Fortuna oder die Umstände von Erfolg und Scheitern in der politischen Theorie der Vormoderne


  • Anna Becker



This article argues that early modern political thinkers did not think about "success“ and "failure“ in modern terms of material well-being or as results of individual action and self-actualisation. Focusing on the thought of Niccolò Machiavelli and Jean Bodin, two key thinkers of the early modern period, the article shows that two aspects were central to early modern thinkers but that tend to be disregarded in modern debates. Early modern thinkers put considerably more emphasis on the role of fortune, the unruly force which controling human actions, human success and human failure. And they emphasised the central role of the common good as the benchmark against which success needed to be measured.