Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Review of "The Prince" by Niccolo Machiavelli, Michael G. Morrison, Morrison Marketing

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli 
Morrison Marketing review
 Michael G. Morrison, CEO
Winter 2012-Spring 2013
Part 1- Intro to Machiavelli

     Niccolo Machiavelli was born in Florence on 3rd May 1469.The second son of Bernardo di Nicolo Machiavelli, a lawyer of some repute, and of Bartolommea di Stefano Nelli, his wife. Both parents were members of the old Florentine nobility and Machiavelli would follow in his family's line of service to Florence, but much more importantly to the idea of a united Italy. 

The first real "Italian" to me, Machiavelli is the idol of realism. Nobody gets as serious and extensive as Machiavelli in describing human nature as cruel, inherently evil and wicked. Machiavelli would rise from a mediocre living to one of the most important diplomats in the most bustling city in the world at the time to being tortured and eventually exiled from his native city. Machiavelli's life, intellect and works are all 3 very interesting subjects to themselves. The man who wrote the prince was severely patriotic and supportive of a republican form of government. 

     Anybody who would say that Machiavelli was not supportive of a republican form of government and in general anti-tyrannical measures have only judged him on one work. Letters, other works and others recount of Machiavelli have left us with a very honorable man. He was a manly man, a ladies man and a joking man. Il Machia was the smiling neighbor, Machiavelli was the shrewd diplomat and Niccolo was the intellectually curious figure in all of us, especially those of us who study Machiavelli and other great figures. Machiavelli himself would approve of such study, he was stooped in the ancients to the extent he would quote or recite an ancient experience to most of the modern problems in Florence and the courts he visited in Europe. Taught in Latin, not Greek, he would read the majority of the works expected from the Florentine youth.

     Above all Machiavelli was an exceptional person and one worthy of such effort to put together a recollection of his life in short and a modern day translated manuscript of the Prince. This is not for scholarly study by no means, as they have covered Machiavelli enough and I do not wish to please them at all. This is for the regular person who wants to know who Machiavelli is. This is for the college student pondering a future on the political circuit, this is for the engineer in his office at 4 AM trying to find an edge over the other firms in the city. This is a guide meant for what Machiavelli would have wanted it for, not for some snooty upper class whom place way to much importance on grammar and punctuation. Let them be damned, let them correct the papers, I will try and find what this great man was talking about and why. 

(Florence Circa 1471, 2 years after Machiavelli was born. Florence may be the most important city in history; Dante, Boccaccio, Brunelleschi,Botticelli, Donatello, Galileo, Gucci, Vespucci, Michelangelo  Raphael, Da Vinci and the Medici Family all called Florence home)

Machiavelli's Mind

     Florence was called the Athens of the Renaissance with its focus on arts, science and new fields of study. Florence not only re-birthed many classical ideas, but also a consumer economy. A stable currency, double entry accounting and banking deregulation from the church made Florence a booming city. Florence was in the cross-way of many other states and the same attribute that brought it so much trade brought it invasions. The population had dwindled to as little as 1,000 in the middle ages before bouncing to over 500,000 around Machiavelli time , making  Florence one of the most populous cities of its time and able to produce enough educated people to make the ideas, art and change in society needed to pull Europe out of its ignorant stretch of time that had lasted 1,000 years by the time Machiavelli comes along

     Machiavelli grew up to a mother and father steeped in tradition and loyalty to Florence. The patriotism was apparent form his great grandfather who was tortured and killed for defending the freedom of Florence. With this his dad also instilled a love of learning, being a lawyer he had some books that Machiavelli could read, and he went through a great ordeal to try and get a young Machiavelli a copy of Livys "History of Rome". He also sought out one of the best Latin teachers in Florence to teach young Machiavelli. With this center on education we see where Machiavelli would later write that it is bets for a young man to study, as his childhood was filled with it. 

Machiavelli had his first exposures to philosophers that would be ideal in his works at a very young age. He appreciated the informal unity that Greece had and wanted Italy to cease its constant warfare and be more united. Machiavelli from the beginning was fond of the modern day state.

     Machiavelli must have been a pretty popular kid, he was Machiavelli after all! He was without a doubt tricking his peers into deals they would otherwise not do, knowingly or not. He was a known ladies man later in life and I imagine Machiavelli as a pretty grand and fun child. To have been so hungry for knowledge is a good indicator of a future success and Machiavelli spent a lot of time observing the social construct of Florence, a grand republic and the comparable to Chicago in business terms. The cities manufacturing, agriculture and art still compete favorably in the world economy to this day. To have been a kid during the fairs and story times must have really been priceless. The stability of Florence gave Machiavelli a life much closer to ours today than most of Italy and the world at that. It was still very dark times outside of the gates of Florence, And Florence was the center of the world to Machiavelli.

     Machiavelli's education was the same that we base our universities on here in America. The liberal arts degree is a dose of everything, but with a focus on humanities. Math, science and business were not acceptable fields of study for the masses and Machiavelli probably would not have pursued them if he had the chance. He was heavily influenced to follow in the path of civil service and that meant a humanist education  Latin, Composition, Rhetoric, History and Music were likely fields of study that Machiavelli left home every other day to go and conquer. 

     Machiavelli completed primary school at 12, was enrolled in private courses after that and later went to the University of Florence where he was taught humanities, literature and math from Marcello Adrian.The education payed off, Machiavelli was highly attractive as an employee. He was excellent at Latin and namely history. The charm of Machiavelli and the connection of his Mother and Father into the Florentine humanists (namely Bartolomeo Scala, future chancellor of Florence) got him a job.

     Machiavelli writes about his childhood in Florence through "A history of Florence" he says of the youth of his day: "They were freer than their forefathers in dress and living, and spent more in other kinds of excesses, consuming their time and money in idleness, gaming, and women; their chief aim was to appear well dressed and to speak with wit and acuteness, whilst he who could wound others the most cleverly was thought the wisest."

     Machiavelli wrote a letter to his son showing why your childhood should be used for study, showing us that his own youth was one of study. Machiavelli goes on to say "I have received your letter, which has given me the greatest pleasure, especially because you tell me you are quite restored in health, than which I could have no better news; for if God grant life to you, and to me, I hope to make a good man of you if you are willing to do your share." This shows Machiavelli's self independence he must have invoked in his kids. Machiavelli was not one to think the world of destiny. He was telling his son that if he does not study then he is not as responsible for him. A loving and tough parent I must say. Not one to shelter his children, but one to speak to them as objects that the world can harm and therefore should be taught appropriately. He goes on to say "This will turn out well for you, but it is necessary for you to study; since, then, you have no longer the excuse of illness, take pains to study letters and music, for you see what honor is done to me for the little skill I have. Therefore, my son, if you wish to please me, and to bring success and honor to yourself, do right and study, because others will help you if you help yourself."

     To understand Machiavelli's psyche and possible paranoia you have to understand how war filled Italy was. Naples, Florence, Venice and Milan inside the Italian peninsula and France and Spain as outsiders actors in Italy's wars. The papacy headquartered in Rome brought only more turmoil. The constant threat of military threat was real, in Machiavelli's life Italian neighboring states were invaded by Spaniard, French, other Italian city states, Swiss and Papal forces. The bustling trade of Venice combated with that in Florence.  Machiavelli seen this basically as a big war of 2 people, Italians and non-Italians. Machiavelli was constantly worried about his land and contemplated these ideas since a youth as to solve his peoples problems. Machiavelli was not one to think small. All great men answered a call in life, Machiavelli's was the unification of Italy, he saw all Florence's problems stemming from a decentralized Italy and all the fixes lying within uniting her.

     The plague, torture, barbarians, rape, murder, Muslim invasions, extreme religious obsession and an extremely high death rate had an immense affect on the psyche of the Florentine public body itself. Death was ever present in Italy and this without a doubt had a shaping on Machiavelli's thinking of human nature. Whether you agree with him or not with his teaching, Machiavelli was the victim of torture, betrayal and expulsion  he had seen the best of life by viewing the courts of the nobles, and he had seen the worst, being tortured with the fear of death in a cold and dark dungeon.

     This is what produced the Machiavelli who wrote the prince and taking that into consideration I think Machiavelli is a pretty nice guy, he had just been exposed to the bad side of human nature more than the average person should. Machiavelli may not make as much sense as he did back then as now, as in his age the world is much more transparent  Whether this is truly the way to view humans is up to you, I think Machiavelli is actually removing all emotions possible when discussing issues in the prince. I think he knew he had a relatively burdensome life and I think he was able to channel it out to the point where it is wrong to think Machiavelli as a person "boo-hooing" about his life being bad, on the contrary Machiavelli had a very optimistic view on everyday life, the pursuit of knowledge is cited as the activity to brighten up his day.

     Machiavelli was a stunning student in history. He was so well read in antiquities that he would often quote an example from history for every problem facing Florence. He believed deeply that history was to repeat itself and that leaders should learn from the past to not repeat the mistakes. He said once.

     “Prudent men often say, neither casually nor groundlessly, that anyone wishing to see what is to come should examine what has been, for all the affairs of the world in every age have had their counterparts in ancient times".

     Here is a passage from Machiavelli that he wrote to Luigi Guicciardini in 1509, clearly showing his more humor and vulgar side, talking of sleeping with a woman because he was so horny. Letter like these earned Machiavelli the Name "Il Machia".

     "She was so ugly... the crown of her head was bald... she had a fiery scar that
made her seem as if she had been branded at the marketplace; at the end of each
eyebrow toward her eyes there was a nosegay of nits; one eye looked up, the other
down – and one was larger than the other; her tear ducts were full of rheum and she
had no eyelashes. She had a turned-up nose stuck low down on her head and one of
her nostrils was sliced open and full of snot. Her mouth... was twisted to one side,
and from that side drool was oozing, because, since she was toothless, she could not
hold back her saliva. Her upper lip sported a longish but skimpy moustache...
[and] she stuttered. As soon as she opened her mouth, she exuded such a stench on
her breath that... I felt assaulted... and my stomach became so indignant that it
was unable to tolerate this outrage; it started to rebel... so that I threw up all over
her. Having thus repaid her in kind, I departed... I’ll be damned if I think I shall
get horny again"

     This is my way of thinking of Machiavelli  as a great writer and entertainer. He seemed to just be a real swell guy to hang around. This is of course exaggerated and meant to get it a laugh out of his friend he wrote it to. Machiavelli revealed himself much more personally in his letters, and he still had a double conscious in them, he knew they were going to read by somebody else. The following passage was from Machiavelli in reference to his letters being read in the future (He knew he was going to be famous).

     "Anyone who might see our letters, honorable compare, and see their variety, would
be greatly astonished, because at first it would seem that we were serious men
completely directed toward weighty matters and that no thought could cascade
through our heads that did not have within it probity and magnitude. But later, upon
turning the page, it would seem to the reader that we – still the very same selves –
were petty, fickle, lascivious, and were directed toward chimerical matters. If to
some this behavior seems contemptible, to me it seems laudable because we are
imitating nature, which is changeable; whoever imitates nature cannot be censured"

 Machiavelli's Career 

     Machiavelli had studied all of his life and was proving exceptional as a civil servant and was therefore called upon for a very important diplomatic jobs for Florence  He was awarded second Chancellor of the Florentine Republic, a mighty high honor for Machiavelli and one that would have made his dad proud. The Government was on unstable grounds, Machiavelli would later write the it being the cause of the downfall of Savonarola. 

"If Moses, Cyrus, Theseus, and Romulus had been unarmed they could not have enforced their constitutions for long — as happened in our time to Fra Girolamo Savonarola, who was ruined with his new order of things immediately the multitude believed in him no longer, and he had no means of keeping steadfast those who believed or of making the unbelievers to believe."

     Machaivellis carrer could be thought of as 4 major trips that he woukld overwhelmignly use for influning the Prince. The trip to Louis the 8th, a trip to Cesare Borgia, Pope Julius the Second and Maximillain the 1st. This gave AMchiavelli a very international exposrue to different ways to run your principality. This back in this time period was rare and something of value. The Germans were very independet of the ITalians, The French very different than Southern Italians. Machiavelli had a diverse field of experience in human anture and politics. It is convincing to see patterns among cultures and MAchiavelli understood the division of these cultures. He knew what it was to be Italian and he knew of Italys reputation in the world. 

     The first mission, though not one of the big 4 influential ones in his career, was in 1499 (That new year was to symbolize the amount of change and progress in Florence) to Catherina Sforza, the "My Lady of Forli" in the text if the Prince. Machiavelli would use her example for the need to earn the peoples confidence as opposed to building a good fortress. Nothing replaces the people connection to the Prince. The Prince works in unison with the citizenry. Machiavelli understood that everyone had their spot in pushing the economy around and that required cooperation, not coercion for the most part. The need to have the trust of the people is a sign of Machiavelli's good character. 

     Returning fast to Florence only to head back out, Machiavelli then went to visit the King of France himself. Machiavelli would brush shoulders with one of the most powerful men in Europe. Louis not only was in control of a strong force, it was a nation state. A concept that was newly evolving in front of Machiavelli and one he imagined as a kid when reading of Rome and Greece. Machiavelli took this trip very serious and done all he could to prepare and represent Florence both as a fox and lion.

     In 1500 he was sent to France to obtain terms from Louis XII for continuing the war against Pisa: this king it was who, in his conduct of affairs in Italy, committed the five capital errors in statecraft summarized in "The Prince," and was consequently driven out. He, also, it was who made the dissolution of his marriage a condition of support to Pope Alexander VI; which leads Machiavelli to refer those who urge that such promises should be kept to what he has written concerning the faith of princes.

     Upon returning Home Machiavelli loving father died. The father who had helped him pursue such scholarly achievements as a child was gone. Machiavelli was about as average as any in love for his father. Many Italians children did not have fathers at this time period. The constant wars, murders and a lower life expectancy made the loss of a father less abnormal, but still it is nonetheless a hard loss.

     Machiavelli married a year later in 1501 to Marietta Corsini. She would be the wife of the grand Machiavelli  She endured much infidelity without a doubt. Machiavelli was known as a generally well liked guy, outside of politics of course, and woman were naturally attracted to his look, rhetoric ability and of his courageousness  Machiavelli's line of fortune being like a woman and to tame her is to control her is what I imagine Machiavelli did in practice also.

     Later that year Machiavelli would report back to international travel and go see the man he would later call the model Prince. Cesare Borgia was swallowing up land, wheeling and dealing in politics and causing a new order of things. He was feared by many of the established in Italy and was on everyone's radar. Machiavelli was called upon by Florence to negotiate a formal alliance with Florence. Machiavelli ended up staying for 4 months in his court. He returned to Florence with supposedly good, but chilling news that Cesare was power and capable of doing anything that he wanted to do. 

     Machiavelli's work as a diplomat covered several countries and courts, but was largely occupied with Pope Alexander VI and Cesare Borgia (The son of Pope Alexander the 6th) and these characters fill a large space of "The Prince." Machiavelli never hesitates to cite the actions of the duke for the benefit of usurpers who wish to keep the states they have seized; he can, indeed, find no precepts to offer so good as the pattern of Cesare Borgia's conduct. He is acclaimed by some critics as the "hero" of "The Prince." Machiavelli did criticize Borgia on his preparation. The eternally prepared and proactive Machiavelli thought he could use more planning ahead. Machiavelli also wrote negatively about Cesare in letter between friends and in a poem "Decannali", one reason for his sudden sympathy for the man may have been desperation for the need of a strong Prince to the threat of "barbarians" to the north.

     In 1503 Pope Pius III died and Machiavelli was summoned to Rome on behalf of the republic to preside over the election. Borgia having clout in Italy had influence on who was to be elected, Machiavelli would criticize his choice gravely later. Machiavelli said that he chose Pope Julius ll. He had the most reason to fear him Borgia and had vengeance on his mind from day one from previous injuries wrought by Borgia.  The Machiavellian principle of old wounds being unforgivable and the need for strike to be severe enough to not worry of revenge came from this example. Pope Jul He and there he saw Cesare Borgia cheated into allowing the choice of the College to fall on Giuliano delle Rovere (Julius II), who was one of the cardinals that had most reason to fear the duke. Machiavelli, when commenting on this election, says that he who thinks new favors will cause great personages to forget old injuries deceives himself. Julius did not rest until he had ruined Cesare.

    3 years later Machiavelli had to visit Pope Julius in person, when that pontiff was commencing his enterprise against Bologna. Machiavelli was a success as usual and was getting better as time rolled on. He went on a road trip with the Pope traveling to Viterbo to OrvietoPerugiaUrbinoCesena, and Imola.  It is in reference to Pope Julius that Machiavelli moralizes on the resemblance between Fortune and women, and concludes that it is the bold rather than the cautious man that will win and hold them both.

