Unless otherwise noted, all quotations from The Prince used in this book are from the W. K. Marriott translation, available in the public domain.
Selections from The Prince are not always used verbatim. Wording and grammar from public domain quotes are often modified for clarity or modernity. In particular I used the Constantine and Bull translations most when looking for appropriate alternate wording.
Sources for other quotations include The Discourses (Ninian Hill Thomson translation), The Art of War (trans. Henry Neville, 1675), Sun Tzu’s Art of War (Giles translation), Han Fei Tzu (Burton Watson translation), The 48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene. Details follow.
All of these books are in my own library – there are others available on Machiavelli, but I cannot claim to have read or quoted from them.
Books by Machiavelli
The Prince. I own many editions of this book, including translations by:
- Robert Adams (Norton Critical Edition, New York, USA, 1977);
- Peter Bondanella (Oxford University Press, London 2008; revised version of his 1979 translation in The Portable Machiavelli);
- George Bull (Penguin Classic edition, London, England, 1981, revised edition 1999);
- J. Scott Byerley (Google Books, London, UK, 1810)
- William J. Connell (Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, Boston, USA, 2005);
- Peter Constantine (Modern Library, New York, USA, 2008);
- Edward Dacres, 1640 (from Machiavelli, Volume 1, Project Gutenberg www.gutenberg.org. Contains two archaic translations of his works);
- Daniel Donno (Bantam Books, New York, USA, 1966, reissued 1984, 2003);
- Ninian Hill Thomson, 1883 (Capstone Edition, West Sussex, England, 2010, introduction by Tom Butler-Bowden);
- Harvey C. Mansfield (University Of Chicago Press; 2nd edition, Chicago, USA, 1998);
- W. K. Marriot, 1908 (Sterling books edition, reprinted 2008; this translation is also sold in many bargain book editions);
- Henry Neville (Google Books, 1720 edition, trans. 1674, London, UK)
- Tim Parks (Penguin Classics, London, UK, 2011; a very modern version);
- Russell Price (ed. by Quentin Skinner, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1988)
- Wayne Rebhorn (Barnes & Noble Classics, New York, USA, 2003);
- Luigi Ricci (Modern Library, New York, USA, 1950);
- David Wooton (Hackett Publishing, Indianapolis, USA, 1995)
Other translations are available. Differences between translations are generally more about grammar and style than content, although more recent translations are somewhat easier to read. If you want punchy style and readability, I recommend Parks or Wooton. If you want literality, chose Mansfield or Connell. If you want something in between, choose Constantine or Bondanella.
Collections and Machiavelli’s other writing
Allan Gilbert trans., Machiavelli: The Chief Works and Others. Three vols, orig. published in hardcover, Duke University Press, 1965. Reprinted in paperback, 1989. Easily the best and most comprehensive collection, which includes Machiavelli’s essays, letters, plays and poetry as well as his political works. Vol. 1 contains The Prince and The Discourses.
William Connell trans., The Prince with Related Documents, St. Martin’s Press, USA, 2005. Includes letters and essays about Machiavelli and The Prince, plus an excellent introductory essay on the problems of translation. Includes a selection from Cardinal Pole’s Apology to Charles V, as well as other documents reacting to The Prince.
Leslie Walker trans., The Discourses, edited and introduction by Bernard Crick, Penguin Classics, London, England, 2003. I also have the translation by Christian Detmold (Modern Library, New York, USA, 1950 and a translation by Julia and Peter Bondanella (Oxford University Press, London, 2009). It is essential to read The Discourses in order to understand Machiavelli.
Peter Bondanella and Mark Musa editors and trans., The Portable Machiavelli, Penguin Books, Middlesex, England, 1979. Includes the complete text of The Prince, plus abridgements of The Discourses, The Art of War, The History of Florence, with several letters, plays and essays.
Peter Constantine, ed.. The Essential Writings of Machiavelli, Modern Library, New York, USA, 2007. Contains The Prince, selections from The Discourses, Art of War and Florentine Histories, plus several political essays, poems and plays. Contains the same translation of The Prince as in the standalone 2008 Modern Library edition.
Christopher Lynch, trans., The Art of War, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA, 2005. Machiavelli uses a Socratic-style dialogue to explain military arts, and the relationship between war and the state.
Allan Gilbert,trans., The Letters of Machiavelli, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA, 1988. Letters sent to friends, family and his political bosses.
