Read Discours sur la première décade de Tite-Live by Niccolò Machiavelli Online

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Les Discours sont présentés ici dans une nouvelle traduction, plus proche de la langue de Machiavel, et sont accompagnés pour la première fois en France d'un apparat critique indispensable à la lecture du texte. Conçus sous la forme d'un commentaire des dix premiers livres de l'Histoire de Tite-Live, ils représentent l'achèvement de la pensée machiavélienne, à mi-chemin enLes Discours sont présentés ici dans une nouvelle traduction, plus proche de la langue de Machiavel, et sont accompagnés pour la première fois en France d'un apparat critique indispensable à la lecture du texte. Conçus sous la forme d'un commentaire des dix premiers livres de l'Histoire de Tite-Live, ils représentent l'achèvement de la pensée machiavélienne, à mi-chemin entre Le Prince (1513), l'Art de la guerre (1519-1521) et les Histoires florentines (1520-1525). Ils marquent la naissance, au moment du déclin de la Respublica Christiana et du Sacrum Romanum Imperium, d'une nouvelle théorie et pratique de la " politique ", à l'écart des idées antiques sur le meilleur gouvernement, des conceptions éthico-juridiques médiévales, et des modèles humanistes des " miroirs des princes ". Il est essentiellement question dans les Discours de la sécurité et de la puissance des Etats, sur fond de cet état de pierre qui va désormais constituer la trame de leurs rapports. Apparaît ainsi ce qui jusque-là n'avait pas encore été pensé, la " politique étrangère ", domaine pour la première fois " problématisé " par Machiavel. La politique nouvelle se déploie sur le plan d'une historicité radicale où la vertu, c'est-à-dire la liberté des choix et des décisions, se subordonne à la fortune, à savoir aux nécessités de l'histoire. Face à cette historicité, se sont défaites aussi bien la métaphysique chrétienne du salut que la métaphysique platonicienne des formes iléales et intemporelles. La pensée de Machiavel ne restera-t-elle pas la limite infranchissable de toute politique tant que les " relations internationales " seront assujetties aux lois et aux raisons de la puissance ? Il n'était pas inutile de rendre cette œuvre fondatrice pleinement accessible aux lecteurs français, à la fois dans sa littéralité et dans le détail des allusions historiques dont elle est tissée....

Title : Discours sur la première décade de Tite-Live
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ISBN : 9782070747221
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 575 Pages
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Discours sur la première décade de Tite-Live Reviews

