2 Answers

  1. Well, why “difficult to translate”. The Latin root “virtu” found itself in the Russian language in the word “virtuosity”, the antonym of which is the root” defect”, that is, insufficiency, defectiveness. Thus, Machiavellian “virtu” can be translated as “dignity”, which the romantic Republican considered inherent in such figures of ancient politics as the dictators Caesar or Cincinatus.

    This is also an extremely important concept in modern political science, because based on the Hannah Arendt paradigm, it is precisely the lack of dignity that dangerously distances elites from the source of their power – the approval of the majority.

  2. The concept of virtu is introduced by Machiavelli already in the first chapter of The Sovereign, when he says that states are acquired either by force, by the grace of fate, or by virtu. Usually this concept is translated into Russian as “valor”, although such a translation causes some difficulties – valor in the Russian tradition is primarily associated with military virtues. For Machiavelli, virtu is not, first of all, a moral virtue, not a moral quality, and secondly, it is understood by him as a kind of exceptional dexterity, the ability of a person to do something contrary to the requirements of fortune. Virtu is a gift to get what you want, to solve a problem even in unfavorable conditions; in general, a talent that is available to a few. If you want to become a sovereign, but you do not have any virtues, do not have special talents, it will be difficult for you to get and hold on to power, prepare for many difficulties. Among the people who possessed virtu, Machiavelli names Moses, Theseus, Romulus – that is, legendary heroes. Nevertheless, virtu is an important trait of a strong ruler, whose coming to his native Florence Machiavelli dreamed of since the fall of Savonarola.

Leave a Reply