Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius, Book 1

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469 - 1527)
Translated by Ninian Hill Thomson (1830 - )

In "Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius", posthumous work by the author of The Prince, Machiavelli discusses the useful lessons that could be learnt from the past for his present. As the title mentions, the subject of the work is the first ten books of Livy's Ab urbe condita, which cover the expansion of Rome from the legendary monarchy of Romulus to the end of the Third Samnite War (293 BCE). The whole work contains three books, with 142 numbered chapters - perhaps not a coincidence, since Livy's history also contained 142 books. In the first book, the author discusses things that happened inside of Rome as the result of public counsel. - Summary by Leni

Genre(s): History, Political Science

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 Preface Pamela Nagami
Play 01 CHAPTER I.Of the Beginnings of Cities in general, and in particular of that of Rome Dave Gillespie
Play 02 CHAPTER II. Of the various kinds of Government; and to which of them the Roman Commonwealth belonged. Dave Gillespie
Play 03 CHAPTER III. Of the Accidents which led in Rome to the creation of Tribunes of the People; whereby the Republic was made more perfect. Dave Gillespie
Play 04 CHAPTER IV. That the Dissensions between the Senate and Commons of Rome, made Rome free and powerful. Dave Gillespie
Play 05 CHAPTER V. Whether the Guardianship of public Freedom is safer in the hands of the Commons or of the Nobles; and whether those who seek to acquire Power or they who seek to maintain it are the greater cause of Commotions. Dave Gillespie
Play 06 CHAPTER VI. Whether it was possible in Rome to contrive such a Government as would have composed the Differences between the Commons and the Senate. Dave Gillespie
Play 07 CHAPTER VII. That to preserve Liberty in a State there must exist the Right to accuse. Dave Gillespie
Play 08 CHAPTER VIII. That Calumny is as hurtful in a Commonwealth as the power to accuse is useful. Dave Gillespie
Play 09 CHAPTER IX. That to give new Institutions to a Commonwealth, or to reconstruct old Institutions on an entirely new basis, must be the work of one Man. Dave Gillespie
Play 10 CHAPTER X. That in proportion as the Founder of a Kingdom or Commonwealth merits Praise, he who founds a Tyranny deserves Blame. Dave Gillespie
Play 11 CHAPTER XI. Of the Religion of the Romans. merendo07
Play 12 CHAPTER XII. That it is of much moment to make account of Religion; and that Italy, through the Roman Church, being wanting therein, has been ruined. merendo07
Play 13 CHAPTER XIII. Of the use the Romans made of Religion in giving Institutions to their City, in carrying out their Enterprises, and in quelling Tumults. Brad Murphy
Play 14 CHAPTER XIV. That the Romans interpreted the Auspices to meet the occasion; and made a prudent show of observing the Rites of Religion even when forced to disregard them; and any who rashly slighted Religion they punished. merendo07
Play 15 CHAPTER XV. How the Samnites, as a last resource in their broken Fortunes, had recourse to Religion. merendo07
Play 16 CHAPTER XVI. That a People accustomed to live under a Prince, if by any accident it become free, can hardly preserve that Freedom. Ciufi Galeazzi
Play 17 CHAPTER XVII. That a corrupt People obtaining Freedom can hardly preserve it. Ciufi Galeazzi
Play 18 CHAPTER XVIII. How a Free Government existing in a corrupt City may be preserved, or not existing may be created. Ciufi Galeazzi
Play 19 CHAPTER XIX. After a strong Prince a weak Prince may maintain himself: but after one weak Prince no Kingdom can stand a second. Eva Staes
Play 20 CHAPTER XX. That the consecutive Reigns of two valiant Princes produce great results: and that well-ordered Commonwealths are assured of a Succession of valiant Rulers by whom their Power and Growth are rapidly extended. Donavan Olsen
Play 21 CHAPTER XXI. That it is a great reproach to a Prince or to a Commonwealth to be without a national Army. Donavan Olsen
Play 22 CHAPTER XXII. What is to be noted in the combat of the three Roman Horatii and the three Alban Curiatii. Donavan Olsen
Play 23 CHAPTER XXIII. That we should never hazard our whole Fortunes where we put not forth our entire Strength; for which reason to guard a Defile is often hurtful. Donavan Olsen
Play 24 CHAPTER XXIV. That well-ordered States always provide Rewards and Punishments for their Citizens; and never set off Deserts against Misdeeds. Lucretia B.
Play 25 CHAPTER XXV. That he who would reform the Institutions of a free State, must retain at least the semblance of old Ways. Lucretia B.
Play 26 CHAPTER XXVI. A new Prince in a City or Province of which he has taken Possession, ought to make Everything new. Ciufi Galeazzi
Play 27 CHAPTER XXVII. That Men seldom know how to be wholly good or wholly bad. Ciufi Galeazzi
Play 28 CHAPTER XXVIII. Whence it came that the Romans were less ungrateful to their Citizens than were the Athenians. Ciufi Galeazzi