  • Yann
    2018-09-25 16:19

    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 les moyens, et qui subordonnent la morale à l'intérêt. C'est une répugnance compréhensible que nous inspire un tel caractère, mais il ne faudrait pas pour autant négliger les avis de celui que Montesquieu appelait justement le très pénétrant Machiavel. Également, le père de l'esprit des Lois faisait grand cas de Tite-Live: il m'avait poussé à le lire, et c'est tout naturellement que je me suis précipité sur le présent ouvrage dès que j'ai découvert son existence.Utiliser l'histoire pour comprendre les lois de la science politique, et mieux prévoir l'avenir : Hérodote avait déjà ce souci, et les meilleurs historiens ont travaillé à léguer à la postérité ce κτῆμα ἐς ἀεί, ce trésor pour toujours, car ce sont toujours de choses humaines qu'il s'agit, en dépit des siècles qui s'écoulent. L'autre voie, c'est la voie spéculative des utopies et des systèmes: c'est imaginer le monde tel qu'il devrait être, sans se laisser arrêter par ce qu'il est, mais au risque de se laisser éblouir par ce qui ne pourrait être. Pour Machiavel, s'appuyer sur un savoir solide est fondamental, car les rêves de société parfaite ont fait long feu: l'impatience des antiques à parvenir à une synthèse a été mise à mal par les constats des modernes. L'échec de la secte chrétienne lui saute aux yeux, alors que c'est en Italie où elle est la plus puissante qu'elle est la moins respectée, et qu'au moment même où il compose son ouvrage, Luther s'active en Allemagne à la renverser. Ce n'est pas une boussole qu'il nous fournit, mais une carte précise et minutieuse. Si une partie de sa doctrine peu être dégagée comme un système, une autre partie semble juste être des règles sans liens établi avec le reste, comme s'il avait formé une ébauche qu'il appartiendrait à la postérité de compléter.La doctrine de Machiavel découle pour un état d'une exigence première : la sécurité, le besoin de se regrouper pour assurer la jouissance de ses biens et la sûreté des personnes. Cette sécurité peut être troublée soit par des facteurs internes ou externes. Le remède souverain que Machiavel préconise, c'est la liberté. La liberté fait les meilleurs armées, chacun luttant avec plus d'ardeur. Se reposer sur sa richesse pour sa sécurité est absurde: c'est au contraire la voie la plus courte pour être asservi. Mais la liberté assure aussi une sécurité intérieur, grâce à une lutte constante entre riches et pauvres. Machiavel considère qu'il est souhaitable qu'aucune faction ne l'emporte jamais sur l'autre, mais que chacune se batte sans relâche pour l'emporter : c'est ainsi que la liberté est cultivée, et il faut beaucoup moins craindre les légers troubles qu'ils provoquent qu'une trompeuse tranquillité bientôt annonciatrice de servitude et de ruine. Pour autant, il ne fait pas mystère de son attachement net pour le peuple, qu'il juge beaucoup plus sage et à même de prendre les bonnes décisions nécessaires à son salut. Il tranche avec l'opinion classique des anciens: il était d'usage de fustiger l'humeur changeante de la foule, et la démocratie était fréquemment dénigrée. Machiavel démontre que si la foule est inconstante, c'est bien pire pour les riches et les puissants, qui sont de beaucoup les plus en proie aux passions de l'avidité et de la superbe, choses par lesquelles la foule n'est pas corrompue. Pour conserver la liberté, l'expédient qu'il préconise avec la liberté, c'est un état riche, et des citoyens pauvres. Machiavel n'aime pas la noblesse, et, en fervent républicain, adepte comme il est des solutions extrêmes, il plaide sans ambages pour le fer. En dehors de son système, il évoque de nombreuses règles qu'il serait fastidieux d'énumérer, mais qui souvent se rapportent à la conduite de la guerre, ainsi que sa préparation: toutes choses très nécessaire à la sécurité de l'état, principe primordial chez Machiavel.La méthode de Machiavel consiste à exposer chaque règle le plus clairement possible, puis de citer les exemples antiques et modernes à partir desquels il l'a inférée. Lorsque cette règle est paradoxale, il en explique la raison. Le ton qu'il emploie est celui de l'objectivité, et la seule passion qui ressort, c'est le dépit de voir le peu de cas que ses contemporains aux affaires font du savoir qu'ils gagneraient à mettre à profit, et qu'ils dédaignent par présomption, manque de prudence et folie. Il fustige également le christianisme, pour avoir insufflé trop de patience chez les bons à souffrir les abus des méchants, ce qui a finalement encouragé ces derniers plutôt que les avoir contenus. Le plus souvent, ses exposés en imposent grandement, car il joint l'expérience au savoir livresque, et semble animé par le pur amour de la vérité, n'hésitant pas à la montrer même sous ses aspects les plus laids et les moins plaisants. N'est ce pas un peu triste d'affirmer que nous n'agissons bien que lorsque finalement la nécessité nous presse ? Aussi, la rigueur de certaines de ses opinions ne manqueront pas de mettre sérieusement notre sens moral à l'épreuve, surtout qu'il déconseille toujours fortement la voie moyenne, celle qui le plus souvent est vouée à l'échec.Il suffit d'avoir des yeux pour constater que l'idéal républicain que Machiavel avait lu dans Tite-Live et corrigé avec son expérience, avant de le jeter sur le papier, est devenu en grande part notre réalité d'aujourd'hui. Aussi, je ne saurais trop conseiller la lecture de ce petit texte, dont le plus grand mérite est une grande clarté nécessaire pour l'intelligence du monde, et que j'ai de beaucoup préféré au Prince. Je pense qu'on gagnera beaucoup à la lecture préalable de Tite-Live, laquelle est aussi édifiante qu'agréable. Cette édition doit aussi être louée pour la richesse de son appareil critique, qui ne manque jamais de préciser les sources des allusions de Machiavel, et les corrige lorsque celles-ci ont été gauchies.

  • Bertrand
    2018-10-06 00:27

    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 sense but with a verve and method at time borrowing from philosophy, it is yet again his amoralism that will leave it's most lasting impression:But if here again Machiavelli attempt to remain ever neutral, to cater as much to the the ruler as to the insurgent, maybe more than in The Prince one can now outline first the peculiar ideological order that sustain his worldview (Virtus, Necessitas, Prudentia and Fortuna) and maybe more importantly, the hushed moral preferences that connect back his writings to his life-long dedication to the republican ideals. The book, beyond providing any reader with this much needed second angle to examine Machiavelli's peculiar opinions also make for an excellent, entertaining read: less so, maybe, than The Prince, mainly because the book is presented as a commentary, and lacks the sustained transitiveness of his more famous work, but it is none the less woven tightly with dozens of examples, taken either from 'recent' Italian history (undearstand late Quatrocento and early XVIth century) or from Greek and Roman history, with which the author intend to illustrate his comprehensive encyclopedia of cunning decepetion, of crowd psychology, of war strategy, etc. Whereas as we said earlier, not all of his ideas appear as daring and original as they did in The Prince, many of the examples make up for this lack by providing the eager reader with as many epic tales of daring and heroic or vicious and manipulative deeds that shaped ancient history: any aspiring George R. Martin will find in this book a condensé of the plots, all the scheming Greeks and Romans have to offer, and they certainly had nothing to learn from the Lannisters! So. All in all if you have an interest in either early modern mindset, in political theory or in Machiavelli in particular, this is a necessary read. It does genuinely provide a necessary counterpart to his magnum opus and give this peculiar character the moral depth popular memory robbed him from.

