Machiavelli's name has come down to us as a byword for cunning, duplicity, and the exercise of bad faith in political affairs. But what views about politics and political morality does he actually put forth in his major works? Offering the first brief introduction to Machiavelli's thought to appear in twenty-five years, Quentin Skinner, author of Machiavelli: A Very Short Introduction, focuses on his three major works, The Prince, Discourses, and The History of Florence. He discusses the influence of Roman moral thought on Machiavelli, concentrating on the extent to which Machiavelli's teachings represent a reaction against this tradition. Placing Machiavelli in the proper social and intellectual context, Skinner reveals the extraordinary originality of his attack on the prevailing moral and political assumptions of his age.
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