Social Utopias of Reformation Epoch – Part 1

Social Utopias of Reformation Epoch – Part 1

Social Utopias of Reformation Epoch – Part 2

Social Utopias of Reformation Epoch – Part 3



I turned to the topic, because the theme of social utopias and hopes for a better life, a fair and honest government, social equality and the lack of class system since ancient times occupied the greatest thinkers of many different civilizations. On the very places that are not and can not be spoken in ancient China, this theme developed by Plato, but creating the very model of a perfect (in the author’s view) the state, albeit without specifying the pathways of this place in the real world certainly is a tribute to Thomas More and Tommaso Campanella, who wrote “Utopia” and “Sun City”, which made the names of their authors immortal.

Whatever you say, in the Middle Ages, life was bad and boring, if not more. Any benefits of civilization, destruction, filth, deceit, ignorance, lack of decent medicine – thousands of people dying from epidemics. In addition to all had no equity and no freedom. Supreme Ruler disposed of other people’s lives, both wanted to punish anyone. It was then and appears in the literature of this genre, as a utopian novel. Simply speaking, educated people (who managed to deal with pen and paper, if such there were few) have written stories about imaginary countries where there were no all the horrors that surrounded them. They describe a society without flaws and injustice, where all were equal and identical.

Despite the impossibility of creating such societies, books, Mora and Campanella, there are a number of ideas that were quite advanced for their time and who (though not all) are implemented in the modern world.

Figures of the Renaissance formulate new perspectives on social life. Biblical stories about the paradise of Adam and Eve, the life of Jews in the Promised Land, the teachings of St. Augustine (Aurelius) on the church as the kingdom of God on earth is untenable. Figures of the Renaissance attempted to portray the right person to the society without mentioning the Bible or the teachings of the holy fathers. For them, the figures of the Renaissance, the society – is necessary environment of human life. It is not in heaven, not a gift from God, but on the ground and the result of human effort. In their view, society, firstly, should take into account human nature, and secondly – for all people, and thirdly – a society of the distant future. The greatest influence on the history of philosophical thought and the historical fate of European nations had the teachings of Renaissance figures on the state system. That is their doctrine of the monarchy and the communist system. The first of these was the ideological basis of the established later absolutism, and the second – helped to create various communist theories, including Marxist communism.

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Tommaso Campanella (1568 – 1639). Biography

Born in Stignano (in the county of Stilo) in the province of Reggio di Calabria in southern Italy, Campanella was a child prodigy. Son of a poor and illiterate cobbler, he entered the Dominican Order before the age of fifteen, taking the name of fra’ Tommaso in honour of Thomas Aquinas. He studied theology and philosophy with several masters.

Early on, he became disenchanted with the Aristotelian orthodoxy and attracted by the empiricism of Bernardino Telesio (1509–1588), who taught that knowledge is sensation and that all things in nature possess sensation. Campanella wrote his first work, Philosophia sensibus demonstrata (“Philosophy demonstrated by the senses”), published in 1592, in defense of Telesio.

In Naples, he was also initiated in astrology; astrological speculations would become a constant feature in his writings.

Campanella’s heterodox views, especially his opposition to the authority of Aristotle, brought him into conflict with the ecclesiastical authorities. Denounced to the Inquisition and cited before the Holy Office in Rome, he was confined in a convent until 1597.

After his liberation, Campanella returned to Calabria, where he was accused of leading a conspiracy against the Spanish rule in his hometown of Stilo. Campanella’s aim was to establish a society based on the community of goods and wives, for on the basis of the prophecies of Joachim of Fiore and his own astrological observations, he foresaw the advent of the Age of the Spirit in the year 1600. Betrayed by two of his fellow conspirators, he was captured and incarcerated in Naples, where he was tortured on the rack. He made a full confession and would have been put to death if he had not feigned madness and set his cell on fire. He was tortured further (a total of seven times) and then, crippled and ill, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

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Campanella spent twenty-seven years imprisoned in Naples, often in the worst conditions. During his detention, he wrote his most important works: The Monarchy of Spain (1600), Political Aphorisms (1601), Atheismus triumphatus (Atheism Conquered, 1605–1607), Quod reminiscetur (1606), Metaphysica (1609–1623), Theologia (1613–1624), and his most famous work, The City of the Sun (originally written in Italian in 1602; published in Latin in Frankfurt (1623) and later in Paris (1638)). He even intervened in the first trial against Galileo Galilei with his courageous The Defense of Galileo (written in 1616, published in 1622). Ironically, Galileo himself probably would not have wanted Campanella’s assistance because of Campanella’s sometimes outlandish ideas and prior conviction of heresy.

Campanella was finally released from his prison in 1626, through Pope Urban VIII, who personally interceded on his behalf with Philip IV of Spain. Taken to Rome and held for a time by the Holy Office, Campanella was restored to full liberty in 1629. He lived for five years in Rome, where he was Urban’s advisor in astrological matters.

In 1634, however, a new conspiracy in Calabria, led by one of his followers, threatened fresh troubles. With the aid of Cardinal Barberini and the French Ambassador de Noailles, he fled to France, where he was received at the court of Louis XIII with marked favour. Protected by Cardinal Richelieu and granted a liberal pension by the king, he spent the rest of his days in the convent of Saint-Honoré in Paris. His last work was a poem celebrating the birth of the future Louis XIV (Ecloga in portentosam Delphini nativitatem).

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Besides some minor philosophical works he wrote immortalized his work “Sun City” (Civitas Solis). The title of his work, he hid the criticism hyped Ages writings of St. Augustine “The City of God” (De Civitate Dei). In the city of the sun, the inhabitants of which Campanella called tanning beds, abolished private property, labor – total service and the most important human need, it “has no place scoundrels and parasites.” All sunroom “take part in military affairs, agriculture and ranching … And someone who knows more and more arts and crafts, and enjoyed great honors, to engage in the same order, or otherwise determined by the skill of those who turns to him most capable. The most serious crafts … are they and most commendable, and no one deviates from taking them … less severe crafts by women. ” “At home, bedrooms, beds and everything you need – they share.” Monk Campanella wrote that the sunroom on childbearing is regarded as a religious matter, sent for the good of the state, not individuals. “Couples the same for the reproduction of the population chooses the state itself. All power in the City of the Sun is in the hands of spiritual aristocracy, headed by the wisest philosopher, a kind of high priest,” which in our language we would call the Metaphysics…

In my opinion, ‘City of the Sun’ is not ideal, since it is not possible to get people engaged in farming and herding and military affairs, work more efficiently when there is its separation. The best results society is achieved when each person finds his place in society may be useful to him and does what he do best. As the marriage without love, but in the name of the state will not make a happy citizen, I think on this can deprive the rulers.