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BODIN, Jean.

Les six livres de la republique.

Paris: Jacques de Puys, 1577 Stock Code: 118512
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The first modern attempt to create a complete system of political science

Third edition (the second authorized) of Bodin's masterpiece, which "had an immense influence all over Europe. This is a re-setting of the original edition of 1576, with a pagination jump from 519 to 552 and with 54 terminal pages of contents. The work is, in effect, the first modern attempt to create a complete system of political science. Its basis was the Politics of Aristotle, and it was through Bodin that Aristotle's work came to exercise the influence on modern political thinking which has made him the father of modern democracy. Bodin was not content merely to reproduce his master, however; he added considerably from his own experience. Although like most sixteenth-century writers he approved of absolute government, he demanded its control by constitutional laws, in which respect he foreshadowed the development during the seventeenth century of the idea of the 'social contract'. Thus Bodin was the first to set out clearly the argument round which most political discussion centred in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, that law is merely an expression of the sovereign will, but that where this reposes in an absolute monarch, it must be mitigated by a customary or natural law. When the lawgiver's law becomes unjust, it ceases to be valid and must be resisted" (PMM).

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Folio (330 x 213 mm). Later 18th-century sheep over patterned blue paper boards, skilfully rebacked preserving the original spine with red calf label, compartments elaborately ruled and decorated in gilt, vellum corners.


Woodcut title page device, headpieces, and initials.


2 ownership inscriptions to title page and a few annotations to the text. Extremities worn and boards scuffed, corners bumped, hinges cracked but firm, a little worm damage to endpapers, infrequent dampstain and spotting to contents with a few small punctures to lower margins, overall a very good copy.


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