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The Liberty of ServantsBerlusconi's Italy$
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Maurizio Viroli

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151823

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151823.001.0001

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The Court System

The Court System

(p.14) 2 The Court System
The Liberty of Servants

Maurizio Viroli

, Antony Shugaar
Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the court system. When an enormous or arbitrary power establishes itself in a country, the court system is created. A court exists when a person, by virtue of his enormous power, constantly occupies a more elevated and central position in relation to a relatively large number of individuals who depend on him in order to gain, keep, and increase their wealth, status, and chance of appearing and being seen and admired. This system depends on the effective power of the signore to distribute to the courtiers material and symbolic benefits and to threaten them, equally effectively, with the loss of those goods. In the court system, the prince too depends to a certain degree on the courtiers and all those whom he can benefit or threaten. However, the superior power of the signore and his central position are not in question. Ultimately, the most important reason for a court's existence is the practice of servitude.

Keywords:   court system, arbitrary power, court, signore, superior power, servitude

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