The strategies Machiavelli developed and endorsed in The Prince made his name an enduring synonym for the ruthless acquisition and use of power. Discourses on Livy, published in 1531, is equally essential to an understanding of political theory. Both treatises compare the government of ancient Rome to that of the Italian Renaissance. The Prince, however, offers advice on maintaining a monarchy; with Discourses, Machiavelli considers the structure and benefits of a republic.
Inspired by Titus Livy's monumental history of Rome, Machiavelli discusses the internal structure of a republic, methods of conducting warfare, and the defining qualities of individual leadership. His explorations of the concept of checks and balances, the strength of a tripartite structure, and the superiority of a republic to a principality keep this book as relevant today as it was five centuries ago.