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Machiavelli's Missing Romulus and the Murderous Intent of the Prince

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This paper argues that The Prince should be read as bearing uncomfortably specific policy recommendations, namely for the work's dedicatee Lorenzo de' Medici to kill his uncle Pope Leo X and the college of cardinals to begin unifying Italy. In support of the argument, the paper develops Machiavelli's parallel construction between Chapters Six and Twenty-Six, where he mysteriously omits Romulus from a list of great founders whose example should be emulated. In short, Chapter Twenty-Six is an integral, integrated part of The Prince.

Keywords: Machiavelli; Medici; Prince; chapter 26; nationalism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Buttenwieser Fellow, Columbia University, Dept. of Political Science, 420 West 118th Street, New York, NY 10027, USA, Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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