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A treatise is a formal and systematic written discourse
Discourse generally refers to "written or spoken communication". The following are three more specific definitions:...

 on some subject, generally longer and treating it in greater depth than an essay
An essay is a piece of writing which is often written from an author's personal point of view. Essays can consist of a number of elements, including: literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author. The definition...

, and more concerned with investigating or exposing the principles of the subject.

Noteworthy treatises

Treatises have been written by various philosophers
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

    • Xenophon
      Xenophon , son of Gryllus, of the deme Erchia of Athens, also known as Xenophon of Athens, was a Greek historian, soldier, mercenary, philosopher and a contemporary and admirer of Socrates...

    • Aristotle
      Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

      —various treatises
    • Chanakya
      Chānakya was a teacher to the first Maurya Emperor Chandragupta , and the first Indian emperor generally considered to be the architect of his rise to power. Traditionally, Chanakya is also identified by the names Kautilya and VishnuGupta, who authored the ancient Indian political treatise...

      The Arthashastra is an ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy which identifies its author by the names Kautilya and , who are traditionally identified with The Arthashastra (IAST: Arthaśāstra) is an ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and...

    • Adi Shankara
      Adi Shankara
      Adi Shankara Adi Shankara Adi Shankara (IAST: pronounced , (Sanskrit: , ) (788 CE - 820 CE), also known as ' and ' was an Indian philosopher from Kalady of present day Kerala who consolidated the doctrine of advaita vedānta...

      —Vivekacūḍāmaṇi (Crest-Jewel of Discrimination) and many others.
    • Claudius Ptolemaeus—Almagest
      The Almagest is a 2nd-century mathematical and astronomical treatise on the apparent motions of the stars and planetary paths. Written in Greek by Claudius Ptolemy, a Roman era scholar of Egypt,...

    • Nizam al-Mulk
      Nizam al-Mulk
      Abu Ali al-Hasan al-Tusi Nizam al-Mulk, better known as Khwaja Nizam al-Mulk Tusi ; born in 1018 – 14 October 1092) was a Persian scholar and vizier of the Seljuq Empire...

      Siyāsatnāma , also known as Siyar al-muluk , is the most famous work by Nizam al-Mulk, the founder of Nizamiyyah schools in medieval Persia and vizier to the Seljuq sultans Alp Arslan and Malik Shah...

       (The Book of Government)
    • Niccolò Machiavelli
      Niccolò Machiavelli
      Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian historian, philosopher, humanist, and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. He is one of the main founders of modern political science. He was a diplomat, political philosopher, playwright, and a civil servant of the Florentine Republic...

      The Prince
      The Prince
      The Prince is a political treatise by the Italian diplomat, historian and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. From correspondence a version appears to have been distributed in 1513, using a Latin title, De Principatibus . But the printed version was not published until 1532, five years after...

      , and Discourses on Livy
      Discourses on Livy
      The Discourses on Livy is a work of political history and philosophy written in the early 16th century by the Italian writer and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli, best known as the author of The Prince...

    • René Descartes
      René Descartes
      René Descartes ; was a French philosopher and writer who spent most of his adult life in the Dutch Republic. He has been dubbed the 'Father of Modern Philosophy', and much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day...

      The World
      The World (Descartes)
      The World, originally titled Le Monde and also called Treatise on the Light, is a book by René Descartes . Written between 1629 and 1633, it contains a relatively complete version of his philosophy, from method, to metaphysics, to physics and biology.Descartes was a follower of the mechanical...

      , Compendium Musicae, and Discourse on the Method
    • John Locke
      John Locke
      John Locke FRS , widely known as the Father of Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social...

      Two Treatises of Government
      Two Treatises of Government
      The Two Treatises of Government is a work of political philosophy published anonymously in 1689 by John Locke...

    • David Hume
      David Hume
      David Hume was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, known especially for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment...

      A Treatise of Human Nature
      A Treatise of Human Nature
      A Treatise of Human Nature is a book by Scottish philosopher David Hume, first published in 1739–1740.The full title of the Treatise is 'A Treatise of Human Nature: Being an Attempt to introduce the experimental Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects'. It contains the following sections:* Book 1:...

    • Adam Smith
      Adam Smith
      Adam Smith was a Scottish social philosopher and a pioneer of political economy. One of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, Smith is the author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations...

