Discourses on Livy

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University of Chicago Press, Feb 27, 2009 - Philosophy - 424 pages
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Discourses on Livy is the founding document of modern republicanism, and Harvey C. Mansfield and Nathan Tarcov have provided the definitive English translation of this classic work. Faithful to the original Italian text, properly attentive to Machiavelli's idiom and subtlety of thought, it is eminently readable. With a substantial introduction, extensive explanatory notes, a glossary of key words, and an annotated index, the Discourses reveals Machiavelli's radical vision of a new science of politics, a vision of "new modes and orders" that continue to shape the modern ethos.

"[Machiavelli] found in Livy the means to inspire scholars for five centuries. Within the Discourses, often hidden and sometimes unintended by their author, lie the seeds of modern political thought. . . . [Mansfield and Tarcov's] translation is careful and idiomatic."—Peter Stothard, The Times

"Translated with painstaking accuracy—but also great readability."—Weekly Standard

"A model of contemporary scholarship and a brave effort at Machiavelli translation that allows the great Florentine to speak in his own voice."—Choice

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Page 24 - So, on the other hand, if heaven were so kind that it did not have to make war, from that would arise the idleness to make it either effeminate or divided; these two things together, or each by itself, would be the cause of its ruin. Therefore, since one cannot,
Page lii - presenting the most serious matters in a boisterous allegrissimo, perhaps not without a malicious artistic sense of the contrast he risks— long, difficult, hard dangerous thoughts and the tempo of the gallop and the very best, most capricious humor.
Page 126 - For it is the duty of a good man to teach others the good that you could not work because of the malignity of the times and of fortune, so that when many are capable of it, someone of them more loved by heaven may be able to work it.
Page 24 - be if there were in it a constitution and laws to prohibit it from expanding. Without doubt I believe that if the thing could be held balanced in this mode, it would be the true political way of life and the true quiet of a city. But since all things of men are in motion and cannot stay steady,
Page 17 - I say that to me it appears that those who damn the tumults between the nobles and the plebs blame those things that were the first cause of keeping Rome free, and that they consider the noises and the cries that would arise in such tumults more than the good effects that they engendered.
Page 30 - ever reprove anyone for any extraordinary action that he uses to order a kingdom or constitute a republic. It is very suitable that when the deed accuses him, the effect excuses him; and when the effect is good, as was that of Romulus, it will always excuse the deed;
Page 118 - are less ungrateful than princes. But as to prudence and stability, I say that a people is more prudent, more stable, and of better judgment than a prince. Not without
Page 30 - deserves excuse in the deaths of his brother and of his partner, and that what he did was for the common good and not for his own ambition, is demonstrated by his having at once ordered a Senate with which he took counsel and by whose opinion he decided.
Page 23 - manage it in your mode; if you maintain it either small or unarmed so as to be able to manage it, then if you acquire dominion you cannot hold it or it becomes so cowardly that you are the prey of whoever assaults you.
Page 19 - Without doubt, if one considers the end of the nobles and of the ignobles, one will see great desire to dominate in the former, and in the latter only desire not to be dominated; and, in consequence, a greater will to live free, being less able to hope to usurp it than are the great.

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About the author (2009)

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.

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