Historical and philosophical premises
Occupying the central position among the theories of IR, it isunderstandable that realist attitudes have been reperable long before thestructuring of the realist theory itself. Starting with the Antiquity, authors likeThucydides recognized that power was the propelling force of the internationalsystem (reduced in those times to Athens, Sparta and the Persian Empire) and alsothe fundamental cause of war.
In general, many scholars perceive Thomas Hobbes as being the mostinfluential predecessor of modern realism
and tend to overlook or minimize theimportance of Machiavelli in this regard. Indeed, the Florentine secretary offeredthe most powerful and striking distinction between the real and the imaginary
states. He wrote that ‘there are many who have
imagined republics and
principalities which no one ever saw and no one ever knew as existing in reality’,
and warned about the dangers which result from such a pernicious confusion.
Machiavelli’s tumultuous posterity hypertrophied
, withoutcontextualizing enough its teachings, in comparison to his other major work,
, a reflection of his republican, rather than autocratic convictions.
However, some authors argue that Machiavelli was a republican in the same extentthat he was a partisan of autocracy
: the social and cultural diversity of mankindrequired both political forms, each fitted to a certain civilizational context. But,when it achieves enough political maturity, every principality should develop intoa superior form of organization and this is the republic;
only this type of political
, București: Editura Științifică, 1966, p. 160; see also Thucydides,‘The History of the Peloponnesian War’, in Brook, David (ed.),
Search for Peace. A Reader inInternational Relations
, New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1970, pp. 28-33.
., p. 162; Miroiu, Andrei; Soare, Simona, ‘Realismul’, in Miroiu, Andrei;
Ungureanu, Radu-Sebastian (ed.),
Manual de Relații Internaționale
, Iași: Polirom, 2006, pp. 95
, București: Antet, 2000, p. 56
Machiavelli. Omul. Timpurile. Opera
, vol. II, ‘Politicul. Istoricul. Patriotul’, București:Cultura Națională, 1932, p. 150
Crick, Bernard, Introduction to Niccolo Machiavelli’s
, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1979, p.18.
., p. 116. See also Viroli, Maurizio, ‘Machiavelli and the republican idea ofpolitics’, in Bock, Gisela; Skinner, Quentin; Viroli, Maurizio,
Machiavelli and Republicanism
, New York:Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 144, 171, and Skinner, Quentin,
, Chișinău: Arc, 2001,