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Title: Prophet of the past : history in the making of Mazzini's promised land
Other Titles: Malta and Mazzini
Authors: Dalli, Charles
Keywords: Mazzini, Giuseppe, 1805-1872 -- Criticism and interpretation
Italy -- History -- 1815-1870
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: Malta Historical Society
Citation: Dalli, C. (2007). Prophet of the past : history in the making of Mazzini's promised land. In S. Mercieca (Ed.), Malta and Mazzini, proceedings of History Week 2005 (pp. 205-216). Msida: The Malta Historical Society.
Abstract: 'The Europe ofto-day', wrote Mazzini in his address To the Italians (1871) launching La Roma del Popolo, seeks 'like the Israelites in the desert, a promised land still unknown.' A recent biographer has applied to Mazzini 'the last words attributed to the medieval pope Gregory VIT: Dilexi justitia, odivi iniquitate, ergo in exilio moro (I loved justice and hated iniquity, hence I die in exile).' Like a latter day Hildebrand, 'Mazzini was Gregory's equal in lovingjustice, hating iniquity, and asserting his own righteousness. ' An inveterate high priest of republicanism, Mazzini held up as the quick fix for past and present injustices a universalist ideology which owed a lot to the man's interpretation of his country's past. Two days after Mazzini's death on 10 March 1872, The Times of London announced 'the death of a man who in his time has played a most singular part upon the theatre of European politics; one whose name has for years been regarded as a symbol of Revolution, or rather Republicanism; one in whose character there were many fine and noble qualities; but still a man who was feared even more widely than he was loved, and one whose departure from the scene of action, to say the least, will be no unwelcome news to several crowned and discrowned members of the family of European sovereigns. He was the man who ever 'troubled Israel' by his ceaseless efforts ... ' The Prophet had failed to reach the 'Promised Land'. Prophets interpret what they claim to be God's will. Like a good prophet, with bible in hand, Mazzini claimed the right to advocate his people and the ability to help them shape a better future. Instead, the present work explores Mazzini's role as a prophet of the past - a romanticized golden age which he identified with the medieval commune, the closest form of republican government to his own blueprint for the 'Promised Land'. Mazzini was able to justify his warlike nationalist call for revolutionary struggle to liberate the motherland by promoting a retrospective form of nationalism. Preaching a republican form of liberty, Mazzini's argument from nature - that a free nation belonged to the natural order of things - was supported by the argument from history - that republican government was achievable because it was in the history books. The argument from nature was easier to make, as nationalists could make use of a fundamental human institution as a metaphor for the national community - namely, the family.
ISBN: 9789993205746
Appears in Collections:Malta and Mazzini

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