Why did the pope ban "The Prince" by Machiavelli in 1559?

Expert Answers
dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Pope banned The Prince by Machiavelli in 1559 because the book was considered a direct threat to Roman Catholic authority.  Machiavelli proposes that a prince must have his own interests satisfied, even to the point of ignoring church doctrine...."The ends justify the means".This mentality could find itself in direct conflict with the church. The accepted views of morality as dictated by the Roman Catholic Church were of little matter to a prince. A princes loyalty was to the state. Machiavelli also suggests that a prince is above church authority.It is important to remember Papal authority had already been challenged throughout Europe by Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. By 1559 the Roman Catholic Church was fearful of losing power and authority to other religious groups. As a result banning anti church publications was done in hope of preserving church doctrine and authority.

pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In 1559, The Prince, as well as all of Machiavelli's books were banned and put on the "Index of Prohibited Books" list.  The Catholic Church believed that Machiavelli promoted anti-Christian beliefs.

In The Prince, Machiavelli promotes a kind of deception.  Politicians and leaders need not truly be moral, or good people, they only have to master the art of public image.  As long as the people perceive the leader to be a good and moral individual that is all that matters.  The politician need not be truly moral, but must be perceived as good and moral and caring for his people. 

Read the study guide:
The Prince

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question