The Prince (Italian: Il Principe [il ˈprintʃipe]) is a 16th-century
political treatise by the Italian diplomat and political theorist
Niccolò Machiavelli. From correspondence a version appears to have
been distributed in 1513, using a Latin title, De Principatibus (Of
Principalities). However, the printed version was not published
until 1532, five years after Machiavelli's death. This was done with
the permission of the
Medici pope Clement VII, but "long before then,
in fact since the first appearance of
The Prince in manuscript,
controversy had swirled about his writings".
Although it was written as if it were a traditional work in the
mirrors for princes style, it is generally agreed that it was
especially innovative. This is only partly because it was written in
the vernacular Italian rather than Latin, a practice which had become
increasingly popular since the publication of Dante's Divine Comedy
and other works of
The Prince is sometimes claimed to be one of the first works of modern
philosophy, especially modern political philosophy, in which the
effective truth is taken to be more important than any abstract ideal.
It was also in direct conflict with the dominant Catholic and
scholastic doctrines of the time concerning politics and ethics.
Although it is relatively short, the treatise is the most remembered
of Machiavelli's works and the one most responsible for bringing the
word "Machiavellian" into usage as a pejorative. It even contributed
to the modern negative connotations of the words "politics" and
"politician" in western countries. In terms of subject matter it
overlaps with the much longer Discourses on Livy, which was written a
few years later. In its use of near-contemporary
Italians as examples
of people who perpetrated criminal deeds for politics, another
lesser-known work by Machiavelli which
The Prince has been compared to
is the Life of Castruccio Castracani.
The descriptions within
The Prince have the general theme of accepting
that the aims of princes – such as glory and survival – can
justify the use of immoral means to achieve those ends:
He who neglects what is done for what ought to be done, sooner effects
his ruin than his preservation.
1.1 The subject matter: New Princedoms (Chapters 1 & 2)
1.2 "Mixed" princedoms (Chapters 3–5)
1.2.1 New conquests added to older states (Chapter 3)
1.2.2 Conquered kingdoms (Chapter 4)
1.2.3 Conquered Free States, with their own laws and orders (Chapter
1.3 Totally New States (Chapters 6–9)
1.3.1 Conquests by virtue (Chapter 6)
1.3.2 Conquest by fortune, meaning by someone else’s virtue (Chapter
1.3.3 Conquests by “criminal virtue” (Chapter 8)
1.3.4 Becoming a prince by the selection of one's fellow citizens
184.108.40.206 Supported by the great (those who wish to command the people)
220.127.116.11 Supported by the people (those who wish not to be commanded by
1.4 How to judge the strength of principalities (Chapter 10)
1.5 Ecclesiastical principates (Chapter 11)
1.6 Defense and military (Chapter 12–14)
1.7 The Qualities of a Prince (Chapters 14–19)
1.7.1 A Prince's Duty Concerning Military Matters (Chapter 14)
1.7.2 Reputation of a prince (Chapter 15)
1.7.3 Generosity vs. parsimony (Chapter 16)
1.7.4 Cruelty vs. Mercy (Chapter 17)
1.7.5 In what way princes should keep their word (Chapter 18)
1.7.6 Avoiding contempt and hatred (Chapter 19)
Prudence of the Prince (Chapters 20–25)
1.8.1 Whether ruling conquests with fortresses works (Chapter 20)
1.8.2 Gaining honors (Chapter 21)
1.8.3 Nobles and staff (Chapter 22)
1.8.4 Avoiding flatterers (Chapter 23)
Prudence and chance
1.9.1 Why the princes of Italy lost their states (Chapter 24)
1.9.2 Fortune (Chapter 25)
1.9.3 Exhortation to Seize Italy and to Free Her from the Barbarians
4 Interpretation of
The Prince as political satire or as deceit
5 See also
5.1 Other works by Machiavelli
8 External links
Each part of the Prince has been commented on over centuries. The work
has a recognizable structure, for the most part indicated by the
author himself. It can be summarized as follows:
The subject matter: New Princedoms (Chapters 1 & 2)
The Prince starts by describing the subject matter it will handle. In
the first sentence Machiavelli uses the word "state" (Italian stato
which could also mean "status") in order to neutrally cover "all forms
of organization of supreme political power, whether republican or
princely". The way in which the word state came to acquire this modern
type of meaning during the
Renaissance has been the subject of many
academic discussions, with this sentence and similar ones in the works
of Machiavelli being considered particularly important.
Machiavelli said that
The Prince would be about princedoms, mentioning
that he has written about republics elsewhere (possibly referring to
Discourses on Livy although this is debated), but in fact he mixes
discussion of republics into this in many places, effectively treating
republics as a type of princedom also, and one with many strengths.
More importantly, and less traditionally, he distinguishes new
princedoms from hereditary established princedoms. He deals with
hereditary princedoms quickly in Chapter 2, saying that they are much
easier to rule. For such a prince, "unless extraordinary vices cause
him to be hated, it is reasonable to expect that his subjects will be
naturally well disposed towards him". Gilbert (1938:19–23),
comparing this to traditional presentations of advice for princes,
wrote that the novelty in chapters 1 and 2 is the "deliberate purpose
of dealing with a new ruler who will need to establish himself in
defiance of custom". Normally, these types of works were addressed
only to hereditary princes. He thinks Machiavelli may have been
Tacitus as well as his own experience, but finds no
clear predecessor for this.
This categorization of regime types is also "un-Aristotelian" and
apparently simpler than the traditional one found for example in
Aristotle's Politics, which divides regimes into those ruled by a
single monarch, an oligarchy, or by the people, in a democracy. He
also ignores the classical distinctions between the good and corrupt
forms, for example between monarchy and tyranny.
Xenophon, on the other hand, made exactly the same distinction between
types of rulers in the beginning of his
Education of Cyrus where he
says that, concerning the knowledge of how to rule human beings, Cyrus
the Great, his exemplary prince, was very different "from all other
kings, both those who have inherited their thrones from their fathers
and those who have gained their crowns by their own efforts".
Machiavelli divides the subject of new states into two types, "mixed"
cases and purely new states.
"Mixed" princedoms (Chapters 3–5)
New princedoms are either totally new, or they are “mixed” meaning
that they are new parts of an older state, already belonging to that
New conquests added to older states (Chapter 3)
Machiavelli generalizes that there were several virtuous Roman ways to
hold a newly acquired province, using a republic as an example of how
new princes can act:
to install one's princedom in the new acquisition, or to install
colonies of one's people there, which is better.
to indulge the lesser powers of the area without increasing their
to put down the powerful people.
not to allow a foreign power to gain reputation.
More generally, Machiavelli emphasizes that one should have regard not
only for present problems but also for the future ones. One should not
“enjoy the benefit of time” but rather the benefit of one's virtue
and prudence, because time can bring evil as well as good.
Conquered kingdoms (Chapter 4)
A 16th-century Italian impression of the family of Darius III, emperor
of Persia, before their conqueror, Alexander the Great. Machiavelli
explained that in his time the
Near East was again ruled by an empire,
the Ottoman Empire, with similar characteristics to that of Darius –
seen from the viewpoint of a potential conqueror.
