"Political Lexicon" is a book series edited by Carlo Galli. Since its inauguration in September 1999 eleven titles have been published: Constitution, Representation, Liberty, State, Democracy, Interest, Tolerance, Government, Community and Authority. The series' goal is to build an essential encyclopaedia offering a description of the principal concepts that underpin political discourse, especially as regards their historical evolution. The non-specialist reader may thus appreciate the historical and theoretical touchstones of contemporary political debate. The concept of revolution is an essential part of modern political thought and events of modern age. However, much like other political keywords, it has taken on different meanings and connotations over time. According to the basic guide-lines laid out for the book series, Ricciardi's volume illustrates the variability of the meanings of "revolution" (a term which originates in astronomy) in ancient Greece, in medieval Christian thought and then - with the meaning of overthrowing a political order - in Machiavelli, Guicciardini, and Bodin. The crucial events in its history are, of course, the English Revolution in the 17th century and the American and French Revolutions in the 18th century. Whether it was considered a goal to achieve or an occurrence to prevent, after 1789 the concept of revolution has anchored the political discourse of counter-revolutionaries and Marx, Tocqueville and Lenin, up to the apostles of the "conservative revolution". Even today, in the post-communist age, revolution continues to be, in different ways, a reference point for the third world, social movements and feminist thought.
Maurizio Ricciardi is a researcher in the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Bologna.