(Julius II strengthened the power of the Church through vigorous leadership and intelligent diplomacy. He defeated Roman barons and negotiated an alliance against France. Pope Julius ll tricked Cesare Borgia into supporting him by offering him money and continued papal backing for Borgia policies in the Romagna, Which he later switched positions and did not meet his end of the bargain. He is also known for overseeing the Sistine Chapel being patronized by Michelangelo, Raphael painted this portrait)

     In 1507-1508 Machiavelli ventured to see Maximilian I, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire  He was not crowned by the Pope in Rome and the past 100 years had seen many situations similar to this. Machiavelli managed to talk this man out of going to Italy and crowning himself Pope in Rome. Machiavelli served his nation a good service by avoiding some bloodshed. The region would need as much peace as it could get. Italian states were already owned by 3 different groups of invaders. France, Spain and Germany had territory captured in the area in Machiavelli's lifetime. 

     Machiavelli learned something from all of the courts he visits  He would say that Maximilian did not have any of the basic skills needed to run a government. He also said his opinion changes to much and would later use him for his reference for how to treat and pick your secretaries from Maximilian. Machiavelli describes him as a secretive man, without force of character—ignoring the human agencies necessary to carry his schemes into effect, and never insisting on the fulfillment of his wishes.

     Machiavelli asked permission around this time to start a citizen militia in Florence from the elites in the city, having seen the threat that Italy faces on a daily basis. The remaining years of Machiavelli's official career were filled with balancing the powers to protect Florence interests. A league of Cambrai was held in 1508 with the object of crushing the Venetian Republic and Machiavelli attended to represent Florence on that issue for the foreigners who were doing much of the conquering.  In the battle of Vaila Venice experienced a crushing defeat and would never reclaim the prominence it once had on European trade or politics.

     In 1511, Julius II finally formed the Holy League against France, and with the assistance of the Swiss drove the French out of Italy, Florence lay at the mercy of the Pope, and had to submit to his terms, one of which was that the Medici should be restored.

     In 1512 Machiavelli had his shot at war, mobilizing 12,000 militia against the hardened Spanish troops. He lost miserable and his units broke into cowardice panic. The Spanish troops were some of the most experienced and skilled of the time. The discipline and heavy arms of the soldiers disgraced Machiavelli's idea that militia will excel over non-citizens. When there both citizen the defend is supposed to win, as he is defending something that is his. The Medici would come back later this year anyway though, making his rare embarrassment covered under larger losses for the Non-Medici Florence. This would mark the end of Machiavelli's career, he would never return to politics and would never become a Prince himself.

     Florence had a difficult part to play during these events, complicated as they were by the feud which broke out between the pope and the French, because friendship with France had dictated the entire policy of the Republic. When, in 1511, Julius II finally formed the Holy League against France, and with the assistance of the Swiss drove the French out of Italy, Florence lay at the mercy of the Pope, and had to submit to his terms, one of which was that the Medici should be restored. The return of the Medici to Florence on 1st September 1512, and the consequent fall of the Republic, was the signal for the dismissal of Machiavelli and his friends, and thus put an end to his public career, for, as we have seen, he died without regaining office.

     In 1513 Machiavelli was locked up under accusations that he was conspiring against the Medici family. Whether he was or not is debatable. The man who imprisoned Machiavelli is who the Prince is dedicated to Lorenzo De Medici.

     An amnesty intervention from Leo X saved Machiavelli's life. He was tortured with "The Rope" along with resided with hardened criminal and serious enemies of the Medici in a dungeon. Machiavelli went from a high flying diplomat enjoying a middle class living with high shots in one of the most prosperous cities in Europe. He tasted for the career he had before and tried for the rest of his life to be restored to something meaningful to the government of Florence.

     This year, 1513, was the year he wrote and finished the Prince. The style and manner perfectly reflective of what poor old Machiavelli had to endure up till this point. It is no wonder he thought bad of the nature of man, he had all the evidence of it in front of him and uncomfortably realized.

     The whole purpose for all of the time, research and effort put into the Prince was to impress the Medici's and let Machiavelli return to Politics in the city. This is somewhat sad to envision. Machiavelli was a man who was cut off from doing what he loved to do. He wrote this treatise knowing that this would make or break him. Whether it was a satire or a serious work, he had some sort of plan in mind to get himself back into a diplomatic position. His skills were well known in the city and his shrewdness in diplomacy far outweighed his failed attempt at leading a militia. 

     But Machiavelli would not be remembered for his job and what he did for that. After the Prince, Machiavelli calms down and realizes he is not getting back into politics. He was given the task of writing the history of Florence simply to occupy him, by Pope Clement the 7th. He would die without his work becoming famous. He was not even very famous outside of the few who feared his political power. Many knew him as "Il Machia" the humorous patriot of Florence. 

     From 1513 to the time of his death in 1525, he wrote historical narratives (The History of Florence, 1525), satirical plays (Mandragola, 1518), political treatises (The Discourses, 1519), military manuals (The Art of War, 1520), biographies of political figures (Life of Castruccio Castracani, 1520), and poems. In 1525, Machiavelli fell ill and died. He was buried in a small churches graveyard and had a small funeral. Many men in Florence blew a sigh of relief that "Il Machia" was just another threat that passed that year, probably refilled as soon as it emptied. Machiavelli, the father of realpolitk was beat in his own game by another formidable political power, the Medici. Had he prepared more appropriately he may not have been in that position!

 Machiavelli writing his masterpieces (43-58) (1512-1527)

     On the return of the Medici, Machiavelli, who for a few weeks had vainly hoped to retain his office under the new masters of Florence, was dismissed by decree dated 7th November 1512. Shortly after this he was accused of complicity in an abortive conspiracy against the Medici, imprisoned, and put to the question by torture. The new Medicean pope, Leo X, procured his release, and he retired to his small property at San Casciano, near Florence, where he devoted himself to literature. In a letter to Francesco Vettori, dated 13th December 1513, he has left a very interesting description of his life at this period, which elucidates his methods and his motives in writing "The Prince."

     After describing his daily occupations with his family and neighbors  he writes: "The evening being come, I return home and go to my study; at the entrance I pull off my peasant-clothes, covered with dust and dirt, and put on my noble court dress, and thus becomingly re-clothed I pass into the ancient courts of the men of old, where, being lovingly received by them, I am fed with that food which is mine alone; where I do not hesitate to speak with them, and to ask for the reason of their actions, and they in their benignity answer me; and for four hours I feel no weariness, I forget every trouble, poverty does not dismay, death does not terrify me; I am possessed entirely by those great men.

("When evening comes, I return home and enter my study; on the threshold I take 
off my workday clothes, covered with mud and dirt, and put on the garments of court and palace. Fitted out appropriately, I step inside the venerable courts of the ancients, where, solicitously received by them, I nourish myself on that food that alone is mine and for which I was born; where I am unashamed to converse with them and to question them about the motives for their actions, and they, out of their human kindness, answer me. And for four hours at a time I feel no boredom, I forget all my  troubles, I do not dread poverty, and I am not terrified by death. I absorb myself into them completely. And because Dante says that no one understands anything unless 
he retains what he has understood, I have jotted down what I have profited from in 
their conversation and composed a short study, De principatibus, in which I delve as deeply as I can into the ideas concerning this topic, discussing the definition of a  princedom, the categories of princedoms, how they are acquired, how they are retained, and why they are lost" -Letter from Machiavelli to Vettori in December 1513)

   And because Dante says: "Knowledge doth come of learning well retained, Unfruitful else, I have noted down what I have gained from their conversation, and have composed a small work on 'Principalities,' where I pour myself out as fully as I can in meditation on the subject, discussing what a principality is, what kinds there are, how they can be acquired, how they can be kept, why they are lost: and if any of my fancies ever pleased you, this ought not to displease you: and to a prince, especially to a new one, it should be welcome: therefore I dedicate it to his Magnificence Giuliano. Filippo Casavecchio has seen it; he will be able to tell you what is in it, and of the discourses I have had with him; nevertheless, I am still enriching and polishing it."

     The "little book" suffered many vicissitudes before attaining the form in which it has reached us. Various mental influences were at work during its composition; its title and patron were changed; and for some unknown reason it was finally dedicated to Lorenzo de' Medici. Although Machiavelli discussed with Casavecchio whether it should be sent or presented in person to the patron, there is no evidence that Lorenzo ever received or even read it: he certainly never gave Machiavelli any employment. Although it was plagiarized during Machiavelli's lifetime, "The Prince" was never published by him, and its text is still disputable.

     Machiavelli concludes his letter to Vettori thus: "And as to this little thing [his book], when it has been read it will be seen that during the fifteen years I have given to the study of statecraft I have neither slept nor idled; and men ought ever to desire to be served by one who has reaped experience at the expense of others. And of my loyalty none could doubt, because having always kept faith I could not now learn how to break it; for he who has been faithful and honest, as I have, cannot change his nature; and my poverty is a witness to my honesty."

     Before Machiavelli had got "The Prince" off his hands he commenced his "Discourse on the First Decade of Titus Livius," which should be read concurrently with "The Prince." These and several minor works occupied him until the year 1518, when he accepted a small commission to look after the affairs of some Florentine merchants at Genoa. In 1519 the Medicean rulers of Florence granted a few political concessions to her citizens, and Machiavelli with others was consulted upon a new constitution under which the Great Council was to be restored; but on one pretext or another it was not promulgated.

     In 1520 the Florentine merchants again had recourse to Machiavelli to settle their difficulties with Lucca, but this year was chiefly remarkable for his re-entry into Florentine literary society, where he was much sought after, and also for the production of his "Art of War." It was in the same year that he received a commission at the instance of Cardinal de' Medici to write the "History of Florence," a task which occupied him until 1525. His return to popular favor may have determined the Medici to give him this employment, for an old writer observes that "an able statesman out of work, like a huge whale, will endeavor to overturn the ship unless he has an empty cask to play with."

     When the "History of Florence" was finished, Machiavelli took it to Rome for presentation to his patron, Giuliano de' Medici, who had in the meanwhile become pope under the title of Clement VII. It is somewhat remarkable that, as, in 1513, Machiavelli had written "The Prince" for the instruction of the Medici after they had just regained power in Florence, so, in 1525, he dedicated the "History of Florence" to the head of the family when its ruin was now at hand. In that year the battle of Pavia destroyed the French rule in Italy, and left Francis I a prisoner in the hands of his great rival, Charles V. This was followed by the sack of Rome, upon the news of which the popular party at Florence threw off the yoke of the Medici, who were once more banished.

     Machiavelli was absent from Florence at this time, but hastened his return, hoping to secure his former office of secretary to the "Ten of Liberty and Peace." Unhappily he was taken ill soon after he reached Florence, where he died on 22nd June 1527.

(This section clearly shows the mighty experiences and people Machiavelli had the chance to meet. Machiavelli was a true diplomat in experience by being able to recount these experiences).


     The Prince's first 25 chapters cover specifically the ways of getting and obtaining a principality and power in general. The last chapter is Machiavelli's solution to Italy's current problems. A great way to round out such a powerful novel. You might even look upon it as an
essay--though a rather long and detailed one--that discusses
different aspects of one theme in separate chapters. That one
theme is, of course, how to rule.

     No one can say where the bones of Machiavelli rest, but modern Florence has decreed him a stately cenotaph in Santa Croce, by the side of her most famous sons; recognizing that, whatever other nations may have found in his works, Italy found in them the idea of her unity and the germs of her renaissance among the nations of Europe. Whilst it is idle to protest against the world-wide and evil signification of his name, it may be pointed out that the harsh construction of his doctrine which this sinister reputation implies was unknown to his own day, and that the researches of recent times have enabled us to interpret him more reasonably. It is due to these inquiries that the shape of an "unholy necromancer,"e Prince is  which so long haunted men's vision, has begun to fade.

     Machiavelli was undoubtedly a man of great observation, acuteness, and industry; noting with appreciative eye whatever passed before him, and with his supreme literary gift turning it to account in his enforced retirement from affairs. He does not present himself, nor is he depicted by his contemporaries, as a type of that rare combination, the successful statesman and author, for he appears to have been only moderately prosperous in his several embassies and political employments. He was misled by Catherina Sforza, ignored by Louis XII, overawed by Cesare Borgia; several of his embassies were quite barren of results; his attempts to fortify Florence failed, and the soldiery that he raised astonished everybody by their cowardice. In the conduct of his own affairs he was timid and time-serving; he dared not appear by the side of Soderini, to whom he owed so much, for fear of compromising himself; his connection with the Medici was open to suspicion, and Giuliano appears to have recognized his real forte when he set him to write the "History of Florence," rather than employ him in the state. And it is on the literary side of his character, and there alone, that we find no weakness and no failure.

     Machiavelli's ability to convey what he had learned traveling the courts of Europe to pen and paper was marvelous. His knowledge and depth of historical examples gave him many past experiments to call upon for his science like way of studying an Princes attainment of a state.

     Although the light of almost four centuries has been focused on "The Prince," its problems are still debatable and interesting, because they are the eternal problems between the ruled and their rulers. Such as they are, its ethics are those of Machiavelli's contemporaries; yet they cannot be said to be out of date so long as the governments of Europe rely on material rather than on moral forces. Its historical incidents and personages become interesting by reason of the uses which Machiavelli makes of them to illustrate his theories of government and conduct.

     Leaving out of consideration those maxims of state which still furnish some European and eastern statesmen with principles of action, "The Prince" is bestrewn with truths that can be proved at every turn. Men are still the dupes of their simplicity and greed, as they were in the days of Alexander VI. The cloak of religion still conceals the vices which Machiavelli laid bare in the character of Ferdinand of Aragon. Men will not look at things as they really are, but as they wish them to be—and are ruined. In politics there are no perfectly safe courses; prudence consists in choosing the least dangerous ones. Then—to pass to a higher plane—Machiavelli reiterates that, although crimes may win an empire, they do not win glory. Necessary wars are just wars, and the arms of a nation are hallowed when it has no other resource but to fight.

     It is the cry of a far later day than Machiavelli's that government should be elevated into a living moral force, capable of inspiring the people with a just recognition of the fundamental principles of society; to this "high argument" "The Prince" contributes but little. Machiavelli always refused to write either of men or of governments otherwise than as he found them, and he writes with such skill and insight that his work is of abiding value. But what invests "The Prince" with more than a merely artistic or historical interest is the incontrovertible truth that it deals with the great principles which still guide nations and rulers in their relationship with each other and their neighbors.

(The intro to this shows me how much of a human Machiavelli is. While we think of him with modern darkness and as the trickster of the era Machiavelli was himself seemingly a nice person. Many letters we see he sent were not filled with dark plots o oppression and of plotting to gain power. Instead we see genuine curiosity and a natural skill in these areas. As Machiavelli will say later in the text, "To understand the Prince one has to be the people and to understand the people one has to be a Prince. Machiavelli was exposed to so many rulers in his time period and was exceptional for seeming to learn from all of their mistakes.)

 DEDICATION To the Magnificent Lorenzo Di Piero De' Medici: (Portrait below)

     Those who strive to obtain the good graces of a prince are accustomed to come before him with such things as they hold most precious, or in which they see him take most delight; whence one often sees horses, arms, cloth of gold, precious stones, and similar ornaments presented to princes, worthy of their greatness. 

     Desiring therefore to present myself to your Magnificence with some testimony of my devotion towards you, I have not found among my possessions anything which I hold more dear than, or value so much as, the knowledge of the actions of great men, acquired by long experience in contemporary affairs, and a continual study of antiquity; which, having reflected upon it with great and prolonged diligence, I now send, digested into a little volume, to your Magnificence.

     And although I may consider this work                               unworthy of your countenance, nevertheless I trust much to your benignity that it may be acceptable, seeing that it is not possible for me to make a better gift than to offer you the opportunity of understanding in the shortest time all that I have learnt in so many years, and with so many troubles and dangers; which work I have not embellished with swelling or magnificent words, nor stuffed with rounded periods, nor with any extrinsic allurements or adornments whatever, with which so many are accustomed to embellish their works; for I have wished either that no honor should be given it, or else that the truth of the matter and the weightiness of the theme shall make it acceptable.

     Nor do I hold with those who regard it as a presumption if a man of low and humble condition dare to discuss and settle the concerns of princes; because, just as those who draw landscapes place themselves below in the plain to contemplate the nature of the mountains and of lofty places, and in order to contemplate the plains place themselves upon high mountains, even so to understand the nature of the people it needs to be a prince, and to understand that of princes it needs to be of the people.

     Take then, your Magnificence, this little gift in the spirit in which I send it; wherein, if it be diligently read and considered by you, you will learn my extreme desire that you should attain that greatness which fortune and your other attributes promise. And if your Magnificence from the summit of your greatness will sometimes turn your eyes to these lower regions, you will see how unmerited I suffer a great and continued malignity of fortune.
Part 2- The text

Chapters 1 to 11, cataloges the different types of
principalities, or monarchical governments, and the ways in
which they may be established and maintained. 