In some cases the old king of the conquered kingdom depended on his
lords. 16th century France, or in other words France as it was at the
time of writing of The Prince, is given by Machiavelli as an example
of such a kingdom. These are easy to enter but difficult to hold.
When the kingdom revolves around the king, with everyone else his
servant, then it is difficult to enter but easy to hold. The solution
is to eliminate the old bloodline of the prince. Machiavelli used the
Persian empire of Darius III, conquered by Alexander the Great, to
illustrate this point and then noted that the Medici, if they think
about it, will find this historical example similar to the "kingdom of
the Turk" (Ottoman Empire) in their time – making this a potentially
easier conquest to hold than France would be.
Conquered Free States, with their own laws and orders (Chapter
Gilbert (1938:34) notes that this chapter is quite atypical of any
previous books for princes. Gilbert supposed the need to discuss
conquering free republics is linked to Machiavelli's project to unite
Italy, which contained some free republics. As he also notes, the
chapter in any case makes it clear that holding such a state is highly
difficult for a prince. Machiavelli gives three options:
Ruin them, as Rome destroyed Carthage, and also as Machiavelli says
the Romans eventually had to do in Greece, even though they had wanted
to avoid it.
Go to live there (or install colonies, if you are a prince of a
Let them keep their own orders but install a puppet regime.
Totally New States (Chapters 6–9)
Conquests by virtue (Chapter 6)
Moses as a conquering prince, who founded new
modes and orders by force of arms, which he used willingly to kill
many of his own people. The Bible describes the reasons behind his
Princes who rise to power through their own skill and resources (their
"virtue") rather than luck tend to have a hard time rising to the top,
but once they reach the top they are very secure in their position.
This is because they effectively crush their opponents and earn great
respect from everyone else. Because they are strong and more
self-sufficient, they have to make fewer compromises with their
Machiavelli writes that reforming an existing order is one of the most
dangerous and difficult things a prince can do. Part of the reason is
that people are naturally resistant to change and reform. Those who
benefited from the old order will resist change very fiercely. By
contrast, those who can benefit from the new order will be less fierce
in their support, because the new order is unfamiliar and they are not
certain it will live up to its promises. Moreover, it is impossible
for the prince to satisfy everybody's expectations. Inevitably, he
will disappoint some of his followers. Therefore, a prince must have
the means to force his supporters to keep supporting him even when
they start having second thoughts, otherwise he will lose his power.
Only armed prophets, like Moses, succeed in bringing lasting change.
Machiavelli claims that
Moses killed uncountable numbers of his own
people in order to enforce his will.
Machiavelli was not the first thinker to notice this pattern. Allan
Gilbert wrote: "In wishing new laws and yet seeing danger in them
Machiavelli was not himself an innovator," because this idea was
traditional and could be found in Aristotle's writings. But
Machiavelli went much further than any other author in his emphasis on
this aim, and Gilbert associates Machiavelli's emphasis upon such
drastic aims with the level of corruption to be found in Italy.
Conquest by fortune, meaning by someone else’s virtue (Chapter
According to Machiavelli, when a prince comes to power through luck or
the blessings of powerful figures within the regime, he typically has
an easy time gaining power but a hard time keeping it thereafter,
because his power is dependent on his benefactors' goodwill. He does
not command the loyalty of the armies and officials that maintain his
authority, and these can be withdrawn from him at a whim. Having risen
the easy way, it is not even certain such a prince has the skill and
strength to stand on his own feet.
This is not necessarily true in every case. Machiavelli cites Cesare
Borgia as an example of a lucky prince who escaped this pattern.
Through cunning political manoeuvrers, he managed to secure his power
base. Cesare was made commander of the papal armies by his father,
Pope Alexander VI, but was also heavily dependent on mercenary armies
loyal to the Orsini brothers and the support of the French king.
Borgia won over the allegiance of the Orsini brothers' followers with
better pay and prestigious government posts. When some of his
mercenary captains started to plot against him, he had them imprisoned
and executed. When it looked as though the king of France would
abandon him, Borgia sought new alliances.
Finally, Machiavelli makes a point that bringing new benefits to a
conquered people will not be enough to cancel the memory of old
injuries, an idea Allan Gilbert said can be found in
Seneca the Younger.
Conquests by “criminal virtue” (Chapter 8)
Conquests by "criminal virtue" are ones in which the new prince
secures his power through cruel, immoral deeds, such as the execution
of political rivals. Machiavelli advises that a prince should
carefully calculate all the wicked deeds he needs to do to secure his
power, and then execute them all in one stroke, such that he need not
commit any more wickedness for the rest of his reign. In this way, his
subjects will slowly forget his cruel deeds and his reputation can
recover. Princes who fail to do this, who hesitate in their
ruthlessness, find that their problems mushroom over time and they are
forced to commit wicked deeds throughout their reign. Thus they
continuously mar their reputations and alienate their people.
Machiavelli's case study is Agathocles of Syracuse. After Agathocles
became Praetor of Syracuse, he called a meeting of the city's elite.
At his signal, his soldiers killed all the senators and the wealthiest
citizens, completely destroying the old oligarchy. He declared himself
ruler with no opposition. So secure was his power that he could afford
to absent himself to go off on military campaigns in Africa.
However, Machiavelli then strongly rebukes Agathocles, stating, "Yet
one cannot call it virtue to kill one's citizens, betray one's
friends, to be without faith, without mercy, without religion; these
modes can enable one to acquire empire, but not glory. [...]
Nonetheless, his savage cruelty and inhumanity, together with his
infinite crimes, do not permit him to be celebrated among the most
excellent men. Thus, one cannot attribute to fortune or virtue what he
achieved without either."
Gilbert (1938:51–55) remarks that this chapter is even less
traditional than those it follows, not only in its treatment of
criminal behavior, but also in the advice to take power from people at
a stroke, noting that precisely the opposite had been advised by
Aristotle in his Politics (5.11.1315a13). On the other hand, Gilbert
shows that another piece of advice in this chapter, to give benefits
when it will not appear forced, was traditional.
Becoming a prince by the selection of one's fellow citizens (Chapter
These "civic principalities" do not require real virtue, only
“fortunate astuteness”. Machiavelli breaks this case into two
basic types, depending upon which section of the populace supports the
Supported by the great (those who wish to command the people)
This, according to Machiavelli, is an unstable situation, which must
be avoided after the initial coming to power. The great should be made
and unmade every day at your convenience. There are two types of great
people that might be encountered:
Those who are bound to the prince. Concerning these it is important to
distinguish between two types of obligated great people, those who are
rapacious and those who are not. It is the latter who can and should
Those who are not bound to the new prince. Once again these need to be
divided into two types: those with a weak spirit (a prince can make
use of them if they are of good counsel) and those who shun being
bound because of their own ambition (these should be watched and
feared as enemies).
Supported by the people (those who wish not to be commanded by the
How to win over people depends on circumstances. Machiavelli advises:
Do not get frightened in adversity.
One should avoid ruling via magistrates, if one wishes to be able to
“ascend” to absolute rule quickly and safely.
One should make sure that the people need the prince, especially if a
time of need should come.
