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Juan de Mariana

Mariana, Juan de (hwän dā märyäˈnä) [key], 1536?–1623?, Spanish historian and political philosopher, a Jesuit. He taught in Rome and in Paris before going to Toledo, where he wrote his two great works. His Historiae de rebus Hispaniae [history of Spain], a notable achievement in history, presented a unified and coordinated history rather than a simple chronicle. Although sometimes credulous, he was to some extent critical of sources; his ability to create a smooth-flowing narrative was remarkable. His De rege et regis institutione [on the king and the institution of kingship] achieved particular note because it condoned tyrannicide. Mariana argued that when the state violated the welfare of the people, a desperate remedy was justifiable. He extolled the natural simplicity of the communal life of a lost golden age. His humanitarian ideals were widely influential; he is supposed to have had a great effect on Rousseau. His violent attack on debasement of the coinage, in which he expressed arguments later universally accepted, caused him to be imprisoned for a time.

See study by G. Lewy (1960).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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