Chapters 12 to 14, describes the role military power plays in
safeguarding a prince's, or monarch's, power.

Chapters 15 to 23, lists the general characteristics and
personal qualities needed to be an effective ruler.

Chapters 24 to 26, is both a historical glimpse of the
political climate of Italy in Machiavelli's time, and an
emotional appeal by Machiavelli for a future ruler (Lorenzo de'
Medici, in Machiavelli's mind) who can unite the forces of Italy
and liberate the country from foreign rule.


     All states, all powers, that have held and hold rule over men have been and are either republics or principalities. Principalities are either hereditary, in which the family has been long established; or they are new. The new are either entirely new, as was Milan to Francesco Sforza, or they are, as it were, members annexed to the hereditary state of the prince who has acquired them, as was the kingdom of Naples to that of the King of Spain. Such dominions thus acquired are either accustomed to live under a prince, or to live in freedom; and are acquired either by the arms of the prince himself, or of others, or else by fortune or by ability.

(A modern day Republic and a recently modern day Prince)

(The different forms of government inside Europe were changing rapidly at this time. The church was losing its power after murders and orgies in the Vatican, priests having multiple children and incest as common as regular marriage.  Martin Luther also struck a weakening blow to the church, he lived almost exactly the same time span as Machiavelli. The vacuum that it created was filled with both men and new, more secular, ideals, but also by what Machiavelli is credited with pioneering, the idea of realism. realism simply means accepting the observer has little to do with the external world and that there is an answer for anything. This compliments the advances in science in the renaissance and was shared among a lot of Italians in Machiavelli's life).

(Machiavelli points out last the way the principality was set up, he knows that some places have populations whom require a certain kind of leader. Other countries may pick their leader through the increasingly democracy-like processes in the Italian city states surrounding Florence and Machiavelli. You have to keep in mind that principalities dotted the Italian peninsula and the modern nation state was not alive. Some of the biggest states up to this time were the Holy Roman Empire, The Roman Empire and the ancient Greek's before that.)

(I think that if one wanted to divide the modern day government into 2 broad categories you would have those with public elections and those without. While the majority of the worlds governments now reside in the first group, the degree to the elections are different. Some elections are held for all public officials, while others elect a man and he appoints his positions of power. To one extreme one can look at the modern day Arabian states with dictators and religious law dominating the land and a country like America, on the other hand is ruled by about half elected officials who appoint the other half. the check and balances between the nobles and the rulers is still very strong though, as many corporations, wealthy individuals and special interest entities can greatly influence an election, or at least the public's political psyche through commercials and other marketing tools).


     I wiil leave out all discussion on republics, inasmuch as in another place I have written of them at length, and will address myself only to principalities. In doing so I will keep to the order indicated above, and discuss how such principalities are to be ruled and preserved. I say at once there are fewer difficulties in holding hereditary states, and those long accustomed to the family of their prince, than new ones; for it is sufficient only not to transgress the customs of his ancestors, and to deal prudently with circumstances as they arise, for a prince of average powers to maintain himself in his state, unless he be deprived of it by some extraordinary and excessive force; and if he should be so deprived of it, whenever anything sinister happens to the usurper, he will regain it. We have in Italy, for example, the Duke of Ferrara, who could not have withstood the attacks of the Venetians in '84, nor those of Pope Julius in '10, unless he had been long established in his dominions. For the hereditary prince has less cause and less necessity to offend; hence it happens that he will be more loved; and unless extraordinary vices cause him to be hated, it is reasonable to expect that his subjects will be naturally well disposed towards him; and in the antiquity and duration of his rule the memories and motives that make for change are lost, for one change always leaves the toothing for another.

(Many of the nobles in these principalities Machiavelli sees during his time were ruled partially by families because that was a deep form of trust. The principalities that were ruled by non-related people were often quick to go to civil war. the consolidation of family members is much more natural than the bonds of war, business or other possible bonding scenarios of the time. Italy in the 15 and 16th century was a place full of backstabbing, executions and politically motivated backroom deal. Also the work he is referring to for republics is the his much longer work Discourses on Livy)

(The catholic church was gyrating in their control of Italy and in Machiavelli's time many city states were coming up and requiring more astute political systems. While the small family system is sufficient for ruling small kingdoms, you eventually get to the point where you can find more competent, loyal and hard working individuals than inside the family).

(I think Machiavelli realized the power of the natural check and balances of states that arise from individuals pursuing their self interest. Machiavelli understands that the oppressor of any sort is usually met with resistance resulting from the desire to simply to be left alone by others. The plotting of kings against all other whom were less able to organize and execute their interest was naturally receding throughout time. The king (Prince) and Nobles were in a check and balance system de facto. The Magna Carta was one of the first documents that shown this, from there on the single authoritative king's days were numbered.)

(Ancient and Modern Japan has seen the majority of its rule under partially hereditary principalities  They call it emperor over there. The far Eastern model is one of great example for Machiavelli, as the emperor had much stronger control over the people and less check and balances to keep him from doing much harm himself. Above is the Modern day Japanese royal family. They are a showcase, like most royal families, and do serve a good purpose as an image for the psyche of the nation, but republic rule was to successful and out-competed any nation that did not participate in it, Machiavelli was right to prefer republics in his other writing, remember the Prince is written to one of the most powerful hereditary monarch families in history, the Medici family)


     But the difficulties occur in a new principality. And firstly, if it be not entirely new, but is, as it were, a member of a state which, taken collectively, may be called composite, the changes arise chiefly from an inherent difficulty which there is in all new principalities; for men change their rulers willingly, hoping to better themselves, and this hope induces them to take up arms against him who rules: wherein they are deceived, because they afterwards find by experience they have gone from bad to worse. This follows also on another natural and common necessity, which always causes a new prince to burden those who have submitted to him with his soldiery and with infinite other hardships which he must put upon his new acquisition.

     In this way you have enemies in all those whom you have injured in seizing that principality, and you are not able to keep those friends who put you there because of your not being able to satisfy them in the way they expected, and you cannot take strong measures against them, feeling bound to them. For, although one may be very strong in armed forces, yet in entering a province one has always need of the goodwill of the natives.

     For these reasons Louis the Twelfth, King of France, quickly occupied Milan, and as quickly lost it; and to turn him out the first time it only needed Lodovico's own forces; because those who had opened the gates to him, finding themselves deceived in their hopes of future benefit, would not endure the ill-treatment of the new prince. It is very true that, after acquiring rebellious provinces a second time, they are not so lightly lost afterwards, because the prince, with little reluctance, takes the opportunity of the rebellion to punish the delinquents, to clear out the suspects, and to strengthen himself in the weakest places. Thus to cause France to lose Milan the first time it was enough for the Duke Lodovico to raise insurrections on the borders; but to cause him to lose it a second time it was necessary to bring the whole world against him, and that his armies should be defeated and driven out of Italy; which followed from the causes above mentioned.

(2 modern day examples of rioting and rebellions on some scale. The Middle East's "Arab Spring" has been a collection of rioting and protest movement for various political and economic situations in Arabia. They are feeding off of each other, chaos in this region is not new though and it does not take much to ignite a conflict across border. The systemic spill effect has toppled Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen. The governments in these countries have never "really" had control over their nation anyway, so it will be interesting to see what the European, American and Asian governments will do to make sure their economic interests are not harmed. This is an economic way of thinking of this chapter, but much of today's power struggle is economic and not actual military or laizze faire politicking)

     Nevertheless Milan was taken from France both the first and the second time. The general reasons for the first have been discussed; it remains to name those for the second, and to see what resources he had, and what any one in his situation would have had for maintaining himself more securely in his acquisition than did the King of France.

     Now I say that those dominions which, when acquired, are added to an ancient state by him who acquires them, are either of the same country and language, or they are not. When they are, it is easier to hold them, especially when they have not been accustomed to self-government; and to hold them securely it is enough to have destroyed the family of the prince who was ruling them; because the two peoples, preserving in other things the old conditions, and not being unlike in customs, will live quietly together, as one has seen in Brittany, Burgundy, Gascony, and Normandy, which have been bound to France for so long a time: and, although there may be some difference in language, nevertheless the customs are alike, and the people will easily be able to get on among themselves. He who has annexed them, if he wishes to hold them, has only to bear in mind two considerations: the one, that the family of their former lord is extinguished; the other, that neither their laws nor their taxes are altered, so that in a very short time they will become entirely one body with the old principality.

     But when states are acquired in a country differing in language, customs, or laws, there are difficulties, and good fortune and great energy are needed to hold them, and one of the greatest and most real helps would be that he who has acquired them should go and reside there. This would make his position more secure and durable, as it has made that of the Turk in Greece, who, notwithstanding all the other measures taken by him for holding that state, if he had not settled there, would not have been able to keep it. Because, if one is on the spot, disorders are seen as they spring up, and one can quickly remedy them; but if one is not at hand, they are heard of only when they are great, and then one can no longer remedy them. Besides this, the country is not pillaged by your officials; the subjects are satisfied by prompt recourse to the prince; thus, wishing to be good, they have more cause to love him, and wishing to be otherwise, to fear him. He who would attack that state from the outside must have the utmost caution; as long as the prince resides there it can only be wrested from him with the greatest difficulty.

     The other and better course is to send colonies to one or two places, which may be as keys to that state, for it is necessary either to do this or else to keep there a great number of cavalry and infantry. A prince does not spend much on colonies, for with little or no expense he can send them out and keep them there, and he offends a minority only of the citizens from whom he takes lands and houses to give them to the new inhabitants; and those whom he offends, remaining poor and scattered, are never able to injure him; whilst the rest being uninjured are easily kept quiet, and at the same time are anxious not to err for fear it should happen to them as it has to those who have been despoiled. In conclusion, I say that these colonies are not costly, they are more faithful, they injure less, and the injured, as has been said, being poor and scattered, cannot hurt. Upon this, one has to remark that men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.

     But in maintaining armed men there in place of colonies one spends much more, having to consume on the garrison all the income from the state, so that the acquisition turns into a loss, and many more are exasperated, because the whole state is injured; through the shifting of the garrison up and down all become acquainted with hardship, and all become hostile, and they are enemies who, whilst beaten on their own ground, are yet able to do hurt. For every reason, therefore, such guards are as useless as a colony is useful.

     Again, the prince who holds a country differing in the above respects ought to make himself the head and defender of his less powerful neighbors  and to weaken the more powerful among them, taking care that no foreigner as powerful as himself shall, by any accident, get a footing there; for it will always happen that such a one will be introduced by those who are discontented, either through excess of ambition or through fear, as one has seen already. The Romans were brought into Greece by the Aetolians; and in every other country where they obtained a footing they were brought in by the inhabitants. And the usual course of affairs is that, as soon as a powerful foreigner enters a country, all the subject states are drawn to him, moved by the hatred which they feel against the ruling power. So that in respect to those subject states he has not to take any trouble to gain them over to himself, for the whole of them quickly rally to the state which he has acquired there. He has only to take care that they do not get hold of too much power and too much authority, and then with his own forces, and with their goodwill, he can easily keep down the more powerful of them, so as to remain entirely master in the country. And he who does not properly manage this business will soon lose what he has acquired, and whilst he does hold it he will have endless difficulties and troubles.

     The Romans, in the countries which they annexed, observed closely these measures; they sent colonies and maintained friendly relations with(*) the minor powers, without increasing their strength; they kept down the greater, and did not allow any strong foreign powers to gain authority. Greece appears to me sufficient for an example. The Achaeans and Aetolians were kept friendly by them, the kingdom of Macedonia was humbled, Antiochus was driven out; yet the merits of the Achaeans and Aetolians never secured for them permission to increase their power, nor did the persuasions of Philip ever induce the Romans to be his friends without first humbling him, nor did the influence of Antiochus make them agree that he should retain any lordship over the country. Because the Romans did in these instances what all prudent princes ought to do, who have to regard not only present troubles, but also future ones, for which they must prepare with every energy, because, when foreseen, it is easy to remedy them; but if you wait until they approach, the medicine is no longer in time because the malady has become incurable; for it happens in this, as the physicians say it happens in hectic fever, that in the beginning of the malady it is easy to cure but difficult to detect, but in the course of time, not having been either detected or treated in the beginning, it becomes easy to detect but difficult to cure. This it happens in affairs of state, for when the evils that arise have been foreseen (which it is only given to a wise man to see), they can be quickly redressed, but when, through not having been foreseen, they have been permitted to grow in a way that every one can see them, there is no longer a remedy. Therefore, the Romans, foreseeing troubles, dealt with them at once, and, even to avoid a war, would not let them come to a head, for they knew that war is not to be avoided, but is only to be put off to the advantage of others; moreover they wished to fight with Philip and Antiochus in Greece so as not to have to do it in Italy; they could have avoided both, but this they did not wish; nor did that ever please them which is for ever in the mouths of the wise ones of our time:—Let us enjoy the benefits of the time—but rather the benefits of their own valor and prudence, for time drives everything before it, and is able to bring with it good as well as evil, and evil as well as good.

     But let us turn to France and inquire whether she has done any of the things mentioned. I will speak of Louis the 12th (and not of Charles the 8th) as the one whose conduct is the better to be observed, he having held possession of Italy for the longest period; and you will see that he has done the opposite to those things which ought to be done to retain a state composed of divers elements.

(Louis the 12th heading to Genoa to kick some butt!)

     King Louis was brought into Italy by the ambition of the Venetians, who desired to obtain half the state of Lombardy by his intervention. I will not blame the course taken by the king, because, wishing to get a foothold in Italy, and having no friends there—seeing rather that every door was shut to him owing to the conduct of Charles—he was forced to accept those friendships which he could get, and he would have succeeded very quickly in his design if in other matters he had not made some mistakes. The king, however, having acquired Lombardy, regained at once the authority which Charles had lost: Genoa yielded; the Florentines became his friends; the Marquess of Mantua, the Duke of Ferrara, the Bentivogli, my lady of Forli, the Lords of Faenza, of Pesaro, of Rimini, of Camerino, of Piombino, the Lucchese, the Pisans, the Sienese—everybody made advances to him to become his friend. Then could the Venetians realize the rashness of the course taken by them, which, in order that they might secure two towns in Lombardy, had made the king master of two-thirds of Italy.

     Let any one now consider with what little difficulty the king could have maintained his position in Italy had he observed the rules above laid down, and kept all his friends secure and protected; for although they were numerous they were both weak and timid, some afraid of the Church, some of the Venetians, and thus they would always have been forced to stand in with him, and by their means he could easily have made himself secure against those who remained powerful. But he was no sooner in Milan than he did the contrary by assisting Pope Alexander to occupy the Romagna. It never occurred to him that by this action he was weakening himself, depriving himself of friends and of those who had thrown themselves into his lap, whilst he aggrandized the Church by adding much temporal power to the spiritual, thus giving it greater authority. And having committed this prime error, he was obliged to follow it up, so much so that, to put an end to the ambition of Alexander, and to prevent his becoming the master of Tuscany, he was himself forced to come into Italy.

     And as if it were not enough to have aggrandized the Church, and deprived himself of friends, he, wishing to have the kingdom of Naples, divides it with the King of Spain, and where he was the prime arbiter in Italy he takes an associate, so that the ambitious of that country and the malcontents of his own should have somewhere to shelter; and whereas he could have left in the kingdom his own pensioner as king, he drove him out, to put one there who was able to drive him, Louis, out in turn.

     The wish to acquire is in truth very natural and common, and men always do so when they can, and for this they will be praised not blamed; but when they cannot do so, yet wish to do so by any means, then there is folly and blame. Therefore, if France could have attacked Naples with her own forces she ought to have done so; if she could not, then she ought not to have divided it. And if the partition which she made with the Venetians in Lombardy was justified by the excuse that by it she got a foothold in Italy, this other partition merited blame, for it had not the excuse of that necessity.

     Therefore Louis made these five errors: he destroyed the minor powers, he increased the strength of one of the greater powers in Italy, he brought in a foreign power, he did not settle in the country, he did not send colonies. Which errors, had he lived, were not enough to injure him had he not made a sixth by taking away their dominions from the Venetians; because, had he not aggrandized the Church, nor brought Spain into Italy, it would have been very reasonable and necessary to humble them; but having first taken these steps, he ought never to have consented to their ruin, for they, being powerful, would always have kept off others from designs on Lombardy, to which the Venetians would never have consented except to become masters themselves there; also because the others would not wish to take Lombardy from France in order to give it to the Venetians, and to run counter to both they would not have had the courage.