How to judge the strength of principalities (Chapter 10)
The way to judge the strength of a princedom is to see whether it can
defend itself, or whether it needs to depend on allies. This does not
just mean that the cities should be prepared and the people trained; a
prince who is hated is also exposed.
Ecclesiastical principates (Chapter 11)
Leo X: a pope, but also a member of the
Medici family. Machiavelli
suggested they should treat the church as a princedom, as the Borgia
family had, in order to conquer Italy, and found new modes and orders.
This type of "princedom" refers for example explicitly to the Catholic
church, which is of course not traditionally thought of as a
princedom. According to Machiavelli, these are relatively easy to
maintain, once founded. They do not need to defend themselves
militarily, nor to govern their subjects.
Machiavelli discusses the recent history of the Church as if it were a
princedom that was in competition to conquer Italy against other
princes. He points to factionalism as a historical weak point in the
Church, and points to the recent example of the Borgia family as a
better strategy which almost worked. He then explicitly proposes that
Medici are now in a position to try the same thing.
Defense and military (Chapter 12–14)
Having discussed the various types of principalities, Machiavelli
turns to the ways a state can attack other territories or defend
itself. The two most essential foundations for any state, whether old
or new, are sound laws and strong military forces. A
self-sufficient prince is one who can meet any enemy on the
battlefield. He should be "armed" with his own arms. However, a prince
that relies solely on fortifications or on the help of others and
stands on the defensive is not self-sufficient. If he cannot raise a
formidable army, but must rely on defense, he must fortify his city. A
well-fortified city is unlikely to be attacked, and if it is, most
armies cannot endure an extended siege. However, during a siege a
virtuous prince will keep the morale of his subjects high while
removing all dissenters. Thus, as long as the city is properly
defended and has enough supplies, a wise prince can withstand any
Machiavelli stands strongly against the use of mercenaries, and in
this he was innovative, and he also had personal experience in
Florence. He believes they are useless to a ruler because they are
undisciplined, cowardly, and without any loyalty, being motivated only
by money. Machiavelli attributes the Italian city states’ weakness
to their reliance on mercenary armies.
Machiavelli also warns against using auxiliary forces, troops borrowed
from an ally, because if they win, the employer is under their favor
and if they lose, he is ruined. Auxiliary forces are more dangerous
than mercenary forces because they are united and controlled by
capable leaders who may turn against the employer.
The main concern for a prince should be war, or the preparation
thereof, not books. Through war a hereditary prince maintains his
power or a private citizen rises to power. Machiavelli advises that a
prince must frequently hunt in order to keep his body fit and learn
the landscape surrounding his kingdom. Through this, he can best learn
how to protect his territory and advance upon others. For intellectual
strength, he is advised to study great military men so he may imitate
their successes and avoid their mistakes. A prince who is diligent in
times of peace will be ready in times of adversity. Machiavelli
writes, “thus, when fortune turns against him he will be prepared to
The Qualities of a Prince (Chapters 14–19)
Each of the following chapters presents a discussion about a
particular virtue or vice that a prince might have, and is therefore
structured in a way which appears like traditional advice for a
prince. However, the advice is far from traditional.
A Prince's Duty Concerning Military Matters (Chapter 14)
Machiavelli believes that a prince's main focus should be on
perfecting the art of war. He believes that by taking this profession
a ruler will be able to protect his kingdom. He claims that "being
disarmed makes you despised." He believes that the only way to ensure
loyalty from one's soldiers is to understand military matters. The two
activities Machiavelli recommends practicing to prepare for war are
physical and mental. Physically, he believes rulers should learn the
landscape of their territories. Mentally, he encouraged the study of
past military events. He also warns against idleness.
Reputation of a prince (Chapter 15)
Because, says Machiavelli, he wants to write something useful to those
who understand, he thought it more fitting "to go directly to the
effectual truth ("verità effettuale") of the thing than to the
imagination of it". This section is one where Machiavelli’s
pragmatic ideal can be seen most clearly. The prince should, ideally,
be virtuous, but he should be willing and able to abandon those
virtues if it becomes necessary. Concerning the behavior of a prince
toward his subjects, Machiavelli announces that he will depart from
what other writers say, and writes:
Men have imagined republics and principalities that never really
existed at all. Yet the way men live is so far removed from the way
they ought to live that anyone who abandons what is for what should be
pursues his downfall rather than his preservation; for a man who
strives after goodness in all his acts is sure to come to ruin, since
there are so many men who are not good.
Since there are many possible qualities that a prince can be said to
possess, he must not be overly concerned about having all the good
ones. Also, a prince may be perceived to be merciful, faithful,
humane, frank, and religious, but most important is only to seem to
have these qualities. A prince cannot truly have these qualities
because at times it is necessary to act against them. In fact, he must
sometimes deliberately choose evil. Although a bad reputation should
be avoided, it is sometimes necessary to have one.
Generosity vs. parsimony (Chapter 16)
If a prince is overly generous to his subjects, Machiavelli asserts he
will not be appreciated, and will only cause greed for more.
Additionally, being overly generous is not economical, because
eventually all resources will be exhausted. This results in higher
taxes, and will bring grief upon the prince. Then, if he decides to
discontinue or limit his generosity, he will be labeled as a miser.
Thus, Machiavelli summarizes that guarding against the people’s
hatred is more important than building up a reputation for generosity.
A wise prince should be willing to be more reputed a miser than be
hated for trying to be too generous.
On the other hand: "of what is not yours or your subjects' one can be
a bigger giver, as were Cyrus, Caesar, and Alexander, because spending
what is someone else's does not take reputation from you but adds it
to you; only spending your own hurts you".
Cruelty vs. Mercy (Chapter 17)
Hannibal meeting Scipio Africanus. Machiavelli describes
having the "virtue" of "inhuman cruelty". But he lost to someone,
Scipio Africanus, who showed the weakness of "excessive mercy" and who
could therefore only have held power in a republic.
In addressing the question of whether it is better to be loved or
feared, Machiavelli writes, “The answer is that one would like to be
both the one and the other; but because it is difficult to combine
them, it is far safer to be feared than loved if you cannot be
both.” As Machiavelli asserts, commitments made in peace are not
always kept in adversity; however, commitments made in fear are kept
out of fear. Yet, a prince must ensure that he is not feared to the
point of hatred, which is very possible.
This chapter is possibly the most well-known of the work, and it is
important because of the reasoning behind Machiavelli’s famous idea
that it is better to be feared than loved – his justification is
purely pragmatic; as he notes, “Men worry less about doing an injury
to one who makes himself loved than to one who makes himself
feared.” Fear is simply a means to an end, and that end is security
for the prince. The fear instilled should never be excessive, for that
could be dangerous to the prince. Above all, Machiavelli argues, a
prince should not interfere with the property of their subjects, their
women, or the life of somebody without proper justification.
