Machiavelli, The Prince

Sunday 18 October, 12.00 until 13.00, Hammerson Room, Barbican Academy in One Day

Unarguably the most infamous of all the great works of political philosophy, Niccolo Machiavelli’s Il Principe has inspired revulsion and adoration in almost equal measure. For some, it is a handbook for evil, an appeal for politics where the ends always justify the means, and where ‘Old Nick’ tells rulers they must ‘learn not to be good’. For others, as it was for some of the American Founding Fathers, it is a republican call-to-arms, asserting the sanctity of the public realm and the goods of self-government. And, since Rousseau, some have even been tempted read it as satire.

A wickedly honest and endlessly provocative book, The Prince has inspired intense debate since even before its posthumous publication in 1532, and its heady mix of Roman Republicanism, Renaissance Humanism and real-world focus makes it a great introduction to political philosophy.

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Professor Elizabeth Frazer
head of department, Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford; fellow in politics, New College Oxford

Jacob Reynolds
consultant, SHM Productions

Produced by
Jacob Reynolds consultant, SHM Productions
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Introductory lectures to the most important historical and contemporary theorists dealing with the problem of violence

Elizabeth Frazer, Histories of Violence

Virtuous violence and the politics of statecraft in Machiavelli, Clausewitz and Weber

The theory of politics and violence that can be read in the work of Machiavelli, Clausewitz and Weber understands politics as immanently connected to violence.

EJF and Kim Hutchings, Political Studies , March 2011

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