     And if any one should say: "King Louis yielded the Romagna to Alexander and the kingdom to Spain to avoid war," I answer for the reasons given above that a blunder ought never to be perpetrated to avoid war, because it is not to be avoided, but is only deferred to your disadvantage. And if another should allege the pledge which the king had given to the Pope that he would assist him in the enterprise, in exchange for the dissolution of his marriage and for the cap to Rouen, to that I reply what I shall write later on concerning the faith of princes, and how it ought to be kept.

     Thus King Louis lost Lombardy by not having followed any of the conditions observed by those who have taken possession of countries and wished to retain them. Nor is there any miracle in this, but much that is reasonable and quite natural. And on these matters I spoke at Nantes with Rouen, when Valentino, as Cesare Borgia, the son of Pope Alexander, was usually called, occupied the Romagna, and on Cardinal Rouen observing to me that the Italians did not understand war, I replied to him that the French did not understand statecraft, meaning that otherwise they would not have allowed the Church to reach such greatness. And in fact is has been seen that the greatness of the Church and of Spain in Italy has been caused by France, and her ruin may be attributed to them. From this a general rule is drawn which never or rarely fails: that he who is the cause of another becoming powerful is ruined; because that predominance has been brought about either by astuteness or else by force, and both are distrusted by him who has been raised to power.

File:Wenecja Palac Dozow.JPG

(Above- Doge Palace, Venice. What were the Venetians thinking by bringing Louis into Italy and starting all this trouble? I think they understood that they would benefit off of some turmoil in urban north. They would have benefited off of having another player force in the region sort of friendly to them, and at least an enemy to possible enemies of Venice. The Venetians have been known to be very shrewd diplomats themselves)

(Machiavelli was before anything, a student of history  His examples that he draws up were learned from reading classical works and by traveling wide around Florence and the Italian peninsula  Machiavelli goes over the natural forces within forming a new principality. To unite the power and weaken the opposition should be the goal of any prince. The people are fickle and have a short memory. As the chance to benefit  anybody will turn on the prince. This sounds like the harsh world of changing powers in the Italian peninsula. The constant switch of power for another prince kept the Italian peninsula divided and small)

(Machiavelli also goes into direct advice for the prince by reviewing how some kings lost their throne due to mismanagement of what might be called today, the State Department. Weaken your strongest enemy and strengthen the weaker ones. This makes divide and conquer much easier and will also ensure your pick of the bunch for an ally or enemy. You must constantly keep watch of your enemies balance of power in the world, allowing them to be played off against each other)

(Machiavelli also shows some of his work ethic and advice for the king to be prepared. He says that time brings change and you must be prepared for any situation arises. The reactionary duties of a prince are matched by his prevention tactics to ensure his rule)


     Considering the difficulties which men have had to hold to a newly acquired state, some might wonder how, seeing that Alexander the Great became the master of Asia in a few years, and died whilst it was scarcely settled (whence it might appear reasonable that the whole empire would have rebelled), nevertheless his successors maintained themselves, and had to meet no other difficulty than that which arose among themselves from their own ambitions.

     I answer that the principalities of which one has record are found to be governed in two different ways; either by a prince, with a body of servants, who assist him to govern the kingdom as ministers by his favor and permission; or by a prince and barons, who hold that dignity by antiquity of blood and not by the grace of the prince. Such barons have states and their own subjects, who recognize them as lords and hold them in natural affection. Those states that are governed by a prince and his servants hold their prince in more consideration, because in all the country there is no one who is recognized as superior to him, and if they yield obedience to another they do it as to a minister and official, and they do not bear him any particular affection.

     The examples of these two governments in our time are the Turk and the King of France. The entire monarchy of the Turk is governed by one lord, the others are his servants; and, dividing his kingdom into sanjaks, he sends there different administrators, and shifts and changes them as he chooses. But the King of France is placed in the midst of an ancient body of lords, acknowledged by their own subjects, and beloved by them; they have their own prerogatives, nor can the king take these away except at his peril. Therefore, he who considers both of these states will recognize great difficulties in seizing the state of the Turk, but, once it is conquered, great ease in holding it. The causes of the difficulties in seizing the kingdom of the Turk are that the usurper cannot be called in by the princes of the kingdom, nor can he hope to be assisted in his designs by the revolt of those whom the lord has around him. This arises from the reasons given above; for his ministers, being all slaves and bondmen, can only be corrupted with great difficulty, and one can expect little advantage from them when they have been corrupted, as they cannot carry the people with them, for the reasons assigned. Hence, he who attacks the Turk must bear in mind that he will find him united, and he will have to rely more on his own strength than on the revolt of others; but, if once the Turk has been conquered, and routed in the field in such a way that he cannot replace his armies, there is nothing to fear but the family of this prince, and, this being exterminated, there remains no one to fear, the others having no credit with the people; and as the conqueror did not rely on them before his victory, so he ought not to fear them after it.

     The contrary happens in kingdoms governed like that of France, because one can easily enter there by gaining over some baron of the kingdom, for one always finds malcontents and such as desire a change. Such men, for the reasons given, can open the way into the state and render the victory easy; but if you wish to hold it afterwards, you meet with infinite difficulties, both from those who have assisted you and from those you have crushed. Nor is it enough for you to have exterminated the family of the prince, because the lords that remain make themselves the heads of fresh movements against you, and as you are unable either to satisfy or exterminate them, that state is lost whenever time brings the opportunity.

     Now if you will consider what was the nature of the government of Darius, you will find it similar to the kingdom of the Turk, and therefore it was only necessary for Alexander, first to overthrow him in the field, and then to take the country from him. After which victory, Darius being killed, the state remained secure to Alexander, for the above reasons. And if his successors had been united they would have enjoyed it securely and at their ease, for there were no tumults raised in the kingdom except those they provoked themselves.

     But it is impossible to hold with such tranquility states constituted like that of France. Hence arose those frequent rebellions against the Romans in Spain, France, and Greece, owing to the many principalities there were in these states, of which, as long as the memory of them endured, the Romans always held an insecure possession; but with the power and long continuance of the empire the memory of them passed away, and the Romans then became secure possessors. And when fighting afterwards among themselves, each one was able to attach to himself his own parts of the country, according to the authority he had assumed there; and the family of the former lord being exterminated, none other than the Romans were acknowledged.

(It was  marvel how the Roman empire came together. It was a diverse empire and the early benefits off of having a truly diverse population of nations under one system. People that were constantly fighting for generations could now co-exist under the same government as equals. You had a genuinely honest chance of making it up the social ladder and that hunger to ascend is the driving force behind capitalist societies like Rome and modern day America)

     When these things are remembered no one will marvel at the ease with which Alexander held the Empire of Asia, or at the difficulties which others have had to keep an acquisition, such as Pyrrhus and many more; this is not occasioned by the little or abundance of ability in the conqueror, but by the want of uniformity in the subject state.

(The organizational chart of the French and Turks in this example is very different. The King of the French was not directly at the top of his organization, it was ruled only with the approval of the nobles. The Turkish chart has a definite top tip to it where all the power is concentrated in one person.  To take over France would require ridding the nobles, whom remain hidden in some cases, and the king. You would face competition from other nobles wanting the throne. But if you are trying to rule the Turks then you simply have to rid the man at the top, something that seems easy, but hard to do if the state is united in protecting him.

(Machiavelli wrote "The Prince" at the same time as writing "The discourses on Livy". This chapter shows the deep immersion into history Machiavelli had taken while writing this. Machiavelli also comes up with a grand understanding of the large and unified eastern states with their ruling family having a monopoly of power that is hard to overthrow, but once done is easy in maintain.  This is the opposite of the West around this time, which as I said earlier, was broken into many different city states and with many tranches of power).

(Machiavelli is talking of Alexander the Greats invasions into Asia that resulted in the Hellenization of much of Asia and one of the first connection between the East and the Western technologies).

(Alexander the Great, never defeated in battle he fought the Persian king Darius and spread hellenic culture throughout the corridors of Greece to Asia)


     Whenever those states which have been acquired as stated have been accustomed to live under their own laws and in freedom, there are three courses for those who wish to hold them: the first is to ruin them, the next is to reside there in person, the third is to permit them to live under their own laws, drawing a tribute, and establishing within it an oligarchy which will keep it friendly to you. Because such a government, being created by the prince, knows that it cannot stand without his friendship and interest, and does it utmost to support him; and therefore he who would keep a city accustomed to freedom will hold it more easily by the means of its own citizens than in any other way.

     There are, for example, the Spartans and the Romans. The Spartans held Athens and Thebes, establishing there an oligarchy, nevertheless they lost them. The Romans, in order to hold Capua, Carthage, and Numantia, dismantled them, and did not lose them. They wished to hold Greece as the Spartans held it, making it free and permitting its laws, and did not succeed. So to hold it they were compelled to dismantle many cities in the country, for in truth there is no safe way to retain them otherwise than by ruining them. And he who becomes master of a city accustomed to freedom and does not destroy it, may expect to be destroyed by it, for in rebellion it has always the watchword of liberty and its ancient privileges as a rallying point, which neither time nor benefits will ever cause it to forget. And whatever you may do or provide against, they never forget that name or their privileges unless they are disunited or dispersed, but at every chance they immediately rally to them, as Pisa after the hundred years she had been held in bondage by the Florentines.

     But when cities or countries are accustomed to live under a prince, and his family is exterminated, they, being on the one hand accustomed to obey and on the other hand not having the old prince, cannot agree in making one from among themselves, and they do not know how to govern themselves. For this reason they are very slow to take up arms, and a prince can gain them to himself and secure them much more easily. But in republics there is more vitality, greater hatred, and more desire for vengeance, which will never permit them to allow the memory of their former liberty to rest; so that the safest way is to destroy them or to reside there.

(This chapter is short and sweet, I imagine this chapter was written with many of Machiavelli's surrounding city states in mind. Machiavelli goes to back to the example of the Romans and how they failed in examples where they were not ruthless and exterminated the population. This may be very hard to do in the modern time because any mass extinction of a population will result in America entering the conflict. I can not think of any modern examples of this directly in wartime, but I imagine it in another example. When a new CEO comes onto a company he wants to make his way, this is hard with people of the memory of the way things used to be run. Right now JC Penny is going through a transition and the CEO, Tim Cook, may take advise for this. The amount of change needed in the JC Penny situation may require a whole new executive team, changes in the board of directors and even in the middle management. Basically if such a vast change is needed it is best to destroy what is there and build from scratch. This may not be best for the company or country, but it unites the motives of the newly appointed people and ensures no rebellion and unites them in strategy).


     Let no one be surprised if, in speaking of entirely new principalities as I shall do, I adduce the highest examples both of prince and of state; because men, walking almost always in paths beaten by others, and following by imitation their deeds, are yet unable to keep entirely to the ways of others or attain to the power of those they imitate. A wise man ought always to follow the paths beaten by great men, and to imitate those who have been supreme, so that if his ability does not equal theirs, at least it will savor of it. Let him act like the clever archers who, designing to hit the mark which yet appears too far distant, and knowing the limits to which the strength of their bow attains, take aim much higher than the mark, not to reach by their strength or arrow to so great a height, but to be able with the aid of so high an aim to hit the mark they wish to reach.

     I say, therefore, that in entirely new principalities, where there is a new prince, more or less difficulty is found in keeping them, accordingly as there is more or less ability in him who has acquired the state. Now, as the fact of becoming a prince from a private station presupposes either ability or fortune, it is clear that one or other of these things will mitigate in some degree many difficulties. Nevertheless, he who has relied least on fortune is established the strongest. Further, it facilitates matters when the prince, having no other state, is compelled to reside there in person.

     But to come to those who, by their own ability and not through fortune, have risen to be princes, I say that Moses, Cyrus, Romulus, Theseus, and such like are the most excellent examples. And although one may not discuss Moses, he having been a mere executor of the will of God, yet he ought to be admired, if only for that favor which made him worthy to speak with God. But in considering Cyrus and others who have acquired or founded kingdoms, all will be found admirable; and if their particular deeds and conduct shall be considered, they will not be found inferior to those of Moses, although he had so great a preceptor. And in examining their actions and lives one cannot see that they owed anything to fortune beyond opportunity, which brought them the material to mold into the form which seemed best to them. Without that opportunity their powers of mind would have been extinguished, and without those powers the opportunity would have come in vain.

(Theseus was an exceptional man and worthy of noting by Machiavelli. He was he founder king of Athens, supposedly the son of a half goat and Poseidon. Theseus was like Hercules and Perseus in that he defeated a manifestation of archaic ideals. The defeat of their beats in their respective tales are signs that a change of things has arrived)

     It was necessary, therefore, to Moses that he should find the people of Israel in Egypt enslaved and oppressed by the Egyptians, in order that they should be disposed to follow him so as to be delivered out of bondage. It was necessary that Romulus should not remain in Alba, and that he should be abandoned at his birth, in order that he should become King of Rome and founder of the fatherland. It was necessary that Cyrus should find the Persians discontented with the government of the Medes, and the Medes soft and effeminate through their long peace. Theseus could not have shown his ability had he not found the Athenians dispersed. These opportunities, therefore, made those men fortunate, and their high ability enabled them to recognize the opportunity whereby their country was ennobled and made famous.

(Moses was a religious leader, but also a politician. He had to exercise influence in keeping his people adn movement united and working in his design  I disagree on Machiavelli in that Moses was armed, he used words to convince people and I do not see how he was forceful. Moses is Machiavelli's most ancient reference, going back to Egyptian history)

     Those who by valorous ways become princes, like these men, acquire a principality with difficulty, but they keep it with ease. The difficulties they have in acquiring it rise in part from the new rules and methods which they are forced to introduce to establish their government and its security. And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things, because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them. Thus it happens that whenever those who are hostile have the opportunity to attack they do it like partisans, whilst the others defend lukewarmly, in such wise that the prince is endangered along with them.

     It is necessary, therefore, if we desire to discuss this matter thoroughly, to inquire whether these innovators can rely on themselves or have to depend on others: that is to say, whether, to consummate their enterprise, have they to use prayers or can they use force? In the first instance they always succeed badly, and never compass anything; but when they can rely on themselves and use force, then they are rarely endangered. Hence it is that all armed prophets have conquered, and the unarmed ones have been destroyed. Besides the reasons mentioned, the nature of the people is variable, and whilst it is easy to persuade them, it is difficult to fix them in that persuasion. And thus it is necessary to take such measures that, when they believe no longer, it may be possible to make them believe by force.

      If Moses, Cyrus, Theseus, and Romulus had been unarmed they could not have enforced their constitutions for long—as happened in our time to Fra Girolamo Savonarola, who was ruined with his new order of things immediately the multitude believed in him no longer, and he had no means of keeping steadfast those who believed or of making the unbelievers to believe. Therefore such as these have great difficulties in consummating their enterprise, for all their dangers are in the ascent, yet with ability they will overcome them; but when these are overcome, and those who envied them their success are exterminated, they will begin to be respected, and they will continue afterwards powerful, secure, honored, and happy.

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(Romulus and Remus drinking off of the tit of a wolf. To this day the Wolf is a symbol of Rome. Romulus was another brutal person, he killed his brother with a stone because they could not decide on where to place their new city. The city swelled with landless and refugee men. Romulus was building one of the most important cities in history  Facts about Romulus are hard to come by, several accounts of his death exist and show the mix of mythology and fact that makes this time period hard to separate into fact and fiction. Romulus nonetheless is an example of a new order of things in the form of a city)

     To these great examples I wish to add a lesser one; still it bears some resemblance to them, and I wish it to suffice me for all of a like kind: it is Hiero the Syracusan.(*) This man rose from a private station to be Prince of Syracuse, nor did he, either, owe anything to fortune but opportunity; for the Syracusans, being oppressed, chose him for their captain, afterwards he was rewarded by being made their prince. He was of so great ability, even as a private citizen, that one who writes of him says he wanted nothing but a kingdom to be a king. This man abolished the old soldiery, organized the new, gave up old alliances, made new ones; and as he had his own soldiers and allies, on such foundations he was able to build any edifice: thus, whilst he had endured much trouble in acquiring, he had but little in keeping. (*) Hiero II, born about 307 B.C., died 216 B.C.

(I think the free lunch myth is the best way to look at this chapter. Once in a while you have an amazing opportunity for change. In the case of Moses he had a people that were oppressed and he was chosen by god to carry out a great act. That was not enough though, Moses had to also be an exceptional person. It takes chance, hard work and many other factors to all come together in the right mixture for a new order of things to come about. Since it took this rare mix to make this change it takes an equally rare mix to change it again, whether that is overthrowing the prince or freeing the slaves. A modern day example for the world of history may be an historian who sees the world different, he may be naturally talented for what he does. He may be convince, for the sake of example, that Abraham Lincoln was a vampire. Not only will it take his exceptional abilities, but a chance in history that coincides with his belief  People may just be more convinced that vampires exist in the generation our historian is born. but that is not enough, he also needs God/chance/luck/fate to be on his side. There are many that have two of these abilities, but very few that have all three and that is why once established its hard to knock off with an equal).


