argue that it is more beneficial for the organisations to introduce changes based on its internal drivers because they are within the organisation and control of the management in bringing the change. Where as the external drivers are beyond the control of the organisation.
In this intensely competitive and globalised world ( Mdletye, Coetzee and Ukpere 2014) of business and management organisational change is very critical and indispensable for numerous competitive advantages. Therefore, companies of all kinds must either initiate change or if not face the natural death (Kotter and Cohen 2008). Hence, although change is task fraught with complexity and challenge (Graetz et al. 2011, p.2) it has become the inevitable phenomena for the successful survival of organization in this modern world.
Organisational change is the continuous process of renewing the firm direction, structure, capabilities, operations, systems and processes to meet the ever-changing needs of external and internal customers (Soosay and Sloan 2005 p.10). It is the movement of an organization away from its present state of status quo (Smith 2005) toward some desired future state to increase its effectiveness (Lunenburg 2010). Nevertheless, as most researchers have found out that, in reality, adopting new changes in the organisation is very difficult and doubtful of success (Robbins 2003 and Raftery 2009 as cited in Beshtawi and Jaaron,2014; p.129) and often land up with failure (Olaghere,n.d p.1; Gilaninia, Ganjinia and Mahdikhanmahaleh 2013). Therefore, in this increasingly uncertain and risky environment (Zhou, Tse and Li, 2006, p.248) it is very crucial to know how to adapt and change according to the environment and to change successfully has become a critical and timeless challenge for any organization ( Feldman, 2004; Pettigrew et al., 2001; Piderit, 2000) for continuous survival and success.
Organisational Change in an organisation is influenced dominantly by two factors called internal factors or internal drivers and external factors or external drivers (Esparcia and Argente (n.d) and Olaghere n.d, p.1).These factors are responsible for triggering the change in the system, policies, product, structures, services, management, performance among many other areas in the organisation (Senior 2002) (as cited in McGuire and Hutchings 2006). Ivancevich and Matteson (2002) consider technology, economic forces and socio-political and legal factors as important external drivers that cause organisational change. However, they argue that these external drivers of change are beyond management’s control and cause a significant impact compelling the organisation to adjust internal processes and systems (McGuire and Hutchings 2006). Conversely, internal drivers are those forces existed within the organisation that influence changes. They are system, structure, management style, leadership, resources, processes, products of the organisation (Esparcia and Argente, n.d).
However, internal factors are more critical to driving organisational change. Ivancevich and Matteson (2002) maintain that human resource issues and process considerations are the most common forces for change within the organisation. They argue that internal factors are generally within the control of management, although sometimes be more difficult to recognise and diagnose than external factors (McGuire and Hutchings 2006).
The external factors are more diversified and intractable compare to internal drivers (Yu and Zhang, 2010, p.3). The internal divers of change are easily influenced by external environments like politics, economy, technology, legal and society.
The external factors helps to determine the opportunities and threats that the company would face, but the internal factors help the company to identify its strengths and weaknesses (Ibrahim and Primiana, 2015, p.285) . Marcus (2005) (as cited in Ibrahim and Primiana, 2015, p.285) noted that organisations should be aware of its strengths and weaknesses and analyzed the extent to which companies can accommodate the opportunities and threats existed in its the external environment.
Anderson and Anderson (n.d) asserted that the most common reason for the failure of managing change with the organizations is the inadequate attention to the less tangible, yet very important, internal drivers such as culture, leader and employee behaviour and their mindset. So, it is very much evident the benefits of concentrating of internal drivers rather than external drivers. This is supported by Kotter and Cohen (2008; p.61) that managers must instigate change by creating the sense of urgency by touching the emotions of employees instead of reasons based on facts and figures. This is possible only through change in internal factors of business enterprise.
Many scholars have consented that internal factors are the key determinants of an organization’s performance (Kinyua-Njuguna, Munyok and Kibera 2014, p. 289) as they provide enabling environment to achieve its goals and objectives. Internal environmental forces provide strengths and weaknesses to the business (Tolbert & Hall, 2009) (cited in (Kinyua-Njuguna, Munyok and Kiber 2014, p.) Fr example, from their study on the effect of internal drivers on community-based HIV and AIDS organizations in Nairobi County, Kenya, Kinyua-Njuguna, Munyok and Kiber (2014) found out that the internal drivers such as organisational structure, strategy, skills, staff, shared values as well as systems helping the organisation to achieve their objective. As a result enhanced the employee performance.
