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History of Florence and of the Affairs of…

History of Florence and of the Affairs of Italy, from the Earliest Times… (edition 1901)

by Niccolo Machiavelli

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299437,504 (4.08)1
Title:History of Florence and of the Affairs of Italy, from the Earliest Times to the Death of Lorenzo the Magnificent
Authors:Niccolo Machiavelli
Info:Washington [D.C] & London, M. W. Dunne [1901] xvii, 417 p. front. (port.) 3 pl. 24 cm. [Autograph éd.]
Collections:1900-1929 Books, History, Literature, Your library, Books
Tags:literature, italian_literature, non-fiction, history, european_history, italian_history, cities, european_cities, italian_cities, florence, 16th_century

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History of Florence and the Affairs of Italy from the Earliest Times to The Death of Lorenzo the Magnificent by Niccolò Machiavelli (Author)



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The wisdom that dominates The Prince and The Discourses on Livy merely adorns this text. It is received history, reworked from earlier chronicles, with dense narrative and only brief discussions. We find here not Machiavelli the political philosopher but Machiavelli the literary stylist.

In the first half, there are several episodes of high drama: the birth of the Guelphs and Ghibellines in petty family squabbles, the defeat of the tyranny of the Duke of Athens, the Revolt of the Ciompi and the radical reforms of Michele di Lando, the rise of the Medici.

When Cosimo de' Medici begins his domination of Florentine politics, Machiavelli broadens his focus to the shifting alliances of northern Italy. A numbing series of marches and battles are described, at times humorously. There is a barely disguised frustration with the ineptitude of the various Italian armies, where battles were often bloodless demonstrations of horsemanship and posing.

Concerning therule of the Medici, Machiavelli treads lightly. He wrote it at the behest of Cardinal Giulio de' Medici (later made Pope Clement VII, whose lack of resolve lead to the infamous sack of Rome in 1527), and his circumspection on the political careers of Cosimo and Lorenzo was dictated by his hope of regaining the favor the family.

In short, this at times gripping and at times tedious work is redeemed by the peerless insights of one of the greatest political thinkers of all time. ( )
  le.vert.galant | Jan 26, 2015 |
A wonderful book by a man who really knew his subject. While everyone knows of "the Prince", "the history of Florence and the affairs of Italy" is up there with Thomas More's life of Henry VII as a sign that the Renaissance had arrived, and the world who be interpreted anew. Machiavelli looks for causes, makes some small predictions, and applies an even-handed mind to the study of his own city. If you are fresh from Froissart, and gearing up for Gibbon, this a useful step for the historiographer.
1525 is the publication date. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Apr 30, 2014 |
Probably not the greatest choice if you are looking for historical accuracy, but nonetheless interesting as another statement of Machiavelli's political thought. I read the "Istorie fiorentine" the same way I believe many others read it as well, to understand Machiavelli, not to know about the history of Florence, and taken in this way, it is a great book. The major theme of the work is the endless internal strife in Florence, but Machiavelli's analysis extends to the whole Italian peninsula and to the inability of any political power to unite it under a single government.

For someone only interested in Machiavelli's "theory", it might make sense only to read the first chapter of each of the 8 books of the work. In these chapters Machiavelli does not write about historical events but what he takes to be more universal features of politics and history. Machiavelli's invented speeches ascribed to historical people are fruitful as well.

What I personally found most interesting was the ending of Book II with its description of both the establishment of tyranny and its overthrow in a revolution. ( )
  timoroso | Jul 29, 2011 |
Review from Buddenbrooks.
  JamesBoswell | May 29, 2009 |
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Machiavelli, NiccolòAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Banfield, Laura F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goldscheider, LudwigEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mansfield, Harvey C.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mansfield, Harvey C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rennert, Hugo AlbertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reumont, Alfred vonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0691008639, Paperback)

"This translation . . . of Machiavelli's thoughts on his native city is meant to be less colloquial and closer to the original than the typical translation. This highlights how Machiavelli used words (and thought) differently from us. . . . Machiavelli is too often remembered merely as the realist who took the morality out of virtue.' As the Histories demonstrate, he was also a gifted writer and historian."--Virginia Quarterly Review"Banfield and Mansfield's new rendition of the Renaissance humanist's study of Florentine history aims to supply contemporary readers with a literal, exact, and readable version of the original. . . . Machiavelli's concept of history and his purpose in charting the story of Florence and its leading families are thoroughly examined before the translators lead their readers into the substance of the social philosopher's arguments and into a work of literature that once again comes alive."--Booklist

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:37 -0400)

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