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The Letters of Machiavelli

Edited and translated by Allan Gilbert
This collection of the most brilliant and characteristic letters of Niccolò Machiavelli displays the vital and penetrating mind of the man who wrote the first work of modern political science. These letters, which reveal Machiavelli’s critical intelligence, sense of humor, and elegant sense, are our chief source of information about his personal life. As such, they will serve as a vivid introduction to the personalities and events of the most turbulent period of the Renaissance, and they will also enlighten people who have been fascinated by the political thinker who wrote The Prince and The Discourses on Livy.

252 pages | 5.20 x 7.90 | © 1961

Biography and Letters

Political Science: Classic Political Thought

Table of Contents

I. The Life of Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527)
II. The Mind of a Statesman and  a Poet
III. Thinking toward The Prince
IV. Three Political Letters
V. Savonarola
VI. Machiavelli and the Poets
VII. Florentine Marriages
VIII. Machiavelli the Comic Observer
Notes on Individual Letters

The Letters
No. 3 - Savonarola
No. 103 - Personal Matters; the difficulties of his mission the Emperor
No. 115 - The return of the Medici to Florence
No. 116 - ----------------
No. 117 - Longing for employment by the Medici
No. 119 - Bad Fortune resisted
No. 120 - I must discuss public affairs or be silent
No. 122 - Florentine comedy; desire for employment
No. 128 - Ferdinand V of Spain, the Catholic; the new prince
No. 124 - France, England, Spain, the Swiss, and the Pope
No. 125 - Niccolò’s misfortunes; God’s help; business
No. 129 - Florentine commerce in the Levant
No. 131 - Foreign powers in Italy; danger from the Swiss
No. 133 - Donato del Corno needs influence with the Medici
No. 134 - France, England, Spain, and above all the Swiss; Mercenary soldiers
No. 135 - The character of Lorenzo de’ Medici, Duke of Urbino
No. 137 - Niccolò’s life on his farm; the composition of The Prince; desire to serve the Medici
No. 138 - Donato del Corno’s contribution to the Medici; a Franciscan preacher
No. 140 - He who is held wise by day will never be held crazy by night
No. 142 - Amusement at Vettori’s account of an evening in Rome
No. 144 - A Milesian tale of Florence
No. 145 - Foreign powers in Italy; Swiss power; Machiavelli’s finances
No. 146 - A marriage of convenience
No. 148 - Machiavelli’s finances; love
No. 150 - Niccolò’s new love; probably fictitious
No. 152 - The marriage troubles of a friend’s sister
No. 154 - The wisest policy for the Pope is a French alliance; the Swiss as rulers of Italy; neutrality
No. 155 - More on neutrality
No. 156 - Donato’s affairs, and Niccolò’s own
No. 159 - Grave men at leisure; the new prince
No. 160 - Niccolò’s affection
No. 161 - Hopes for prosperity
No. 162 - Waiting for Fortune
No. 163 - Fever and bleeding
No. 164 - Family news
No. 166 - Donato del Corno’s affairs; Orlando Furioso
No. 167 - Marriage advised
No. 168 - More on marriage
No. 169 - Legal troubles in Florence
No. 175 - The contract for writing the History of Florence
No. 179 - A preacher for Florence; the comedy of business
No. 182 - The comedy of the friars; Rovaio as preacher
No. 183 - More difficulty about the preacher; the friars
No. 185 - Some business matters
No. 186 - At work on the History of Florence
No. 192 - Tuscan farms
No. 196 - Mandragola; pills for stomach and head; a marriage negotiation
No. 198 - Some phrases in Machiavelli’s comedy, Mandragola
No. 199 - More on the marriages of Guicciardini’s daughters; how to get money from princes
No. 200 - More on the dowers for Guicciardini’s daughters
No. 202 - Mandragola; Charles V and Francis I
No. 204 - Will Charles V release his prisoner, Francis I?; Giovanni of the Black Bands
No. 206 - The walls of Florence
No. 207 - The Pope’s delays; the walls of Florence
No. 209 - The Pope favors including more land within the walls of Florence
No. 210 - San Miniato as a fortress dangerous to Florentine liberty
No. 211 - The marriage negotiations once more
No. 219 - Machiavelli in Modena; Political ineptitude
No. 219B - The military mistakes of Pope Clement VII
No. 222 - The study of letters and music; a rural problem; the family
No. 223 - What policy for Pope Clement VII?
No. 224 - An unsatisfactory peace
No. 225 - I love my native city more than my soul
No. 227 - Those who gain from war will not praise peace
List of Familiar Letters in This Edition


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