The Resource-based view (RBV) theory, propounded by Penrose (1959) ( as cited in Kute & Upadhyay, 2014,p.68) supported that organizations can gain competitive advantage by concentrating on their internal factors such as abilities, skills, knowledge, capabilities and competencies with reference to technological changes. This is because of strengths and weakness in these areas can be managed and thus the need of enhancing these qualities within the employees can be determined and can be enhanced through continuous organizational learning culture. Furthermore, the following factors such as mission and goals, leadership quality, organisational structure, human resources, technology capacity, organisation culture, employees behaviours and attitude, and organisational performance has to be considered while introducing change in the organisation.
Organisation Vison, Mision, Goals and objectives
Every business organisation is being guided by its mission, goals and objectives pertaining to development philosophy and direction, planning, prioritizing programs, policies, management, organisational structures and everyday responsibilities (Emeka and Eyuche 2014). In nutshell the performance of the company depends on the mission, goals and objectives. Therefore, change in these domains would compel the firm to undertake organisational change to achieve their mission and objectives.
Leadership is one of the very important internal factors in an organisation change (Lunenburg 2010). The leaders have the important role in maintaining the measure of control over the environment of the organisation (McGuire and Hutchings 2006, p.197). The sixteenth century political scientist, Niccolo Machiavelli, stressed that the leader’s vision and future plans are critical in determining the shape and structure of the organisation (McGuire and Hutchings 2006, p.198). According to the organisational change models Cummings and Worley (1993) further recognizes that any change can be implemented successfully only by strong leadership who can garner commitment and readiness to change within the employees through shared vision and strategies to achieve the proposed new change and outcome. The way the managers or leaders establish the internal working structure and systems has influence on the performance of the organisation (Kinyua-Njuguna, Munyok and Kiber 2014, p.285).It means the structures and systems should be very favourable for the employees to work collaboratively everyday towards the shared goals of the organisation. Conversely, poor leadership and management would result in the failure of enterprise in the implementation of change processes and risking the orgainsation to disastrous consequences (Shiamwama, Ombayo and Mukolwe 2014, p.148). Effective leaders help organisations to surpass any internal obstacles and bring changes through envisioning the desired goals and objectives, energizing the employees, and enabling the resources and conditions (Zhou, Tse and Li 2006, p.253) which are paramount to overcome any external inhibitors of change and improve performance.
For instance, Steve Jobs, the founder of APPLE Computers, was eased out of the business because of poor management. He later went back into the business and was absorbed as a mere employee just to tap his original idea (Cole, 2004). in (Shiamwama, Ombayo and Mukolwe (2014)
Change in organizational structure involves redefining and regulating the organizational roles and relations by expanding or reducing audition, determining the decision making authority, selecting decentralised or central management type, regulating communication channels within the organisation ( İkinci, S.S.2014,p.123).It is another internal factor that act as driver of change. It is the way how jobs are allocated, coordinated and supervised through the system that facilitates communication and efficient work processes among the employees in the organisation (Elsaid, Okasha and Abdelghaly, 2013, p.1). In fact the successful execution and implementation of any plans and programs depends on it. The flat bureaucratic structure with decentralised decision-making system and horizontal reporting system among the teams and various managers are more preferred by the employees (Ohlson, 2007).This fosters faster and effective decision and action thus enhancing the efficiency and productivity of the employees and organisation as whole. The tall hierarchical system of organisation characterised by long bureaucratic steps to follow in execution and communication is rather a hindrance to the effectiveness of the performance (p.23). Decentralised administrative structures and processes thus enable a firm to better meet the new environmental conditions and effectively handle environmental turbulence (Damanpour and Evan, 1984)
Human resource in the organisation consists of the knowledge, skills, competencies, attitude and behaviours the workers possess ( İkinci, S.S.2014, p.123). Nurturing theses aspect of human resources will lead to personal growth and development which can alter an individual’s perceptions of organisational change, reducing the level of resistance (Bovey and Hede, 2001, p.546). It is the very critical asset that helps organisation to gain competitive advantage (Husso and Nybakk, nd, p.9).This is because they have the capacity to operate all the activities and in turn help to achieve the aims and objective (Mdletye, Coetzee, and Ukpere (2014) which otherwise would not be able to function at all. The researchers emphasized that human resource is the most important aspect, indeed the backbone of every organization and it is also the main source of resource for the effective function of the organization ( Wanza and Nkuraru,2016; p.192) and main strategic resource to gain sustainable competitive advantage in this age of globalization(Kute & Upadhyay, 2014). For example, the management’s emphasis on the human resource management such as employing highly skilled and educated people, providing professional training and encouraging learning from advanced technologies and skills made the employees more competent to achieve Huawei’s internationalization process more successful ( Yu and Zhang, 2010, p.23) .