Play 29 CHAPTER XXIX. Whether a People or a Prince is the more ungrateful. jenno
Play 30 CHAPTER XXX. How Princes and Commonwealths may avoid the vice of Ingratitude; and how a Captain or Citizen may escape being undone by it. jenno
Play 31 CHAPTER XXXI. That the Roman Captains were never punished with extreme severity for Misconduct; and where loss resulted to the Republic merely through their Ignorance or Want of Judgment, were not punished at all. merendo07
Play 32 CHAPTER XXXII. That a Prince or Commonwealth should not delay conferring Benefits until they are themselves in difficulties. merendo07
Play 33 CHAPTER XXXIII. When a Mischief has grown up in, or against a State, it is safer to temporize with than to meet it with Violence. merendo07
Play 34 CHAPTER XXXIV. That the authority of the Dictator did good and not harm to the Roman Republic: and that it is not those Powers which are given by the free suffrages of the People, but those which ambitious Citizens usurp for themselves, that are pernicious to a State. jenno
Play 35 CHAPTER XXXV. Why the Creation of the Decemvirate in Rome, although brought about by the free and open Suffrage of the Citizens, was hurtful to the Liberties of that Republic jenno
Play 36 CHAPTER XXXVI. That Citizens who have held the higher Offices of a Commonwealth should not disdain the lower. jenno
Play 37 CHAPTER XXXVII. Of the Mischief bred in Rome by the Agrarian Law: and how it is a great source of disorder in a Commonwealth to pass a Law opposed to ancient Usage and with stringent retrospective Effect. jenno
Play 38 CHAPTER XXXVIII. That weak Republics are irresolute and undecided; and that the course they may take depends more on Necessity than Choice. merendo07
Play 39 CHAPTER XXXIX. That often the same Accidents are seen to befall different Nations. merendo07
Play 40 CHAPTER XL. Of the creation of the Decemvirate in Rome, and what therein is to be noted. Wherein among other Matters is shown how the same Causes may lead to the Safety or to the Ruin of a Commonwealth. merendo07
Play 41 CHAPTER XLI. That it is unwise to pass at a bound from leniency to severity, or to a haughty bearing from a humble. Ann Boulais
Play 42 CHAPTER XLII. How easily Men become corrupted. Eva Staes
Play 43 CHAPTER XLIII. That Men fighting in their own Cause make good and resolute Soldiers. Ann Boulais
Play 44 CHAPTER XLIV. That the Multitude is helpless without a Head: and that we should not with the same breath threaten and ask leave. Ann Boulais
Play 45 CHAPTER XLV. That it is of evil example, especially in the Maker of a Law, not to observe the Law when made: and that daily to renew acts of injustice in a City is most hurtful to the Governor. merendo07
Play 46 CHAPTER XLVI. That Men climb from one step of Ambition to another, seeking at first to escape Injury and then to injure others. merendo07
Play 47 CHAPTER XLVII. That though Men deceive themselves in Generalities, in Particulars they judge truly. merendo07
Play 48 CHAPTER XLVIII. He who would not have an Office bestowed on some worthless or wicked Person, should contrive that it be solicited by one who is utterly worthless and wicked, or else by one who is in the highest degree noble and good. merendo07
Play 49 CHAPTER XLIX. That if Cities which, like Rome, had their beginning in Freedom, have had difficulty in framing such Laws as would preserve their Freedom, Cities which at the first have been in Subjection will find this almost impossible. merendo07
Play 50 CHAPTER L. That neither any Council nor any Magistrate should have power to bring the Government of a City to a stay. merendo07
Play 51 CHAPTER LI. What a Prince or Republic does of Necessity, should seem to be done by Choice. merendo07
Play 52 CHAPTER LII. That to check the arrogance of a Citizen who is growing too powerful in a State, there is no safer Method, or less open to objection, than to forestall him in those Ways whereby he seeks to advance himself. Hypatia
Play 53 CHAPTER LIII. That the People, deceived by a false show of Advantage, often desire what would be their Ruin; and that large Hopes and brave Promises easily move them. Hypatia
Play 54 CHAPTER LIV. Of the boundless Authority which a great Man may use to restrain an excited Multitude. Hypatia
Play 55 CHAPTER LV. That Government is easily carried on in a City wherein the body of the People is not corrupted: and that a Princedom is impossible where Equality prevails, and a Republic where it does not. merendo07
Play 56 CHAPTER LVI. That when great Calamities are about to befall a City or Country, Signs are seen to presage, and Seers arise who foretell them. Hypatia
Play 57 CHAPTER LVII. That the People are strong collectively, but individually weak. Eva Staes
Play 58 CHAPTER LVIII. That a People is wiser and more constant than a Prince Eva Staes
Play 59 CHAPTER LIX. To what Leagues or Alliances we may most trust; whether those we make with Commonwealths or those we make with Princes. Hypatia
Play 60 CHAPTER LX. That the Consulship and all the other Magistracies in Rome were given without respect to Age. Hypatia