Giovanni Botero (1544–1617) was an extremely popular Italian author of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. His works were translated into a number of languages and saw many editions. One of his most famous works, the Della Ragion di Stato (1589), was particularly popular in Europe. This response to Machiavellian politics spawned a number of treatises on this newly recognised form of politics: reason of state. Despite this success on the continent, Botero's Della Ragion di Stato was never published in England. However a little-known contemporary English manuscript translation exists in the British Library. This article therefore aims at a material and textual analysis of this manuscript translation of the Della Ragion di Stato. By examining how this manuscript was produced and for whom we can understand the significance its creator placed on the work. Then by examining the way in which the Della Ragion di Stato has been translated and by examining the contents of the translator's own 'Adjunct', we can begin to understand how Botero was being read in England.
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