Rare Edition of Machiavel's Discourses upon the First Decade of T. Livius, Translated out of the Italian. To which is added his Prince
Machiavel’s Discourses upon the First Decade of T. Livius, Translated out of the Italian. To which is added his Prince: With some Marginal Animadversioms.
Item Number: 89955
London: Printed for Charles Harper, 1674.
Rare second collected edition in English of The Prince and the Discourses on Livy, translated by Edward Dacres, Machiavelli’s first English translator, with engraved frontispiece portrait of Machiavelli. Octavo, bound in full contemporary calf, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, morocco spine label, with frontispiece portrait of Machiavelli, rebacked. In excellent condition with some light browning and wear.
"Hitherto political speculation had tended to be a rhetorical exercise based on the implicit assumption of Church or Empire. Machiavelli founded the science of modern politics on the study of mankind—it should be remembered that a parallel work to 'The Prince' was his historical essay on the first ten books of Livy. Politics was a science to be divorced entirely from ethics, and nothing must stand in the way of its machinery" (PMM 63). "Machiavelli is a popular symbol for the… completely unprincipled, and unscrupulous politician whose whole philosophy is that the end justifies the means. The highest law to Machiavelli, it is universally believed, was political expediency… From a comparative reading of [The Discourses and The Prince], one must come to the startling conclusion that Machiavelli was a convinced republican. He had no liking for despotism, and considered a combination of popular and monarchical government best. No ruler was safe without the favor of his people. The most stable states are those ruled by princes checked by constitutional limitations… His ideal government was the old Roman republic, and he constantly harked back to it in the Discourses… It is hardly disputable that no man previous to Karl Marx has had as revolutionary an impact on political thought as Machiavelli" (Downs, 12). This edition also includes the Life of Castruccio Castracani of Lucca and "A Relation of the Course taken by Duke Valentine in the murdering of Vitellozzo Vitelli, Oliverotto of Fermo, Paul, and the Duke of Gravina, all of them of the Family of the Orsini." The Prince was first published in English in 1640 and the Discourses on Livy first appeared in 1636, both translated by Edward Dacres (Cambridge Companion to Machiavelli, 253); Dacres' translations of the two works first appeared together in 1663 (Wing M134aA). This collection precedes the first collected edition of Machiavelli's Works by one year.