Niccolo Machiavelli

The Prince
  • The Prince

  • Brought to you by Penguin.

    This Penguin Classic is performed by Simon Callow, actor and director, known for his roles in Four Weddings and a Funeral, Shakespeare in Love, and the BBC adaptation of A Christmas Carol.


    As a diplomat in turbulent fifteenth-century Florence, Niccolò Machiavelli knew how quickly political fortunes could rise and fall. The Prince, his tough-minded, pragmatic handbook on how power really works, made his name notorious and has remained controversial ever since. How can a leader be strong and decisive, yet still inspire loyalty in his followers? When is it necessary to break the rules? Is it better to be feared than loved? Examining regimes and their rulers the world over and throughout history, from Roman Emperors to renaissance Popes, from Hannibal to Cesare di Borgia, Machievalli answers all these questions in a work of realpolitik that still has shrewd political lessons for today.

    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.

    If you enjoyed The Prince, you might like Plato's Republic, also available in Penguin Classics.

    'A gripping work, and a gripping translation'
    Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

Niccoló Machiavelli (1469-1527) was appointed secretary and Second Chancellor to the Florentine Republic in 1498. He was dismissed from his post in 1512 and forced to withdraw from public life, after which time he wrote THE PRINCE, a handbook for rulers.

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