     Those who solely by good fortune become princes from being private citizens have little trouble in rising, but much in keeping atop; they have not any difficulties on the way up, because they fly, but they have many when they reach the summit. Such are those to whom some state is given either for money or by the favor of him who bestows it; as happened to many in Greece, in the cities of Ionia and of the Hellespont, where princes were made by Darius, in order that they might hold the cities both for his security and his glory; as also were those emperors who, by the corruption of the soldiers, from being citizens came to empire. Such stand simply elevated upon the goodwill and the fortune of him who has elevated them—two most inconstant and unstable things. Neither have they the knowledge requisite for the position; because, unless they are men of great worth and ability, it is not reasonable to expect that they should know how to command, having always lived in a private condition; besides, they cannot hold it because they have not forces which they can keep friendly and faithful.

     States that rise unexpectedly, then, like all other things in nature which are born and grow rapidly, cannot leave their foundations fixed in such a way that the first storm will not overthrow them; unless, as is said, those who unexpectedly become princes are men of so much ability that they know they have to be prepared at once to hold that which fortune has thrown into their laps, and that those foundations, which others have laid BEFORE they became princes, they must lay AFTERWARDS.

     Concerning these two methods of rising to be a prince by ability or fortune, I wish to adduce two examples within our own recollection, and these are Francesco Sforza(*) and Cesare Borgia. Francesco, by proper means and with great ability, from being a private person rose to be Duke of Milan, and that which he had acquired with a thousand anxieties he kept with little trouble. On the other hand, Cesare Borgia, called by the people Duke Valentino, acquired his state during the ascendancy of his father, and on its decline he lost it, notwithstanding that he had taken every measure and done all that ought to be done by a wise and able man to fix firmly his roots in the states which the arms and fortunes of others had bestowed on him. (*) Francesco Sforza, born 1401, died 1466. He married Bianca Maria Visconti, a natural daughter of Filippo Visconti, the Duke of Milan, on whose death he procured his own elevation to the duchy. Machiavelli was the accredited agent of the Florentine Republic to Cesare Borgia (1478- 1507) during the transactions which led up to the assassinations of the Orsini and Vitelli at Sinigalia, and along with his letters to his chiefs in Florence he has left an account, written ten years before "The Prince," of the proceedings of the duke in his "Descritione del modo tenuto dal duca Valentino nello ammazzare Vitellozzo Vitelli," etc., a translation of which is appended to the present work.

     Because, as is stated above, he who has not first laid his foundations may be able with great ability to lay them afterwards, but they will be laid with trouble to the architect and danger to the building. If, therefore, all the steps taken by the duke be considered, it will be seen that he laid solid foundations for his future power, and I do not consider it superfluous to discuss them, because I do not know what better precepts to give a new prince than the example of his actions; and if his dispositions were of no avail, that was not his fault, but the extraordinary and extreme malignity of fortune.

     Alexander the Sixth, in wishing to aggrandize the duke, his son, had many immediate and prospective difficulties. Firstly, he did not see his way to make him master of any state that was not a state of the Church; and if he was willing to rob the Church he knew that the Duke of Milan and the Venetians would not consent, because Faenza and Rimini were already under the protection of the Venetians. Besides this, he saw the arms of Italy, especially those by which he might have been assisted, in hands that would fear the aggrandizement of the Pope, namely, the Orsini and the Colonnesi and their following. It behooved him, therefore, to upset this state of affairs and embroil the powers, so as to make himself securely master of part of their states. This was easy for him to do, because he found the Venetians, moved by other reasons, inclined to bring back the French into Italy; he would not only not oppose this, but he would render it more easy by dissolving the former marriage of King Louis. Therefore the king came into Italy with the assistance of the Venetians and the consent of Alexander. He was no sooner in Milan than the Pope had soldiers from him for the attempt on the Romagna, which yielded to him on the reputation of the king. The duke, therefore, having acquired the Romagna and beaten the Colonnesi, while wishing to hold that and to advance further, was hindered by two things: the one, his forces did not appear loyal to him, the other, the goodwill of France: that is to say, he feared that the forces of the Orsini, which he was using, would not stand to him, that not only might they hinder him from winning more, but might themselves seize what he had won, and that the king might also do the same. Of the Orsini he had a warning when, after taking Faenza and attacking Bologna, he saw them go very unwillingly to that attack. And as to the king, he learned his mind when he himself, after taking the Duchy of Urbino, attacked Tuscany, and the king made him desist from that undertaking; hence the duke decided to depend no more upon the arms and the luck of others.

     For the first thing he weakened the Orsini and Colonnesi parties in Rome, by gaining to himself all their adherents who were gentlemen, making them his gentlemen, giving them good pay, and, according to their rank, honouring them with office and command in such a way that in a few months all attachment to the factions was destroyed and turned entirely to the duke. After this he awaited an opportunity to crush the Orsini, having scattered the adherents of the Colonna house. This came to him soon and he used it well; for the Orsini, perceiving at length that the aggrandizement of the duke and the Church was ruin to them, called a meeting of the Magione in Perugia. From this sprung the rebellion at Urbino and the tumults in the Romagna, with endless dangers to the duke, all of which he overcame with the help of the French. Having restored his authority, not to leave it at risk by trusting either to the French or other outside forces, he had recourse to his wiles, and he knew so well how to conceal his mind that, by the mediation of Signor Pagolo—whom the duke did not fail to secure with all kinds of attention, giving him money, apparel, and horses—the Orsini were reconciled, so that their simplicity brought them into his power at Sinigalia.(*) Having exterminated the leaders, and turned their partisans into his friends, the duke laid sufficiently good foundations to his power, having all the Romagna and the Duchy of Urbino; and the people now beginning to appreciate their prosperity, he gained them all over to himself. And as this point is worthy of notice, and to be imitated by others, I am not willing to leave it out. (*) Sinigalia, 31st December 1502.

     When the duke occupied the Romagna he found it under the rule of weak masters, who rather plundered their subjects than ruled them, and gave them more cause for disunion than for union, so that the country was full of robbery, quarrels, and every kind of violence; and so, wishing to bring back peace and obedience to authority, he considered it necessary to give it a good governor. Thereupon he promoted Messer Ramiro d'Orco,(*) a swift and cruel man, to whom he gave the fullest power. This man in a short time restored peace and unity with the greatest success. Afterwards the duke considered that it was not advisable to confer such excessive authority, for he had no doubt but that he would become odious, so he set up a court of judgment in the country, under a most excellent president, wherein all cities had their advocates. And because he knew that the past severity had caused some hatred against himself, so, to clear himself in the minds of the people, and gain them entirely to himself, he desired to show that, if any cruelty had been practiced  it had not originated with him, but in the natural sternness of the minister. Under this pretense he took Ramiro, and one morning caused him to be executed and left on the piazza at Cesena with the block and a bloody knife at his side. The barbarity of this spectacle caused the people to be at once satisfied and dismayed. (*) Ramiro d'Orco. Ramiro de Lorqua.

     But let us return whence we started. I say that the duke, finding himself now sufficiently powerful and partly secured from immediate dangers by having armed himself in his own way, and having in a great measure crushed those forces in his vicinity that could injure him if he wished to proceed with his conquest, had next to consider France, for he knew that the king, who too late was aware of his mistake, would not support him. And from this time he began to seek new alliances and to temporize with France in the expedition which she was making towards the kingdom of Naples against the Spaniards who were besieging Gaeta. It was his intention to secure himself against them, and this he would have quickly accomplished had Alexander lived.

     Such was his line of action as to present affairs. But as to the future he had to fear, in the first place, that a new successor to the Church might not be friendly to him and might seek to take from him that which Alexander had given him, so he decided to act in four ways. Firstly, by exterminating the families of those lords whom he had despoiled, so as to take away that pretext from the Pope. Secondly, by winning to himself all the gentlemen of Rome, so as to be able to curb the Pope with their aid, as has been observed. Thirdly, by converting the college more to himself. Fourthly, by acquiring so much power before the Pope should die that he could by his own measures resist the first shock. Of these four things, at the death of Alexander, he had accomplished three. For he had killed as many of the dispossessed lords as he could lay hands on, and few had escaped; he had won over the Roman gentlemen, and he had the most numerous party in the college. And as to any fresh acquisition, he intended to become master of Tuscany, for he already possessed Perugia and Piombino, and Pisa was under his protection. And as he had no longer to study France (for the French were already driven out of the kingdom of Naples by the Spaniards, and in this way both were compelled to buy his goodwill), he pounced down upon Pisa. After this, Lucca and Siena yielded at once, partly through hatred and partly through fear of the Florentines; and the Florentines would have had no remedy had he continued to prosper, as he was prospering the year that Alexander died, for he had acquired so much power and reputation that he would have stood by himself, and no longer have depended on the luck and the forces of others, but solely on his own power and ability.

     But Alexander died five years after he had first drawn the sword. He left the duke with the state of Romagna alone consolidated, with the rest in the air, between two most powerful hostile armies, and sick unto death. Yet there were in the duke such boldness and ability, and he knew so well how men are to be won or lost, and so firm were the foundations which in so short a time he had laid, that if he had not had those armies on his back, or if he had been in good health, he would have overcome all difficulties. And it is seen that his foundations were good, for the Romagna awaited him for more than a month. In Rome, although but half alive, he remained secure; and whilst the Baglioni, the Vitelli, and the Orsini might come to Rome, they could not effect anything against him. If he could not have made Pope him whom he wished, at least the one whom he did not wish would not have been elected. But if he had been in sound health at the death of Alexander,(*) everything would have been different to him. On the day that Julius the Second(+) was elected, he told me that he had thought of everything that might occur at the death of his father, and had provided a remedy for all, except that he had never anticipated that, when the death did happen, he himself would be on the point to die. (*) Alexander VI died of fever, 18th August 1503. (+) Julius II was Giuliano della Rovere, Cardinal of San Pietro ad Vincula, born 1443, died 1513.

     When all the actions of the duke are recalled, I do not know how to blame him, but rather it appears to be, as I have said, that I ought to offer him for imitation to all those who, by the fortune or the arms of others, are raised to government. Because he, having a lofty spirit and far-reaching aims, could not have regulated his conduct otherwise, and only the shortness of the life of Alexander and his own sickness frustrated his designs. Therefore, he who considers it necessary to secure himself in his new principality, to win friends, to overcome either by force or fraud, to make himself beloved and feared by the people, to be followed and revered by the soldiers, to exterminate those who have power or reason to hurt him, to change the old order of things for new, to be severe and gracious, magnanimous and liberal, to destroy a disloyal soldiery and to create new, to maintain friendship with kings and princes in such a way that they must help him with zeal and offend with caution, cannot find a more lively example than the actions of this man.

     Only can he be blamed for the election of Julius the Second, in whom he made a bad choice, because, as is said, not being able to elect a Pope to his own mind, he could have hindered any other from being elected Pope; and he ought never to have consented to the election of any cardinal whom he had injured or who had cause to fear him if they became pontiffs. For men injure either from fear or hatred. Those whom he had injured, among others, were San Pietro ad Vincula, Colonna, San Giorgio, and Ascanio.(*) The rest, in becoming Pope, had to fear him, Rouen and the Spaniards excepted; the latter from their relationship and obligations, the former from his influence, the kingdom of France having relations with him. Therefore, above everything, the duke ought to have created a Spaniard Pope, and, failing him, he ought to have consented to Rouen and not San Pietro ad Vincula. He who believes that new benefits will cause great personages to forget old injuries is deceived. Therefore, the duke erred in his choice, and it was the cause of his ultimate ruin. (*) San Giorgio is Raffaello Riario. Ascanio is Ascanio Sforza.

(Overall this is an expansion of the previous chapter, but with the Prince only having the opportunity to arise and the luck. He does not possess the skill, nor has put in the hard work to establish his connections and safeties in ruling his princedom. This goes on to the free lunch myth that I outlined in the other explanation. You cannot easily obtain a princedom if you have not put in the hard work to get it.

Another grand example of Machiavellian character is the story of the duke who appointed a very valiant and deserving man to a post as to restore the sincerity and order of a land. When the man proved himself competent and even grand at his job, the duke had him executed in the public eye. The man's ways were quite violent and had caused enemies in pacifying the land and had done things that some of the populace may have referred to as cruel. The Duke therefore eliminated possible competition as a leader and gained the support of those whom situation worsened off of justice and order coming to the land).

(Yet another grand example of Machiavellian character is in the last paragraphs of this chapter. A duke had a major influence in making a pope. He thinks that he can "bury old wounds" and appoint an old enemy to this position. He was mistaken and this was the cause of his downfall)


     Although a prince may rise from a private station in two ways, neither of which can be entirely attributed to fortune or genius, yet it is manifest to me that I must not be silent on them, although one could be more copiously treated when I discuss republics. These methods are when, either by some wicked or nefarious ways, one ascends to the principality, or when by the favor of his fellow-citizens a private person becomes the prince of his country. And speaking of the first method, it will be illustrated by two examples—one ancient, the other modern—and without entering further into the subject, I consider these two examples will suffice those who may be compelled to follow them.

     Agathocles, the Sicilian,(*) became King of Syracuse not only from a private but from a low and abject position. This man, the son of a potter, through all the changes in his fortunes always led an infamous life. Nevertheless, he accompanied his infamies with so much ability of mind and body that, having devoted himself to the military profession, he rose through its ranks to be Praetor of Syracuse. Being established in that position, and having deliberately resolved to make himself prince and to seize by violence, without obligation to others, that which had been conceded to him by assent, he came to an understanding for this purpose with Amilcar, the Carthaginian, who, with his army, was fighting in Sicily. One morning he assembled the people and the senate of Syracuse, as if he had to discuss with them things relating to the Republic, and at a given signal the soldiers killed all the senators and the richest of the people; these dead, he seized and held the princedom of that city without any civil commotion. And although he was twice routed by the Carthaginians, and ultimately besieged, yet not only was he able to defend his city, but leaving part of his men for its defense  with the others he attacked Africa, and in a short time raised the siege of Syracuse. The Carthaginians, reduced to extreme necessity, were compelled to come to terms with Agathocles, and, leaving Sicily to him, had to be content with the possession of Africa.

(Agathocles was a ruler of tyrant of Syracuse and the King of Sicily was an example of the cold reality that Machiavelli lived in. the gruesome story of summoning his opposition must strike fear into the heart of politiciians to this day. This dirty tactic brought glory, but not by moral means. This is an example of the Prince sometimes having to be a brutal and conniving person, for his competition is similar to Agthocles. This act reinforced great fear into others hearts who wanted to challenge him, he did it right by doing it in one sweeping blow)

     Therefore, he who considers the actions and the genius of this man will see nothing, or little, which can be attributed to fortune, inasmuch as he attained pre-eminence, as is shown above, not by the favor of any one, but step by step in the military profession, which steps were gained with a thousand troubles and perils, and were afterwards boldly held by him with many hazardous dangers. Yet it cannot be called talent to slay fellow-citizens, to deceive friends, to be without faith, without mercy, without religion; such methods may gain empire, but not glory. Still, if the courage of Agathocles in entering into and extricating himself from dangers be considered, together with his greatness of mind in enduring and overcoming hardships, it cannot be seen why he should be esteemed less than the most notable captain. Nevertheless, his barbarous cruelty and inhumanity with infinite wickedness do not permit him to be celebrated among the most excellent men. What he achieved cannot be attributed either to fortune or genius.

     In our times, during the rule of Alexander the Sixth, Oliverotto da Fermo, having been left an orphan many years before, was brought up by his maternal uncle, Giovanni Fogliani, and in the early days of his youth sent to fight under Pagolo Vitelli, that, being trained under his discipline, he might attain some high position in the military profession. After Pagolo died, he fought under his brother Vitellozzo, and in a very short time, being endowed with wit and a vigorous body and mind, he became the first man in his profession. But it appearing a paltry thing to serve under others, he resolved, with the aid of some citizens of Fermo, to whom the slavery of their country was dearer than its liberty, and with the help of the Vitelleschi, to seize Fermo. So he wrote to Giovanni Fogliani that, having been away from home for many years, he wished to visit him and his city, and in some measure to look upon his patrimony; and although he had not laboured to acquire anything except honor, yet, in order that the citizens should see he had not spent his time in vain, he desired to come honorably, so would be accompanied by one hundred horsemen, his friends and retainers; and he entreated Giovanni to arrange that he should be received honorably by the Fermians, all of which would be not only to his honor, but also to that of Giovanni himself, who had brought him up.