Leslie Walker, trans., On Conspiracies: A Dead Man Cannot Contemplate Vengeance. Seven chapters taken from the Penguin edition of The Discourses, mentioned above, but without commentary.
Jeremy Scott intro., Power: Get It, Use It, Keep It, Profile Books, London, UK, 2001. Maxims selected from a 1674 translation of The Prince.
Walter Dunne, trans., History of Florence and the Affairs of Italy by Machiavelli, (1901), Harper Torchbooks, New York, USA, 1960.
Wayne Rebhorn, trans., The Prince and Other Writings, Barnes & Noble Classics, new York, USA, 2003. Includes the Life of Castruccio Castracani, the famous letter to Franceso Vettori, and a few selections from The Discourses.
Andrew Brown trans., Life of Castruccio Castracani, Hesperus Press, London, UK, 2003.
Books about Machiavelli, His Ideas and His Time
Sydney Anglo, Machiavelli: A Dissection, Paladin, London, UK, 1971.
Stanley Bing, What Would Machiavelli Do? The End Justifies the Meanness, Harper Collins, new York, USA, 2000. A tongue-in-cheek application of selected principles from Machiavelli’s The Prince to business and management affairs.
Philip Bobbitt, The Garments of Court and Palace: Machiavelli and the World That he Made. Atlantic Books, London, UK, 2013. Another examination of the republican ideas of Machiavelli that attempts to correct popular misconceptions.
Erica Brenner Machiavelli’s Ethics, Princeton University press, New Jersey, USA, 2009. A very detailed examination of Machiavelli’s works and philosophy.
Erica Benner, Machiavelli’s Prince: A New Reading, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 2013. Benner’s take on The Prince is that it is both satire and parody. But her book is much more interesting and comprehensive than just that.
Niccolò Capponi, An Unlikely Prince: The Life and Times of Machiavelli, Da Capo Press, Philadelphia, USA, 2010. A very recent biography.
Leo Paul de Alvarez, The Machiavellian Enterprise: A Commentary on The Prince, North Illinois University Press, DeKalb, USA, 1999. A chapter-by-chapter analysis of The Prince by a professor of political science, based on his own translation (Waveland Press, 1989).
Peter Donaldson, Machiavelli and the Mystery of State, Cambridge University Press, New York, USA, 1992.
Antony Jay, Management and Machiavelli, Pelican Books, Middlesex, England, 1970.
Ross King, Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power, Harper Collins, New York, USA, 2007. A more recent biography. Highly readable.
Peter Kreeft, Socrates Meets Machiavelli: The Father of Philosophy Cross-Examines the Author of The Prince, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, USA, 2003. An imagined dialogue between the two philosophers.
Michael Ledeen, Machiavelli on Modern Leadership: Why Machiavelli’s Iron Rules are as Timely and Important Today as Five Centuries Ago, St. Martin’s Griffin, USA, 2000. An analysis of contemporary American political issues through a Machiavellian lense.
Carnes Lord, The Modern Prince: What Leaders Need to Know Now, Yale University Press, New Haven, USA, 2003. A look at international political leadership through Machiavelli’s principles by a professor of strategy at the Naval War College.
Harvey Mansfield, Machiavelli’s Virtue, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA, 1998. A collection of scholarly essays by Mansfield.
Harvey Mansfield, Jr., Taming the Prince: The Ambivalence of Modern Executive Power, Johns Hopkins University Press, USA, 1993. An assessment of executive power and modern republicanism.
Alistair McAlpine, The New Machiavelli: Renaissance Realpolitik for Modern Managers, Aurum Press, London, UK, 1997. Not to be confused with the H. G. Wells’ novel of the same name.
Dick Morris, The New Prince, Renaissance Books, Los Angeles, USA, 1999. Machiavelli revisited by a former campaigner for US President Bill Clinton, with specific relevance to American federal politics.
John Najemy, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Machiavelli, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, 2010. A collection of scholarly essays on many subjects related to Machiavelli and the Renaissance by several contemporary authors.
Cary Nederman, Machiavelli: Beginner’s Guide, Oneworld Publications, Oxford, UK, 2009. A sympathetic look at Machiavelli’s ideas, works and his beliefs.
Roberto Ridolfi, The Life of Niccolò Machiavelli, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA, 1963. Still considered to be the most comprehensive biography available, but out of print.
Quentin Skinner, Machiavelli: A Brief Insight, Sterling Publishing, New York, USA, 2010. An illustrated biography with an overview of his works and philosophy.
