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Discourses on Livy

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  5,835 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
Discourses on Livy, written in 1531, is as essential to an understanding of Machiavelli as his famous treatise, The Prince. Equally controversial, it reveals his fundamental preference for a republican state.
Comparing the practice of the ancient Romans with that of his contemporaries provided Machiavelli with a consistent point of view in all his works. Machiavelli's clos
Paperback, 414 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1513)
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Ryan Hazen Yes. In fact, the books are almost polar opposites even though they were written by the same author.
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Dans cet ouvrage, Nicolas Machiavel, Florentin de la renaissance, livre les réflexions que lui ont inspirées la lecture des dix premiers livres de l'histoire de Rome de Tite-Live, tout en nuançant les avis de l'historien romain par sa propre expérience politique comme diplomate. Machiavel sent le souffre, dans la mesure où son nom nous a légué un adjectif fort peu recommandable : machiavélique. On l'applique à ceux qui sont parfaitement dénués de scrupules ou de pitié, pour qui la fin justifie l
Feb 13, 2013 Bertrand rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The common wisdom goes that Machiavelli's discourses present to the reader the author's republican side, whereas The Prince was more aimed at the 'godlike rulers' - indeed, under the cover of a commentary of Livy, one of the foremost classical text of Roman origin, Nicolo takes us on a journey not unlike the one he proposed to the reader of The Prince. Distinguished once again by his penetrating insights prefiguring psychology, sociology, political sciences, and calling upon strategy and common ...more
Nancy Burns
Marathon read during a heat wave....
Luckily I have air-co and a great book by Machiavelli!

My review:
Sep 17, 2007 Teggan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yes, you had to read The Prince, because your professor had to fit something of Machiavelli's into the class, and so she chose the shortest of his works to keep the students bitching to a minimum. The Prince represents a small subset of Machiavelli's concept of government. The recommendations from The Prince are a necessary evil that must be tolerated for a short time. The Discourses are a more substantial analysis of the preferred type of government for the long term.
Thank your professor that
Emre Poyraz
Feb 09, 2011 Emre Poyraz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While Niccolo Machiavelli is famous for his "evil" book, the Prince, I believe this is his real masterpiece. In this book, he tries to identify what can be called the "macro" foundations of a well working republic, and his source material is the historical comparison of the Roman Empire (from the books of Titus Livius) and contemporary cities and republics. The language of the book is very compelling, and it is usually hard to argue with anything in the book.

I suggest this book to anyone intere
Said Abuzeineh
May 17, 2015 Said Abuzeineh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
هذا الكتاب هو أهم كتب مكيافلي وإن لم يكن اشهرها، ففيه زبدة تجاربه وخلاصة فهمه واشتغاله بالتاريخ متبعا في ذلك ابن خلدون حذو النعل بالنعل في منهجيته وأسلوبه وبعض الملاحظات التي تتطابق معه تطابقا غريبا,

سوى أنه في بحثه هنا رامق تاريخ روما بعين حديدة وأنظار فريدة لم يسبق إليها، ومعه إيمان خفي في أصله وثني بالنظر إلى الحظ وتقلباته ..

وخلاصة الكتاب طرح ممتاز للكيفية التي بها تبقى الدولة عمرا طويلا سالمة من الهرم .. وهو ما بحثه ابن لخدون قبله وإن لم يدخل في تفصبالاته مدخل مكيافلي

فكأنه هنا يرى التاريخ ل
Aug 13, 2016 Ξιτσυκα rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ξιτσυκα by: Assassin's Creed Franchise
This might be the worst review I've ever written since half of it is going to be my libido talking.

