Machiavelli: The Prince

Front Cover
The most famous book on politics ever written, 'The Prince' remains as lively and shocking today as when it was written almost five hundred years ago. Initially denounced as a collection of sinister maxims and a recommendation of tyranny, it has more recently been defended and indeed applauded as the first scientific treatment of politics as it is practiced rather than as it ought to be practiced. A masterpiece of effective prose, 'The Prince' is at once comic and formidable, imaginative and calculating, fascinating and chilling. Its influence in modern history has been profound, and - often considered to be the first modern book - it was surely a primary text for the modern philosophers who challenged the traditions of ancient and medieval thought and morality. Mansfield's translation of this classic work, in combination with the new material added for this edition, makes it the definitive version of 'The Prince', indispensable to scholars, students, and lovers of the dark art of politics.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Selected pages


The different kinds of principality and how they are acquired
Hereditary principalities
Why the Kingdom of Darius conquered by Alexander did not rebel against his successors after Alexanders death
How one should govern cities or principalities that before being conquered used to live under their own laws
New principalities acquired by ones own arms and ability
New principalities acquired through the power of others and their favour
Those who become rulers through wicked means
The civil principality
Cruelty and mercifulness and whether it is better to be loved or feared
How rulers should keep their promises
How contempt and hatred should be avoided
Whether building fortresses and many other things that rulers frequently do are useful or not
How a ruler should act in order to gain reputation
The secretaries of rulers
How flatterers should be shunned
Why the rulers of Italy have lost their states

How the strength of all principalities should be measured
Ecclesiastical principalities
The different types of army and mercenary troops
Auxiliaries mixed troops and native troops
How a ruler should act concerning military matters
The things for which men and especially rulers are praised or blamed
Generosity and meanness
How much power fortune has over human affairs and how it should be resisted
Exhortation to liberate Italy from the barbarian yoke
Letters relevant to The Prince
Notes on the vocabulary of The Prince
Biographical notes

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 3 - Highness within the compass of a small volume: and although I deem this work unworthy of Your Highness's acceptance, yet my confidence in your humanity assures me that you will receive it with favour, knowing that it is not in my power to offer you a greater gift than that of enabling you to understand in a very short time all those things which I have learnt at the cost of privation and danger in the course of many years.

About the author (1988)

Niccolo Machiavelli was born on May 3, 1469 in Florence, Italy. He was a political philosopher, statesman, and court advisor. Starting out as a clerk, he quickly rose in the ranks because he understood balance of power issues involved in many of his diplomatic missions. His political pursuits quickly ended after he was imprisoned by the Medici family. He is best known for The Prince, his guide to power attainment and cutthroat leadership. He also wrote poetry and plays, including a comedy named Mandragola. He died on June 21, 1527 at the age of 58.

Bibliographic information