Organisational culture is defined as the values, beliefs, norms, customs and behaviours that guide the employees towards the common goals (Awadh & Saad, 2013,) and that set the rule of decision making processes, structure and power (Wambugu, 2014, p. 80). Wambugu (2014) further noted that organisational culture empower the employees to do thing which deemed right and rewarding both at personal and organisational level. According to Wanza and Nkuraru ( 2016, p.195) and Awadh & Saad, (2013, p.168 ) organisational culture has strong bearing on the performance of the employees which is considered as the backbone of development of the organisation. The culture established as system in the organisation enhances employees’ commitment thus improves their input eventually achieving the desired productivity and profitability (Wanza and Nkuraru, 2016, p.193). They concluded from their research that a strong organizational culture acts as the source of synergy and momentum for teamwork and uplift employee performance (p.197).Thus it is worthy of developing organizational culture for sustainable future. For example, one of the internal factor that drive Huawei Technologies Company, a very small local IT company of China, to very successful internationalisation was the corporate culture, such as team work, adaptation, learning and customer-oriented service, being embedded in the behaviours of the Huawei’s employees ( Yu and Zhang, 2010, p.23)
Innovation is the main strategy to adapt to change, overcome organisational weaknesses, and add value to organization’s products and services in the ever-changing business environment (Sund 2008, p. 2). Being entrepreneurial with creativity and innovation helps organisation to gain competitive advantage (Ireland et al. 2003). Abdelgawad et al. (2013) proposed that entrepreneurial capability is instrumental for realizing a firm’s game-changing strategies for sustainable success in future. For example, Google, Amazon and Apple companies were once just start-ups grown to attract global market through their innovation (EBRD, 2014; p.1). Internal organizational drivers such as resources, experimentation, collaboration, administrative support play a significant role during this innovation process (Agolla and Van-Lill, 2013). So, establishing innovative culture in an organisation will drive the organisation towards favorable and successful change.
Attitude and Commitment
Most of the researches have shown that employees need to develop their attitude and behaviours for successful organizational performance (Bernerth, 2004). Therefore, it is indispensable for the organizational managers to develop and nurture employees’ commitment towards embracing change by bringing positive change in their attitude and behaviour. However, Anderson and Anderson (n.d) stressed that employees’ mindset, which is the root cause of one’s feelings, decisions and actions, has to be changed to bring organizational change. When introducing change people aspect is more critical than just about changes in systems and processes. Rather it is about people believing in change and wanting it to happen (Soosay and Sloan (2005 p.4). Since organisational change requires the participation of people, those involved must first undergo personal change for the success of organisational change (Evans, 1994).
Organisation Performance as drivers
Both the present and past performance are also drivers of organisational change. Some earlier researchers have pointed out that poor performance, that creates the gap between managerial aspirations and achievements, is an extra impetus for the firms to improve further (Greve, 1998; Tushman and Romanelli, 1985). On the other hand some researchers argue that successful companies continuously draw motivation from their success to improve and perform better for sustainable future, especially they face an uncertain environments ( Feldman, 2004; Tsoukas and Chia, 2002).in (Zhou, Tse and Li, 2006). The better a firm performs, the more likely it will invest in new product development and technology advancement to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage (Zhou, Tse and Li, 2006; p.251). As Brown and Eisenhardt (1997) observe, many successful firms, such as Intel, 3M, Hewlett-Packard, and Gillette, have undertaken constant, rapid changes, particularly in their new product development. For example companies like Apple, Microsoft and Samsung companies have undergone continuous rapid changes in development of new product.
The main purpose of this essay was to prove the advantages of responding to internal drivers than to external drivers while introducing change in the organisation. From this study it was found out that internal drivers are within the organisation that has direct impact on its everyday performance. Therefore, they are within the control and management capacity of the organization. If the internal performance, system, culture and resources of an organisation are excellent it is certain that any obstacles posed from the external environments can be nullified leading to very successful organizational change. Whereas external drivers are existed in the external environment of the firm and those are beyond the control and reach of the organisation. Yet, they can affect the internal functions of the organisation causing instability. Hence the external drivers are not to be undermined rather internal drivers must be activated towards meeting change in line with external drivers.
The Classical World: essay help online
The Classical Era, which flourished from the 8th century BC to the 5th century AD, saw the birth and spread of Greco-Roman ideas. These ideas became the basis for western civilization and laid a foundation of culture that has remained as relevant now as it was in ancient times. Ancient Greece, and later Ancient Rome, cemented their own ideals in the universal consciousness as the cultural standard to which all later societies were held to, and continue to shape contemporary perspective on art, architecture, and government, and other facets of modern society. Despite the core differences of modern and classical times and the centuries that have passed since, the knowledge and perspectives passed down by the Ancient Greeks and Romans remain an essential part of contemporary society and culture, while inspiring western civilization’s greatest accomplishments.
