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A few words from Machiavelli

1st June 2017

Well known writer and translator Frances Robson has recently produced some new work translated from a famous 16th century political tract which will no doubt interest historians and the Scots language community alike. A few years ago Frances visited the home in Florence, Italy, of Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (1469-1527). Machiavelli – who has been known in Scots as Michael Wylie - was born the son of an attorney and worked his way up to become a diplomat, politician, writer and theorist in the Florentine republic.  His most famous tract is the book Il Principe (The Prince) written in 1513. In this work he described the actions that a ruler might take to achieve and hold on to political power, but he was criticised by some for apparently advocating unscrupulous methods. This led to our modern term ‘Machiavellian’ which implies double-dealing and underhand methods. Nonetheless, The Prince stands out among the significant political tracts of European history. Frances Robson, who stated she “...culdnae haud masel back...” from translating the piece, has a keen interest in the period and the language and hopes that her Scots version, when completed, will be well received as a contribution to European culture.

The Scots Language Centre is grateful to Frances for offering to share her translation of Chapter XVII which is available to download as a PDF below.