Discourses on Livy

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The Discourses on Livy, also Discourses or Discorsi, was written around 1517 and published in 1531 by Niccolò Machiavelli.

It is a discussion about the history of early Ancient Rome. Although it strays very far from this and also uses modern political examples to illustrate points. Machiavelli presents it as a series of lessons on how a republic should be started and structured.

While it more openly explains the advantages of republics, it also has many similar themes from his other works. For example, Machiavelli said that to save a republic from corruption, it is needed to return it to a "kingly state" using violent means. He excuses Romulus for killing his brother Remus and co-ruler Titus Tatius to gain absolute power for himself in that he made a "civil way of life". Commentators disagree about how much the two works agree with each other, as Machiavelli often refers to leaders of republics as "princes". Machiavelli even sometimes acts as an advisor to tyrants. Other scholars have pointed out the power-hungry and imperialistic features of Machiavelli's republic. Nevertheless, it became one of the central texts of modern republicanism.