The cultural impact of Ancient Greece and Rome begins most tangibly with the Renaissance, a movement beginning in Florence and spanning through the 14th and 17th centuries. This period is seen as a revival of classical antiquity, with Renaissance scholars, artists, philosophers, and writers attempting to emulate what they considered to be a “golden age,” taking inspiration directly from their Greco-Roman forefathers, with their presence increasingly regarded as an intellectual heritage to be mined for contemporary use. The Florentine author Niccolò Machiavelli, for example, described his nightly retreats into his library in these memorable words:
“At the door I take off my muddy everyday clothes. I dress myself as though I were about to appear before a royal court as a Florentine envoy. Then decently attired I enter the antique courts of the great men of antiquity. They receive me with friendship; from them I derive the nourishment which alone is mine and for which I was born. Without false shame I talk with them and ask them the causes of the actions; and their humanity is so great they answer me. For four long and happy hours I lose myself in them. I forget all my troubles; I am not afraid of poverty or death. I transform myself entirely in their likeness.”
Francesco Petrarca, commonly anglicized as Petrarch, was a scholar who rediscovered the letters of Cicero, a Roman statesman, orator, lawyer and philosopher and one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylists. This rediscovery is considered to have initiated the Renaissance, as scholars became interested in learning how the ancients developed their human faculties, powers, and culture, and in turn attempted to apply their findings to their contemporary societies. Through this discovery, Petrarch became the “Father of Renaissance humanism,” humanism being a Renaissance cultural movement that turned away from medieval scholasticism and revived interest in ancient Greek and Roman thought. Petrarch firmly believed that classical writings were not just relevant to his own age but saw in them moral guidance that could reform humanity, a key principle of Renaissance Humanism. The humanists of the Renaissance believed that their mission was to revive the high Roman style of writing pure and eloquent Latin. When that flourished, they believed, art would as well.
The republican elites of Florence and Venice and the ruling families of Milan, Ferrara, and Urbino hired humanists to teach their children classical morality and to write elegant, classical letters, histories, and propaganda. Eventually, the humanism inspired by the study of the Greco-Roman world would bleed into the Catholic Church, a formidable and almost omnipotent deity of the Middle Ages. In the course of the fifteenth century, the humanists convinced most of the popes that the papacy needed their skills. Sophisticated classical scholars were hired to write official correspondence and propaganda to create an image of the popes as powerful, enlightened, modern rulers of the Church and to apply their scholarly tools to the church’s needs, including writing a more classical form of the Mass. Scholars wrote Latin letters and histories on behalf of the popes, and they even tinkered with the church’s traditional liturgy, trying to make prayers and hymns attractively classical. Humanist secretaries and popes wrote dazzling Latin. Though humanism, and therefore classical thinking, never truly permeated the Catholic Church fully, there was an influence of Ancient Greece and Rome on the Church and its leaders.
An easier and far more blatant appreciation of classical antiquity was seen clearly in the art and architecture of the Renaissance. Contrapposto, a sculptural scheme which was revived during the Renaissance, was originated by the Ancient Greeks. It is used when the standing human figure is poised in such a way that the weight rests on one leg (called the engaged leg), freeing the other leg, which is bent at the knee. With the weight shift, the hips, shoulders, and head tilt, suggesting relaxation with the subtle internal organic movement that denotes life. The Greeks invented this formula in the early 5th century BC as an alternative to the stiffly static pose—in which the weight is distributed equally on both legs—that had dominated Greek figure sculpture in earlier periods. Italian Renaissance artists such as Donatello and Andrea del Verrocchio revived the classical formula, giving it the name contrapposto, which suggests the action and reaction of the various parts of the figure, and enriching the conception by scientific anatomical study.
Donatello borrowed from the ancients with his bronze sculpture of David, the biblical hero known for defeating Goliath. Donatello’s David was the first freestanding bronze cast statue of the Renaissance era as well as the first nude sculpture of a male since the classical sculptures of ancient Greece. In Middle Ages, nudity was not used in art except in certain moral contexts, such as the depiction of Adam and Eve, or the sending of souls off to hell. In the classical world, nudity was often used in a different, majestic context, such as with figures who were gods, heroes, or athletes. Here, Donatello seems to be calling to mind the type of heroic nudity of antiquity, since David is depicted at a triumphal point in the biblical narrative of his victory over Goliath. In any case, Donatello’s David is a classic work of Renaissance sculpture, given its Judaeo-Christian subject matter modeled on a classical sculptural type.
