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The City of the Sun (1602) is a work of utopian fiction by Tommaso Campanella. Written while the author was imprisoned in Naples for his role in a conspiracy against Spanish rule in Calabria, The City of the Sun is regarded as an essential work of Renaissance political philosophy. Written in the tradition of Plato’s Republic and Timaeus, the text imagines a peaceful society ruled by a theocratic monarchy and dedicated to communal values. “It is divided into seven rings or huge circles named from the seven planets, and the way from one to the other of these is by four streets and through four gates, that look toward the four points of the compass.” Built with perfection in mind, the City of the Sun is organized from the largest details down to the smallest. Each citizen is employed, and no occupation is held in higher esteem than another. There are no servants, four-hour workdays, and no private goods or possessions. Everyone abides by a strict set of rules designed to keep them happy and healthy, and important decisions are made only after a painstaking analysis of the planets and stars has been performed. Written in dialogue form, The City of the Sun has intrigued and informed generations of political thinkers around the world. With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Tommaso Campanella’s The City of the Sun is a classic work of Italian literature reimagined for modern readers.
Fu scritta durante la lunga detenzione nel carcere di Napoli nel 1602, tradotta successivamente in latino e pubblicata poi per la prima volta a Francoforte nel 1623.
L’opera è presentata dall’autore come un dialogo poetico, secondo il modello neoplatonico, nel quale due interlocutori discutono di una società ideale organizzata secondo una struttura comunistico-teocratica.
L’opera consiste in un dialogo tra un cavaliere di Malta e un ammiraglio genovese, il quale ha appena fatto ritorno dal giro del mondo ed espone al suo interlocutore la vita di una città, chiamata Città del sole, che si trova sulla linea dell’Equatore. Il dialogo, che si ricollega alla tradizione della Repubblica di Platone e di Utopia di Tommaso Moro, serve a Campanella per illustrare la sua teoria ideale sulla migliore forma di governo. La città, spiega l’ammiraglio, si trova sull’isola di Taprobana (che i critici fanno corrispondere all’isola di Ceylon) ed è eretta su un alto colle; è circondata da sette cerchia di mura, praticamente inespugnabili, ognuna delle quali porta il nome di uno dei sette pianeti, mentre le entrate per accedere alla città sono quattro, situate in corrispondenza dei quattro punti cardinali. Alla sommità del monte si trova un tempio di forma circolare, consacrato al Sole, sulla cui volta sono dipinte le stelle maggiori.
A contemporary of Giordano Bruno and Galileo, Tommaso Campanella (1568–1639) was a controversial philosopher, theologian, astrologer, and poet who was persecuted during the Inquisition and spent much of his adult life imprisoned because of his heterodox views. He is best known today for two works: The City of the Sun, a dialogue inspired by Plato’s Republic, in which he prophesies a vision of a unified, peaceful world governed by a theocratic monarchy; and his well-meaning Defense of Galileo, which may have done Galileo more harm than good because of Campanella’s previous conviction for heresy.
But Campanella’s philosophical poems are where his most forceful and undiluted ideas reside. His poetry is where his faith in observable and experimental sciences, his astrological and occult wisdom, his ideas about deism, his anti-Aristotelianism, and his calls for religious and secular reform most put him at odds with both civil and church authorities. For this volume, Sherry Roush has selected Campanella’s best and most idiosyncratic poems, which are masterpieces of sixteenth-century Italian lyrics, displaying a questing mind of great, if unorthodox, brilliance, and showing Campanella’s passionate belief in the intrinsic harmony between the sacred and secular.
This first faithful and complete English translation by Daniel J. Donno is presented opposite the critically established Itaion text, with essential explanatory notes and an introductory essay. Students of Italian culture, of the history of science, and of political, philosophical, and religious thought will welcome the publication of this authoritative edition of Campanella's best-known work.