Regarding the troops of the prince, fear is absolutely necessary to
keep a large garrison united and a prince should not mind the thought
of cruelty in that regard. For a prince who leads his own army, it is
imperative for him to observe cruelty because that is the only way he
can command his soldiers' absolute respect. Machiavelli compares two
great military leaders:
Hannibal and Scipio Africanus. Although
Hannibal's army consisted of men of various races, they were never
rebellious because they feared their leader. Machiavelli says this
required "inhuman cruelty" which he refers to as a virtue. Scipio's
men, on the other hand, were known for their mutiny and dissension,
due to Scipio's "excessive mercy" – which was however a source of
glory because he lived in a republic.
In what way princes should keep their word (Chapter 18)
Machiavelli notes that a prince is praised for keeping his word.
However, he also notes that a prince is also praised for the illusion
of being reliable in keeping his word. A prince, therefore, should
only keep his word when it suits his purposes, but do his utmost to
maintain the illusion that he does keep his word and that he is
reliable in that regard. Therefore, a prince should not break his word
As Machiavelli notes, “He should appear to be compassionate,
faithful to his word, guileless, and devout. And indeed he should be
so. But his disposition should be such that, if he needs to be the
opposite, he knows how.” As noted in chapter 15, the prince must
appear to be virtuous, and should be virtuous, but he should be able
to be otherwise when the time calls for it; that includes being able
to lie, though however much he lies he should always keep the
appearance of being truthful.
Avoiding contempt and hatred (Chapter 19)
Machiavelli observes that most men are content as long as they are not
deprived of their property and women. A prince should command respect
through his conduct, because a prince that is highly respected by his
people is unlikely to face internal struggles. Additionally, a prince
who does not raise the contempt of the nobles and keeps the people
satisfied, Machiavelli assures, should have no fear of conspirators.
Machiavelli advises monarchs to have both internal and external fears.
Internal fears exist inside his kingdom and focus on his subjects,
Machiavelli warns to be suspicious of everyone when hostile attitudes
emerge. External fears are of foreign powers.
Prudence of the Prince (Chapters 20–25)
Whether ruling conquests with fortresses works (Chapter 20)
Machiavelli mentions that placing fortresses in conquered territories,
although it sometimes works, often fails. Using fortresses can be a
good plan, but Machiavelli says he shall "blame anyone who, trusting
in fortresses, thinks little of being hated by the people". He cited
Caterina Sforza, who used a fortress to defend herself but was
eventually betrayed by her people.
Gaining honors (Chapter 21)
A prince truly earns honor by completing great feats. King Ferdinand
of Spain is cited by Machiavelli as an example of a monarch who gained
esteem by showing his ability through great feats and who, in the name
of religion, conquered many territories and kept his subjects occupied
so that they had no chance to rebel. Regarding two warring states,
Machiavelli asserts it is always wiser to choose a side, rather than
to be neutral. Machiavelli then provides the following reasons why:
If your allies win, you benefit whether or not you have more power
than they have.
If you are more powerful, then your allies are under your command; if
your allies are stronger, they will always feel a certain obligation
to you for your help.
If your side loses, you still have an ally in the loser.
Machiavelli also notes that it is wise for a prince not to ally with a
stronger force unless compelled to do so. In conclusion, the most
important virtue is having the wisdom to discern what ventures will
come with the most reward and then pursuing them courageously.
Nobles and staff (Chapter 22)
The selection of good servants is reflected directly upon the
prince’s intelligence, so if they are loyal, the prince is
considered wise; however, when they are otherwise, the prince is open
to adverse criticism. Machiavelli asserts that there are three types
The kind that understands things for itself – which is excellent to
The kind that understands what others can understand – which is good
The kind that does not understand for itself, nor through others –
which is useless to have.
If the prince does not have the first type of intelligence, he should
at the very least have the second type. For, as Machiavelli states,
“A prince needs to have the discernment to recognize the good or bad
in what another says or does even though he has no acumen himself".
Avoiding flatterers (Chapter 23)
This chapter displays a low opinion of flatterers; Machiavelli notes
that “Men are so happily absorbed in their own affairs and indulge
in such self-deception that it is difficult for them not to fall
victim to this plague; and some efforts to protect oneself from
flatterers involve the risk of becoming despised.” Flatterers were
seen as a great danger to a prince, because their flattery could cause
him to avoid wise counsel in favor of rash action, but avoiding all
advice, flattery or otherwise, was equally bad; a middle road had to
be taken. A prudent prince should have a select group of wise
counselors to advise him truthfully on matters all the time. All their
opinions should be taken into account. Ultimately, the decision should
be made by the counselors and carried out absolutely. If a prince is
given to changing his mind, his reputation will suffer. A prince must
have the wisdom to recognize good advice from bad. Machiavelli gives a
negative example in Emperor Maximilian I; Maximilian, who was
secretive, never consulted others, but once he ordered his plans and
met dissent, he immediately changed them.
Prudence and chance
Why the princes of Italy lost their states (Chapter 24)
After first mentioning that a new prince can quickly become as
respected as a hereditary one, Machiavelli says princes in Italy who
had longstanding power and lost it cannot blame bad luck, but should
blame their own indolence. One "should never fall in the belief that
you can find someone to pick you up". They all showed a defect of arms
(already discussed) and either had a hostile populace or did not know
to secure themselves with the great.
Fortune (Chapter 25)
As pointed out by Gilbert (1938):206 it was traditional in the genre
of Mirrors of Princes to mention fortune, but "Fortune pervades The
Prince as she does no other similar work". Machiavelli argues that
fortune is only the judge of half of our actions and that we have
control over the other half with "sweat", prudence and virtue. Even
more unusual, rather than simply suggesting caution as a prudent way
to try to avoid the worst of bad luck, Machiavelli holds that the
greatest princes in history tend to be ones who take more risks, and
rise to power through their own labour, virtue, prudence, and
particularly by their ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
Machiavelli even encourages risk taking as a reaction to risk. In a
well-known metaphor, Machiavelli writes that "it is better to be
impetuous than cautious, because fortune is a woman; and it is
necessary, if one wants to hold her down, to beat her and strike her
down." Gilbert (p. 217) points out that Machiavelli's friend
the historian and diplomat
Francesco Guicciardini expressed similar
ideas about fortune.
Machiavelli compares fortune to a torrential river that cannot be
easily controlled during flooding season. In periods of calm, however,
people can erect dams and levees in order to minimize its impact.
Fortune, Machiavelli argues, seems to strike at the places where no
resistance is offered, as had recently been the case in Italy. As de
Alvarez (1999:125–30) points out that what Machiavelli actually says
Italians in his time leave things not just to fortune, but to
"fortune and God". Machiavelli is indicating in this passage, as in
some others in his works, that Christianity itself was making Italians
helpless and lazy concerning their own politics, as if they would
leave dangerous rivers uncontrolled.
Exhortation to Seize Italy and to Free Her from the Barbarians
Leo X was pope at the time the book was written and a member of
Medici family. This chapter directly appeals to the
use what has been summarized in order to conquer Italy using Italian
armies, following the advice in the book. Gilbert (1938:222–30)
showed that including such exhortation was not unusual in the genre of
books full of advice for princes. But it is unusual that the Medici
family's position of Papal power is openly named as something that
should be used as a personal power base, as a tool of secular
politics. Indeed, one example is the Borgia family's "recent" and
controversial attempts to use church power in secular politics, often
brutally executed. This continues a controversial theme throughout the
Cesare Borgia, Duke of Valentinois. According to Machiavelli, a risk
taker and example of "criminal virtue." Failed in the end because of
one mistake: he was naive to trust a new Pope.