Another artwork inspired heavily by ancient antiquity would be Botticelli’s painting titled, Birth of Venus. The theme of the Birth of Venus was taken from the writings of the ancient poet, Homer. According to the traditional account, after Venus was born, she rode on a seashell and sea foam to the island of Cythera. In the painting, Venus is prominently depicted in the center, born out of the foam as she rides to shore. On the left, the figure of Zephyrus carries the nymph Chloris (alternatively identified as “Aura”) as he blows the wind to guide Venus. On shore, a figure who has been identified as Pomona, or as the goddess of Spring, waits for Venus with mantle in hand. The mantle billows in the wind from Zephyrus’ mouth.The story of the Birth of Venus is well described below by a Homeric hymn but its relevance to the painting is disputed as the poem was only published, by the Greek refugee Demetrios Chalcondyles, in Florence in 1488 (five years after the painting was completed as a wedding gift for Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici in 1483).
Of august gold-wreathed and beautiful
Aphrodite I shall sing to whose domain
belong the battlements of all sea-loved
Cyprus where, blown by the moist breath
of Zephyros, she was carried over the waves
of the resounding sea on soft foam.
The gold-filleted Horae happily welcomed her
and clothed her with heavenly raiment.
The model for Venus in this painting has traditionally been associated with Simonetta Vespucci – who had been a muse for Botticelli, and was seen as the model for female beauty throughout Florence – especially for the Medici family for whom this painting had been created. There is added credence to this suggestion from the fact that she was born in the Ligurian fishing village of PortoVenere – called Port of Venus because there was a little Temple to Venus there from 1st Century BC.
The other model for the pose of Venus in the painting was possibly the Medici Venus, a first century BC statue depicting Aphrodite in a Venus pudica pose. It is actually a marble copy of an original bronze Greek sculpture that Botticelli would have had an opportunity to study whilst visiting the sculpture school or the Platonic Academy which flourished at the family home of the Medici in Florence.
The demand for this type of scene, of course, was humanism, which was alive and well in the court of Lorenzo d’Medici in the 1480s. Here, Renaissance humanism was open not only to the use of a pagan sculpture as a model, but also a pagan narrative for the subject matter, and although the Birth of Venus is not a work which employed Renaissance perspectival innovations, the elegance of the classical subject matter was something that would have intrigued wealthy Florentines who patronized this type of work.
The discovery of particular texts had enormous implications on Renaissance architecture. For example, with the discovery of the works of Vitruvius, an architect at the time of Augustus, there was an explosion of interest in ancient building. Vitruvius wrote an extremely important volume, De architectura libri decem (Ten books on architecture), where he introduced three principles to architecture: Firmatis (durability), Utilitas (utility), and Venustatis (beauty). Vitruvius talked about ancient buildings in a very significant way, not only in terms of practicality, but in an abstract way which emphasized what the buildings represented in both art and society. Similarly to how ancient texts could be applied to the values and aesthetics of contemporary Italians in the 15th century, so could ancient buildings be reduced to an essence, or a set of principles and ideals, that could be applied to the needs of 15th-century Italians, despite their differences from 1st-century Romans.
In particular, we can see in the career of Leon Battista Alberti, who was born in 1404 and died in 1472, how these ideas could be distilled into a set of principles that could apply to the conditions of the Italian world. Alberti wrote De re aedificatoria, or On Building. His work can be considered highly derivative, but Alberti’s purpose was quite different: to take an ancient text and apply it to the needs of his own time. Not only did he write a theoretical treatise on architecture, but he then went out and built buildings. In particular, in Florence, he designed the facade of the Palazzo Rucellai from 1452 to 1470, in which, again, the Vitruvian orders appear and in which the ideas of ancient building are made useful to a Florentine palace for a wealthy merchant.
In the more modern world, there is a wealth of Greco-Roman influence over the inception of the United States of America and its government. For example, the men who inspired the American Revolution and wrote the American Constitution were heavily influenced by the classical Greek and Roman world. The American founding fathers were well educated individuals, and they all had significant experience with ancient Greek and Roman authors since childhood. Historian Bernard Bailyn states, “knowledge of classical authors was universal among colonists with any degree of education.” Thomas Jefferson, writer of the Declaration of Independence, was taught Greek and Latin from the age of nine, and Benjamin Franklin received instruction in Latin at grammar school and became proficient in both Latin and Greek later in life. In Franklin’s Autobiography, frequent references are made to classical western figures, such as Cicero and Cato. James Madison learned Greek and Latin as a child, and “immersed himself in the histories of Greece and Rome.”