     Giovanni, therefore, did not fail in any attentions due to his nephew, and he caused him to be honorably received by the Fermians, and he lodged him in his own house, where, having passed some days, and having arranged what was necessary for his wicked designs, Oliverotto gave a solemn banquet to which he invited Giovanni Fogliani and the chiefs of Fermo. When the viands and all the other entertainments that are usual in such banquets were finished, Oliverotto artfully began certain grave discourses, speaking of the greatness of Pope Alexander and his son Cesare, and of their enterprises, to which discourse Giovanni and others answered; but he rose at once, saying that such matters ought to be discussed in a more private place, and he betook himself to a chamber, whither Giovanni and the rest of the citizens went in after him. No sooner were they seated than soldiers issued from secret places and slaughtered Giovanni and the rest. After these murders Oliverotto, mounted on horseback, rode up and down the town and besieged the chief magistrate in the palace, so that in fear the people were forced to obey him, and to form a government, of which he made himself the prince. He killed all the malcontents who were able to injure him, and strengthened himself with new civil and military ordinances, in such a way that, in the year during which he held the principality, not only was he secure in the city of Fermo, but he had become formidable to all his neighbors  And his destruction would have been as difficult as that of Agathocles if he had not allowed himself to be overreached by Cesare Borgia, who took him with the Orsini and Vitelli at Sinigalia, as was stated above. Thus one year after he had committed this parricide, he was strangled, together with Vitellozzo, whom he had made his leader in valour and wickedness.

     Some may wonder how it can happen that Agathocles, and his like, after infinite treacheries and cruelties, should live for long secure in his country, and defend himself from external enemies, and never be conspired against by his own citizens; seeing that many others, by means of cruelty, have never been able even in peaceful times to hold the state, still less in the doubtful times of war. I believe that this follows from severity *) being badly or properly used. Those may be called properly used, if of evil it is possible to speak well, that are applied at one blow and are necessary to one's security, and that are not persisted in afterwards unless they can be turned to the advantage of the subjects. The badly employed are those which, notwithstanding they may be few in the commencement, multiply with time rather than decrease. Those who practice the first system are able, by aid of God or man, to mitigate in some degree their rule, as Agathocles did. It is impossible for those who follow the other to maintain themselves. 

(*) Mr Burd suggests that this word probably comes near the modern equivalent of Machiavelli's thought when he speaks of "crudelta" than the more obvious "cruelties."

     Hence it is to be remarked that, in seizing a state, the usurper ought to examine closely into all those injuries which it is necessary for him to inflict, and to do them all at one stroke so as not to have to repeat them daily; and thus by not unsettling men he will be able to reassure them, and win them to himself by benefits. He who does otherwise, either from timidity or evil advice, is always compelled to keep the knife in his hand; neither can he rely on his subjects, nor can they attach themselves to him, owing to their continued and repeated wrongs. For injuries ought to be done all at one time, so that, being tasted less, they offend less; benefits ought to be given little by little, so that the flavor of them may last longer. And above all things, a prince ought to live among his people in such a way that no unexpected circumstances, whether of good or evil, shall make him change; because if the necessity for this comes in troubled times, you are too late for harsh measures; and mild ones will not help you, for they will be considered as forced from you, and no one will be under any obligation to you for them.

(This has to be one of the most disturbing chapters for Modern readers of Machiavelli. The times of Italy in the Middle Ages and the early renaissance was not a time of morals and of high ethics. Any possible way to rise to power was used and executed. While earlier Machiavelli outlined that chance, opportunity and pure luck are needed to rise to the top, this sometimes can include simply killing all of the competition. Creating the opportunity yourself is a completely possible alternative to waiting for history to bestow it upon you. 

Machiavelli also went over how to administer such cruelties  You should do them immediately at the beginning of your term. You must take great calculation to place the blows where they need to be, since Machiavelli also said earlier that a mane does not forget injuries you have caused him if you try and right it with something like appointing him to a position of power. The remedy in some cases, Machiavelli may prelude to is inflicting injuries that either crush absolutely, or at least bad enough to crush any possible opposition. Again the Prince is by no means an ethical treatise, but its an honest one, as the men outlined in this chapter achieved their goals by no means that even Machiavelli would call glorious).


     But coming to the other point where a leading citizen becomes the prince of his country, not by wickedness or any intolerable violence, but by the favor of his fellow citizens; this may be called a civil principality: nor is genius or fortune altogether necessary to attain to it, but rather a happy shrewdness. I say then that such a principality is obtained either by the favor of the people or by the favor of the nobles. Because in all cities these two distinct parties are found, and from this it arises that the people do not wish to be ruled nor oppressed by the nobles, and the nobles wish to rule and oppress the people; and from these two opposite desires there arises in cities one of three results, either a principality, self-government, or anarchy.

     A principality is created either by the people or by the nobles, accordingly as one or other of them has the opportunity; for the nobles, seeing they cannot withstand the people, begin to cry up the reputation of one of themselves, and they make him a prince, so that under his shadow they can give vent to their ambitions. The people, finding they cannot resist the nobles, also cry up the reputation of one of themselves, and make him a prince so as to be defended by his authority. He who obtains sovereignty by the assistance of the nobles maintains himself with more difficulty than he who comes to it by the aid of the people, because the former finds himself with many around him who consider themselves his equals, and because of this he can neither rule nor manage them to his liking. But he who reaches sovereignty by popular favor finds himself alone, and has none around him, or few, who are not prepared to obey him.

     Besides this, one cannot by fair dealing, and without injury to others, satisfy the nobles, but you can satisfy the people, for their object is more righteous than that of the nobles, the latter wishing to oppress, while the former only desire not to be oppressed. It is to be added also that a prince can never secure himself against a hostile people, because of their being too many, whilst from the nobles he can secure himself, as they are few in number. The worst that a prince may expect from a hostile people is to be abandoned by them; but from hostile nobles he has not only to fear abandonment, but also that they will rise against him; for they, being in these affairs more far-seeing and astute, always come forward in time to save themselves, and to obtain favors from him whom they expect to prevail. Further, the prince is compelled to live always with the same people, but he can do well without the same nobles, being able to make and unmake them daily, and to give or take away authority when it pleases him.

     Therefore, to make this point clearer, I say that the nobles ought to be looked at mainly in two ways: that is to say, they either shape their course in such a way as binds them entirely to your fortune, or they do not. Those who so bind themselves, and are not rapacious, ought to be honored and loved; those who do not bind themselves may be dealt with in two ways; they may fail to do this through pusillanimity and a natural want of courage, in which case you ought to make use of them, especially of those who are of good counsel; and thus, whilst in prosperity you honor them, in adversity you do not have to fear them. But when for their own ambitious ends they shun binding themselves, it is a token that they are giving more thought to themselves than to you, and a prince ought to guard against such, and to fear them as if they were open enemies, because in adversity they always help to ruin him.

     Therefore, one who becomes a prince through the favor of the people ought to keep them friendly, and this he can easily do seeing they only ask not to be oppressed by him. But one who, in opposition to the people, becomes a prince by the favor of the nobles, ought, above everything, to seek to win the people over to himself, and this he may easily do if he takes them under his protection. Because men, when they receive good from him of whom they were expecting evil, are bound more closely to their benefactor; thus the people quickly become more devoted to him than if he had been raised to the principality by their favors; and the prince can win their affections in many ways, but as these vary according to the circumstances one cannot give fixed rules, so I omit them; but, I repeat, it is necessary for a prince to have the people friendly, otherwise he has no security in adversity.

     Nabis,(*) Prince of the Spartans, sustained the attack of all Greece, and of a victorious Roman army, and against them he defended his country and his government; and for the overcoming of this peril it was only necessary for him to make himself secure against a few, but this would not have been sufficient had the people been hostile. And do not let any one impugn this statement with the trite proverb that "He who builds on the people, builds on the mud," for this is true when a private citizen makes a foundation there, and persuades himself that the people will free him when he is oppressed by his enemies or by the magistrates; wherein he would find himself very often deceived, as happened to the Gracchi in Rome and to Messer Giorgio Scali(+) in Florence. But granted a prince who has established himself as above, who can command, and is a man of courage, undismayed in adversity, who does not fail in other qualifications, and who, by his resolution and energy, keeps the whole people encouraged—such a one will never find himself deceived in them, and it will be shown that he has laid his foundations well. (*) Nabis, tyrant of Sparta, conquered by the Romans under Flamininus in 195 B.C.; killed 192 B.C. (+) Messer Giorgio Scali. This event is to be found in Machiavelli's "Florentine History," Book III.

     These principalities are liable to danger when they are passing from the civil to the absolute order of government, for such princes either rule personally or through magistrates. In the latter case their government is weaker and more insecure, because it rests entirely on the goodwill of those citizens who are raised to the magistracy, and who, especially in troubled times, can destroy the government with great ease, either by intrigue or open defiance; and the prince has not the chance amid tumults to exercise absolute authority, because the citizens and subjects, accustomed to receive orders from magistrates, are not of a mind to obey him amid these confusions, and there will always be in doubtful times a scarcity of men whom he can trust. For such a prince cannot rely upon what he observes in quiet times, when citizens have need of the state, because then every one agrees with him; they all promise, and when death is far distant they all wish to die for him; but in troubled times, when the state has need of its citizens, then he finds but few. And so much the more is this experiment dangerous, inasmuch as it can only be tried once. Therefore a wise prince ought to adopt such a course that his citizens will always in every sort and kind of circumstance have need of the state and of him, and then he will always find them faithful.

(This chapter shows Machiavelli's love of Republics and why he prefers them over other forms of government. He also goes over his lack of trust of other nobles and why it is important to side with the people above all else. The nobles will always have their own interest at heart and they will side with that above all. You can mutually bind your interests with some nobles, but the mutual interest of the people themselves are much easier to obtain and to then maintain.  

Machiavelli must have seen many political ties being made with short term benefits, but no long term goals. With time men change, but nobles much more so. The commoners that have vastly more power in civil principalities than in dictatorship like government and their diverse interests are much easier met than the much specific and self centered wants of the nobles. 

Machiavelli also say that since nobles are closer to the action of a prince and state in seeing what really going on they will usually do what is necessary to protect themselves and their interest. The people are much less likely to see or prepare for scenarios that may hurt them).


     It is necessary to consider another point in examining the character of these principalities: that is, whether a prince has such power that, in case of need, he can support himself with his own resources, or whether he has always need of the assistance of others. And to make this quite clear I say that I consider those who are able to support themselves by their own resources who can, either by abundance of men or money, raise a sufficient army to join battle against any one who comes to attack them; and I consider those always to have need of others who cannot show themselves against the enemy in the field, but are forced to defend themselves by sheltering behind walls. The first case has been discussed, but we will speak of it again should it recur. In the second case one can say nothing except to encourage such princes to provision and fortify their towns, and not on any account to defend the country. And whoever shall fortify his town well, and shall have managed the other concerns of his subjects in the way stated above, and to be often repeated, will never be attacked without great caution, for men are always adverse to enterprises where difficulties can be seen, and it will be seen not to be an easy thing to attack one who has his town well fortified, and is not hated by his people. 

     The cities of Germany are absolutely free, they own but little country around them, and they yield obedience to the emperor when it suits them, nor do they fear this or any other power they may have near them, because they are fortified in such a way that every one thinks the taking of them by assault would be tedious and difficult, seeing they have proper ditches and walls, they have sufficient artillery, and they always keep in public depots enough for one year's eating, drinking, and firing. And beyond this, to keep the people quiet and without loss to the state, they always have the means of giving work to the community in those labors that are the life and strength of the city, and on the pursuit of which the people are supported; they also hold military exercises in repute, and moreover have many ordinances to uphold them.

     Therefore, a prince who has a strong city, and had not made himself odious, will not be attacked, or if any one should attack he will only be driven off with disgrace; again, because that the affairs of this world are so changeable, it is almost impossible to keep an army a whole year in the field without being interfered with. And whoever should reply: If the people have property outside the city, and see it burnt, they will not remain patient, and the long siege and self-interest will make them forget their prince; to this I answer that a powerful and courageous prince will overcome all such difficulties by giving at one time hope to his subjects that the evil will not be for long, at another time fear of the cruelty of the enemy, then preserving himself adroitly from those subjects who seem to him to be too bold.

     Further, the enemy would naturally on his arrival at once burn and ruin the country at the time when the spirits of the people are still hot and ready for the defense  and, therefore, so much the less ought the prince to hesitate; because after a time, when spirits have cooled, the damage is already done, the ills are incurred, and there is no longer any remedy; and therefore they are so much the more ready to unite with their prince, he appearing to be under obligations to them now that their houses have been burnt and their possessions ruined in his defense. For it is the nature of men to be bound by the benefits they confer as much as by those they receive. Therefore, if everything is well considered, it will not be difficult for a wise prince to keep the minds of his citizens steadfast from first to last, when he does not fail to support and defend them. 

(This chapter is very basic and speaks to the Warcraft of the time. Above all else be armed, have a strong military and make sure your citizenry is involved in the defense of the nation to keep the occupied).


     It only remains now to speak of ecclesiastical principalities, touching which all difficulties are prior to getting possession, because they are acquired either by capacity or good fortune, and they can be held without either; for they are sustained by the ancient ordinances of religion, which are so all-powerful, and of such a character that the principalities may be held no matter how their princes behave and live. These princes alone have states and do not defend them; and they have subjects and do not rule them; and the states, although unguarded, are not taken from them, and the subjects, although not ruled, do not care, and they have neither the desire nor the ability to alienate themselves. Such principalities only are secure and happy. But being upheld by powers, to which the human mind cannot reach, I shall speak no more of them, because, being exalted and maintained by God, it would be the act of a presumptuous and rash man to discuss them.

     Nevertheless, if any one should ask of me how comes it that the Church has attained such greatness in temporal power, seeing that from Alexander backwards the Italian potentates (not only those who have been called potentates, but every baron and lord, though the smallest) have valued the temporal power very slightly—yet now a king of France trembles before it, and it has been able to drive him from Italy, and to ruin the Venetians—although this may be very manifest, it does not appear to me superfluous to recall it in some measure to memory.

     Before Charles, King of France, passed into Italy,(*) this country was under the dominion of the Pope, the Venetians, the King of Naples, the Duke of Milan, and the Florentines. These potentates had two principal anxieties: the one, that no foreigner should enter Italy under arms; the other, that none of themselves should seize more territory. Those about whom there was the most anxiety were the Pope and the Venetians. To restrain the Venetians the union of all the others was necessary, as it was for the defense of Ferrara; and to keep down the Pope they made use of the barons of Rome, who, being divided into two factions, Orsini and Colonnesi, had always a pretext for disorder, and, standing with arms in their hands under the eyes of the Pontiff, kept the pontificate weak and powerless. And although there might arise sometimes a courageous pope, such as Sixtus, yet neither fortune nor wisdom could rid him of these annoyances. And the short life of a pope is also a cause of weakness; for in the ten years, which is the average life of a pope, he can with difficulty lower one of the factions; and if, so to speak, one people should almost destroy the Colonnesi, another would arise hostile to the Orsini, who would support their opponents, and yet would not have time to ruin the Orsini. This was the reason why the temporal powers of the pope were little esteemed in Italy.

(*) Charles VIII invaded Italy in 1494.

(Taking the crown at 13,Charles the 8th sealed the alliance of France and Brittany, he shifted his attention to securing his families dubious possession claim of Naples and went after the rest of the Italian peninsula afterwards. Machiavelli was around 25 at the time that Charles the 8th was fighting a united group of Italian resistance. Charles is one of Machiavelli's biggest influence. Charles went to Naples and set up a "Colony", residing their for a short time. Charles also employed mercenaries and Machiavelli credits this to the reason his army was not able to stand against the citizen troops of Italian city states. Charles failed to split Italy into different sects and faced resistance by not winning the Papacy over to himself. Charles the 8ths invasion into Italy also marks the beginning of a 50 year period of constant warfare in the Peninsula)

     Alexander the Sixth arose afterwards, who of all the pontiffs that have ever been showed how a pope with both money and arms was able to prevail; and through the instrumentality of the Duke Valentino, and by reason of the entry of the French, he brought about all those things which I have discussed above in the actions of the duke. And although his intention was not to aggrandize the Church, but the duke, nevertheless, what he did contributed to the greatness of the Church, which, after his death and the ruin of the duke, became the heir to all his labors.