As shown by his letter of dedication, Machiavelli's work eventually
came to be dedicated to Lorenzo di Piero de' Medici, grandson of
"Lorenzo the Magnificent", and a member of the ruling Florentine
Medici family, whose uncle Giovanni became Pope
Leo X in 1513. It is
known from his personal correspondence that it was written during
1513, the year after the
Medici took control of Florence, and a few
months after Machiavelli's arrest, torture, and banishment by the
Medici regime. It was discussed for a long time with
Francesco Vettori – a friend of Machiavelli – whom he wanted to
pass it and commend it to the Medici. The book had originally been
intended for Giuliano di Lorenzo de' Medici, young Lorenzo's uncle,
who however died in 1516. It is not certain that the work was ever
read by any of the
Medici before it was printed. Machiavelli
describes the contents as being an un-embellished summary of his
knowledge about the nature of princes and "the actions of great men",
based not only on reading but also, unusually, on real experience.
The types of political behavior which are discussed with apparent
approval by Machiavelli in
The Prince were regarded as shocking by
contemporaries, and its immorality is still a subject of serious
discussion. Although the work advises princes how to tyrannize,
Machiavelli is generally thought to have preferred some form of free
republic. Some commentators justify his acceptance of immoral and
criminal actions by leaders by arguing that he lived during a time of
continuous political conflict and instability in Italy, and that his
influence has increased the "pleasures, equality and freedom" of many
people, loosening the grip of medieval Catholicism's "classical
teleology", which "disregarded not only the needs of individuals and
the wants of the common man, but stifled innovation, enterprise, and
enquiry into cause and effect relationships that now allow us to
On the other hand, Strauss (1958:11) notes that "even if we were
forced to grant that Machiavelli was essentially a patriot or a
scientist, we would not be forced to deny that he was a teacher of
evil". Furthermore, Machiavelli "was too thoughtful not to know
what he was doing and too generous not to admit it to his reasonable
Machiavelli emphasized the need for realism, as opposed to idealism.
Along with this, he stresses the difference between human-beings and
animals since "there are two ways of contending, one in accordance
with the laws, the other by force; the first of which is proper to
men, the second to beast". In
The Prince he does not explain what
he thinks the best ethical or political goals are, except the control
of one's own fortune, as opposed to waiting to see what chance brings.
Machiavelli took it for granted that would-be leaders naturally aim at
glory or honor. He associated these goals with a need for "virtue" and
"prudence" in a leader, and saw such virtues as essential to good
politics and indeed the common good. That great men should develop and
use their virtue and prudence was a traditional theme of advice to
Christian princes. And that more virtue meant less reliance on
chance was a classically influenced "humanist commonplace" in
Machiavelli's time, as Fischer (2000:75) says, even if it was somewhat
controversial. However, Machiavelli went far beyond other authors in
his time, who in his opinion left things to fortune, and therefore to
bad rulers, because of their Christian beliefs. He used the words
"virtue" and "prudence" to refer to glory-seeking and spirited
excellence of character, in strong contrast to the traditional
Christian uses of those terms, but more keeping with the original
pre-Christian Greek and Roman concepts from which they derived. He
encouraged ambition and risk taking. So in another break with
tradition, he treated not only stability, but also radical innovation,
as possible aims of a prince in a political community. Managing major
reforms can show off a Prince's virtue and give him glory. He clearly
felt Italy needed major reform in his time, and this opinion of his
time is widely shared.
Machiavelli's descriptions encourage leaders to attempt to control
their fortune gloriously, to the extreme extent that some situations
may call for a fresh "founding" (or re-founding) of the "modes and
orders" that define a community, despite the danger and necessary evil
and lawlessness of such a project. Founding a wholly new state, or
even a new religion, using injustice and immorality has even been
called the chief theme of The Prince. Machiavelli justifies this
position by explaining how if "a prince did not win love he may escape
hate" by personifying injustice and immorality; therefore, he will
never loosen his grip since "fear is held by the apprehension of
punishment" and never diminishes as time goes by.  For a political
theorist to do this in public was one of Machiavelli's clearest breaks
not just with medieval scholasticism, but with the classical tradition
of political philosophy, especially the favorite philosopher of
Catholicism at the time, Aristotle. This is one of Machiavelli's most
lasting influences upon modernity.
Nevertheless, Machiavelli was heavily influenced by classical
pre-Christian political philosophy. According to Strauss (1958:291)
Machiavelli refers to
Xenophon more than Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero
Xenophon wrote one of the classic mirrors of princes,
the Education of Cyrus. Gilbert (1938:236) wrote: "The Cyrus of
Xenophon was a hero to many a literary man of the sixteenth century,
but for Machiavelli he lived".
Xenophon also, as Strauss pointed out,
wrote a dialogue, Hiero which showed a wise man dealing
sympathetically with a tyrant, coming close to what Machiavelli would
do in questioning the ideal of "the imagined prince". Xenophon
however, like Plato and Aristotle, was a follower of Socrates, and his
works show approval of a "teleological argument", while Machiavelli
rejected such arguments. On this matter, Strauss (1958:222–23) gives
evidence that Machiavelli may have seen himself as having learned
something from Democritus,
Epicurus and classical materialism, which
was however not associated with political realism, or even any
interest in politics.
On the topic of rhetoric Machiavelli, in his introduction, stated that
“I have not embellished or crammed this book with rounded periods or
big, impressive words, or with any blandishment or superfluous
decoration of the kind which many are in the habit of using to
describe or adorn what they have produced”. This has been
interpreted as showing a distancing from traditional rhetoric styles,
but there are echoes of classical rhetoric in several areas. In
Chapter 18, for example, he uses a metaphor of a lion and a fox,
examples of cunning and force; according to Zerba (2004:217), “the
Roman author from whom Machiavelli in all likelihood drew the simile
of the lion and the fox” was Cicero. The
Rhetorica ad Herennium, a
work which was believed during Machiavelli’s time to have been
written by Cicero, was used widely to teach rhetoric, and it is likely
that Machiavelli was familiar with it. Unlike Cicero's more widely
accepted works however, according to Cox (1997:1122), “Ad Herennium
... offers a model of an ethical system that not only condones the
practice of force and deception but appears to regard them as habitual
and indeed germane to political activity”. This makes it an ideal
text for Machiavelli to have used.
To quote Bireley (1990:14):
...there were in circulation approximately fifteen editions of the
Prince and nineteen of the Discourses and French translations of each
before they were placed on the Index of
Paul IV in 1559, a measure
which nearly stopped publication in Catholic areas except in France.
Three principal writers took the field against Machiavelli between the
publication of his works and their condemnation in 1559 and again by
the Tridentine Index in 1564. These were the English cardinal Reginald
Pole and the Portuguese bishop Jerónimo Osório, both of whom lived
for many years in Italy, and the Italian humanist and later bishop,
Ambrogio Caterino Politi.