Niccolò Machiavelli, the man made of androgen.
Choosing the right terminology is a matter of life and death -- I suppose psychoanalysts and fans of Machiavelli would agree on this. Most readers are nowhere better than a highlighter: they pick the phrases that stimulate their lowly senses and leave all the rest behind. In the world of a highlighter reader, libido equals to sex-drive thus equals to se
The Discourses by Niccolo Machiavelli is the famous political schemers treatise on Republican government compared to principality (or dictatorship). He is, of course, famous for his work "The Prince" which is classic bedtime reading for any want-to-be dictator or authoritarian ruler. The Discourses, however, take his political theories into new depths, examining the playoffs between populism, voting, citizenship, warfare and the conduct of state officials, to name a few. All of these categories ...more
Dec 27, 2012 Ben rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this along with "The Prince" and (as can be deemed by my review of that work), it was certainly very interesting comparing Machiavelli's views in the two works. In "The Prince" (about contemporary political ills, and addressed to Lorenzo De' Medici) there is a strong authoritarian sentiment expressed, while in "The Discourses" (largely about Ancient Rome), there are strong republican sentiments -- trust of the will of the people and of freedom and liberty. While it could be said that Mach ...more
mohab samir
إن من يقرأ مطارحات مكيافيللى لا يسعه أن يتخيل أن هناك حاكماً واحداً من حكام هذه الأيام لم يقرأ لمكيافيللى أو لم يطبق فى حكمه ولو قدر ليس بالضئيل من أرائه السياسية .
وإنا لنشعر بأن الفلسفة السياسية المكيافيللية هى بمثابة الرحم الذى خرجت منه الفلسفة السياسية الحديثة المعاصرة رغم كل ما طرأ عليها من تطور .
وبنية كتاب المطارحات متعددة الجوانب ولا يسعنا أن نشمل جميع أبعاد الكتاب بالحديث إلا أنه يجب الإشارة إلى أن مكيافيللى قد إتخذ من الكتب العشرة الأولى لتيتوس ليفيوس المؤرخ الرومانى بعض المواضيع المستمد
Nov 28, 2009 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me forever, but I finally finished the book. An old A&E television series on great books included a section on Machiavelli. One of the commentators, Henry Kissinger, noted that Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy was a must read to obtain a balanced view on the author's political beliefs. The book offers an analysis on almost every type of governance problem. Of course, some of the solutions would not fare well today. However, I do believe that one could develop a foreign relations scor ...more
Mar 25, 2015 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book stands in stark contrast to Machiavelli's most famous work The Prince. On one hand The Prince is viewed as cynical and immoral while on the other The Discourses is considered to be full of prudence and wisdom. The book's overarching theme is to analyse events in history, particularly Roman, and then apply them as principles for governing. I read this book because I wanted to see how it would compare to Machiavelli's other works that I have read and also I had heard positive things abou ...more
In addition to the eminent and lucid introduction by Professor Mansfield, there are several other good reasons to choose his translation of the Discourses – first of all I found it to have more clarity than the other translation I have read. This translation aims to stay faithful to Machiavelli’s original text, rendering it in a very readable English (as much as is possible with Machiavelli), and providing readers without knowledge of Italian with a more intimate knowledge of Machiavelli’s train ...more
Jun 14, 2014 علاء rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: سياسة
لست أفهم كيف لا يدرك البعض سوء عملهم !
وكيف لم يدرك المترجم أو الناشر أو من أخرج هذا الكتاب إلى القراء سوء عمله ورداءته !
الترجمة سيئة للغاية والجمل مفككة وعلامات الترقيم شبه غائبة والجمل المعترضة أكثر من الكلام الأساسي ذاته