     Pope Julius came afterwards and found the Church strong, possessing all the Romagna, the barons of Rome reduced to impotence, and, through the chastisements of Alexander, the factions wiped out; he also found the way open to accumulate money in a manner such as had never been practiced before Alexander's time. Such things Julius not only followed, but improved upon, and he intended to gain Bologna, to ruin the Venetians, and to drive the French out of Italy. All of these enterprises prospered with him, and so much the more to his credit, inasmuch as he did everything to strengthen the Church and not any private person. He kept also the Orsini and Colonnesi factions within the bounds in which he found them; and although there was among them some mind to make disturbance, nevertheless he held two things firm: the one, the greatness of the Church, with which he terrified them; and the other, not allowing them to have their own cardinals, who caused the disorders among them. For whenever these factions have their cardinals they do not remain quiet for long, because cardinals foster the factions in Rome and out of it, and the barons are compelled to support them, and thus from the ambitions of prelates arise disorders and tumults among the barons. For these reasons his Holiness Pope Leo(*) found the pontificate most powerful, and it is to be hoped that, if others made it great in arms, he will make it still greater and more venerated by his goodness and infinite other virtues.

 (*) Pope Leo X was the Cardinal de' Medici.

File:Leo X Rubens.jpg

(Pope Leo X, the Medici's seal of owning Italy. This man once allegedly said "Since God has given us the papacy, let us enjoy it". He was a spade for the Medici family and used his position of power to strengthen the families ties around Europe. The position came at a huge cost to the Medici family though and Pope Leo X brought strife to the family also. martin Luther began preaching his protestant beliefs in Germany during this time period, Leo X responded to this by trying to give Luther the "Run-Around" by making appointments here and there and changing them at the last minute to another location with another person. This angered the Germanic peoples and they furthered their determination because of this).

(This chapter is all about divide and conquer, you do not want an overall powerful enemy, but a vast amount of equally powerful enemies  The church was able to reward power to those whom benefited it and take power away from those who were not sided with it. The Pope that Machiavelli was referring to was one appointed by the riches of the Medici, Pope Leo X).


     Having discoursed particularly on the characteristics of such principalities as in the beginning I proposed to discuss, and having considered in some degree the causes of their being good or bad, and having shown the methods by which many have sought to acquire them and to hold them, it now remains for me to discuss generally the means of offence and defense which belong to each of them.

     We have seen above how necessary it is for a prince to have his foundations well laid, otherwise it follows of necessity he will go to ruin. The chief foundations of all states, new as well as old or composite, are good laws and good arms; and as there cannot be good laws where the state is not well armed, it follows that where they are well armed they have good laws. I shall leave the laws out of the discussion and shall speak of the arms.

     I say, therefore, that the arms with which a prince defends his state are either his own, or they are mercenaries, auxiliaries, or mixed. Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous; and if one holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor safe; for they are disunited, ambitious, and without discipline, unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies; they have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men, and destruction is deferred only so long as the attack is; for in peace one is robbed by them, and in war by the enemy. The fact is, they have no other attraction or reason for keeping the field than a trifle of stipend, which is not sufficient to make them willing to die for you. They are ready enough to be your soldiers whilst you do not make war, but if war comes they take themselves off or run from the foe; which I should have little trouble to prove, for the ruin of Italy has been caused by nothing else than by resting all her hopes for many years on mercenaries, and although they formerly made some display and appeared valiant among themselves, yet when the foreigners came they showed what they were. Thus it was that Charles, King of France, was allowed to seize Italy with chalk in hand;(*) and he who told us that our sins were the cause of it told the truth, but they were not the sins he imagined, but those which I have related. And as they were the sins of princes, it is the princes who have also suffered the penalty.

(*) "With chalk in hand," "col gesso." This is one of the bons mots of Alexander VI, and refers to the ease with which Charles VIII seized Italy, implying that it was only necessary for him to send his quartermasters to chalk up the billets for his soldiers to conquer the country. Cf. "The History of Henry VII," by Lord Bacon: "King Charles had conquered the realm of Naples, and lost it again, in a kind of a felicity of a dream. He passed the whole length of Italy without resistance: so that it was true what Pope Alexander was wont to say: That the Frenchmen came into Italy with chalk in their hands, to mark up their lodgings, rather than with swords to fight."

     I wish to demonstrate further the infelicity of these arms. The mercenary captains are either capable men or they are not; if they are, you cannot trust them, because they always aspire to their own greatness, either by oppressing you, who are their master, or others contrary to your intentions; but if the captain is not skillful, you are ruined in the usual way. 

     And if it be urged that whoever is armed will act in the same way, whether mercenary or not, I reply that when arms have to be resorted to, either by a prince or a republic, then the prince ought to go in person and perform the duty of a captain; the republic has to send its citizens, and when one is sent who does not turn out satisfactorily, it ought to recall him, and when one is worthy, to hold him by the laws so that he does not leave the command. And experience has shown princes and republics, single-handed, making the greatest progress, and mercenaries doing nothing except damage; and it is more difficult to bring a republic, armed with its own arms, under the sway of one of its citizens than it is to bring one armed with foreign arms. Rome and Sparta stood for many ages armed and free. The Switzers are completely armed and quite free.

     Of ancient mercenaries, for example, there are the Carthaginians, who were oppressed by their mercenary soldiers after the first war with the Romans, although the Carthaginians had their own citizens for captains. After the death of Epaminondas, Philip of Macedon was made captain of their soldiers by the Thebans, and after victory he took away their liberty.

     Duke Filippo being dead, the Milanese enlisted Francesco Sforza against the Venetians, and he, having overcome the enemy at Caravaggio,(*) allied himself with them to crush the Milanese, his masters. His father, Sforza, having been engaged by Queen Johanna(+) of Naples, left her unprotected, so that she was forced to throw herself into the arms of the King of Aragon, in order to save her kingdom. And if the Venetians and Florentines formerly extended their dominions by these arms, and yet their captains did not make themselves princes, but have defended them, I reply that the Florentines in this case have been favoured by chance, for of the able captains, of whom they might have stood in fear, some have not conquered, some have been opposed, and others have turned their ambitions elsewhere. One who did not conquer was Giovanni Acuto,(%) and since he did not conquer his fidelity cannot be proved; but every one will acknowledge that, had he conquered, the Florentines would have stood at his discretion. Sforza had the Bracceschi always against him, so they watched each other. Francesco turned his ambition to Lombardy; Braccio against the Church and the kingdom of Naples. But let us come to that which happened a short while ago. The Florentines appointed as their captain Pagolo Vitelli, a most prudent man, who from a private position had risen to the greatest renown. If this man had taken Pisa, nobody can deny that it would have been proper for the Florentines to keep in with him, for if he became the soldier of their enemies they had no means of resisting, and if they held to him they must obey him. The Venetians, if their achievements are considered, will be seen to have acted safely and gloriously so long as they sent to war their own men, when with armed gentlemen and plebians they did valiantly. This was before they turned to enterprises on land, but when they began to fight on land they forsook this virtue and followed the custom of Italy. And in the beginning of their expansion on land, through not having much territory, and because of their great reputation, they had not much to fear from their captains; but when they expanded, as under Carmignuola, (#) they had a taste of this mistake; for, having found him a most valiant man (they beat the Duke of Milan under his leadership), and, on the other hand, knowing how lukewarm he was in the war, they feared they would no longer conquer under him, and for this reason they were not willing, nor were they able, to let him go; and so, not to lose again that which they had acquired, they were compelled, in order to secure themselves, to murder him. They had afterwards for their captains Bartolomeo da Bergamo, Roberto da San Severino, the count of Pitigliano,(&) and the like, under whom they had to dread loss and not gain, as happened afterwards at Vaila,($) where in one battle they lost that which in eight hundred years they had acquired with so much trouble. Because from such arms conquests come but slowly, long delayed and inconsiderable, but the losses sudden and portentous.  

(*) Battle of Caravaggio, 15th September 1448.

(+) Johanna II of Naples, the widow of Ladislao, King of Naples.

 (%) Giovanni Acuto. An English knight whose name was Sir John Hawkwood. He fought in the English wars in France, and was knighted by Edward III; afterwards he collected a body of troops and went into Italy. These became the famous "White Company." He took part in many wars, and died in Florence in 1394. He was born about 1320 at Sible Hedingham, a village in Essex. He married Domnia, a daughter of Bernabo Visconti.

 (#) Carmignuola. Francesco Bussone, born at Carmagnola about 1390, executed at Venice, 5th May 1432.

(&) Bartolomeo Colleoni of Bergamo; died 1457. Roberto of San Severino; died fighting for Venice against Sigismund, Duke of Austria, in 1487. "Primo capitano in Italia."— Machiavelli. Count of Pitigliano; Nicolo Orsini, born 1442, died 1510.

 ($) Battle of Vaila in 1509.

     And as with these examples I have reached Italy, which has been ruled for many years by mercenaries, I wish to discuss them more seriously, in order that, having seen their rise and progress, one may be better prepared to counteract them. You must understand that the empire has recently come to be repudiated in Italy, that the Pope has acquired more temporal power, and that Italy has been divided up into more states, for the reason that many of the great cities took up arms against their nobles, who, formerly favoured by the emperor, were oppressing them, whilst the Church was favoring them so as to gain authority in temporal power: in many others their citizens became princes. From this it came to pass that Italy fell partly into the hands of the Church and of republics, and, the Church consisting of priests and the republic of citizens unaccustomed to arms, both commenced to enlist foreigners.

     The first who gave renown to this soldiery was Alberigo da Conio,(*) the Romagnian. From the school of this man sprang, among others, Braccio and Sforza, who in their time were the arbiters of Italy. After these came all the other captains who till now have directed the arms of Italy; and the end of all their valor has been, that she has been overrun by Charles, robbed by Louis, ravaged by Ferdinand, and insulted by the Switzers. The principle that has guided them has been, first, to lower the credit of infantry so that they might increase their own. They did this because, subsisting on their pay and without territory, they were unable to support many soldiers, and a few infantry did not give them any authority; so they were led to employ cavalry, with a moderate force of which they were maintained and honored; and affairs were brought to such a pass that, in an army of twenty thousand soldiers, there were not to be found two thousand foot soldiers. They had, besides this, used every art to lessen fatigue and danger to themselves and their soldiers, not killing in the fray, but taking prisoners and liberating without ransom. They did not attack towns at night, nor did the garrisons of the towns attack encampments at night; they did not surround the camp either with stockade or ditch, nor did they campaign in the winter. All these things were permitted by their military rules, and devised by them to avoid, as I have said, both fatigue and dangers; thus they have brought Italy to slavery and contempt.

(*) Alberigo da Conio. Alberico da Barbiano, Count of Cunio in Romagna. He was the leader of the famous "Company of St George," composed entirely of Italian soldiers. He died in 1409.

(To sum up this chapter Machiavelli simply wants the average solider to be a citizen of the land or cause that he is fighting for. A mercenary has interest only in the salary he gets. This interest last payday to payday and therefore is fickle. Long term interest, namely not getting killed can outweigh these short term interest and therefore the only truly formidable force is one that has interest in winning not only the battle but the war, whether that be promotion in the military itself or the promise of land, treasures and plunder).


     Auxiliaries, which are the other useless arm, are employed when a prince is called in with his forces to aid and defend, as was done by Pope Julius in the most recent times; for he, having, in the enterprise against Ferrara, had poor proof of his mercenaries, turned to auxiliaries, and stipulated with Ferdinand, King of Spain,(*) for his assistance with men and arms. These arms may be useful and good in themselves, but for him who calls them in they are always disadvantageous; for losing, one is undone, and winning, one is their captive. 

(*) Ferdinand V (F. II of Aragon and Sicily, F. III of Naples), surnamed "The Catholic," born 1542, died 1516.

(large pike blocks various types of cavalry, gun teams and limbers in the foreground)

     And although ancient histories may be full of examples, I do not wish to leave this recent one of Pope Julius the Second, the peril of which cannot fail to be perceived; for he, wishing to get Ferrara, threw himself entirely into the hands of the foreigner. But his good fortune brought about a third event, so that he did not reap the fruit of his rash choice; because, having his auxiliaries routed at Ravenna, and the Switzers having risen and driven out the conquerors (against all expectation, both his and others), it so came to pass that he did not become prisoner to his enemies, they having fled, nor to his auxiliaries, he having conquered by other arms than theirs. 

     The Florentines, being entirely without arms, sent ten thousand Frenchmen to take Pisa, whereby they ran more danger than at any other time of their troubles. 

     The Emperor of Constantinople,(*) to oppose his neighbors  sent ten thousand Turks into Greece, who, on the war being finished, were not willing to quit; this was the beginning of the servitude of Greece to the infidels. 

(*) Joannes Cantacuzenus, born 1300, died 1383. 

     Therefore, let him who has no desire to conquer make use of these arms, for they are much more hazardous than mercenaries, because with them the ruin is ready made; they are all united, all yield obedience to others; but with mercenaries, when they have conquered, more time and better opportunities are needed to injure you; they are not all of one community, they are found and paid by you, and a third party, which you have made their head, is not able all at once to assume enough authority to injure you. In conclusion, in mercenaries dastardly is most dangerous; in auxiliaries, valor. The wise prince, therefore, has always avoided these arms and turned to his own; and has been willing rather to lose with them than to conquer with the others, not deeming that a real victory which is gained with the arms of others.

     I shall never hesitate to cite Cesare Borgia and his actions. This duke entered the Romagna with auxiliaries, taking there only French soldiers, and with them he captured Imola and Forli; but afterwards, such forces not appearing to him reliable, he turned to mercenaries, discerning less danger in them, and enlisted the Orsini and Vitelli; whom presently, on handling and finding them doubtful, unfaithful, and dangerous, he destroyed and turned to his own men. And the difference between one and the other of these forces can easily be seen when one considers the difference there was in the reputation of the duke, when he had the French, when he had the Orsini and Vitelli, and when he relied on his own soldiers, on whose fidelity he could always count and found it ever increasing; he was never esteemed more highly than when every one saw that he was complete master of his own forces.

     I was not intending to go beyond Italian and recent examples, but I am unwilling to leave out Hiero, the Syracusan, he being one of those I have named above. This man, as I have said, made head of the army by the Syracusans, soon found out that a mercenary soldiery, constituted like our Italian condottieri, was of no use; and it appearing to him that he could neither keep them not let them go, he had them all cut to pieces, and afterwards made war with his own forces and not with aliens.

     I wish also to recall to memory an instance from the Old Testament applicable to this subject. David offered himself to Saul to fight with Goliath, the Philistine champion, and, to give him courage, Saul armed him with his own weapons; which David rejected as soon as he had them on his back, saying he could make no use of them, and that he wished to meet the enemy with his sling and his knife. In conclusion, the arms of others either fall from your back, or they weigh you down, or they bind you fast.

     Charles the Seventh,(*) the father of King Louis the Eleventh,(+) having by good fortune and valor liberated France from the English, recognized the necessity of being armed with forces of his own, and he established in his kingdom ordinances concerning men-at-arms and infantry. Afterwards his son, King Louis, abolished the infantry and began to enlist the Switzers, which mistake, followed by others, is, as is now seen, a source of peril to that kingdom; because, having raised the reputation of the Switzers, he has entirely diminished the value of his own arms, for he has destroyed the infantry altogether; and his men-at-arms he has subordinated to others, for, being as they are so accustomed to fight along with Switzers, it does not appear that they can now conquer without them. Hence it arises that the French cannot stand against the Switzers, and without the Switzers they do not come off well against others. The armies of the French have thus become mixed, partly mercenary and partly national, both of which arms together are much better than mercenaries alone or auxiliaries alone, but much inferior to one's own forces. And this example proves it, for the kingdom of France would be unconquerable if the ordinance of Charles had been enlarged or maintained.

(*) Charles VII of France, surnamed "The Victorious," born 1403, died 1461.
 (+) Louis XI, son of the above, born 1423, died 1483.

     But the scanty wisdom of man, on entering into an affair which looks well at first, cannot discern the poison that is hidden in it, as I have said above of hectic fevers. Therefore, if he who rules a principality cannot recognize evils until they are upon him, he is not truly wise; and this insight is given to few. And if the first disaster to the Roman Empire(*) should be examined, it will be found to have commenced only with the enlisting of the Goths; because from that time the vigor of the Roman Empire began to decline, and all that valour which had raised it passed away to others.

(*) "Many speakers to the House the other night in the debate on the reduction of armaments seemed to show a most lamentable ignorance of the conditions under which the British Empire maintains its existence. When Mr Balfour replied to the allegations that the Roman Empire sank under the weight of its military obligations, he said that this was 'wholly unhistorical.' He might well have added that the Roman power was at its zenith when every citizen acknowledged his liability to fight for the State, but that it began to decline as soon as this obligation was no longer recognized."—Pall Mall Gazette, 15th May 1906.

     I conclude, therefore, that no principality is secure without having its own forces; on the contrary, it is entirely dependent on good fortune, not having the valor which in adversity would defend it. And it has always been the opinion and judgment of wise men that nothing can be so uncertain or unstable as fame or power not founded on its own strength. And one's own forces are those which are composed either of subjects, citizens, or dependents; all others are mercenaries or auxiliaries. And the way to make ready one's own forces will be easily found if the rules suggested by me shall be reflected upon, and if one will consider how Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, and many republics and princes have armed and organized themselves, to which rules I entirely commit myself.