Emperor Charles V, or Charles I of Spain. A Catholic king in the first
generation to read The Prince.
Henry VIII of England. A king who eventually split with the Catholic
church, and supported some protestant ideas in the first generation to
read The Prince.
Machiavelli's ideas on how to accrue honor and power as a leader had a
profound impact on political leaders throughout the modern west,
helped by the new technology of the printing press. Pole reported that
it was spoken of highly by his enemy
Thomas Cromwell in England, and
Henry VIII in his turn towards Protestantism, and in
his tactics, for example during the Pilgrimage of Grace. A copy
was also possessed by the Catholic king and emperor Charles V. In
France, after an initially mixed reaction, Machiavelli came to be
associated with Catherine de
Medici and the St Bartholomew's Day
Massacre. As Bireley (1990:17) reports, in the 16th century, Catholic
writers "associated Machiavelli with the Protestants, whereas
Protestant authors saw him as Italian and Catholic". In fact, he was
apparently influencing both Catholic and
One of the most important early works dedicated to criticism of
Machiavelli, especially The Prince, was that of the Huguenot, Innocent
Discourse against Machiavelli, commonly also referred to as
Anti Machiavel, published in
Geneva in 1576. He accused Machiavelli of
being an atheist and accused politicians of his time by saying that
they treated his works as the "
Koran of the courtiers". Another
theme of Gentillet was more in the spirit of Machiavelli himself: he
questioned the effectiveness of immoral strategies (just as
Machiavelli had himself done, despite also explaining how they could
sometimes work). This became the theme of much future political
discourse in Europe during the 17th century. This includes the
Counter Reformation writers summarised by Bireley: Giovanni
Botero, Justus Lipsius, Carlo Scribani, Adam Contzen, Pedro de
Ribadeneira, and Diego Saavedra Fajardo. These authors criticized
Machiavelli, but also followed him in many ways. They accepted the
need for a prince to be concerned with reputation, and even a need for
cunning and deceit, but compared to Machiavelli, and like later
modernist writers, they emphasized economic progress much more than
the riskier ventures of war. These authors tended to cite
their source for realist political advice, rather than Machiavelli,
and this pretense came to be known as "Tacitism".
Modern materialist philosophy developed in the 16th, 17th and 18th
century, starting in the generations after Machiavelli. The importance
of Machiavelli's realism was noted by many important figures in this
endeavor, for example Jean Bodin, Francis Bacon, Harrington,
John Milton, Spinoza, Rousseau, Hume, Edward Gibbon, and
Adam Smith. Although he was not always mentioned by name as an
inspiration, due to his controversy, he is also thought to have been
an influence for other major philosophers, such as Montaigne,
Descartes, Hobbes, Locke and Montesquieu.
Machiavelli is featured as a character in the prologue of Christopher
Marlowe's The Jew of Malta.
William Shakespeare's tragedy, Othello, the antagonist
been noted by some literary critics as being archetypal in adhering to
Machiavelli's ideals by advancing himself through machination and
duplicity with the consequence of causing the demise of both Othello
Amongst later political leaders:
The republicanism in seventeenth century England which led to the
English civil war,
Glorious Revolution and subsequent development of
English Constitution was strongly influenced by Machiavelli's
Most of the founding fathers of the
American Revolution are known or
often proposed to have been strongly influenced by Machiavelli's
political works, including Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Thomas
Alexander Hamilton and John Adams.
Under the guidance of Voltaire,
Frederick the Great
Frederick the Great of Prussia
criticised Machiavelli's conclusions in his "Anti-Machiavel",
published in 1740.
At different stages in his life,
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon I of France wrote extensive
comments to The Prince. After his defeat at Waterloo, these comments
were found in the emperor's coach and taken by the Prussian
Benito Mussolini wrote a discourse on The Prince.
Joseph Stalin read
The Prince and annotated his own
20th century Italian-American mobsters were influenced by The Prince.
John Gotti and
Roy DeMeo would regularly quote
The Prince and consider
it to be the "Mafia Bible".
The Prince as political satire or as deceit
As discussed by Johnston (1958) many authors have historically argued
that "the book is, first and foremost, a satire, so that many of the
things we find in it which are morally absurd, specious, and
contradictory, are there quite deliberately in order to ridicule ...
the very notion of tyrannical rule". Hence, Johnston says, "the satire
has a firm moral purpose – to expose tyranny and promote republican
This position was the standard one in Europe during the 18th century,
amongst the Enlightenment philosophes.
Diderot thought it was a
satire. And in his The Social Contract, the French philosopher
Jean-Jacques Rousseau said:
Machiavelli was a proper man and a good citizen; but, being attached
to the court of the Medici, he could not help veiling his love of
liberty in the midst of his country's oppression. The choice of his
detestable hero, Caesar Borgia, clearly enough shows his hidden aim;
and the contradiction between the teaching of the Prince and that of
Discourses on Livy and the History of Florence shows that this
profound political thinker has so far been studied only by superficial
or corrupt readers. The Court of Rome sternly prohibited his book. I
can well believe it; for it is that Court it most clearly portrays.
— Social Contract, Book 3, note to Chapter 6.
Whether or not the word "satire" is the best choice, there is more
general agreement that despite seeming to be written for someone
wanting to be a monarch, and not the leader of a republic, The Prince
can be read as deliberately emphasizing the benefits of free republics
as opposed to monarchies.
Differences of opinion amongst commentators revolve around whether
this sub-text was intended to be understood, let alone understood as
deliberately satirical or comic.
One such commentator, Mary Dietz, writes that Machiavelli's agenda was
not to be satirical, as Rousseau had argued, but instead was "offering
carefully crafted advice (such as arming the people) designed to undo
the ruler if taken seriously and followed." By this account, the
aim was to reestablish the republic in Florence. She focuses on three
categories in which Machiavelli gives paradoxical advice:
He discourages liberality and favors deceit to guarantee support from
the people. Yet Machiavelli is keenly aware of the fact that an
earlier pro-republican coup had been thwarted by the people's inaction
that itself stemmed from the prince's liberality.
He supports arming the people despite the fact that he knows the
Florentines are decidedly pro-democratic and would oppose the prince.
He encourages the prince to live in the city he conquers. This opposes
the Medici's habitual policy of living outside the city. It also makes
it easier for rebels or a civilian militia to attack and overthrow the
According to Dietz the trap never succeeded because Lorenzo – "a
suspicious prince" – apparently never read the work of the "former
The Italian Marxist philosopher
Antonio Gramsci argued that
Machiavelli's audience for this work was not the classes who already
rule (or have "hegemony") over the common people, but the common
people themselves, trying to establish a new hegemony, and making
Machiavelli the first "Italian Jacobin".
Hans Baron is one of the few major commentators who argues that
Machiavelli must have changed his mind dramatically in favour of free
republics, after having written The Prince.
Mirrors for princes, the genre
Arthashastra, an ancient Indian text with many similarities.
Secretum Secretorum, a medieval treatise also known as "Book of the
science of government: on the good ordering of statecraft"
Other works by Machiavelli
The Girl From Andros
Discourses on Livy
The Art of War
^ He wrote about a short study he was making by this Latin name in his
letter to Francesco Vettori, written 10 Dec 1513. This is letter 224
in the translated correspondence edition of James B. Atkinson and
David Sices: Machiavelli (1996):264.