Count Carlo Sforza, Count Carlo Sforza presents The Living Thoughts of Machiavelli, Fawcett World Library, Greenwich, CT, USA, 1958. A selection of comments from The Discourses. Has a good introduction by Sforza.
Paul Strathern, Machiavelli in 90 Minutes, Ivan R. Dee, Chicago, USA, 1998.
Miguel Vatter, Machiavelli’s The Prince: A Reader’s Guide, Bloomsbury Publishing, London, UK, 2013. An analysis and explanation of the main themes in The Prince.
Mauricio Viroli, Machiavelli (Founders of Modern Political and Social Thought series), Oxford University Press, London, UK, 1998.
Maurizio Viroli, Niccolò’s Smile: A Biography of Machiavelli,, Hill and Wang, New York, USA, 2000. An entertaining, insightful biography.
Maurizio Viroli, How to Read Machiavelli, Granta Publications, London, UK, 2008.
Corrado Vivanti, Niccolo Machiavelli: An Intellectual Biography, Princeton University Press, Princeton, USA, 2013. Vivanti was the editor of the standard edition of Machiavelli’s collected works.
Michael White, Machiavelli: A Man Misunderstood, Abacus Books, London, UK, 2004.
The Prince 2.0: Revelations from Machiavelli, by Staffan Persson, printed by Percussina Forlag, Stockholm Sweden, 2014. A commentary on modern Swedish politics, addressed to national politicians, based on a personal reading of The Prince.
Thoughts of a Statesman, trans. Christian Detmold. A small, print-on-demand book (2015) of aphorisms derived from Machiavelli. Detmold was a 19th century engineer who translated Machiavelli’s works. In order to make Machiavelli seem more palatable to the Victorians, he cobbled together this collection, added a fake letter to Machiavelli’s son and some overtly Christian comments.
Machiavelli: The Founder of Political Science. Two public domain essays, one by John Morley, the second by Thomas Macaulay, LM Publishers, undated, print-on-demand book, probably printed in the USA. Both were 19th century writers and their essays are both available online.
All of Machiavelli’s main works are available online in readable text format, some also as audiobooks, or PDF files. I also recommend you buy a printed version of at least The Prince and The Discourses for your own reference, from the selection listed above.
Machiavelli on the Net lists the main works and online resources here: timoroso.com/philosophy/machiavelli/
For all of Machiavelli’s works in their original Italian, see www.classicitaliani.it/index090.htm. The original version of The Prince is here: www.classicitaliani.it/index007.htm while a translation into modern Italian is here: www.classicitaliani.it/machiav/critica/Pricipe_traduzione_Bonghi.htm. Original Italian versions are also available here: www.bibliotecaitaliana.it/xtf/view?docId=bibit000214/bibit000214.xml and here: www.bibliotecaitaliana.it/exist/bibit/ (type Machiavelli in the ‘autore’ field). And many are available at the Italian edition of Wikisoucre: it.wikisource.org/wiki/Autore:Niccol%C3%B2_Machiavelli
Wikipedia has a good biography: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niccolò_Machiavelli that links to pages about his works.
E-Machiavelli has some essays, translations and links: www.emachiavelli.com/
Don MacDonald has an excellent biography of Machiavelli in graphic novel form at donmacdonald.com/
Isaiah Berlin’s excellent article about Machiavelli in the New York Times, 1971, is online at www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1971/nov/04/a-special-supplement-the-question-of-machiavelli/ Anyone interested in the changing historical views of The Prince should read it.
A well-annotated version of The Prince by Maarten Maartensz with considerable notes and commentary (with particular emphasis on Dutch politics) is available at: http://maartens.home.xs4all.nl/philosophy/machiavelli,/machiavelliPrinceTOC.htm
Many 19th and early 20th century books about Machiavelli, or translations of his works, are available in PDF, text and other formats at the Internet Archive: archive.org.
A downloadable version of The Prince, Marriott translation, is available at www.gutenberg.org, along with other works by Machiavelli, including The Life Of Castruccio Castracani Of Lucca, and Description Of The Methods Adopted By The Duke Valentino. I quote from the public domain version, translated by Ninian Hill Thomson, 1883, from www.gutenberg.org (2004), although I edited the quotations for clarity and modernity. The Ninian Hill translation is also available online.
The Prince and The Discourses are also on constitution.org.
