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Niccolò Machiavelli Collection

1,000 items (dispersed).

Just over 200 different editions of the writings of Machiavelli were published in the sixteenth century, and of these thirty-five are available in the Library.

Items of considerable rarity in Britain include the Venetian 1541 edition of Libro dellArte della Guerra (unique in Britain and one of only three copies recorded anywhere), and the Venetian 1543 edition of the Discorsi, also unique in this country although it can be found in six Continental libraries.

The Aldine 1540 editions of Il Principe, the Discorsi and the Historie are all present. The 1584 editions of Il Principe and Discorsi and the 1587 edition of Libro dellArte della Guerra, here bound into one volume, carry false Palermo imprints; they were in fact printed surreptitiously in London by John Wolfe, since there was an effective prohibition on Machiavelli’s principal works in Italy between 1554 and 1630. 

The Library also holds copies of the first editions in English of Machiavelli’s major works: Peter Whitehorne’s The Arte of Warre (1560), and the two translations by Edward Dacres, Machiavel’s Discourses (1636) and Nicholas Machiavel’s Prince (1640).

Finding aids

Recorded in general printed-book catalogue.


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library

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