  • Teggan
    2018-10-08 22:20

    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 she gave you more free time that semester for whatever it is you do with your free time, but curse her that she distorted your view of Machiavelli by recommending an extreme abbreviation of a much fuller concept. This is the same crap as when you just read the Grand Inquisitor and thought that you got everything of value out of the Brothers Karamavoz. The truth is you probably got the exact opposite of Dostoevsky's main theme. It is like reading literature in the same way that the bound prisoners in Plato's cave viewed the world- truncated.

  • Charles
    2018-09-17 19:10

    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 advice. All this he extracts primarily from the extant writings of the historian Livy (64 B.C.– A.D. 12) on early Roman history, although he also brings in much other matter, including his own personal experiences and then-current events (Machiavelli wrote "Discourses" about 1517). Thus, this book is part history, part mirror of princes, and part advice to those holding power in a republic on how not to get killed.Of course, using Rome as a frame for political thoughts is pretty much the oldest continuous line of political thought going, and "Discourses" is one of many Renaissance and modern books revolving around that theme. Each such writing reflects not only Rome, but its own times. For example, Montesquieu’s "Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and their Decline," written 250 years after "Discourses", has many commonalities with "Discourses," but also many points of difference. "Considerations" is a book of the Enlightenment; "Discourses" of the Renaissance. Moreover, "Discourses" is a much longer book that makes much broader claims to offer a complete approach to the good governance of a republic. At at the same time, "Discourses" is also narrower than "Considerations"—it is arranged into 142 different chapters, each with a precise focus, usually drawing on a few very specific events from Roman history, often buttressed by more recent examples. History is used both mechanically in the form of examples of happenings, and for its illumination of human nature in the service of understanding how humans act. The cumulative effect, like a wall made up of many bricks, is very impressive, but each building piece is small in scope.It is therefore hard to summarize this book. "Discourses" is nearly 400 dense pages, and it does not lend itself to any kind of pithy summation. Much of the book is devoted to carefully categorizing different historical events that have, or can be shown to have, political implications, and then making distinctions among them. What is more, scholars have spent their lives trying to reconcile apparent contradictions between "Discourses and "The Prince," given that the former appears to strongly endorse republics and rejects terror, while the latter exalts one-man rule and implicitly endorses, if not terror, a harsh regime. The translators and interpreters of this edition, the husband and wife team of Julia Conaway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella, take the position that there is little contradiction between the books, claiming that in "The Prince" Machiavelli focuses on the individual who founds a state and "Discourses" focuses on the larger set of people necessary to maintain a state. However that may be, the book is still hard to boil down (although the Bondanellas add a lot with their notes and Introduction).Nonetheless, being fond of hearing my own voice in type, I will say a few things, both in general about the book and drawing lessons for applicability to today. Machiavelli has little fondness for the idea that people are naturally good, and his thoughts on that give a good idea of his style, which is both direct, and difficult for today’s readers. “As is demonstrated by all those who discuss civic life—and every history is filled with such examples—it is necessary for anyone who organizes a republic and establishes laws in it to take for granted that all men are evil and that they will always act according to the wickedness of their nature whenever they have the opportunity, and when any wickedness remains hidden for a time, it arises from a hidden cause that is not recognized by those who lack experience of its contrary, but time, which people say is the father of every truth, will eventually uncover it.” This is, if anything, the core principle of the book, that no man can be trusted to be virtuous, so a combination of social structures and clear, objective thinking based on history is necessary to produce the best possible results for a republic, which for the same reason is not likely to be as good as hoped, or to last as long as might be desired.Machiavelli’s definition of “republic” is not what we think of when we hear that word, which is, basically, a democracy with a few fripperies, like an upper and lower house in the legislature. On the contrary, for Machiavelli, ancient Sparta was much a republic as Athens. For him, what is not a republic is a monarchy, whether the prince is a tyrant or a just man, or an oligarchy that is equivalent to a monarchy. A government that represents all important sectors of society is a republic, but that does not at all mean that every individual has a voice. Thus, in Rome, the plebeians normally had almost zero direct influence—but their interests were aggressively attended to by the extremely powerful tribunes of the plebs, who could veto almost any action of the state. Machiavelli’s purpose, therefore, is not to push democracy or an expanded franchise. It is to recommend the most perfect form of republican government that is practical. Thus, not only is Machiavelli’s definition of republic very catholic, he strongly endorses institutions such as the Roman dictator, granted absolute power by the magistrates for a term of months (but unable to modify institutions, and thus not a structural danger, unlike the decimvirs, whom Machiavelli excoriates).It is also important to note that Machiavelli sees conflict among groups in society as inherent, necessary, and desirable in creating the best form of government. In these days of vicious conflict among various sectors of American society, the Platonic vision of societal harmony as the ideal republic has