      The Theory of Moral Sentiments
      The Theory of Moral Sentiments
      The Theory of Moral Sentiments was written by Adam Smith in 1759. It provided the ethical, philosophical, psychological, and methodological underpinnings to Smith's later works, including The Wealth of Nations , A Treatise on Public Opulence , Essays on Philosophical Subjects , and Lectures on...

       and The Wealth of Nations
      The Wealth of Nations
      An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, generally referred to by its shortened title The Wealth of Nations, is the magnum opus of the Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith...

    • Joseph Priestley
      Joseph Priestley
      Joseph Priestley, FRS was an 18th-century English theologian, Dissenting clergyman, natural philosopher, chemist, educator, and political theorist who published over 150 works...

      Disquisitions relating to Matter and Spirit
      Disquisitions relating to Matter and Spirit
      Disquisitions relating to Matter and Spirit is a major work of metaphysics written by eighteenth-century British polymath Joseph Priestley and published by Joseph Johnson....

    • William Godwin
      William Godwin
      William Godwin was an English journalist, political philosopher and novelist. He is considered one of the first exponents of utilitarianism, and the first modern proponent of anarchism...

      Enquiry concerning Political Justice, and its Influence on General Virtue and Happiness
      Political Justice
      Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Modern Morals and Manners outlines the political philosophy of the 18th-century philosopher William Godwin....

    • Karl Marx
      Karl Marx
      Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

      Das Kapital
      Das Kapital
      Das Kapital, Kritik der politischen Ökonomie , by Karl Marx, is a critical analysis of capitalism as political economy, meant to reveal the economic laws of the capitalist mode of production, and how it was the precursor of the socialist mode of production.- Themes :In Capital: Critique of...

    • Julien Offray de La Mettrie
      Julien Offray de La Mettrie
      Julien Offray de La Mettrie was a French physician and philosopher, and one of the earliest of the French materialists of the Enlightenment...

      Man a Machine
      Man a Machine
      Man a Machine is a work of materialist philosophy by the 18th-century French physician and philosopher Julien Offray de La Mettrie, first published in 1748...

       "L'Homme Machine"

  • Other well-known treatises include:
    • Augustine of Hippo
      Augustine of Hippo
      Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

      —various treatises
    • Sun Tzu
      Sun Tzu
      Sun Wu , style name Changqing , better known as Sun Tzu or Sunzi , was an ancient Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who is traditionally believed, and who is most likely, to have authored The Art of War, an influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy...

      The Art of War
      The Art of War
      The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise that is attributed to Sun Tzu , a high ranking military general and strategist during the late Spring and Autumn period...

    • Euclid
      Euclid , fl. 300 BC, also known as Euclid of Alexandria, was a Greek mathematician, often referred to as the "Father of Geometry". He was active in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy I...

      Euclid's Elements
      Euclid's Elements is a mathematical and geometric treatise consisting of 13 books written by the Greek mathematician Euclid in Alexandria c. 300 BC. It is a collection of definitions, postulates , propositions , and mathematical proofs of the propositions...

    • Ptolemy
      Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

      —Geography (Treatise on cartography)
    • Geoffery Chaucer—The Parson's Tale
    • Thomas Paine
      Thomas Paine
      Thomas "Tom" Paine was an English author, pamphleteer, radical, inventor, intellectual, revolutionary, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States...

      Rights of Man
      Rights of Man
      Rights of Man , a book by Thomas Paine, posits that popular political revolution is permissible when a government does not safeguard its people, their natural rights, and their national interests. Using these points as a base it defends the French Revolution against Edmund Burke's attack in...

      , Common Sense
      Common Sense (pamphlet)
      Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, during the American Revolution. Common Sense, signed "Written by an Englishman", became an immediate success. In relation to the population of the Colonies at that time, it had the largest...

      , and The Age of Reason
      The Age of Reason
      The Age of Reason; Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology is a deistic pamphlet, written by eighteenth-century British radical and American revolutionary Thomas Paine, that criticizes institutionalized religion and challenges the legitimacy of the Bible, the central sacred text of...

    • Charles Darwin
      Charles Darwin
      Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

      —On the Origin of Species

  • Treatises on art
    Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect....

    • Shitao
      Shi Tao ; , born Zhu Ruoji was a Chinese landscape painter and poet during the early Qing Dynasty .Born in Quanzhou County in Guangxi province, Shi Tao was a member of the Ming royal house. He narrowly avoided catastrophe in 1644 when the Ming Dynasty fell to invading Manchurians and civil rebellion...