على الرغم من ذلك ... الكتاب جيد ... وفيه شيء قيم يستحق القراءة
والفضل ليمكيافيللي بالطبع
يتحدث الكتاب بشكل أساسي عن روما والامبراطورية الرومانية ونظام الحكم فيها
ثم يخرج من الخاص إلى العام ... فيجعل من قوانين ونظم روما وأوضاعها قواعد عامة للحكم في أي دولة أخرى، وعلى ذمة الناشر ب
Hammam Nimrawi
Aug 25, 2016 Hammam Nimrawi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
أهم كتب مكيافيلي بلا شك، وهو من أكثر النصوص تأثيرا في مجال السياسة في التاريخ الحديث، ومن الممكن اقتفاء آثار مباشرة لهذه المطارحات في عديد من النصوص ذات التأثير الواسع، وعند عديد من الفلاسفة السياسيين، والمفكرين المشتغلين بحقل السياسة عامة، الفرنسيين والأنجلوسكسونيين. بل إن الممكن القول بأن هذا كان من النصوص المؤثرة مباشرة في تكوين فكرة الدولة والأمة في إنجلترا وفرنسا والولايات المتحدة (من الممكن مثلا الخروج باقتباسات توافق، بشكل شبه حرفي، عديدا من تعديلات دستور الولايات المتحدة [U.S. Constituti ...more
Jun 08, 2016 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If all you know of Machiavelli is The Prince, you're missing out- it's tragic that that short volume sums up Machiavelli's work in the minds of many. In his much longer, wide-ranging Discourses, Machiavelli lays down some of the most profound and influential political thinking ever committed to writing. Its influence on the American founding generation becomes clear on every page. I dive into this frequently when lamenting the current state of political discourse.
I've read Machiavelli in a coupl
Jul 23, 2014 Draven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not going to lie…Discourses is a very difficult read, but I enjoyed it in its own unique way nonetheless. I suggest reading The Prince first and doing some background research on Roman and Italian Renaissance history as well, simply for contextual and reference purposes. I read The Discourses and am a fan of Machiavelli because he was ahead of his time and a political genius/mastermind. It is also an excellent example of what changes and what stays the same and how, more often than not, hist ...more
Jan 25, 2016 Borum rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book 1, Book 2, Book 3로 나뉘어진 걸 보면..

Book 1에서는 공화정과 왕정의 차이에 집중한 것 같고

Book 2는 성공한 로마 공화정의 발전을 처음부터 따라올라가며 본받을 점에 주목하고

Book 3는 이런 공화정에서 몰락의 길을 걷지 않기 위해 주의해야할 점들을 citizen과 commander 위주로 알아본 듯 합니다.

개인적으로 이번 5차, 즉 book 3는 좀 자세하고 실용적인 부분 같아서 재미있었고 보기에 어렵지는 않았지만

뭐랄까.. 용두사미랄까...

좀 끝에 가서는 엥? 이게 끝이야? 하는 느낌이 없지 않았고

어떤 나라들이나 어떤 가족들은 싹수가 노랗다는 듯의 약간 편견이 심한 것 같아서

여러가지 reference나 misquotation의 문제 등도 그렇고..

Discourses on Livy가 좀 미완성작이 아닌가..하는 생각이 들었습니다.
James K
Jul 27, 2009 James K rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to know what he REALLY, really thought, check it out. Interesting to note the changes from before his years of torture. Yes, he was tortured for his politics. Fuck, this dude's smart.
Mar 09, 2014 Aeden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You cannot only read The Prince; the importance Machiavelli ascribes to both character and circumstance -- and the interplay of the two -- is more fully revealed by reading each in dialogue with the other, getting a more complete picture of his musings.
Arthur Bregondo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ericka Clou
Mostly discusses the benefits and management of a democratic state. A significantly more moral read than The Prince. Makes the argument that despite the sentiment popular in the 1500s, rule by the masses, while imperfect, is preferable to autocratic rule. It his belief that democracies that fail become anarchies, but current experience seems to point to oligarchy at best or tyrannies at worst.

Machiavelli spends a fair amount of time discussing how religion can help or hinder the democratic state
Dec 14, 2016 Gareth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quickly becomes clear why it is a classic as whilst you read it you continually have reflections on the current events of politics (something that I'm sure is true of it at any time) and in so doing you become aware of some of the more permanent aspects of human character traits. Having said this everything is not immediately clear in this work and in reflecting on it and digesting it with others you will gain a deeper understanding of some of the more subtle nuances. Overall a fascinating analy ...more
Ryan Hazen
Jan 07, 2017 Ryan Hazen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If The Prince was written by Machiavelli's brain, than Discourses on Livy was written by his heart. The juxtaposition could not be any clearer.