a lot of resonance, but Machiavelli (just like Montesquieu) has little sympathy for this. He sees such conflict, or at least some conflict, along with its underlying dynamic of tensions, as necessary for the smooth, organic operation of a republic, since it reflects inevitable human nature. Such conflict is potentially very dangerous, of course. It has to be channeled by well-designed sociopolitical structures. But without conflict, a society cannot function, at least not well or for long. This line of thinking is the basis of our modern theories of separation of powers.Of course, Machiavelli’s focus was on conflicts based on self-interest, not ideological conflicts of the modern type. On the other hand, he was very familiar with conflicts based on religion, having lived through, among other events, the turmoil surrounding the rule in Florence of Girolamo Savonarola, which perhaps contributed to his cynical, instrumental view of religion. He would doubtless not have had any sympathy with any modern political ideology, and less sympathy for an ideology’s necessary destructive effect on social structures. Machiavelli’s’ view of Christianity was basically Nietzschean—he (correctly) recognized it as having “more often glorified humble and contemplative men rather than active ones. . . . This way of living [Christianity] seems, therefore to have made the world weak and to have given it over to be plundered by wicked men, who are easily able to dominate it, since in order to go to paradise, most men think more about enduring their pains than avenging them.” At least Machiavelli, if he showed up today, would recognize our society and its relationship with Christianity. He would find other sources of conflict bizarre—not so much relatively crisp, if stupid, ideological ones like classical Marxism, but the howling idiocy of social media, “being woke,” autonomic individualism, sexual fluidity, and so forth, all informed by a complete lack of education and reasoning, of the type Machiavelli valued so very highly. If he showed up today, he’d probably immediately kill himself so he could exit the scene as fast as possible.With these basics as the frame, most of the book is, directly, or indirectly, an analysis of possible sociopolitical structures, ranging from the relatively minor and technical (requiring that public officials be “subject to indictment,” that is, both be under the rule of law, and be capable of being curbed if overly ambitious to the detriment of the body politic, although Machiavelli warns false accusations must be severely punished), to the major (how to manage transitions from monarchies to republics). Much of the book consists of contrasts between republics and princes, for example, discussing whether forming treaties with princes or republics is better (answer: republics are slower and harder to come to agreements with, but for the same reason, less likely to break the agreement). In all things, though, he emphasizes action over words. “I believe that one of the great means of exercising prudence that men can employ is to abstain either from threatening anyone or from injuring them with words, for neither of these actions take any strength away from the enemy, but the first makes him more cautious and the second increases his hatred toward you and makes him think more actively of harming you.” At no point is a complete, point-by-point plan offered; instead, presumably the reader is expected to make his own way through the thicket of recommendations and come up with his own plan for his own republic, informed by what Machiavelli has offered.Relatively narrow object lessons abound, mostly taken from history. For example, Machiavelli cites Manlius Capitolinus, who saved Rome from the Gauls in 390 B.C., and was greatly rewarded, but was later executed for stirring up civil unrest. “After having instituted rewards for a good deed and punishments for an evil one, and after rewarding a man for having acted well, if that same individual later acts badly [the republic] punishes him without any regard whatsoever for his good deeds. When such regulations are well observed a city lives in freedom for a long period of time; otherwise it will always come to ruin very quickly, because if a citizen who has rendered some distinguished service to his city adds to the reputation his deed has brought him additional audacity and the confidence that he will be able to undertake without fear of punishment some action that is not good, he will become in a brief time so insolent that every element of civic life will disappear.”Machiavelli believes that once a republic (which he often calls a “city”) has become defective, in whatever way, it is very hard to correct the problem, “for most men will never agree to a new law that concerns a new order in a city unless a certain necessity shows that it is required, and since this necessity cannot arise without risk, it is an easy thing for that republic to be ruined before it can be brought to perfection in its organization.” His example for this is not an episode from Roman history, but from Florentine history, and in fact from his own life—the destruction in 1512 of the Florentine republic Machiavelli had served, to be replaced by Medici rule. Thus, establishing a republic with the best institutions possible ab initio is important, which to Machiavelli means a mixed government, with elements of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. This was not original to Machiavelli (it was an emphasis of the Greek historian Polybius, for example), but Machiavelli in a sense resurrected the doctrine for the modern world, to be followed by various Enlightenment thinkers and by the American Founding Fathers (which is why a certain brand of neoreactionaries, followers of Leo Strauss, are very focused on Machiavelli’s political thought).Discourses notes that broad public participation in meeting the needs of the republic is important. Machiavelli loathes mercenaries (“foreign henchmen”); he insists that only with citizen soldiers can a republic long prevail. The same is true for non-military matters. For example, if people evade taxes, the republic lacks virtue, and therefore strength. Talking of emergencies, “When these [virtuous] republics need to spend some amount of money for the public welfare, the magistracies or councils that have the