Shorter works of Machiavelli’s, plus The Prince, and quotes from The Discourses are available at anewdayoutreach.com/machiavelli.htm
Free audiobook versions of The Prince (Marriott) are available online at http://www.booksshouldbefree.com/book/the-prince-by-Niccolò-machiavelli and from librivox.org/the-prince-by-Niccolò-machiavelli/
An excellent audio course in 24 lectures, called Machiavelli in Context, is available for sale from www.thegreatcourses.com
A good essay on the various translations and edition of Machiavelli’s works, with links to online sources is here: http://bonaelitterae.wordpress.com/studying-machiavelli/the-real-machiavelli/
There are numerous books by and about Machiavelli available, in whole or part, for viewing on Google books.The Online Library of Liberty has several older translations of Machiavelli (oll.libertyfund.org/index.php) as does the Internet Archive (www.archive.org); these include some of the earliest English translations.
The list of Robert Greene’s 48 Law of Power and 33 Strategies of War are on Wikipedia. Greene has a blog about his books and related topics at powerseductionandwar.com
Squashed Philosophers gives a shortened version of The Prince, meant to be read in under one hour: sqapo.com/machiavelli.htm
Was The Prince written as a satire? Ian Johnston thinks so, and explains why in this lecture: records.viu.ca/~Johnstoi/introser/machiavelli.htm
The Machiavelli Blog has some good content, but has not been updated for a while: www.machiavelliblog.org/
Cary Nederman (author of Machiavelli: Beginner’s Guide) has a comprehensive entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy about Machiavelli here: plato.stanford.edu/entries/machiavelli/
Harvey Mansfield has a site with references to his numerous articles and books on Machiavelli at harveymansfield.org/tag/machiavelli/
Niccolo Machiavelli’s famous letter to his friend, Francesco Vettori (1513) is available online in several places, including faculty.cua.edu/pennington/churchhistory220/Lecture13/MachiavelliStudy.htm, www.fullposter.com/snippets.php?snippet=120&start=200&ordertype=0&cat=0 (Italian and English), and http://delong.typepad.com/hoisted_from_the_archives/1513/12/letter-from-nic.html. A study of the letter is available here: www.nla.gov.au/sites/default/files/hw_transcripts__290212.pdf
Lionel Fox’s Modern Machiavelli blog at modernmachiavelli.com/. Essays on leadership, power, politics, and reputation. I gather that Lionel Fox is a Machiavellian pseudonym based on the ‘be the fox or the lion’ section of The Prince.
Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power, Penguin Books, New York, USA, 2000. An excellent synthesis of many classic and modern works on politics, leadership, war, power and statecraft, including Machiavelli. Probably the best single work on gaining and maintaining power, on leadership and management, since The Prince.
Robert Greene, The 33 Strategies of War, Penguin Books, New York, USA, 2008. Greene’s second book is to Sun Tzu what his first book was to Machiavelli.
Sun Tzu, translated by Samuel B. Griffith, The Art of War, Oxford University Press, London, England, 1971. Also available in a modern edition translated by J. H. Huang, (Harper Perennial, New York, USA, 2008). Various versions of the Lionel Giles translation (1910, now in the public domain) are in print, and at suntzusaid.com, www.gutenberg.org, and www.sonshi.com.
Burton Watson trans., Han Fei Tzu: Basic Writings, Columbia University Press, New York, USA, 1964. Han Fei was a 3rd century BCE Chinese prince from the legalist school of philosophy. His handbook for rulers was a practical guide for Chinese rulers similar to The Prince. Few of his writings are available in translation, although you can find some chapters (along with other Chinese treatises on rulers, government and war) here: afe.easia.columbia.edu/main_pop/ps/ps_china.htm.
T. A. Sinclair trans., The Politics, by Aristotle, Penguin Classics, London, England, 1992. Aristotle’s work was the premier book of political science in Machiavelli’s day. Plato’s Republic was also studied by princes and scholars. Versions of both are available online.
Quintus Tullius Cicero, translated by Philip Freeman, How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians, Princeton University press, Princeton, USA, 2012. Lessons in politics and electioneering from Marcus Cicero’s younger brother.
Marcus Tullius Cicero, translated by Philip Freeman, How to Run a Country: An Ancient Guide for Modern Leaders, Princeton University press, Princeton, US, 2013. More advice from the classical author of De Officiis (see below).
Cicero, Commentariolum Petitionis (“A Little Handbook on Electioneering”) is also known as De petitione consulatus (“On running for the Consulship”). This is the same book translated by Freeman (above). An English translation of Cicero’s essay is available at en.wikisource.org.
