Nicholas Machiavelli’s Prince


Category: Philosophy and Politics

By Niccolo Machiavelli

Published in 1640

Reference #0218

First English Edition. “Nicholas Machiavel’s Prince. Also, the Life of Castruccio Castracani of Lucca. And the Meanes Duke Valentine us’d to put to Death Vitellozzo Vitelli, Oliverotto of Fermo, Paul, and the Duke of Gravina,” more commonly known as “The Prince,” was written by Niccolo Machiavelli and first appeared in 1513 in a correspondence version under the title “De Principatibus.” “The Prince” was first published five years after Machiavelli’s death in 1532 in Italian by Antonio Blado d’Asola.

In 1640, the first English translation was published by R. Bishop in London. The work was written in response to the troubled conditions and dissonance in Italy, Machiavelli’s native country. Machiavelli developed a practical examination and guide of how power should function for ruling the people. His main topic was autocratic regimes where he focused on three themes: political power, the art of war, and goodwill. The impact of “The Prince” was widespread, including influencing William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe, who would reference Machiavelli in their works.

However, not all felt the same and, in 1559, “The Prince” was placed on the “Index librorum prohibitorum” (Index of Prohibited Books). The English translation in 1640 was only published after the censorship broke down, but by 1643 the work was censored in England and it would be more than twenty years before it would be reprinted in English. Today, “The Prince” is considered as one of the foundational works of modern political philosophy and a classic work of political science.