- Author – Niccolò Machiavelli
- Genre – Non-Fiction
- Date – 1532
The Prince is a political treatise written in the 16th century by Italian diplomatic and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. The first printed version was published in 1532 five years after Niccolò Machiavelli’s death. Though an earlier version appears to have been distributed in 1513 which used the Latin title De Principatibus.
The Prince is considered one of the first works of modern philosophy, and it gives more impetus to the effective truth rather than any abstract ideal. It is all so famously known for being in conflict with the Catholic and scholastic doctrines of that time about how they viewed politics and ethics.
The treatise is relatively short, and yet it is one of the most remembered of Machiavelli’s works, it is also considered to be the work responsible for bringing the term “Machiavellian” into use age as a type of writing. One of the terms coined in this treatise was “Old Nick” which was a term used for the devil and is still used today in English-speaking countries as a term for the devil. The treatise was also responsible for giving a negative aspect to the words “politics” and “politician” as a C in Western countries.
The entire treatise is made up of 26 chapters and some of the chapters are clumped together into a main themed group. Some of the names of the chapters in the treatise are as follows, the subject matter: new princedoms, “Mixed” princedoms, Totally New States, how to judge the strength of the, principalities, the qualities of a Prince, the prudence of the Prince, prudence in Charles.
Machiavelli dedicated this treatise to Lorenzo di Piero de’ Medici, the grandson of “Lorenzo the Magnificent”, who was a member of the ruling Florentine Medici family. In the treatise it somehow becomes apparent that Machiavelli had written a work that advices Princes on how to tyrannize, or deeper reading it is generally thought to have provoked some form of free Republic. The Prince was regarded as shocking by many contemporaries, and it was considered immoral and its immorality is still a subject of serious discussion.
And yet some commentators justify the same immorality by saying that he lived in a time where there was continuous political conflict and instability an Italy and that this in turn may have influenced Machiavelli’s writings. People like Strauss say that “even if we were forced to grant that Machiavelli was a patriot or a scientist, we cannot deny that he was a teacher of evil. He also said that Machivelli was thoughtful enough to know what he was writing.