Pity as a Political Emotion in Early Modern Europe
Classical authors mention the emotion of pity mainly in the context of poetics and rhetoric, not politics. One may say that they consider pity to be useless if not noxious in politics. This seems not to be the case in early modern Europe facing religious and political crisis. Several intellectual figures of the Renaissance reshape classical and medieval conceptions of pity and formulate quite a different view on its role in attaining political harmony. In this article, I will analyze pity in the context of early modern political philosophy and politics. Through the study of the political role of pity in early modern times, this essay is also aimed at reconsidering the very relation between emotions and politics.