^ Bireley (1990) p. 14.
^ "Italian Vernacular Literature". Vlib.iue.it. Retrieved
^ Gilbert (1938) emphasizes similarities between
The Prince and its
forerunners, but still sees the same innovations as other
^ Bireley (1990)
^ Although Machiavelli makes many references to classical sources,
these do not include the customary deference to
Aristotle which was to
some extent approved by the church in his time. Strauss (1958:222)
says that "Machiavelli indicates his fundamental disagreement with
Aristotle's doctrine of the whole by substituting "chance" (caso) for
"nature" in the only context in which he speaks of "the beginning of
the world." Strauss gives evidence that Machiavelli was knowingly
influenced by Democritus, whose philosophy of nature was, like that of
modern science, materialist.
^ Bireley (1990:241)
^ Strauss (1987:297): "Machiavelli is the only political thinker whose
name has come into common use for designating a kind of politics,
which exists and will continue to exist independently of his
influence, a politics guided exclusively by considerations of
expediency, which uses all means, fair or foul, iron or poison, for
achieving its ends – its end being the aggrandizement of one's
country or fatherland – but also using the fatherland in the service
of the self-aggrandizement of the politician or statesman or one's
^ Machiavelli. "Chapter 15". The Prince. Wikisource.
^ See for example de Alvarez (1999) p. viii; and Strauss (1958:55)
^ Guarini (1999:30)
^ Machiavelli, "Chapter 1", The Prince, Constitution.org, archived
from the original on 2015-09-08, retrieved 2010-01-01
^ Machiavelli, "Chapter 2", The Prince, Constitution.org, archived
from the original on 2015-09-08, retrieved 2010-01-01
^ Gilbert (1938:19)
^ de Alvarez (1999) p. 9.
^ Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 1.1.4
^ Machiavelli, "Chapter 3", The Prince, Constitution.org, archived
from the original on 2015-09-11, retrieved 2010-01-01
^ Gilbert. Machiavelli's Prince and Its Forerunners. pg 39
^ Gilbert. Machiavelli's Prince and Its Forerunners. pg 48
^ Machiavelli, "Chapter 12", The Prince, Constitution.org, retrieved
^ Smith, Nicole. "Feared Versus Loved: An Analysis of "The Prince" by
Machiavelli". Article Myriad. Archived from the original on 16 March
2011. Retrieved 2011-05-12.
^ Machiavelli, "Chapter 25", The Prince, Constitution.org, retrieved
Francis Bacon wrote in his 13th essay, quoted at Strauss
(1958:176), that "one of the doctors of Italy, Nicholas Machiavel, had
the confidence to put in writing, almost in plain terms, That the
Christian faith had given up good men in prey to those who are
tyrannical and unjust".
^ Najemy (1993)
^ Dent (1995) p. xvii
^ Machiavelli, "Dedication", The Prince, Constitution.org, retrieved
^ Fischer (2000, p. 181) says that some people "might hold
Machiavelli to some extent responsible for the crimes of a Lenin,
Hitler, Mao, or Pol Pot, who had learned from him to excuse the murder
of innocents by its supposed benefits for humanity." Strauss (1958,
p. 12) writes that "We shall not hesitate to assert, as very many
have asserted before us, and we shall later on try to prove, that
Machiavelli's teaching is immoral and irreligious."
^ For example Strauss (1958, p. 182): "Machiavelli's book on
principalities and his book on republics are both republican."
^ Fischer (2000, p. 181)
^ Concerning being a scientist, Strauss (1958:54–55) says that this
description of Machiavelli as a scientist "is defensible and even
helpful provided it is properly meant" because
The Prince "conveys a
general teaching" and only uses specific historical facts and
experience as a basis for such generalizing. On the other hand Strauss
(1958, p. 11): "Machiavelli's works abound with
"value-judgments". Concerning patriotism Strauss (1958:10–11) writes
that "Machiavelli understood it as collective selfishness." It is
Machiavelli's indifferent "comprehensive reflection" about right and
wrong, which is "the core of Machiavelli's thought," not love of the
fatherland as such.
^ Much of Machiavelli's personal correspondence with other Florentines
is preserved, including some of the most famous letters in Italian. Of
particular interest for example, are some of his letters to Francesco
Vettori and Francesco Guicciardini, two men who had managed to stay in
public service under the Medici, unlike Machiavelli. To Guicciardini
for example he wrote concerning the selection of a preacher for
Florence, that he would like a hypocritical one, and "I believe that
the following would be the true way to go to Paradise: learn the way
to Hell in order to steer clear of it." (Letter 270 in Machiavelli
^ "U-M Weblogin". umich.instructure.com. Retrieved 2016-10-26.
^ Gilbert (1938)
^ While pride is a sin in the Bible, "Fortune favours the bold", used
for example by Dent (1995) p. xxii to summarize Machiavelli's stance
concerning fortune, was a classical saying. That the desire for glory
of spirited young men can and should be allowed or even encouraged,
because it is how the best rulers come to be, is a theory expressed
most famously by Plato in his Republic. (See Strauss (1958:289).) But
as Strauss points out, Plato asserts that there is a higher type of
life, and Machiavelli does not seem to accept this.
^ See for example Guarini (1999).
^ Strauss (1987:302)
^ "U-M Weblogin". umich.instructure.com. Retrieved 2016-10-26.
^ Bireley (1990:15)
^ Haitsma Mulier (1999:248)
^ While Bireley focuses on writers in the Catholic countries, Haitsma
Mulier (1999) makes the same observation, writing with more of a focus
^ Bireley (1990:17)
^ Bireley (1990:18)
^ Bireley (1990:223–30)
^ Bireley (1990:17): "Jean Bodin's first comments, found in his Method
for the Easy Comprehension of History, published in 1566, were
^ Bacon wrote: "We are much beholden to Machiavelli and other writers
of that class who openly and unfeignedly declare or describe what men
do, and not what they ought to do." "II.21.9", Of the Advancement of
^ Worden (1999)
^ "Spinoza's Political Philosophy". Stanford Encyclopedia of
Philosophy. Retrieved 2011-03-19.
^ Danford "Getting Our Bearings: Machiavelli and Hume" in Rahe (2006).
^ Schaefer (1990)
^ Kennington (2004), chapter 11.
^ Barnes Smith "The Philosophy of Liberty: Locke's Machiavellian
Teaching" in Rahe (2006).
^ Carrese "The Machiavellian Spirit of Montesquieu's Liberal Republic"
in Rahe (2006). Shklar "
Montesquieu and the new republicanism" in Bock
^ Worden (1999)
^ Thompson (1995)[dead link]
^ Rahe (2006)
^ Walling "Was
Alexander Hamilton a Machiavellian Statesman?" in Rahe
^ Harper (2004)[dead link]
^ Machiavelli (2006)
^ Mussolini, "Preludio al Principe",
Gerarchia 3 (1924).