authority to do so assess all of the inhabitants of the city at 1 or 2 percent of their income [and people pay on the honors system].” One can only wonder what Machiavelli would think of our modern American republic, where most people pay no income tax at all, and others are assessed at rates exceeding 50% as a matter of course, forced to pay at the point of government guns. Probably not much, is my bet.Machiavelli even attacks gun control, or rather, the philosophy behind gun grabbers. Noting “How One Should Not Make Threats First and then Request Authority,” he says “how much stupidity and how little prudence there is in asking for something and later declaring: ‘I want to do such and such evil deed with this,’ for one must not reveal one’s intentions, but instead should attempt to obtain what one wants by any means possible. For it is enough to ask somebody for his weapons without saying ‘I want to kill you with them,’ because when you have his weapons in hand, you can then satisfy your desire.” Although Michael Bloomberg may not want to kill us deplorables (though he may), he certainly wants to make us more killable, and he and the various stooges he funds with his vast fortune, such as “Everytown For Gun Safety” (or whatever names his shill groups are going by today), have clearly been taking notes, because they will rarely admit their true goal of total gun confiscation, instead purveying almost any lie in the service of disarming the American people. Machiavelli would approve of the method as competently done, if not necessarily of the end.Innumerable examples applicable to America today appear, mostly casting us in a negative light. “I do not believe there is any worse example in a republic than to make a law and then not to observe it, and even more so when it is not observed by the person who made it.” That pretty much sums up the entire governing method of the Democratic/judicial/media complex, as they cackle over Hillary’s email crimes and Robert Mueller’s team of vicious partisan hacks twists the law to overthrow Trump’s election by any means necessary. This, of course, will not end well, not least because “Men who begin to suspect they are about to suffer some evil protect themselves in every possible way from such dangers and become more daring and less cautious in attempting something new [i.e., new and harmful to the republic].” It’s almost like everything old is new again, or never got old at all, which is pretty much Machiavelli’s basic point.Another principle Machiavelli expounds is that people like Hillary Clinton deserve suppression, since their acts are signs of decay. “The [republics] that have the best organization and the longest lives are, however, those that can renew themselves often through their own institutions, or that come to such a renewal through some circumstance outside these institutions.” This renewal is not necessarily a gentle process, nor one confined to republics, though the principle is universal. “Those who governed the Florentine state from 1434 until 1494 [i.e., the first period of Medici, princely, rule] used to say . . . that it was necessary to take the state back every five years or it was otherwise difficult to preserve it, and what they called ‘taking the state back’ meant striking the same terror and fear into the hearts of men that they had instilled upon first taking power, when they struck down those who had, according to that way of life, governed badly. But when the memory of such a beating fades away, men grow bolder in making new attempts and in speaking evil, and it therefore necessary to make provision against this by bringing the state back to its beginnings.” And rigor is necessary—as he says of his patron and mentor, the republican Piero Soderini, who led Venice until overthrown by the Spanish (who returned the Medici), “He believed that he could overcome those many who opposed him out of envy without any unusual acts, violence, or disorder, and he did not know that time does not wait, kindness is insufficient, fortune varies, and malice receives no gift that placates her.”It’s not all good for Republicans, though. Machiavelli notes “That It Is Necessary for Those Who Wish Always to Enjoy Good Fortune to Change With the Times.” “When a man with one mode of conduct has been very prosperous, it is impossible to persuade him that he can do as well by proceeding in a different manner; it happens in this way that fortune varies for a single man, because she brings about the changes in the times while he fails to modify his methods.” Conservatives who spend their days pushing Reaganism, #NeverTrumpers who think all we need to do is elect another Bush, and such lot should all take notice. New methods are needed for new times.Mixed in with all this are chapters with more down-to-earth advice, often combined with military tactical advice, such as “That One Should Not Jeopardize All of One’s Fortune or All of One’s Forces; and, for This Reason, Defending Passes Is Often Dangerous.” There are chapters that are wholly technical: “How Much Land the Romans Gave to Their Colonists” and “How Much Value Should Armies in the Present Day Place on Artillery; and If the Generally Held Opinion About Artillery Is True.” There are sonorous chapters full of macro advice: “Weak States Are Always Ambiguous in Their Decisions, and Slow Decisions Are Always Harmful.” Machiavelli also offers advice that is practical on a micro level as well as a macro level, such as (in the midst of several chapters relating to gratitude, rewards, and their role in civil structures) quoting Tacitus, “Men are more inclined to repay injury than kindness: the truth is that gratitude is irksome, while vengeance is accounted gain.” Examples of this in practice are legion—observe, for example, Donald Trump’s treatment of Steve Bannon, who got him elected. There are combination chapters: “Wealth Is Not, Contrary to Popular Opinion, the Sinew of Warfare,” which advises that “good soldiers are the sinew of war and not gold, because gold is an insufficient means of finding good soldiers, but good soldiers are a more than sufficient means of finding gold.” Ha ha. And, finally, there are chapters that are just odd, like “Before Important Events Happen in a City or a Province, Signs that Foretell Them or Men Who Predict Them Appear.”[Last paragraph is first comment.]

