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Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Levius (1883)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  4,616 ratings  ·  75 reviews
Niccol di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (1469-1527) 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 (1513)- on the one hand and republicanism -Discourses on Livy (1512-1517)- ...more
Paperback, 500 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1513)
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Considering the social and cultural landscape of the contemporary West, one cannot help but wonder whether we can pull out of our downward slide, and what are the odds of doing so.

An interesting analysis of this issue is provided by Machiavelli, in his "Discourses" (1517). In this deeply insightful book, a commentary on the work of the Roman historian Titus Livius (Livy), Machiavelli examines the ebb and flow of the Roman republic, applying its lessons to the affairs of his own era, and to the l
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 ...more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Apr 19, 2015 Muath is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
James K
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.
María I.
Aparentemente, los Discursos no son una obra tan orgánica y pensadamente concebida como El Príncipe-señala Roberto Raschella, traductor y prologuista de esta edición-, pero poseen una viboreante estructura asimétrica y un estilo acaso más moderno y desconcertante, que no deja de reiterar las virtudes de la escritura de un verdadero artista y, al mismo tiempo, el espíritu de análisis despiadado de la vida política y militar de su época, siempre a la luz de la analogía con la original de Tito Livi ...more
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
What's important to remember when reading Machievelli, is just how shocking much of what he said was in his day. A modern reader, steeped in the cynicism of 20th/21st Century politics might say "Well, duh," about some of his observations, but much of what Machievelli said about honor, religion and politics wasn't said (or at least published) in his age. Not to say that a lot of rulers in late 15th/early 16th Century Italy weren't acting in the ways that he observed - people just didn't say so. M ...more
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
Andi Kuncoro
Il Principe sebenarnya karya ilmiah Machiavelli. Ia menangkap bagaimana cara mendapatkan & mempertahankan kekuasaan oleh Raja-raja lama.

Machiavelli sendiri sebenarnya selalu menganjurkan nobility & pentingnya sebuah Republik di buku Discorsi ini.

Ia bukan orang yang menganjurkan keculasan & deception. Ia sekedar merekam apa yang telah dilakukan raja-raja lama untuk memperoleh kuasa dan mempertahankannya. Ia tidak menganjurkannya.

Sekali lagi, ia menganjurkan nobility. Ia mencita-cita
Adrian Colesberry
Wonderfully readable, just like the Prince. After the disorientation of the last eight years, I wanted to get back in touch with the basic documents that this country was founded on. When I learned that the Discourses were the basis of the constitution (through Rousseau, et al) I picked it up. Very rewarding.

The first and second books are wonderful. He very much straddles what you'd think of as conservative or liberal in his advice for a republic. He certainly wouldn't see the partisan bickering

The 'Discourses' are a mystery to many people only acquainted with 'The Prince'. Their initial 'surface' reading had convinced them that ol' Nick was on the side of a strong Individual (Prince, King) ruling through his virtù. But this was only at the surface! If you go through the 'Prince' a second time, searching for any mention of the aristocrats (Barons, Dukes, Factions, etc.) you will be amazed how Machiavelli never seems to have much respect for them. They always get in the way! The
Many know about Machiavelli's famous (or infamous) "The Prince" but few have read his other prominent work, "the Discourses on Livy." It is a puzzling matter when one considers how two works written by the same author can present such contrasting views on statecraft or politics. "The Prince" is essentially a political manual for princely rulers while the "discourses" is book espousing republics as an ideal form of government. Note that this book would be recommended for those who have already re ...more
Read for a university course in conjunction with The Prince. An interesting contrast from the same author. The Penguin edition translation of Discourses on Livy is far superior to that of the Penguin Prince.
Jim Clearman
An important follow-up to The Prince, as it sets the context for Machiavelli's thoughts.
Steven Heywood
Essential reading for anyone interested in civics and local government
If you're just starting to read Machiavelli, you should read this, THEN "The Prince". This book gives a very clear idea of Machiavelli's socio-political beliefs, and also puts "The Prince" into perspective. While not as easy a read as "The Prince" (this was written for Machiavelli's more scholarly friends, while "The Prince" was dumbed down because the intended audience for that book wasn't so clever), this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand Machiavelli, and considering his b ...more
I brought this book because I'd read the Prince and liked it. However, having read authors who have a better grasp of the Ancient world than Machiavelli has drawbacks. Machiavelli often resorts to crude or misleading generalisations about an event or events in Ancient history in order to draw an analogy, and this starts to grate after a while. Even though you understand that it's the analogy that matters, you wish he had remained faithful to or gave a more accurate rendering of the source materi ...more
A fascinating early engagement with the (post-classical) idea of a republic (as state without monarch), not towards perfection or universal rules but on the benefits of popular tumult as a guard against tyranny and virtue not as a set of rules but how one responds to the accidents of history and social life. While this might sound like the opposite of The Prince, both books rather elucidate different tendencies in Machiavelli's thought (and were probably written for different audiences/patrons).
Kw Estes
This book, though of course not as highly renowned as The Prince, arguably holds much more utility for assessing the world of Western politics in this day and age. Written in a semi-historical manner, it contains lessons of the preferred methods of governance that have no doubt influenced the logic behind many of the structural and institutional frameworks of American and European politics for the last four centuries.
It's odd that even though Machiavelli is regarded as the consummate political puppeteer, he wasn't able to put what he wrote about into practice. He never became much more than a minor official and even then he found himself in with the wrong crowd which saw him ostracized for most of his life. I won't take all credit away from him though. Sometimes it's easier to see what someone else should do than what you should do.
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  • The Spirit of the Laws (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • Machiavelli in Hell
  • Reflections on the Revolution in France
  • A Letter Concerning Toleration: Humbly Submitted
  • The Social Contract & Other Later Political Writings (Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • On the Republic/On the Laws
  • Natural Right and History
  • The Concept of the Political
  • The Discourses
  • Niccolò's Smile: A Biography of Machiavelli
  • Elements of the Philosophy of Right
  • On Liberty and Other Essays
  • The Laws of Plato
  • The Essays
  • The Protestant Reformation
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...
The Prince The Art of War Mandragola The Prince and Other Writings The Prince and The Discourses

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“Men are driven by two principal impulses, either by love or by fear.” 260 likes
“Considering thus how much honor is awarded to antiquity, and how many times—letting pass infinite other examples—a fragment of an ancient statue has been bought at high price because someone wants to have it near oneself, to honor his house with it, and to be able to have it imitated by those who delight in that art, and how the latter then strive with all industry to represent it in all their works; and seeing, on the other hand, that the most virtuous works the histories show us, which have been done by ancient kingdoms and republics, by kings, captains, citizens, legislators, and others who have labored for their fatherland, are rather admired than imitated—indeed they are so much shunned by everyone in every least thing that no sign of that ancient virtue remains with us—I can do no other than marvel and grieve… From this it arises that the infinite number who read [the histories] take pleasure in hearing of the variety of accidents contained within them without thinking of imitating them, judging that imitation is not only difficult but impossible—as if heaven, sun, elements, men had varied in motion, order, and power from what they were in antiquity. Wishing, therefore, to turn men from this error, I have judged it necessary to write on all those books of Titus Livy...” 4 likes
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