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Reference: Smith, S, (2016). Democracy and the body politic from Aristotle to Hobbes. Political Theory.Citable link to this page:


Democracy and the body politic from Aristotle to Hobbes

Abstract: The conventional view of Hobbes’s commonwealth is that it was inspired by contemporary theories of tyranny. This article explores the idea that a paradigm for Hobbes’s state could in fact be found in early modern readings of Aristotle on democracy, as found in Book Three of the Politics. It argues that by the late sixteenth century, these meditations on the democratic body politic had developed claims about unity, mythology, and personation that would become central to Hobbes’s own theory of the commonwealth. Tracing the history of commentary on the relevant passages in Aristotle reveals new perspectives not only on the political theories of both Aristotle and Hobbes but also introduces modern readers to the richness of early modern commentaries on classical political texts. The article ends with some thoughts on why attention to traditions of commentary might be valuable for political theorists today.

Publication status:PublishedPeer Review status:Peer reviewedVersion:Accepted ManuscriptDate of acceptance:11 April 2016 Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council   Notes:Copyright © 2016 SAGE Publications. This is the accepted manuscript version of the article. The final version is available online from SAGE at:

Bibliographic Details

Publisher: SAGE

Publisher Website:

Journal: Political Theorysee more from them

Publication Website:

Issue Date: 12 September 2016Identifiers

Issn: 0090-5917

Eissn: 1552-7476


Uuid: uuid:bdd6eec1-b8e1-4306-862d-51508be61a05

Urn: uri:bdd6eec1-b8e1-4306-862d-51508be61a05

Pubs-id: pubs:652533 Item Description

Type: journal-article;

Version: Accepted ManuscriptKeywords: Aristotle Hobbes democracy commonwealth union commentary


Autor: Smith, S - Oxford oxfordCollegeChrist Church - - - - Bibliographic Details Publisher: SAGE - Publisher Website: http:-online.sage



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