Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli

Easton Press Niccolo Machiavelli books

The Prince - 100 Greatest Books Ever Written - 1980
The Art of War - Library of Military History - 1990

Franklin Library Niccolo Machiavelli books

The Prince - 100 Greatest Books of All Time - 1978
Political Writings by Niccolo Machiavelli and Hobbes - Great Books of the Western World - 1983

Niccolo Machiavelli biography

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was a famous author, philosopher, and statesman who was born in Florence Italy. Niccolo Machiavelli was secretary to the Florentine Dieci di Liberta e Pace, a 10 man council in charge of the departments of war and interior in the commonwealth. His responsibilities included missions to various courts in Italy, and missions to the German Emperor and King of France. Much of Machiavelli's extensive knowledge of political intrigue was drawn from the experiences he gained during these various political missions. Niccolo Machiavelli reorganized Italy's military defence in Florence during the years from 1503 to 1506, and preferred the use of conscripted troops over mercenary armies that were common to the time period. This use of conscripted troops was preferred by Machiavelli in order to create a more patriotic military for the defense of the Italian commonwealth. The regaining of control of Florence by Medici in 1512 proved to be unfortunate for Niccolo Machiavelli, and he was removed from his secretary position and sent into exile.

Machiavelli made use of his time in exile in San Casiano by writing The Prince (Il Principe in Italian) which would prove to be the most famous book by Niccolo Machiavelli. The Prince, which Machiavelli completed in 1513, was part of a large literary work that he had started earlier and not completed titled Discourse on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius. In The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli, the theory of government and the principle of practical states craft are described, from which he drew upon personal experience and the history of Rome. The Prince describes an ideal prince similar to the benevolent Louis XIV of 17Th century France. A primary purpose of The Prince was to provoke Italy's salvation by means of a powerful army and defense.

While Niccolo Machiavelli never regained any positions of public service he did embark on numerous missions of moderate importance for Pope Leo X following 1519, and again for Pope Clement VII. Machiavelli again strengthened his case for the use of conscripted troops in his On the Art of War (1520) which also theorized the advantage of mobile infantry over forts and permanent artillery. Common belief is that On the Art of War by Niccolo Machiavelli led to the subsequent universal conscription of future armies. He was also commissioned in 1521 to write his book History of Florence, which he never completed. The History, written as a chronicle of the development of Florence, was modeled on the books by Livy, and is written in a simple manner which was unusual for the time period. Following these books Niccolo Machiavelli embarked a number of missions of moderate importance for the commissary of war for Pope Clement VII, Francesco Guicciardini.

Niccolo Machiavelli is recognized among the greatest Renaissance authors. His books, such as The Prince, are viewed as the turning point for humanity from medieval to modern political practice. Niccolo Machiavelli books abandoned the medieval practice of attributing historic events to superstition and the flaws of humanity. Other notable books by Machiavelli are those written from 1507 and 1512 which describe the state of Germany and France during the period, and the biography of Castruccio Castracani (1520), and numerous plays and poems such as the Mandrake (1524).

His name is commonly used as a description of the distinct political theory and mindset which he founded. As such, these theories and practices are often referred to as being "Machiavellian" which contributes to the unique importance of Niccolo Machiavelli as an author and philosopher.


The Prince

The Prince is a seminal political treatise written by Italian diplomat and philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli, born on May 3, 1469, in Florence, Italy. Completed in 1513, but not published until 1532, five years after Machiavelli's death, The Prince remains one of the most influential works in the history of political thought. Machiavelli wrote The Prince during a turbulent period in Italian history, marked by power struggles among city-states and foreign invasions. The book is dedicated to Lorenzo de' Medici, ruler of Florence at the time, and serves as a practical guide for rulers on how to acquire and maintain political power.

The Prince is characterized by its pragmatic and often ruthless approach to politics. Machiavelli argues that rulers must prioritize the stability and security of their states above all else, even if it means resorting to deceit, manipulation, and violence. One of the key concepts introduced in The Prince is the idea that the ends justify the means, meaning that rulers should be willing to use any means necessary to achieve their political goals. Machiavelli famously states, "It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both." Despite its controversial reputation, The Prince is not simply a manual for tyranny. Machiavelli also emphasizes the importance of effective governance, prudent decision-making, and adaptability in the face of changing circumstances. He argues that rulers should be willing to break with conventional morality if it serves the greater good of the state.

The Prince had a profound impact on subsequent political thought, shaping debates about the nature of power, leadership, and ethics. Its influence extends beyond politics to fields such as philosophy, literature, and psychology, inspiring countless interpretations and adaptations over the centuries. Although Machiavelli's ideas have been criticized for their amorality and Machiavellianism, The Prince remains a timeless and thought-provoking work that continues to provoke discussion and debate about the complexities of political life.


The Art of War

The Art of War is a strategic military treatise written by the Italian Renaissance political philosopher and strategist Niccolò Machiavelli. While Machiavelli is perhaps better known for his work The Prince, The Art of War stands as another significant contribution to his body of work. Born on May 3, 1469, in Florence, Italy, Machiavelli served in various governmental roles in the Florentine Republic during a time of political turmoil and foreign invasion. His experiences in diplomacy and military affairs heavily influenced his writings, including The Art of War, which he completed in 1521.

The Art of War is distinct from the more widely known Sun Tzu's treatise of the same name. Machiavelli's work offers practical advice and insights into the conduct of war and statecraft, tailored for the specific political and military context of Renaissance Italy. In this treatise, Machiavelli explores themes such as strategy, tactics, leadership, and the use of force in achieving political objectives. He emphasizes the importance of adaptability, foresight, and innovation in warfare, as well as the need for rulers to maintain a strong and disciplined military to ensure the security and stability of their states. Machiavelli's approach to warfare in The Art of War is characterized by its realism and pragmatism. He rejects the romanticized notions of chivalry and honor that prevailed in his time, advocating instead for a cold and calculating assessment of power dynamics and the pursuit of self-interest.

While The Art of War is primarily focused on military matters, Machiavelli also addresses broader questions of statecraft and governance. He argues that successful rulers must be shrewd and decisive, willing to make difficult choices and take calculated risks to maintain their authority and protect their interests. Despite its historical context, The Art of War remains relevant today as a timeless exploration of the strategies and principles of conflict and power. Machiavelli's insights continue to inform discussions about politics, military strategy, and leadership in both theory and practice.


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