The Life of Castruccio Castracani

By Niccolò Machiavelli

Translated by Andrew Brown

ISBN: 9781847498328

128 pages

RRP: £4.79

Rising from humble beginnings as a foundling, Castruccio Castracani came to prominence as one of the most powerful and shrewd warlords in Italy. Indeed, Machiavelli argues, so great was his vigour and charisma that – had he not been prevented by his untimely death – he might have surpassed in fame the great generals of antiquity and brought all the territories of Italy under his sole dominion.

Written in Machiavelli’s characteristically lucid and terse style, The Life of Castruccio Castracani is not only a key text in understanding the development of the author’s ideas on leadership and good statesmanship that would find fuller expression in The Prince, but also a revealing account of the political ferment and fractious factionalism of fourteenth-century Italy. This edition also includes a further version of Castruccio’s exploits from Machiavelli’s Florentine Histories.

Part of 101-Page Classics series of Great Rediscovered Classics



  • Castruccio Castracani is a short book that tells a larger story… it will show that greatness, as Machiavelli defined it five centuries ago, is made, not born.

    Richard Overy

Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527) was a quintessential Renaissance man. Interested in music, poetry and theatre, he was above all a diplomat and a historian. He is most famous for his political treatise The Prince, which has become a cornerstone of modern political philosophy.