Hobbes's concept of the natural condition of mankind became an inescapable point of reference for subsequent political thought, shaping the theories of emulators and critics alike, and has had a profound impact on our understanding of human nature, anarchy, and international relations. Yet, despite Hobbes's insistence on precision, the state of nature is an elusive concept. Has it ever existed and, if so, for whom? Hobbes offered several answers to these questions, which taken together reveal a consistent strategy aimed at providing his readers with a possible, probable, and memorable account of the consequences of disobedience. This book examines the development of this powerful image throughout Hobbes's works, and traces its origins in his sources of inspiration. The resulting trajectory of the state of nature illuminates the ways in which Hobbes employed a rhetoric of science and a science of rhetoric in his relentless pursuit of peace.