Sacrality and the Aesthetics of Politics: Mazzini’s Concept of the Nation

Alberto Mario Banti

in Giuseppe Mazzini and the Globalization of Democratic Nationalism, 1830-1920

Published by British Academy

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780197264317
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734472 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Sacrality and the Aesthetics of Politics: Mazzini’s Concept of the Nation

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter examines the conception of the nation proposed by Mazzini in his theoretical and political writings. It shows that Mazzini presents the nation as a kinship community based on history, genealogy, blood, and land – an image tinged with a profound and moving religious aura. Furthermore, the chapter incorporates a gender connotation that contains the crucial reference to the honour of Italian women, which has to be defended by Italian male heroes. This conception is compared with the one that emerges from two paintings by Francesco Hayez, an artist Mazzini knew well and appreciated for his patriotic commitment. The comparison helps us to understand the communicative effectiveness of the idea of the nation proposed by Mazzini and shared by Hayez and many others.

Keywords: nation; kinship community; gender; Italian women; honour; Francesco Hayez

Chapter.  7187 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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