Synopses & Reviews
Machiavelli's highly influential treatise on political power
The Prince shocked Europe on publication with its advocacy of ruthless tactics for gaining absolute power and its abandonment of conventional morality. Niccoló Machiavelli drew on his own experience of office under the turbulent Florentine republic, rejecting traditional values of political theory and recognizing the complicated, transient nature of political life. Concerned not with lofty ideal but with a regime that would last, The Prince has become the bible of realpolitik, and it still retains its power to alarm and to instruct. In this edition, Machiavelli's tough-minded and pragmatic Italian is preserved in George Bull's clear, unambiguous translation.
For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Drawing upon his own experiences of political office in the turbulent Florentine republic, Machiavelli wrote what would become his celebrated treatise on statecraft. Includes a chronology and map.
Rejecting the traditional values of political theory, Machiavelli drew upon his own experiences of office in the turbulent Florentine republic to write his celebrated treatise on statecraft. While Machiavelli was only one of the many Florentine "prophets of force," he differed from the ruling elite in recognizing the complexity and fluidity of political life.
Translated by George Bull
Introduction by Anthony Grafton
Rejecting the traditional values of political theory, Machiavelli drew upon his own experiences of office in the turbulent Florentine republic to write his celebrated treatise on statecraft. While Machiavelli was only one of the many Florentine “prophets of force,” he differed from the ruling elite in recognizing the complexity and fluidity of political life.
Includes bibliographical references (p. [xxx]-xxxi).
About the Author
Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) was a Florentine statesman who was later forced out of public life. He then devoted himself to studying and writing political philosophy, history, fiction, and drama. George Bull is an author and journalist who has translated six volumes for the Penguin Classics: Benvenuto Cellinis Autobiography, The Book of the Courtier by Castiglione, Vasaris Lives of the Artists (two volumes), The Prince by Machiavelli and Pietro Aretinos Selected Letters. He is also Consultant Editor to the Penguin Business Series. After reading history at Brasenose College, Oxford, George Bull worked for the Financial Times, McGraw-Hill World News, and for the Director magazine, of which he was Editor-in-Chief until 1984. His other books include Vatican Politics; Bid for Power (with Anthony Vice), a history of take-over bids; Renaissance Italy, a book for children; Venice: The Most Triumphant City; and Inside the Vatican.
Anthony Grafton teaches European intellectual history at Princeton University.
Table of Contents
Chronology Map Introduction Translator's Note Selected Books Machiavelli's Principal Works Letter to the Magnificent Lorenzo de Medici 1 I How many kinds of principality there are and the ways in which they are acquired 5 II Hereditary principalities 5 III Composite principalities 6 IV Why the kingdom of Darius conquered by Alexander did not rebel against his successors after his death 13 V How cities or principalities which lived under their own laws should be administered after being conquered 16 VI New principalities acquired by one's own arms and prowess 17 VII New principalities acquired with the help of fortune and foreign arms 20 VIII Those who come to power by crime 27 IX The constitutional principality 31 X How the strength of every principality should be measured 34 XI Ecclesiastical principalities 36 XII Military organization and mercenary troops 39 XIII Auxiliary, composite, and native troops 43 XIV How a prince should organize his militia 47 XV The things for which men, and especially princes, are praised or blamed 49 XVI Generosity and parsimony 51 XVII Cruelty and compassion; and whether it is better to be loved than feared, or the reverse 53 XVIII How princes should honour their word 56 XIX The need to avoid contempt and hatred 58 XX Whether fortresses and many of the other present-day expedients to which princes have recourse are useful or not 67 XXI How a prince must act to win honour 71 XXII A prince's personal staff 75 XXIII How flatterers must be shunned 76 XXIV Why the Italian princes have lost their states 78 XXV How far human affairs are governed by fortune, and how fortune can be opposed 79 XXVI Exhortation to liberate Italy from the barbarians 82 Glossary of Proper Names 86 Notes 99