While his sociopathic guide on how to be a total fascist may be his most famous piece if work, Discourses on Livy sets out an argument that a government that acts in the interest of the people is superior to a government exists to benefit the nobility.

It is a fascinating lesson in both history and political science.
Machiavelli has an interesting way of looking at the world. His experiences in his time period and the way he lays them out to the reader is usually pretty easy to follow. I am often astounded at how similar things are, despite the many hundreds of years of difference. Good food for thought.
Muath Aziz
Jan 09, 2016 Muath Aziz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, philosophy, history
I loved the book. Very informative concerning history of Rome and on understanding how politics goes even to this day; "History repeats itself" thingy. Machiavelli is a political scientist not a philosopher, kindly check my review on The Prince. That is a good thing actually, the reasoning and conclusions of this book are empirical and practical. He mentions examples from Rome and from his own time too, I can't resist but to also mention to myself examples from our own time. Machiavelli understo ...more
Du Nguyen
Aug 01, 2016 Du Nguyen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
The Discourses by Machiavelli is Machiavelli's thoughts on republics and government. In it he tackles the principles of power, the uneasy power balance between the people and the ones in power. The Discourses mostly follow the Roman republic until the times of the emperors.
Any analysis or discussion of Machiavelli of course mentions his most famous work, The Prince. While The Prince was about power for dictators, The Discourses takes a view on republics and only mentions dictatorship in comparis
David Nichols
I was assigned to read several excerpts from this lesser-known Machiavelli work in college, but didn't get around to reading the whole thing until I was in my forties. Here's what I wrote in my journal when I finished it: "Most important insight: that the strength of a republic lies in the diversity of talents it can apply to public problems." That's counter-intuitive for a late-medieval European brought up to believe that kings and princes were superior to the unwashed multitude in every way, b ...more
Peter Aronson
The Discourses, which started as a commentary on Livy's History of Rome, became something broader. It is known as Machiavelli's pro-republic book, and it is, but it is important to realize that he did not have a modern concept of a republic -- to him, a republic meant a city state with a republican form of government (a mix of autocracy, aristocracy and democracy). He had no real concept the modern, nation-scale republic. While this book might have been influential with later founders of republi ...more
Aug 01, 2013 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a long but truly worthwhile odyssey into a very ancient analysis. The Discourses are bite-size chapters of analysis and thought on the works of Livy. While Machiavelli rambles a lot and repeats copious amounts of commentary from The Prince it is still fascinating to see this merged with comparison to both the ancient Roman Empire and contemporary Renaissance Italy. It's remarkably readable - partly due to excellent translation - but also Machiavelli's style of repeatedly backing up his ...more
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  • Machiavelli in Hell
  • A Letter Concerning Toleration: Humbly Submitted
  • The Discourses & Other Early Political Writings (Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • Reflections on the Revolution in France
  • The Spirit of the Laws (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • On the Republic/On the Laws
  • Natural Right and History
  • On Liberty and Other Essays
  • The Old Regime and the French Revolution
  • The Rights of War and Peace: In Three Volumes
  • Political Writings (Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • Plutarch's Lives, Vol 2
  • The Essays
  • Democracy's Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy
  • The Discourses
  • The Laws of Plato
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian political philosopher, musician, poet, and romantic comedic playwright. He is a figure of the Italian Renaissance and a central figure of its political component, most widely known for his treatises on realist political theory (The Prince) on the one hand and republicanism (Discourses on Livy) on the other.
More about Niccolò Machiavelli...

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“Men are driven by two principal impulses, either by love or by fear.” 325 likes
“Let no man, therefore, lose heart from thinking that he cannot do what others have done before him; for, as I said in my Preface, men are born, and live, and die, always in accordance with the same rules.” 6 likes
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