With classical schooling such an integral part of the founding fathers’ education, America’s first political leaders studied the works of the great Greek Philosophers, including Plato and Aristotle. Polybius, a less celebrated but still influential thinker, also left his mark upon the American framers of the Constitution. Through Polybius, the founding fathers were introduced to the Roman Republic as the “mixed government” described by Plato and Aristotle. They used Greek philosophy and the model of Roman Republican government in order to form a new nation based on ancient principles.
Philosophers from classical Greece proposed the separation of powers in government, an idea that the American founders adopted for their new nation. In addition, The Roman Republic (509-27 BC) served as a direct model of government for the writers of the constitution. Greek and Roman political thought was critical in shaping the government of the United States of America.
Plato writes that that a strong state should contain elements of both democracy and tyranny, so that the state has a mixed government. His political philosophy, particularly his idea of a “mixed” constitution, would have far reaching effects among later philosophers. His mixed government would ultimately be brought to life in the American Constitution.
Aristotle believed that a mixed government, like the one described by Plato, would halt the decline of government into anarchy. In Aristotle’s mixed constitution, defined in his work The Politics, there were to be three branches of government: “All constitutions have three elements, concerning which the good lawgiver has to regard what is expedient for each constitution…There is one element which deliberates about public affairs [“legislative” branch]; secondly, that concerned with the magistrates [“executive” branch]…and thirdly that which has judicial power.”
This three-tiered mixed government of Aristotle would ultimately find its way into the Constitution. Aristotle also established the principle that the rulers of a state should be subject to the same laws as the rest of the populace; to Aristotle, the rule of law is better than the authority of “even the best man.” This concept of a “ruling official subject to the law” is an integral idea to modern government, where all political figures are supposed to be subject to the same legal code as the average citizen.
In addition to the foundation of government inspired by the ancient world, the influence of classical antiquity can be seen in some of America’s most iconic architecture. Prevalent between about 1780 and 1830, Federal style drew inspiration from the Greco-Romans. The influence of Ancient Greek architecture is apparent in the use of columns and colonnades. Thomas Jefferson was an architect during the Federal period, and he designed not only his own home, Monticello, but the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in this style.
Greek Revival architecture also became widespread in the U.S., and in the middle of the 19th century it became known as the national style, as it was used extensively in houses and smaller public buildings of that time. This style generally featured the Doric Order in larger buildings, and simpler Doric columns topped with a small pediment (without a frieze) in houses. The first major public building built in this style was the Second Bank of the United States, built in Philadelphia between 1819 and 1824, though most famous is the Lincoln Memorial, its exterior echoing that of the Parthenon.
The heritage of the classical world has been one which later societies have taken and made relevant to their own contemporary aesthetics, visions, and ambitions. From the Renaissance to the formation of the United States, Greco-Roman ideals have paved the way and inspired art, architecture, and civic duty, all the while remaining the standard for which culture strains to meet. Despite its antiquity, the classical world has remained both relevant, adaptable, and innovative, inspiring some of western civilization’s greatest feats.
Power dynamics in psychotherapy – reflective literature review
Choice of topic
On receiving the assessment paperwork for my client, I felt overwhelmed and challenged by her status, and that she had previously worked with my placement director. My first reaction, was that I would not be good enough for her as a trainee.
When discussing my responses with my supervisor, she helped me to identify where this had come from, and the skills and knowledge that I had would be beneficial to this client.
To build up a working alliance, Finlay (2016), p.15, with this client, who I will refer to as Kirsty, (not her real name), the progress was slow, and I became very aware of my own counter- transferential feelings. There were areas of her narrative which I felt really in contact with.
Conducting the search
An on-line search Google scholar, using terms like, ‘The Dance of Power’ which returned results of 51, 200,000. Further searches were conducted which brought back similar figures
I then altered the search criteria to ‘The Dance of the Counter-transferential Phenomena’ which brought back 34 Items and this search was done via Wiley on-line Library. This appeared more manageable, and a further search via the same library with a different search term, ‘Undoing Trauma’ brought back just one result. This still was not what I was looking for, so I chose to remain with the search criteria of power within the therapeutic relationship.
So, within the literature, Webster’s dictionary defines power as; ‘the ability to act’ and ‘the capacity to produce and effect’ and ‘the possession of control, authority or influence over others’
Proctor (2017) states how she defines power as being related to how society is formed, and groups of people, who differ from the ‘norm’ have less access to power. These groups could be women, disabled, Black minority ethnic (BME) or working-class people, gay or lesbians. Male or females, young or old.
She suggests that these groups could be oppressed members of society who may have experienced violence or intimidation and who have little experience of power within the relationship.
