The Prince shocked Europe on publication with its ruthless tactics for gaining absolute power and its abandonment of conventional morality. Niccolò Machiavelli came to be regarded as some by an agent of the Devil and his name taken for the intriguer 'Machevill' of Jacobean tragedy. For his treatise on statecraft Machiavelli drew upon his own experience of office under the turbulent Florentine republic, rejecting traditional values of political theory and recognizing the complicated, transient nature of political life. Concerned not with lofty ideals, but with a regime that would last, The Prince has become the Bible of realpolitik, and still retains its power to alarm and to instruct.
In this edition Machiavelli's tough-minded and pragmatic Italian is preserved in George Bull's clear, unambiguous translation, while Anthony Grafton's introduction depicts Machiavelli's world of power struggles and intrigue, and discusses his role as political teacher of Europe.
Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) was born in Florence, and served the Florentine republic as a secretary and second chancellor, as ambassador and foreign policy-maker. When the Medici family returned to power in 1512 he was suspected of conspiracy, imprisoned and tortured and forced to retire from public life. His most famous work, The Prince, was written in an attempt to gain favour with the Medicis and return to politics.
This edition of this translation originally published: 1999