MORGAN N. /// Machiavellian Fortresses and the Virtue of the Sovereign


This conversation is based around Morgan’s expertise in 16th-century European fortified architecture. We focus on Niccolò Machiavelli’s writings about the parallel that can be found between military architecture and the “virtuous” sovereignty of the Prince. Machiavelli distinguishes fortresses that are used in the context of the continuous state of war of the Italian cities from those used to protect the sovereign against its own people. Morgan and I cannot fail to notice the similitude in contemporary United States, its internal management of firearms and its external wars executed from the comfortable position of the drone pilot.

Morgan is a scholar of early modern architecture and art. His academic interests lie at the intersection of architecture, technology, and visual culture in the early modern period, with a particular focus on Renaissance fortifications. He is currently completing his PhD at Harvard University.


– “The Textual-Sonic Landscapes of Jacques Perret’s Des Fortifications et Artifices” (November 2011) for The Funambulist Papers: Volume 1 (Punctum Books, 2013)


– Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, Florida: Simon & Brown, 2012.
– Niccolo Machiavelli, The Art of War, Jackson: Da Capo Press, 2001.
– Niccolo Machiavelli, The Discourses, New York: Penguin Classics, 1984.
– Leon Battista Alberti, On the Art of Building in Ten Books, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1991.