  • Xitsuka
    2018-09-19 00:25

    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 sex; Machiavelli equals to political maneuvers thus equals to scum (p.s. someone proposed to make Machiavelli into dog food. Well I say, arf!). If any sincere person should try to enlighten them, well, I hope they are lucky enough not to throw up in front of them.Same goes with most of the common critiques against Machiavelli. I dare them not to invoke the words "good", "evil" and "morality" unless they are using it in a sarcastic sense. For this is truly the essence of Machiavelli: he freed political philosophy not just from theology, but also from the willy-nilly self-centered infantile illusion that you could control over people. Judging them by your standard is simply useless, for they are Others in a polyphonic world. So, how would you cope with such a world? With all due respect, most people won't even have the guts to face this fact.That's why Machiavelli's manliness is absolutely stunning.As far as I could see, the guiding principle of Machiavelli's writings (the Prince, the Discourses, Florentine Histories) is that people would act on their own will; no Prince could change it, no power could vanquish their own intentions and desires. A hidden yet significant feature of his writing is that he suspended the two essential concepts in western political philosophy: rights and obligations. He did talk about obeying the laws from time to time, but one could spot immediately that he was not promoting this for an isolated, self-centered and strictly personal reason. Laws are ought to be obeyed not because people have the obligation to obey, but because of the foreseeable consequences if they choose otherwise (and, naturally, if the foreseeable consequence is desirable, break it). The teaching placed its emphasis on the interaction of personal deed and social responses instead of obedient for obedient's sake -- and similarly, the emphasis on the interaction between the governor's behavior and the people's behavior, the interaction between the weak and the strong. Machiavelli took a dramatic yet extremely practical turn by focusing on these interactions. If one were to say that Dostoevsky created a polyphonic style by realizing others and various principles they carry with them, Machiavelli should, too, be treated as a polyphonic artist: he realized that each and every person would act on their own accord instead of homogeneously acting upon rules and regulations, and thus the act of governing must take this fact into consideration. To a governor, his people are the countless Others that would bring upon huge influences through the power-relationship, sometimes even sabotaging. Power is a false concept to begin with: negotiation, compromising with all the intentions that are related to you is the true picture of governing.How could you hope to preach "rights and obligations" in such a world? How is the phrase "universal rights" not a narcissist jargon? How are the moral judgments not a feeble ego-boost just to keep oneself away from realizing the living scenario of others? Machiavelli's dead for almost 500 years and I still hear political philosophers today (in fact, just a few months ago in the political philosophy workshop) talking about how well-justified their moral preaching was. Dear Father of Understanding.The grim lioness follows the wolf, the wolf himself the goat, the wanton goat the flowering clover, and Corydon follows you, Alexis. Each is led by his liking.-- Virgil, EcloguesMachiavelli, of all others, would know what these verses are about.He is yet underrated. He is yet to be discovered.

  • Emre Poyraz
    2018-10-17 21:09

    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 interested in politics or political sciences, since there are not many books like this one. Also, it is a good exercise to compare this book with The Prince.

  • Said Abuzeineh
    2018-10-13 00:13

    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 لعبة أو أحجية يستمتع بفك ألغازها ومعرفة قوانينها.كتاب مهم .. اما خيري حماد فخير من ترجم لمكيافلي ..

  • Trish
    2018-10-17 16:26

    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.

  • Andrew
    2018-10-12 19:01

    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 are examined with examples from Titus Livy's The History of Rome, as well as modern (in Machiavelli's time) historical examples centered mostly in Italy and especially around Florence, at the time an independent City State. Machiavelli's analysis on when it is right to create a Republic, when it is not, and all the nuts and bolts that go with that decision is fascinating. He takes into account the social, political, cultural and religious realities of areas to try and make sense of why certain decisions are made or were made in antiquity and in his own time. The examination of these aspects of inner workings of a Republic are fascinating and relevant in many ways even to modern times. As a classic however, be aware that much in this book may be antiquated or irrelevant, and some of course flat out off the mark. His look at artillery and battlefield tactics seems off, as he decries the need for battle width and plays up the classic Roman Army division tactics.The one actual complaint I have about this book in particular is the organization. Issues that one would think should be logically placed in the same section are separated. Sections completely unrelated to the previous ones follow each other. This book seems a bit rambling, and whether it is this particular publication, or that Machiavelli had not organized the sections before he passed, or what have you, it can be a bit jarring.That aside, the Discourses is an interesting look at 16th century political thought, as well as a critical analysis of the ups and downs of Roman History. It makes for interesting reading, and is recommended for those interested in political theory, Roman History or autocratic/Republican thought.

