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The Discourses

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  6,686 Ratings  ·  128 Reviews
Few figures in intellectual history have proved as notorious and ambiguous as Niccolo Machiavelli. But while his treatise The Prince made his name synonymous with autocratic ruthlessness and cynical manipulation, The Discourses (c.1517) shows a radically different outlook on the world of politics.

In this carefully argued commentary on Livy's history of republican Rome, Mac
Paperback, 544 pages
Published October 27th 1983 by Penguin Classics (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.
Mike Regalado Do you mean Herodotus? Most boring histories ever.

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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
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Niccolò Machiavelli is known today for two things: the adjective “Machiavellian,” and the book from which that adjective is derived, "The Prince," which provides advice for monarchs who accede to power. But Machiavelli wrote more than one book, and his second-most-famous book is this one, "Discourses on Livy." In it, he provides advice for the founding, structuring, governing, and maintenance of republics, along with advice to individuals holding power, and a good bit of practical military advic ...more
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Xitsuka 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
Emre Poyraz
Feb 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 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
Finished our unit on Machiavelli in my political theory class and I'm so glad we were able to read both The Prince and The Discourses. It's really the only way to gain a holistic understanding of Machiavelli's principles and political motives.
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 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
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
Marwan Al-Aqili
كتاب قيم وترجمة سيئة جدًا.
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
Jan 02, 2009 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
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Ericka Clouther
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 is 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 st
Jul 08, 2012 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
May 26, 2016 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
Jun 18, 2014 rated it liked it
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 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 rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Ajay Venkitaraman
If The Prince is a concise read for the ways to be adopted by a prince, Discourses on Livy is an elaborate treatise about the way a republic should function, much of it is still relevant today. Reading this book took up my mindspace so much that I was hooked on accomplishing the reading and nothing else. If you love history, this is something you will definitely like, for the others, it becomes a bit difficult to sustain the liking. The language, fittingly seems medieval and that's another plus. ...more
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Es difícil pensar en Maquiavelo sin pensar en El Príncipe. Los Discursos, a pesar de ser su magnum opus, han quedado más bien olvidados (probablemente porque es una obra mucho más larga y porque tiene menos citas que llamen la atención). Sin embargo, si alguien está interesado realmente en el pensamiento de Maquiavelo y en sacarle todo el jugo a sus observaciones sobre el comportamiento humano, definitivamente tiene que leer este libro. En Los Discursos, Maquiavelo reflexiona sobre como hacer pr ...more
Kristen Coffin
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
"Men are born and live and die in an order which remains ever the same."

I almost would believe that these were written by the same author, because they're so fundamentally different. The Prince is more of a totalitarian, immediate do-this-or-die (metaphorically) ways to rule over the people. And as it was written for a Medici, that's almost not even surprising.

The Discourses, on the other hand, is more about doing good by the people an respecting their wishes. Granted this book was written as an
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this enigmatic work of political philosophy, Machiavelli takes a lot of positions you would not necessarily expect from the author of The Prince: republics are better, down with tyrants, follow the Roman model of virtue. There's a lot of peculiar indefiniteness to be found everywhere -- things he really seems to implicitly believe are often not stated outright, and the plain reading of one passage often becomes problematic in light of another. Ultimately, his reflections on the mortality of r ...more
Luke Smith
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Machiavelli provides invaluable insights into what made the Roman Republic successful whilst bemoaning the failings of the Italian city states. The lessons of the Prince are expanded upon with insight and aplomb. There's little discernable structure but it's a masterclass in the great game of politics and statesmanship.
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: college-books
This was a required reading for my history class " The Renaissance", being in that class required me to read a lot of books not only this one book others, I thought this book was interesting, and learn some things that Niccolo have talked about in this book.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
یکی از بهترین کتابهایی است که برای درک عمیق از سیاست و حقوق عمومی نوشته شده.
Mike Regalado
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love reading Machiavelli. Logical, practical, truthful, but not relevant at all in this administration. This is more like a Dickens dream.
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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
  • 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.” 369 likes
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