^ Stalin: A Biography By Robert Service
John Gotti – The Last Mafia Icon – Moving Up – Crime Library
on". Trutv.com. Retrieved 2012-01-09.
Roy DeMeo – Another Perspective – Crime Library on". Trutv.com.
^ See also Mattingly (1958)
^ Deitz, M., 1986, “Trapping the Prince: Machiavelli and the
Politics of Deception,” American Political Science Review, 80:
^ Deitz, M., 1986, "Trapping the Prince: Machiavelli and the Politics
of Deception," American Political Science Review, 80: 796.
^ See for example John McKay Cammett (1967),
Antonio Gramsci and the
Origins of Italian Communism, ISBN 9780804701419
^ Baron 1961.
De Alvarez, Leo Paul S (1999), The Machiavellian Enterprise; A
Commentary on The Prince
Baron, Hans (1961), "Machiavelli : the Republican Citizen and
Author of The Prince", The English Historical Review, 76: 218,
archived from the original on 2010-03-25
Bireley, Robert (1990), The Counter-Reformation Prince:
Machiavellianism or Catholic Statecraft in Early Modern Europe,
University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 978-0807819258
Bock, Gisela; Skinner, Quentin; Viroli, Maurizio (1990), Machiavelli
and Republicanism, Cambridge University Press – excerpt and
Connell, William J. (2013). "Dating The Prince: Beginnings and
Endings". Review of Politics. 75: 497-514.
Dent, J (1995), "Introduction",
The Prince and other writings,
Deitz, Mary, "Trapping the Prince" (PDF), American Political Science
Review, 80: 777–99
Fischer, Markus (2000), Well-ordered License: On the Unity of
Machiavelli's Thought, Lexington Book
Johnston, Ian, Lecture on Machiavelli's The Prince
Guarini, Elena (1999), "Machiavelli and the crisis of the Italian
republics", in Bock, Gisela; Skinner, Quentin; Viroli, Maurizio,
Machiavelli and Republicanism, Cambridge University Press
Cox, Virginia (1997), "Machiavelli and the
Rhetorica ad Herennium:
Rhetoric in The Prince", The Sixteenth Century Journal,
28.4 (4): 1109–41, doi:10.2307/2543571, JSTOR 2543571
Zerba, Michelle (2004), "The Frauds of Humanism: Cicero, Machiavelli,
Rhetoric of Imposture", Rhetorica, 22.3 (3): 215–40,
Garver, Eugene (1980), "Machiavelli's "The Prince": A Neglected
Rhetorical Classic", Philosophy & Rhetoric, 13.2: 99–120
Kahn, Victoria (1986), "Virtù and the Example of Agathocles in
Machiavelli's Prince", Representations, 13 (13): 63–83,
doi:10.2307/2928494, JSTOR 2928494
Tinkler, John F. (1988), "Praise and Advice: Rhetorical Approaches in
More's Utopia and Machiavelli's The Prince", The Sixteenth Century
Journal, 19.2 (2): 187–207, doi:10.2307/2540406,
Gilbert, Allan (1938), Machiavelli's Prince and Its Forerunners, Duke
Kennington, Richard (2004), On Modern Origins, Lexington Books
Najemy, John (1993), Between Friends: Discourses of Power and Desire
in the Machiavelli-Vettori Letters of 1513–15, Princeton University
Mattingly, Garrett (1958), "Machiavelli's Prince: Political Science or
Political Satire?", The American Scholar, 27: 482–91
Haitsma Mulier, Eco (1999), "A controversial republican", in Bock,
Gisela; Skinner, Quentin; Viroli, Maurizio, Machiavelli and
Republicanism, Cambridge University Press
Parsons, William B. (2016), Machiavelli's Gospel, University of
Rochester Press, ISBN 9781580464918
Rahe, Paul A. (2006), Machiavelli's Liberal Republican Legacy,
Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521851874 Excerpt,
reviews and Text search shows Machiavelli's Discourses had a major
impact on shaping conservative thought.
Schaefer, David (1990), The Political Philosophy of Montaigne, Cornell
University Press .
Strauss, Leo (1958), Thoughts on Machiavelli, University of Chicago
Strauss, Leo (1987), "Niccolo Machiavelli", in Strauss, Leo; Cropsey,
Joseph, History of Political Philosophy (3rd ed.), University of
Worden, Blair (1999), "Milton's republicanism and the tyanny of
heaven", in Bock, Gisela; Skinner, Quentin; Viroli, Maurizio,
Machiavelli and Republicanism, Cambridge University Press
Machiavelli, Niccolò (1958), "The Prince", Machiavelli:The Chief
Works and Others, 1 . Translated by Allan Gilbert
Machiavelli, Niccolò (1961), The Prince, London: Penguin,
ISBN 978-0-14-044915-0 . Translated by George Bull
Machiavelli, Niccolò (2006), El Principe/The Prince: Comentado Por
Napoleon Bonaparte / Commentaries by Napoleon Buonaparte, Mestas
Ediciones . Translated into Spanish by Marina Massa-Carrara
Machiavelli, Niccolò (1985), The Prince, University of Chicago
Press . Translated by Harvey Mansfield
Machiavelli, Niccolò (1995), The Prince, Everyman . Translated
and Edited by Stephen J. Milner. Introduction, Notes and other
critical apparatus by J.M. Dent.
Machiavelli, Niccolò (1996), Machiavelli and his friends: Their
personal correspondence, Northern Illinois University Press .
Translated and edited by James B. Atkinson and David Sices.
Machiavelli, Niccolò (2015),
The Prince with Related Documents,
Bedford St. Martins . 2d rev. ed. Translated and edited by
William J. Connell.
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Wikiquote has quotations related to: The Prince
Il Principe at MetaLibri Digital Library (in Italian)
University of Adelaide's full Marriott text of
The Prince (includes
The Prince at Project Gutenberg
The Prince public domain audiobook at LibriVox
The Prince Public Domain – suitable for ereaders: .PDF, .ePUB, .AZW3
Site containing this work, slightly modified for easier reading
Shakespeare reference – a reference to Machiavelli's influence on
Marriott translation of
The Prince at constitution.org
Machiavelli in "The History Guide"
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Machiavelli
The Prince – suitable for ereaders; translation by Ninian Hill
Podcast of Nigel Warburton on Machiavelli's The Prince
A Monologue by Prof. Robert Harrison on The Prince
A Lecture by Ian Johnston on
The Prince as satire
Quentin Skinner on The Prince
The Prince on Philosophy Bites
Pope Clement VII
Emperor Maximillian I
Louis XII of France
House of Medici
Republic of Florence
Timeline of Niccolò Machiavelli
Discourse on Pisa
On the method of dealing with the Rebellious Peoples of Valdichiana
A Description of the Method Used by Duke Valentino in Killing
Vitellozzo Vitelli, Oliverotto da Fermo, and Others
A discourse about the provision of money
Ritratti delle cose dell’ Alemagna
Ritratti delle cose di Francia
The Golden Ass
The Art of War
Discorso sopra il riformare lo stato di Firenze
Sommario delle cose della citta di Lucca
Life of Castruccio Castracani
Life of Castruccio Castracani of Lucca
Discourses on Livy