Discourses on Livy (Dover Editions)

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9780486461892: Discourses on Livy (Dover Editions)

The strategies Machiavelli developed and endorsed in The Prince made his name an enduring synonym for the ruthless acquisition and use of power. Discourses on Livy, published in 1531, is equally essential to an understanding of political theory. Both treatises compare the government of ancient Rome to that of the Italian Renaissance. The Prince, however, offers advice on maintaining a monarchy; with Discourses, Machiavelli considers the structure and benefits of a republic.
Inspired by Titus Livy's monumental history of Rome, Machiavelli discusses the internal structure of a republic, methods of conducting warfare, and the defining qualities of individual leadership. His explorations of the concept of checks and balances, the strength of a tripartite structure, and the superiority of a republic to a principality keep this book as relevant today as it was five centuries ago.

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About the Author:

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli ( 3 May 1469 – 21 June 1527) was an Italian historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist, and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. He was for many years an official in the Florentine Republic, with responsibilities in diplomatic and military affairs. He was a founder of modern political science, and more specifically political ethics. He also wrote comedies, carnival songs, and poetry. His personal correspondence is renowned in the Italian language. He was Secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence from 1498 to 1512, when the Medici were out of power. He wrote his masterpiece, The Prince, after the Medici had recovered power and he no longer held a position of responsibility in Florence.

"Machiavellianism" is a widely used negative term to characterize unscrupulous politicians of the sort Machiavelli described in The Prince. The book itself gained enormous notoriety and wide readership because the author seemed to be endorsing behavior often deemed as evil and immoral.

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