  • Ben
    2018-10-16 00:22

    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 Machiavelli was writing about two different periods (the then and the now), which entailed different circumstances, and while it could be argued that his views in "The Prince" were only drastic and temporary solutions, it is also interesting to look at contradictions in his views expressed in these two works (much as one could do much later with the writings of Hegel, for example). It is, for obvious reasons, easier to agree with the overall thesis of this work than "The Prince," but both are certainly worthwhile reads (and filled with historical references that make notes very handy).

  • Þróndr
    2018-09-18 18:27

    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 of thought and unrelenting (if not always flawless) logic. The original punctuation is kept, and that actually makes it easier to read than other translations where the text has been "modernized". There is an annotated index (very practical in the Kindle format) and also a glossary and maps in addition to the notes, and the paragraphs are numbered for ease of reference.

  • Marwan Al-Aqili
    2018-09-25 19:26

    كتاب قيم وترجمة سيئة جدًا.

  • mohab samir
    2018-10-16 00:05

    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 المستمدة من تاريخ الإمبراطورية والجمهورية الرومانية القديمة كشاهد إثبات على صحة أرائه .يعرض مكيافيللى بعض القضايا كموضوع للنقاش ثم يشرح ما يعتقده من أراء يجب إتباعها فى بعض المواقف أو الأزمات السياسية وما يصلح من طرق لبعض المواقف دون الأخرى أو ما يصلح وما لا يصلح فى كل زمان أو تبعا للظروف الراهنة .ثم يمضى ليتخذ من الحوادث التاريخية الرومانية شواهد على صحة أرائه إلا أننا نجده يعقد مقارنة ضخمة فى الكتاب بين أساليب الرومان القدماء فى معالجة القضاية ونظائرها عند الفلورنسيين المحدثين من أبناء مدينته . فنجده يسرد الحوادث التاريخية الرومانية مادحا النواحى التى إتخذتها هذه المدينة فى حل مشاكلها والحفاظ على وحدتها وزيادة عظمتها ومغتبطاً بالنتائج التى أسفرت عنها وفى المقابل نجده يذم الأساليب الإيطالية الحديثة لما فيها من ضعف وفشل وما لها من أسوأ النتائج فى دعم إنقسام المدن الإيطالية وخضوعها للأجانب كالفرنسيين والإسبان على الدوام .وهو يبدأ كتابه بتأسيس المدينة على أسس من الحرية ويمضى إلى ما تتطلبه الحروب اللازمة للحفاظ على هذه الحرية ماراً بوضع القوانين وما يصلح منها للحفاظ على حرية الدولة ووحدتها . ذلك أن حرية الدولة ووحدتها هما المحوران الرئيسيان اللذان تدور حولهما كامل فلسفة مكيافيللى السياسيةودائماً ما يطرح مكيافيللى جانباً ما ينبغى على الإنسان فعله ويهتم فقط بما يفعله الإنسان بحق وعلى الدوام . فهو يهتم فقط بالنواحى والأساليب العملية ولا يبالى بكل المثاليات التى غالبا ما تتعارض مع الواقع ولا تؤدى إلا للفشل وإستغلال الآخرين لك .وإذا ما أردنا كعادتنا البشرية أن نصدر حكماً على فلسفة مكيافيللى العملية وإذا أردنا أن ننشد فى حكمنا جانب العدل دون التطرف فعلينا الأخذ فى الإعتبار بروح القومية التى نمت فى عصر النهض وبلغت أوجها وةد تشربت فى مكيافيللى ثم تجسدت فى كتاباته وهى روح معذبة لأنها تتوق لما لا تجده وهى تسعى لوحدة دولتها الإيطالية وإستعادة عظمتها السابقة فى ظل فساد مستشرى من الملحدين إلى أعلى رجال الدين ومن العوام إلى الملوك والأمراء .ورغم كل ما قيل وكتب من أراء محايدة أو متطرفة فى التأييد أو المعارضة لكتابات مكيافيللى فستظل كتاباته هو من أمهات الكتب فى الفلسفة السياسية الحديثة .

  • Mike
    2018-09-16 19:22

    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 scoring system, much like credit scoring, for foreign relations from this book. The book provides the variables, all one has to do is quantify them. This might be accomplished by asking people who know about such things to fill out "multiple choice" questionnaires and then analyzing the results with math techniques such as multiple regression, linear programming, simultaneous equations or whatever to derive the coefficients. It would take some thought, but it could be fun. The end result would provide a way of scoring or valuing foreign policy decisions.

  • Joe
    2018-10-16 19:26

    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 about its content. This book is still applicable today because most of its principles pertain to republican political systems, such as the U.S.A., and have not been as much affected by the massive increase in technology since its composition. If you are interested in republics or enjoy Machiavelli's other works I would highly recommend The Discourses.

  • Ericka Clouther
    2018-10-16 23:58

    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 state. Interesting stuff worth considering. His high-mindedness falls apart at the end though. He says it's acceptable to do anything to save the free state. So even a democratic Machiavelli remains Machiavellian.

