Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil — commonly referred to as Leviathan — is a book written by Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) and published in 1651. Its name derives from the biblical Leviathan. The work concerns the structure of society and legitimate government, and is regarded as one of the earliest and most influential examples of social contract theory. Leviathan ranks as a classic western work on statecraft comparable toMachiavelli’s The Prince. Written during the English Civil War (1642–1651), Leviathan argues for a social contract and rule by an absolute sovereign. Hobbes wrote that civil war and situations identified with a state of nature and the famous motto Bellum omnium contra omnes (“the war of all against all”) could only be averted by strong central government.