A Modern Interpretation of Machiavelli's Political Cycle.

Learry Gagné


In the Discourses, Machiavelli refers early on to Polybius' cycle of regimes; however, he will not make much use of it afterwards. He still refers to a particular cycle, but one implicit in his writings and substantially different from Polybius. I propose in this paper to reconstruct Machiavelli's own political cycle, using the modern language of rationality and emotions in an agent-based model. Our starting point will be a list of individual motivations, their interplay in political action, and their effects on the regime. We will find in Machiavelli's work a model founded on three types of regimes -- tyranny, principality, and republic -- and a cycle of foundation, succession, degeneration, corruption, and refoundation of the regimes.


Machiavelli; Polybius; Cycle of regimes; Rationality; Emotions

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@Canadian Political Science Review (CPSR). ISSN 1911-4125