How does Machiavelli show humanist values and teachings through his works The Prince and Discourses?
In The Prince and Discourses on Livy, Machiavelli exhibits the characteristics of humanism in many ways. First, both works are full of allusions to classical politics, especially to the Roman Republic. Livy himself was an ancient Roman historian, writing shortly after the fall of the Republic, and Machiavelli attempts to use his telling of Roman history to discuss the ways in which a republic could be sustained among modern people. The frequent allusion to classical works is also found in The Prince (a very different book than Discourses.) He refers to Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and many other examples from ancient Greece and Roman history to frame his argument. The argument of the Prince itself is an example of humanistic thinking. In the Prince, he famously advocates that a prince's behavior as a leader should not be governed by abstract, usually religious notions of right and wrong but rather by a hard-headed appraisal of how the world actually works, and what is most likely to achieve the best results. This view is characteristic of humanism. So in terms of content, argument, and methodology, the works of Machiavelli were steeped in humanistic principles. At the same time, Machiavelli's thinking was modern--he was no more bound by classical philosophy than he was by Christian thinking.