The Prince Questions and Answers
by Niccolo Machiavelli

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

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Thanh Munoz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Though the conventional view of The Prince is that it promotes a supposedly amoral ideology for political leaders to embrace, this is probably not the only reason the religious authorities banned the book and condemned Machiavelli.

Machiavelli's intention was not so much to give prescriptions or directives to princes on how to rule as it was simply to describe, using many examples from both ancient and modern times, the actions that successful leaders have taken in order to obtain and hold power. In doing so, he revealed the hypocrisy, particularly regarding religion, of the European monarchs of his time and of the recent past. Machiavelli said of Ferdinand of Spain (without actually naming him) that "a certain monarch of our time presents himself as a defender of Faith and virtue but in reality is the extreme enemy of both." Given the violence, wars, and persecutions carried out not just by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain but by the French and English kings of the time, all of whom...

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