Tuesday 16 June 2009

Thoughts on The Prince

Insofar as Machiavelli's perceptive little essay is based on a realistic appreciation of forms of political practice, independent of received wisdom and theological precepts, it is perhaps the most brilliant expressions of Renaissance thought.

There was nothing new in The Prince: it had all happened before; the cynical and brutal manipulation of power was part of European history. What was new was Machiavelli's honesty, his willingness to see through hypocrisy and false conceits; to describe politics as it was practiced rather than as some abstract Aristotelian or Platonic model.

If properly read it is acutely funny, one of the wittiest satires ever written about politics; a satire on the unruly and selfish behaviour of leaders, kings and princes of all kinds. Or, if not that, it is offered as a kind of mirror, showing an image of power, and the misuse of power, from which all those with any sense of morality should recoil! Or he produced the book because this is what he knew that people like Lorenzo de Medici would want to hear, a justification of themselves. However it is read it is a little work of great value. So says The Princess!


  1. Your blog is about history?

    Nice subject

    I liked the blog

    Take a look in my. The address is www.olhardireito.blogspot.com

  2. Thanks, Francisco. Yes, I write about history, which I love. But I also write about anything that catches my attention, from contemporary politics to philosophy and art. I'm an omnivore! I'll come and check your blog now. Thanks so much for the invitation. Ana

  3. You´r welcome

    If you want to write a text about history in my blog, send me a email.

    I would like very much to have your opinions and text in my blog

    Send me a email to discuss the details

  4. I don't THINK about "The Prince". I live it! Seriously...I read the thing when I was 15. Just found it in the school library and read it without any understanding as to its significance to scholars. I took it at face value...I'd heard the name Machiavelli and it caught my eye on the spine of the book. I was extremely impressed by the clarity of the thinking displayed therein. Next year I became captain of my school. Absolute truth.

  5. I believe you! Was there any realpolitik or assassination involved; did you advance your career in the same ruthless fashion as Cesare Borgia? :-))

  6. I became a "numbers man" as we say here in Australia..this basically means cultivating those who can be useful to you. I also developed an image for myself which meant that I was the only logical choice..the funny thing is that the captaincy was an accidental by-product of my general attempt to get the upper hand in the social group.