The history of power within the therapeutic relationship dates to Machiavelli in the 16th century and Hobbes in the 17th century as cited by Proctor, (2017). These two theorists had different views when talking about power. It was not until the twentieth century that Hobbes view of a modernist theory was favoured. Clegg (1989) Hobbes theory of power influenced the basis of thinking around power from a modernist and structural viewpoint.
The modernists view.
This was a new form of expression that was developed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This was the era when counselling and psychotherapy developed. McLeod (2009) p. 37
The Structural Theories.
These theories lie within the context of modernism and take a single point of view, that is concrete and belongs to a person. It is assumed that power is an experience that can be found in the form of economic, social, physical, or psychological capacity. For instance, Day (2010) cites Robert Dahl (1957) as, “A has the power over B to the extent that he can get B to do something that B would not otherwise do”.
These theories have emphasised the controlling, oppressive and negative angle of power. These structural theories have been critiqued as it assumes that the power is always ‘power over’ another.
Lukes, (1974) argued that it is the ability of one person, to get another, to do something that (s)he might not otherwise do. He argues that this power is a result of conflict between actors to determine who wins and who loses.
However, Arendt, (1963) saw power as being related to people joining together and making unbreakable promises. Arendt observed a difference between ‘power’ within relationships and ‘authority’ that is given to an individual because of their role. Hindess, (1996) suggests that this moves power towards a relational process and relying on the consent of others.
Elias, (1978) suggests that power is not something a person owns, but it is a trait of human relationships. This view is supported by Lukes, (1974). Elias further suggests that power relations are formed in relationship and that it is a result of living together and interdependence. This phenomenon is like a game of tug of war; a trial of strength between two sides pulling against each other. Oxford English Reference Dictionary (1996), p. 1548
Foucault suggested that power follows the concepts of Nietzsche in that knowledge and thought, theories and discourses are penetrated by values, Daudi, 1986 as cited by Proctor 2017. This approach formed the basis of Foucault’s work. He sees this power relationship as not responding to others, but on their actions. Thus, it is an action upon an action. Day, (2010).
This view of power suggests that power is inherent in all relationships so it both enables and limits actions, thereby helping individuals to broaden their boundaries, Hayward, (1998)
From this perspective, “Power is everywhere…because it comes from everywhere”. Foucault (1980). Power is involved in all social interactions, because ideas operate behind all language and action. Lukes (1974).
Foucault focused on how power was used in society, such as sexuality, (1976), madness, (1967) or criminality, (1977). He looked at the aims of those involved and the tactics they used to achieve those aims and the counter actions of others to achieve the same objective. In his deconstruction of the power within these institutions, he defines ‘disciplinary power’. He defines this as “comprising a whole set of instruments, techniques, procedures, levels of application, targets”. Foucault, (1977), p.215. He emphasised the ‘struggle’ that occurs between individuals and groups in society as the discord is taken up in response to the behaviours of others. Day, (2010) suggests power operates systematically within a society not from above.
Perspectives of Power in the Psychotherapy Relationship
Whilst searching the literature, I struggled to find any published research. Where references have been uncovered, these have been philosophical or theoretical perspectives on the subject; or individual accounts of personal and professional experience. Sanders, c (2017), Totton,(2009), Amitay, (2017), Lazarus, (2015).
Positions of Power
From the literature, there appears to be four philosophical positions:
Power as a destructive and oppressive force in the psychotherapy relationship;
The psychotherapy Relationship as a process of liberation and empowerment of the client.
Power as a relational, inter-subjective process in the psychotherapy relationship; and
The denial of the existence of power in the psychotherapy relationship.
At the end of the 1980’s, the central thoughts about how the imbalances between the therapist and client can result in oppressive and destructive outcomes for clients. The following debates concentrated on the abuse of sexual boundaries and forms of discrimination and prejudice against minority groups. Bates, (2006); Lago, (2006); Masson, (1989); Smail, 1995. The way the psychotherapeutic relationship exists between the client and therapist means that there is a potential for abusive relationships in the dialogue between the client and therapist. Spinelli, (1994). This reflects a structural position on power, Day, (2010), Proctor, (2017). So, the therapist in these circumstances, has ‘power over’ the client which renders them ‘powerless’ and vulnerable.
Within the literature, Masson (1989), describes power in the therapy room as having destructive elements and that the therapy could be a form of abuse. Another form of destructive power, could be therapist abusing the client by disrespecting the sexual boundaries, Chesler, (1972), Sonne and Pope, (1991) and Gabbard, (1996).
