Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Committee Chair

Blum, Mark E.

Author's Keywords

Peace; Artistic; Literacy; Painting; Literature; Western culture


Peace in art; Peace in literature


The purpose of this dissertation is to suggest that peace is an idea that changes throughout the history of the west, rather than to show how nations may achieve peace or to define what it is. It begins as a concept the power brokers refer to or represent in their own terms. In Rome the concept of peace expressed the emperor's ability to end civil war. In Siena, the concept substantiated the Nine's claim that communal prosperity and absence of regional wars had happened during their rule. By the Westphalia period the power brokers began to realize the populace was entering the realm of political discussion with ideas of how to organize society in a way that would obviate the need for war. The absence of great war held for a couple of hundred years, without expunging the possibility of war's recurrence. During the world wars of the 20 th century, the voice of the populace against war grew too strong for the culture to avoid. These periods are watershed points in western history. The socio-political structure of Rome followed republic with empire. The Sienese period emerged from the western medieval era. The Westphalia period followed the Thirty Years' War. The United Nations developed from the catastrophic 20 th -century world wars. It is possible to view the development of the concept of peace through cultural achievements in the arts, specifically painting and literature. As the culture evolved, the expressions of artists and writers gained more capacity to anticipate the direction in which the culture would move regarding peace. As power brokers found they must recognize the expressions of the people who were gaining influence over their own lives and the cultural directions the people wanted to follow, western culture itself ultimately advanced to the point in the 20 th century when war was not the only acceptable response to international tensions. The development of the concept of peace brought to the west an "atmosphere favorable to the activities of the mind." The concept of peace opened up the culture to a development of the west's collective qualities, which essentially were the measure of its humanity.