Name: Machiavelli's, "Discorsi", "Il Principe"

Date:  1500 - 1799 , 1926 - 1950

Location:  Europe

SubjectPolitical/Economic/Social Opinion


Artist: Machiavelli, Niccolo (1469-1527)

Confronting Bodies: Pope Paul IV, Huguenot Gentillet, The Elizabethans

Date of Action: 1555

Specific Location

Description of Artwork: "Discorsi" 1503, "Il Principe" 1513

Description of Incident: 1555 Italy-Rome: Although Machiavelli had been the ambassador and advisor of Popes and Cardinals in his days, Pope Paul IV placed his works in the severest category of the "Index," and Clement VIII made a fresh prohibition of a Lausanne edition of his "Discorsi". 1576 France: Selected maxims from "Il Principe" translated into French, were attacked by the Huguenot Gentillet for their political views. Cesare Borgia was supposed to have been the "Prince". The author contended that "if all rulers were good, you ought to keep your word, but since they are dishonest and do not keep faith with you, you in return, need not keep faith with them."

Results of Incident: 1602 England: The Elizabethans derived from Gentillet their idea of and hostility for "Il Principe". 1935 Italy: In Fascist thinking, "Il Principe" demonstrated disjointed Italy's need for an all-powerful dictator supported by a national army. Mussolini paid Machiavelli tribute by encouraging the distribution of "Il Principe" in thousands of cheap copies.

Source: Banned Books 387 B.C. to 1978 A.D., by Anne Lyon Haight, and Chandler B. Grannis, R.R. Bowker Co, 1978.

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