Bonus Lesson: From the History Channel “The Plague”; “Witchcraft and Magic”, a lecture by Keith Wrightson; “Niccolo Machiavelli” two lectures by Stephen Smith, also of Yale University

The History Channel series on The Plague and its devastating effects on Europe:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Part Four:

Part Five:

Part Six:

We focus on popular English culture in Keith Wrightson’s outstanding lecture Witchcraft and Magic. He will guide us through this subject before we turn to the high culture of the European Renaissance:

Wikipedia tells us that “Steven B. Smith is the Alfred Cowles Professor of Political Science at Yale University. He is the ninth master of Branford College (since 1996) at Yale.

A graduate of University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the recipient of an M.Phil. from England’s Durham University, in 1981 Steven Smith received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He was briefly employed as an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin before his 1984 arrival at Yale, where he was granted tenure in 1990. At Yale, he has served in many important positions while focusing on his research. His areas of expertise are the history of political philosophy and the role of statecraft in constitutional government. He is an honorary member of Manuscript Society.

His recent books include Spinoza, Liberalism and Jewish Identity (1997), Spinoza’s Book of Life (2003), and his latest Reading Leo Strauss (2006).”

It may be helpful to refresh our memory of Macchiavelli’s contributions to political philosophy. From Wikipedia, we learn “Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (Italian pronunciation: [nikkoˌlɔ makjaˈvɛlli], 3 May 1469 – 21 June 1527) was an Italian historian, diplomat, philosopher, humanist and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. A founder of modern political science,[1] he was a diplomat, political philosopher, playwright, and a civil servant of the Florentine Republic. He also wrote comedies, carnival songs, and poetry. His personal correspondence is renowned in the Italian language. He was Secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence from 1498 to 1512, when the Medici were out of power. He wrote his masterpiece, The Prince, after the Medici had recovered power and he no longer held a position of responsibility in Florence.”

Part One:

Part Two:


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