Marcus Tulius Cicero was a popular author in the Renaissance. His work, De Officiis, or in English, On Duties or On Obligations, was a tract about the principles and behaviour of aspiring politicians. His books The Republic and its sequel, The Laws, were also famous among Renaissance scholars and philosophers. I recommend Cicero: On Obligations, translated by P. G. Walsh (Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 2000, reissued 2008) and Cicero: The Republic and The Laws, translated by Niall Rudd (Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 1998, reissued 2008).
Ogyu Sorai, translated by Samuel H. Yamashita, Master Sorai’s Responsals, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, USA, 1994. This book is to 18th century Japan what The Prince was to Renaissance Italy, although it has more on manners than Machiavelli.
Stephen Gardiner, ed. and translated by Peter Donaldson, A Machiavellian Treatise, Cambridge University Press, London, UK, 1975. A 1555 treatise on politics by Queen Mary’s Bishop of Winchester. He uses unattributed content from Machiavelli’s The Prince and The Discourses.
James Gimian and Barry Boyce, The Rules of Victory: How to Transform Chaos and Conflict; Strategies from The Art of War, Shambala Publications, Boston, USA, 2008.
Moses Hadas ed. The Basic Works of Cicero, Modern Library, New York, USA, 1951. Contains Cicero’s essay on orators and rhetoric, De Oratore.
Francis Bacon, The Essays, or Counsels Civil and Moral, of Francis Ld. Verulam, Peter Pauper Press, Mount Bernon, New York, USA. Original published in 1950, reprinted 1950.
Rodney Ohebsion, The New Art of War, Tactics and Power: A New Rendition of Teachings from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, Baltasar Gracian’s The Art of Worldly Wisdom, and the Works of Han Fei Tzu, Immediex Publishing, United States, 2005. Lacks any reference to the source versions of the original material.
Ralph Roeder, The Man of the Renaissance: Four Lawgivers: Savonarola, Machiavelli, Castiglione, Aretino, Viking Press, New York, USA, 1933.
Balthasar Gracian, The Art of Worldly Wisdom. Original title: Oráculo manual y arte de prudencia (literally The Oracle, a Manual of the Art of Discretion). Translated by Christopher Maurer (Doubleday Books, New York, USA, 1991), translated by Martin Fischer (Barnes & Noble Books, New York, USA, 1993), translated by Joseph Jacobs (Dover Books, New York, USA, 2005, originally translated in 1892). This collection of 300 aphorisms was first published in 1637. Many versions in print and online stem from the 1892 translation. It is described in a review on Amazon.ca as “Machiavelli with a soul.” A searchable text version can be found at www.online-literature.com/gracian/art-worldly-wisdom/ and here: www.sacred-texts.com/eso/aww/index.htm . A PDF is here: www.andrewburke.ca/ajlb/viewBlogEntry.php?ref=213 Gracian also wrote “Heroes,” around the same time; a counter argument against Machiavelli, outlining what he felt was the proper behaviour for a Christian prince. A partial translation is available in A Pocket Mirror for Heroes, translated by Christopher Maurer, Doubleday Books, New York, USA, 1996.
Lauro Martines, April Blood: Florence and the Plot Against the Medici, Pimilco, London, UK, 2004. While this happened before Machiavelli took office, it did set the stage for Florentine politics of his day. The book also relates several other conspiracies in Italy during the period.
Hugh Bicheno, Vendetta: High Art and Low Cunning at the Birth of the Renaissance, Phoenix Books, London, UK, 2007.
Miles Unger, Magnifico: The Brilliant Life and Violent Times of Lorenzo de Medici, Simon & Schuster, New York, USA, 2008.
Jonathan Jones, The Lost Battles: Leonardo, Michelangelo and the Artistic Duel that Defined the Renaissance, Simon & Shuster, London, UK, 2010. While not specifically about Machiavelli, it does describe Florence during Machiavelli’s time.
David Borgenicht and Turk Regan, The Worst-Case Scenario Almanac: Politics, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, USA, 2008. Not specifically about Machiavelli, it nonetheless has many Machiavellian politicians in its content.
Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, Norton & Co., New York, USA, 2011. About how the rediscovery of Lucretius’ poem, On Nature (also called On the Nature of Things), created European humanism in the Renaissance. Vatter says reading it significantly affected Machiavelli’s thinking.
C. Northcote Parkinson, The Law, John Murray, London, UK, 1957, 1979. A collection of 16 of Parkinson’s delightful, sardonic essays about the nature of civil service and bureaucracy.
49,674 total views, 7 views today