Evgeny Roshchin
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The ethics of friendship in early European diplomacy
in Friendship among nations
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This chapter explores whether the ethical perspective on friendship was incompatible with the idea of politics, even politics framed in moral terms. The ethical concept of friendship is never strictly separated from the performance of political roles, for discussions of ethical principles and moral norms always take place within the framework of a particular political regime, societal arrangement and culture. It is therefore essential to contextualise the moralist arguments of Renaissance authors in order to highlight the political rationality of high moral standards of friendship appealing to past and modern publics. The chapter identifies which political norms and moral issues became central to Humanist discourse on friendship in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It also explores how these scholars' understanding contributed to the ideological underpinnings of the emerging international system by linking personalised princely friendships to issues of alliances, commercial relations and sovereign authority.

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