  • علاء
    2018-10-02 21:00

    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 القراءةوالفضل ليمكيافيللي بالطبع يتحدث الكتاب بشكل أساسي عن روما والامبراطورية الرومانية ونظام الحكم فيهاثم يخرج من الخاص إلى العام ... فيجعل من قوانين ونظم روما وأوضاعها قواعد عامة للحكم في أي دولة أخرى، وعلى ذمة الناشر بأن هذا الكتاب ينام إلى جانب الكثير من الزعماء والقادةيقدم ميكافيللي نصائح للدكتاتوريين والمستبدين للمحافظة على ملكهم !!بعض الأفكار مهمة ومنطقية وثابتة ... وبعضها الآخر لا أدري إذا كان ما يزال صالحاً حتى اليومعلى العموم ... لا بأس من القاء نظرة على الكتاب

  • Hammam Nimrawi
    2018-10-01 22:08

    أهم كتب مكيافيلي بلا شك، وهو من أكثر النصوص تأثيرا في مجال السياسة في التاريخ الحديث، ومن الممكن اقتفاء آثار مباشرة لهذه المطارحات في عديد من النصوص ذات التأثير الواسع، وعند عديد من الفلاسفة السياسيين، والمفكرين المشتغلين بحقل السياسة عامة، الفرنسيين والأنجلوسكسونيين. بل إن الممكن القول بأن هذا كان من النصوص المؤثرة مباشرة في تكوين فكرة الدولة والأمة في إنجلترا وفرنسا والولايات المتحدة (من الممكن مثلا الخروج باقتباسات توافق، بشكل شبه حرفي، عديدا من تعديلات دستور الولايات المتحدة [U.S. Constitutional Amendments] الرئيسية والمهمة). بالإضافة إلى إمكانية القول بتأثير لهذا الكتاب، بشكل غير مباشر على الأقل، في مباحث ذات طابع غير سياسي بحت (هناك جمل وفقرات تشي، مثلا، بتصور شبيه بنظريات هوبز حول العقد الإجتماعي والحالة الطبيعية عند مكيافيلي، مع بعض الاختلافات الأساسية، بالطبع).

  • Mike
    2018-10-11 00:03

    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 couple of other translations, but once I discovered the Mansfield I never looked back.

  • Draven
    2018-10-12 20:22

    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, history really does repeat itself.

  • Borum
    2018-09-29 17:06

    Book 1, Book 2, Book 3로 나뉘어진 걸 보면..Book 1에서는 공화정과 왕정의 차이에 집중한 것 같고Book 2는 성공한 로마 공화정의 발전을 처음부터 따라올라가며 본받을 점에 주목하고Book 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 않았지만뭐랄까.. 용두사미랄까...좀 끝에 가서는 엥? 이게 끝이야? 하는 느낌이 없지 않았고어떤 나라들이나 어떤 가족들은 싹수가 노랗다는 듯의 약간 편견이 심한 것 같아서여러가지 reference나 misquotation의 문제 등도 그렇고..Discourses on Livy가 좀 미완성작이 아닌가..하는 생각이 들었습니다.

  • James K
    2018-09-17 00:05

    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.

  • Aeden
    2018-10-03 21:03

    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.

  • Ryune
    2018-10-02 19:23

    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 prosperar una República, la forma de gobierno que él considera más idonea. AL contrario de la mayoría de la gente, no creo que en este libro aparezca un Maquiavelo diferente al del Príncipe. No, sigue siendo el mismo hombre práctico, firme, cauteloso, y que se preocupa siempre más por el bien del Estado que por el bien particular de cada uno de sus habitantes. En definitiva, un buen libroque no solo habla poder y estrategias (lo que comunmente se relaciona con Maquiavelo), sino sobre todo de como se comporta un buen lider. Recomendado a cualquiera al que le interese Maquiavelo, el liderazgo, la nturaleza humana o incluso la historia de Roma.

  • Kristen Coffin
    2018-10-03 20:25

    "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 analysis of past governmental occurrences and not as a critic on how to govern currently (by Machiavelli time standards), but still, there is a stark contrast in the thoughts and views of the author.They're definitely best read back-to-back in order to get the full comparison.

  • Ian
    2018-09-24 19:09

    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 republics -- on the seeming impossibility of ever anticipating all the eventualities that may entail the downfall of a government -- is a sobering reflection not often encountered.

  • Luke Smith
    2018-09-30 21:06

    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.

  • Dami
    2018-09-27 18:06

    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.

  • Siamàck
    2018-09-27 23:05

    یکی از بهترین کتابهایی است که برای درک عمیق از سیاست و حقوق عمومی نوشته شده.

  • Mike Regalado
    2018-10-05 16:12

    I love reading Machiavelli. Logical, practical, truthful, but not relevant at all in this administration. This is more like a Dickens dream.