It is suggested that these destructive ways can operate at an unconscious level thus leaving the client vulnerable to past, negative experiences. Herman, (1992) believes that it is important for the therapist to avoid using their ‘power over’ Proctor, (2017), p. 13 the client for their own needs or to direct the client’s life decisions. Day, (2010).
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, (BACP) state that under their Ethical Framework, the counsellor has a commitment to avoid harm towards the client, (2015).
It is assumed from this point of view that power is dangerous and destructive to those who are powerless. Often power is viewed from an ethical or moral basis, looking at what is right or wrong. In simple terms, power is either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Furggeri, (1992). This view assumes that is a possession, that is in limited supply and this then forms a structural perspective of power. The client is seen as powerless and the therapist powerful. It could be argued that this is an extreme form of domination and repression. Thus, power is viewed as monolithic, unitary and unidirectional. Procter, (2002)
Psychotherapy as Empowerment for the Client.
An alternative perspective of power is seen as positive with the therapist power being good. Psychotherapy is an empowering process for the client and thus enables the client’s autonomy. This line of argument is seen in humanistic literature, feminist literature. Brown, (1994). The British Psychological Society’s (BPS), 2009 division of counselling psychology, states explicitly that it works to ‘empower the client’.
Carl Rogers was one of the first proponents of this. Rogers suggested that the therapist’s role was to avoid power over the client and also refrain from making decisions for them. Rogers supported the client’s autonomy and how they achieved this. So, the decisions are made by the client for themselves. Rogers, (1978)
Bozarth, (1998) argues that the crux of this theory is that the therapist does not intervene. Natiello, (1990), states, “…. Offers a morality of power as well as a methodology for arriving at that morality”. (p 268). She maintains that the person-centred approach offers the client the opportunity to claim his or her own personal power rather than being reliant on the power of others.
Similarly, Freud theories of psychoanalysis argue for the analysist to use their power of rational authority to free the mind of the client.
Fromm, (1956) argues that over the duration of therapy, the client frees and cures themselves from an attachment to irrational authority. Benjamin,(1995) challenged Freud’s position states “ Already idealised for his knowledge and power – his power to know her – the analyst is now internalised in the relationship of knowledge as power over self, a practice in the domination of self whose meaning Foucault (1980) has made unforgettably problematic” p. 154
Frosh, (1987) states that object relations, like psychoanalysis, sets itself up in the feeing of a person’s psyche. He argues that its objectives are to free the client from fixations created by ‘bad’ experiences and to promote internalisation of the more nurturing possibilities experienced in the relationship with the therapist.
This assumes the client is powerless and vulnerable and the therapist has the power to empower the client. Client’s therefore are viewed as powerless. This could be seen as a structural position where power is either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and one either has it or not. A moral argument could be where one form of power is ‘right’ and others are ‘wrong’.
A Relationship of Mutuality
The psychotherapeutic relationship is viewed as one of mutuality. Aron, (1996) views this as involving mutual generation of data, mutual regulation of the relationship, mutual recognition of the others autonomy and openness on the part of the therapist as to their client’s impact upon them. Aron argues that power is dynamic that is constantly struggled with in therapy and therefore needs ‘to be continually examined, articulated and worked through’, p151. He suggests that therapists need to question their decisions with regards to ethics as well as questioning their authority and domination in the relationship, referenced in Proctor, (2002) p 133.
Frosh, (1987) believes that the objectives for therapy is to allow the client to explore the power in therapy as it copies and reminds the client of internalised introjects from their formative years. He suggests that an approach which is politicised and recognises the reality of social structures. He argues that part of the difficulties relating to change is that people need to identify, re-experience and re-frame these introjects to help to give them a new meaning in their life. Totton, (2000) argues that it is the therapist’s role to help the client find another genuine and authentic psycho- political position. The relational position, therefore sees the power dynamics as being central in the therapeutic relationship. It is suggested that power is aligned to knowledge and neither the client or the therapist can ‘know’. Thus, it is thought that it is present in all relationships rather than being a possession of the client or therapist. It is therefore unavoidable and potentially both positive and negative. Proctor, (2002) it could be argued that this view, might undermine the role of structural differences in power in society reducing it to an intersubjective process.
Concluding thoughts of the literature
Relational perspectives in psychotherapy have started to think about ‘power’ as dynamic and inevitable. Proctor, (2017). However, despite this recognition of power, the discourse on the power dynamics in psychotherapy has remained at a philosophical level. Much of the literature can be seen as a critique of other psychological therapy or it attempts to show how therapists can misuse the power differential with their clients. The question to be explored and researched further would be how psychotherapists experience the phenomenon of power with their client’s and how it can be worked with in a clinical setting.