      —Hua Yu Lu (Treatise on the Philosophy of Painting)

  • Treatises on architecture
    Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

    • Vitruvius
      Marcus Vitruvius Pollio was a Roman writer, architect and engineer, active in the 1st century BC. He is best known as the author of the multi-volume work De Architectura ....

      De architectura
      De architectura
      ' is a treatise on architecture written by the Roman architect Vitruvius and dedicated to his patron, the emperor Caesar Augustus, as a guide for building projects...

    • Leon Battista Alberti—De re aedificatoria
      De Re Aedificatoria
      De re aedificatoria is a classic architectural treatise written by Leon Battista Alberti between 1443 and 1452. Although largely dependent on Vitruvius' De architectura, it was the first theoretical book on the subject written in the Italian Renaissance and in 1485 became the first printed book on...

    • Andrea Palladio
      Andrea Palladio
      Andrea Palladio was an architect active in the Republic of Venice. Palladio, influenced by Roman and Greek architecture, primarily by Vitruvius, is widely considered the most influential individual in the history of Western architecture...

      I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura
      I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura
      I quattro libri dell'architettura is an Italian treatise on architecture by the architect Andrea Palladio . It was first published in four volumes in 1570 in Venice, illustrated with woodcuts after the author's own drawings. It has been reprinted and translated many times...

  • Treatises on music
    Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

    • Jean-Philippe Rameau
      Jean-Philippe Rameau
      Jean-Philippe Rameau was one of the most important French composers and music theorists of the Baroque era. He replaced Jean-Baptiste Lully as the dominant composer of French opera and is also considered the leading French composer for the harpsichord of his time, alongside François...

       —Treatise on Harmony
      Treatise on Harmony
      Treatise on Harmony is a music treatise written by Jean-Philippe Rameau. The first publication of the treatise was in Paris, 1722 by Jean-Baptiste-Christophe Ballard....

    • Hector Berlioz
      Hector Berlioz
      Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

      Treatise on Instrumentation
      Treatise on Instrumentation
      Grand traité d’instrumentation et d’orchestration modernes, abbreviated in English as the Treatise on Instrumentation is a technical study of Western musical instruments, written by Hector Berlioz...

       (sometimes, Treatise on Orchestration)

  • Recent economics
    Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

     treatises have also been written:
    • Ludwig Von Mises
      Ludwig von Mises
      Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises was an Austrian economist, philosopher, and classical liberal who had a significant influence on the modern Libertarian movement and the "Austrian School" of economic thought.-Biography:-Early life:...

      Human Action
      Human Action
      Human Action: A Treatise on Economics is the magnum opus of the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises. It presents a case for laissez-faire capitalism based on Mises' praxeology, or rational investigation of human decision-making. It rejects positivism within economics...

    • Paul Samuelson
      Paul Samuelson
      Paul Anthony Samuelson was an American economist, and the first American to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. The Swedish Royal Academies stated, when awarding the prize, that he "has done more than any other contemporary economist to raise the level of scientific analysis in...

      Foundations of Economic Analysis
      Foundations of Economic Analysis
      Foundations of Economic Analysis is a book by Paul A. Samuelson published in 1947 by Harvard University Press. It sought to demonstrate a common mathematical structure underlying multiple branches of economics from two basic principles: maximizing behavior of agents and stability of equilibrium...

    • Milton Friedman
      Milton Friedman
      Milton Friedman was an American economist, statistician, academic, and author who taught at the University of Chicago for more than three decades...

      Capitalism and Freedom
      Capitalism and Freedom
      Capitalism and Freedom is a book by Milton Friedman originally published in 1962 by the University of Chicago Press which discusses the role of economic capitalism in liberal society. It sold over 400,000 copies in the first 18 years and more than half a million since 1962. It has been translated...

    • Murray Rothbard
      Murray Rothbard
      Murray Newton Rothbard was an American author and economist of the Austrian School who helped define capitalist libertarianism and popularized a form of free-market anarchism he termed "anarcho-capitalism." Rothbard wrote over twenty books and is considered a centrally important figure in the...

      Man, Economy, and State
      Man, Economy, and State
      Man, Economy, and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles, first published in 1962, is a book on economics by Murray Rothbard, and is one of the most important books in the Austrian School of economics...

    • George Reisman
      George Reisman
      George Gerald Reisman is Professor Emeritus of Economics at Pepperdine University and author of Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics . He is also the author of an earlier book, The Government Against the Economy , which was praised by F.A...

      —Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics