- [I'm sending this to all of my lists. For the others I also attached
EV's extract on Machiavelli which Fritz Wagner posted a while ago].
You are invitied to join a new mailing list for shared reading and
discussion of Machiavelli's "Discourses on Livy":
I have been told more than once that Machiavelli's "Discourses" is one
of the great treatises on realistic politics, that is, on human
affairs as they are rather than as we would like them to be.
Recent (September 2001) attacks on the US and commencement of war in
Asia provides motivation for studying the work, in the hope of better
understanding the world and what it is possible to achieve in it. We
try to turn evil into good. Machiavelli says:
The return of a republic to its original principles is either the
result of extrinsic accident or of intrinsic prudence. As an
instance of the first, we have seen how necessary it was that Rome
should be taken by the Gauls, as a means of her renovation or new
birth; so that being thus born again, she might take new life and
vigor, and might resume the proper observance of justice and
religion, which were becoming corrupt.
This mailing list is a shared reading and discussion of the
book. Fortunately the text itself is available online at:
Note that there is already an active Machiavelli list at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/machiavelli, but the discussion there is
more detailed and scholarly than what I propose in this reading. Most
chapters in the "Discourses" are only a page or two long; I plan to
post a chapter each Friday morning, join in discussion for a week,
then move on. That is a light load for busy people such as ourselves,
and at such a rate it will take over two years to do the whole book.
A tip for those who are swamped by e-mail traffic: Yahoo, like other
mailing lists, allows you to receive a daily digest of all messages
rather than individual copies. This is a great time-saver on busy
days. You can browse the table of contents or just delete the whole
thing if you are pressed for time.