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Discourses on Livy | Study Guide

Niccolò Machiavelli

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Niccolò Machiavelli

Year Published





History, Philosophy

At a Glance

Niccolò Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy, a collection of brief essays, discusses topics prompted by the first 10 books of Roman historian Titus Livius's (or Livy's) History of Rome. Machiavelli's provocative reasoning and his keen psychological insight have led some readers and scholars to single him out as the first modern political philosopher. In particular, his sympathies for republican government—rule by lawmakers, not hereditary nobles—and his trust in the wisdom of the people have continued to impress audiences.

About the Title

Machiavelli's title Discourses on Livy refers to the fact that his collection of discourses, or essays, forms a commentary on various topics drawn from the first 10 of 142 books of the History of Rome (c. 27 BCE) written by ancient Roman historian Titus Livius or Livy (c. 59/64 BCE–17 CE).


This study guide for Niccolò Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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