(This chapter shows a military side to Machiavelli, he was always thinking of things through the yes of the solider. He goes over many examples of rulers trying to use forced/paid troops. He says that you must turn over power to those who do not have conquest on their mind)

(This chapter is particularly important for General to read. To trust in the wrong troops is assured destruction, you need a citizen army, for they fight dearly to defend their land and family physical property. A mercenary is simply trying to get paid and his interest rarely coincide with long term benefits for the State.)


     A prince ought to have no other aim or thought, nor select anything else for his study, than war and its rules and discipline; for this is the sole art that belongs to him who rules, and it is of such force that it not only upholds those who are born princes, but it often enables men to rise from a private station to that rank. And, on the contrary, it is seen that when princes have thought more of ease than of arms they have lost their states. And the first cause of your losing it is to neglect this art; and what enables you to acquire a state is to be master of the art. Francesco Sforza, through being martial, from a private person became Duke of Milan; and the sons, through avoiding the hardships and troubles of arms, from dukes became private persons. For among other evils which being unarmed brings you, it causes you to be despised, and this is one of those ignominies against which a prince ought to guard himself, as is shown later on. Because there is nothing proportionate between the armed and the unarmed; and it is not reasonable that he who is armed should yield obedience willingly to him who is unarmed, or that the unarmed man should be secure among armed servants. Because, there being in the one disdain and in the other suspicion, it is not possible for them to work well together. And therefore a prince who does not understand the art of war, over and above the other misfortunes already mentioned, cannot be respected by his soldiers, nor can he rely on them. He ought never, therefore, to have out of his thoughts this subject of war, and in peace he should addict himself more to its exercise than in war; this he can do in two ways, the one by action, the other by study.

     As regards action, he ought above all things to keep his men well organized and drilled, to follow incessantly the chase, by which he accustoms his body to hardships, and learns something of the nature of localities, and gets to find out how the mountains rise, how the valleys open out, how the plains lie, and to understand the nature of rivers and marshes, and in all this to take the greatest care. Which knowledge is useful in two ways. Firstly, he learns to know his country, and is better able to undertake its defense  afterwards, by means of the knowledge and observation of that locality, he understands with ease any other which it may be necessary for him to study hereafter; because the hills, valleys, and plains, and rivers and marshes that are, for instance, in Tuscany, have a certain resemblance to those of other countries, so that with a knowledge of the aspect of one country one can easily arrive at a knowledge of others. And the prince that lacks this skill lacks the essential which it is desirable that a captain should possess, for it teaches him to surprise his enemy, to select quarters, to lead armies, to array the battle, to besiege towns to advantage.

     Philopoemen,(*) Prince of the Achaeans, among other praises which writers have bestowed on him, is commended because in time of peace he never had anything in his mind but the rules of war; and when he was in the country with friends, he often stopped and reasoned with them: "If the enemy should be upon that hill, and we should find ourselves here with our army, with whom would be the advantage? How should one best advance to meet him, keeping the ranks? If we should wish to retreat, how ought we to pursue?" And he would set forth to them, as he went, all the chances that could befall an army; he would listen to their opinion and state his, confirming it with reasons, so that by these continual discussions there could never arise, in time of war, any unexpected circumstances that he could not deal with.

(*) Philopoemen, "the last of the Greeks," born 252 B.C., died 183 B.C.

     But to exercise the intellect the prince should read histories, and study there the actions of illustrious men, to see how they have borne themselves in war, to examine the causes of their victories and defeat, so as to avoid the latter and imitate the former; and above all do as an illustrious man did, who took as an exemplar one who had been praised and famous before him, and whose achievements and deeds he always kept in his mind, as it is said Alexander the Great imitated Achilles, Caesar Alexander, Scipio Cyrus. And whoever reads the life of Cyrus, written by Xenophon, will recognize afterwards in the life of Scipio how that imitation was his glory, and how in chastity, affability, humanity, and liberality Scipio conformed to those things which have been written of Cyrus by Xenophon. A wise prince ought to observe some such rules, and never in peaceful times stand idle, but increase his resources with industry in such a way that they may be available to him in adversity, so that if fortune chances it may find him prepared to resist her blows. 

(More discipline in preparing for enemies, not relying on mercenary troops and some historical examples dominate this chapter. This makes me think of Machiavelli as a very stern and disciplined person, he studied history and had many accounts to draw upon for his examples. Machiavelli is giving examples from European history with bias to Italy, but seeming to be exaggerated to please Lorenzo).


     It remains now to see what ought to be the rules of conduct for a prince towards subject and friends. And as I know that many have written on this point, I expect I shall be considered presumptuous in mentioning it again, especially as in discussing it I shall depart from the methods of other people. But, it being my intention to write a thing which shall be useful to him who apprehends it, it appears to me more appropriate to follow up the real truth of the matter than the imagination of it; for many have pictured republics and principalities which in fact have never been known or seen, because how one lives is so far distant from how one ought to live, that he who neglects what is done for what ought to be done, sooner effects his ruin than his preservation; for a man who wishes to act entirely up to his professions of virtue soon meets with what destroys him among so much that is evil.

     Hence it is necessary for a prince wishing to hold his own to know how to do wrong, and to make use of it or not according to necessity. Therefore, putting on one side imaginary things concerning a prince, and discussing those which are real, I say that all men when they are spoken of, and chiefly princes for being more highly placed, are remarkable for some of those qualities which bring them either blame or praise; and thus it is that one is reputed liberal, another miserly, using a Tuscan term (because an avaricious person in our language is still he who desires to possess by robbery, whilst we call one miserly who deprives himself too much of the use of his own); one is reputed generous, one rapacious; one cruel, one compassionate; one faithless, another faithful; one effeminate and cowardly, another bold and brave; one affable, another haughty; one lascivious, another chaste; one sincere, another cunning; one hard, another easy; one grave, another frivolous; one religious, another unbelieving, and the like. And I know that every one will confess that it would be most praiseworthy in a prince to exhibit all the above qualities that are considered good; but because they can neither be entirely possessed nor observed, for human conditions do not permit it, it is necessary for him to be sufficiently prudent that he may know how to avoid the reproach of those vices which would lose him his state; and also to keep himself, if it be possible, from those which would not lose him it; but this not being possible, he may with less hesitation abandon himself to them. And again, he need not make himself uneasy at incurring a reproach for those vices without which the state can only be saved with difficulty, for if everything is considered carefully, it will be found that something which looks like virtue, if followed, would be his ruin; whilst something else, which looks like vice, yet followed brings him security and prosperity.

(This chapter again says that the Prince should think deep for his decisions of friends. It seems Machiavelli was also in a double conscious where he would think of the other persons thoughts of himself. Machiavelli also says that you need to appear to be many things to many people, you must be loving and hateful and the people must view you in that way because there is danger in the people being united in their opinion)


     Commencing then with the first of the above-named characteristics, I say that it would be well to be reputed liberal. Nevertheless, liberality exercised in a way that does not bring you the reputation for it, injures you; for if one exercises it honestly and as it should be exercised, it may not become known, and you will not avoid the reproach of its opposite. Therefore, any one wishing to maintain among men the name of liberal is obliged to avoid no attribute of magnificence; so that a prince thus inclined will consume in such acts all his property, and will be compelled in the end, if he wish to maintain the name of liberal, to unduly weigh down his people, and tax them, and do everything he can to get money. This will soon make him odious to his subjects, and becoming poor he will be little valued by any one; thus, with his liberality, having offended many and rewarded few, he is affected by the very first trouble and imperiled by whatever may be the first danger; recognizing this himself, and wishing to draw back from it, he runs at once into the reproach of being miserly.

     Therefore, a prince, not being able to exercise this virtue of liberality in such a way that it is recognized, except to his cost, if he is wise he ought not to fear the reputation of being mean, for in time he will come to be more considered than if liberal, seeing that with his economy his revenues are enough, that he can defend himself against all attacks, and is able to engage in enterprises without burdening his people; thus it comes to pass that he exercises liberality towards all from whom he does not take, who are numberless, and meanness towards those to whom he does not give, who are few.

     We have not seen great things done in our time except by those who have been considered mean; the rest have failed. Pope Julius the Second was assisted in reaching the papacy by a reputation for liberality, yet he did not strive afterwards to keep it up, when he made war on the King of France; and he made many wars without imposing any extraordinary tax on his subjects, for he supplied his additional expenses out of his long thriftiness. The present King of Spain would not have undertaken or conquered in so many enterprises if he had been reputed liberal. A prince, therefore, provided that he has not to rob his subjects, that he can defend himself, that he does not become poor and abject, that he is not forced to become rapacious, ought to hold of little account a reputation for being mean, for it is one of those vices which will enable him to govern.

     And if any one should say: Caesar obtained empire by liberality, and many others have reached the highest positions by having been liberal, and by being considered so, I answer: Either you are a prince in fact, or in a way to become one. In the first case this liberality is dangerous, in the second it is very necessary to be considered liberal; and Caesar was one of those who wished to become pre-eminent in Rome; but if he had survived after becoming so, and had not moderated his expenses, he would have destroyed his government. And if any one should reply: Many have been princes, and have done great things with armies, who have been considered very liberal, I reply: Either a prince spends that which is his own or his subjects' or else that of others. In the first case he ought to be sparing, in the second he ought not to neglect any opportunity for liberality. And to the prince who goes forth with his army, supporting it by pillage, sack, and extortion, handling that which belongs to others, this liberality is necessary, otherwise he would not be followed by soldiers. And of that which is neither yours nor your subjects' you can be a ready giver, as were Cyrus, Caesar, and Alexander; because it does not take away your reputation if you squander that of others, but adds to it; it is only squandering your own that injures you.

     And there is nothing wastes so rapidly as liberality, for even whilst you exercise it you lose the power to do so, and so become either poor or despised, or else, in avoiding poverty, rapacious and hated. And a prince should guard himself, above all things, against being despised and hated; and liberality leads you to both. Therefore it is wiser to have a reputation for meanness which brings reproach without hatred, than to be compelled through seeking a reputation for liberality to incur a name for rapacity which begets reproach with hatred.

(Given the view Machiavelli had on life from being tortured and always in political circles have made him very wary to view humans in a good light. The Renaissance was pretty harsh and the rebellious city states created an environment of no trust, He seem to not prefer the Liberal ways of achieving a kingdom. they are also depleting your resources, and to give someone a present means more is to come, if you cannot satisfy your dependents than you are not to be a prince for long).


     Coming now to the other qualities mentioned above, I say that every prince ought to desire to be considered clement and not cruel. Nevertheless he ought to take care not to misuse this clemency. Cesare Borgia was considered cruel; notwithstanding, his cruelty reconciled the Romagna, unified it, and restored it to peace and loyalty. And if this be rightly considered, he will be seen to have been much more merciful than the Florentine people, who, to avoid a reputation for cruelty, permitted Pistoia to be destroyed.(*) Therefore a prince, so long as he keeps his subjects united and loyal, ought not to mind the reproach of cruelty; because with a few examples he will be more merciful than those who, through too much mercy, allow disorders to arise, from which follow murders or robberies; for these are wont to injure the whole people, whilst those executions which originate with a prince offend the individual only.

 (*) During the rioting between the Cancellieri and Panciatichi factions in 1502 and 1503.

     And of all princes, it is impossible for the new prince to avoid the imputation of cruelty, owing to new states being full of dangers. Hence Virgil, through the mouth of Dido, excuses the inhumanity of her reign owing to its being new.

     Nevertheless he ought to be slow to believe and to act, nor should he himself show fear, but proceed in a temperate manner with prudence and humanity, so that too much confidence may not make him incautious and too much distrust render him intolerable.

     "Against my will, my fate A throne unsettled, and an infant state, Bid me defend my realms with all my pow'rs, And guard with these severity my shores. 

-Christopher Pitt. 

     Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with. Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life, and children, as is said above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you. And that prince who, relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is ruined; because friendships that are obtained by payments, and not by greatness or nobility of mind, may indeed be earned, but they are not secured, and in time of need cannot be relied upon; and men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.

     Nevertheless a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred; because he can endure very well being feared whilst he is not hated, which will always be as long as he abstains from the property of his citizens and subjects and from their women. But when it is necessary for him to proceed against the life of someone, he must do it on proper justification and for manifest cause, but above all things he must keep his hands off the property of others, because men more quickly forget the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony. Besides, pretexts for taking away the property are never wanting; for he who has once begun to live by robbery will always find pretexts for seizing what belongs to others; but reasons for taking life, on the contrary, are more difficult to find and sooner lapse. But when a prince is with his army, and has under control a multitude of soldiers, then it is quite necessary for him to disregard the reputation of cruelty, for without it he would never hold his army united or disposed to its duties.

     Among the wonderful deeds of Hannibal this one is enumerated: that having led an enormous army, composed of many various races of men, to fight in foreign lands, no dissensions arose either among them or against the prince, whether in his bad or in his good fortune. This arose from nothing else than his inhuman cruelty, which, with his boundless valor, made him revered and terrible in the sight of his soldiers, but without that cruelty, his other virtues were not sufficient to produce this effect. And short-sighted writers admire his deeds from one point of view and from another condemn the principal cause of them. That it is true his other virtues would not have been sufficient for him may be proved by the case of Scipio, that most excellent man, not only of his own times but within the memory of man, against whom, nevertheless, his army rebelled in Spain; this arose from nothing but his too great forbearance, which gave his soldiers more license than is consistent with military discipline. For this he was upbraided in the Senate by Fabius Maximus, and called the corrupter of the Roman soldiery. The Locrians were laid waste by a legate of Scipio, yet they were not avenged by him, nor was the insolence of the legate punished, owing entirely to his easy nature. Insomuch that someone in the Senate, wishing to excuse him, said there were many men who knew much better how not to err than to correct the errors of others. This disposition, if he had been continued in the command, would have destroyed in time the fame and glory of Scipio; but, he being under the control of the Senate, this injurious characteristic not only concealed itself, but contributed to his glory.

     Returning to the question of being feared or loved, I come to the conclusion that, men loving according to their own will and fearing according to that of the prince, a wise prince should establish himself on that which is in his own control and not in that of others; he must endeavor only to avoid hatred, as is noted.

(In this chapter Machiavelli reveals one of the most disturbing truths of politics. If a prince is not best for the land should he still succeed power? No, power belongs to those who can maintain it and to be violent and striking of fear is what works. This is a very basic human instinct, that if you appear aggressive you will get your way. It is a sad truth but the Prince who can strike absolute fear in the heart of the people and that is one of the best ways of keeping them from overturning the Prince)


     Every one admits how praiseworthy it is in a prince to keep faith, and to live with integrity and not with craft. Nevertheless our experience has been that those princes who have done great things have held good faith of little account, and have known how to circumvent the intellect of men by craft, and in the end have overcome those who have relied on their word. You must know there are two ways of contesting,(*) the one by the law, the other by force; the first method is proper to men, the second to beasts; but because the first is frequently not sufficient, it is necessary to have recourse to the second. Therefore it is necessary for a prince to understand how to avail himself of the beast and the man. This has been figuratively taught to princes by ancient writers, who describe how Achilles and many other princes of old were given to the Centaur Chiron to nurse, who brought them up in his discipline; which means solely that, as they had for a teacher one who was half beast and half man, so it is necessary for a prince to know how to make use of both natures, and that one without the other is not durable. A prince, therefore, being compelled knowingly to adopt the beast, ought to choose the fox and the lion; because the lion cannot defend himself against snares and the fox cannot defend himself against wolves. Therefore, it is necessary to be a fox to discover the snares and a lion to terrify the wolves. Those who rely simply on the lion do not understand what they are about. Therefore a wise lord cannot, nor ought he to, keep faith when such observance may be turned against him, and when the reasons that caused him to pledge it exist no longer. If men were entirely good this precept would not hold, but because they are bad, and will not keep faith with you, you too are not bound to observe it with them. Nor will there ever be wanting to a prince legitimate reasons to excuse this non-observance. Of this endless modern examples could be given, showing how many treaties and engagements have been made void and of no effect through the faithlessness of princes; and he who has known best how to employ the fox has succeeded best.

(*) "Contesting," i.e. "striving for mastery." Mr Burd points out that this passage is imitated directly from Cicero's "De Officiis": "Nam cum sint duo genera decertandi, unum per disceptationem, alterum per vim; cumque illud proprium sit hominis, hoc beluarum; confugiendum est ad posterius, si uti non licet superiore."

     But it is necessary to know well how to disguise this characteristic, and to be a great pretender and dissembler; and men are so simple, and so subject to present necessities, that he who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived. One recent example I cannot pass over in silence. Alexander the Sixth did nothing else but deceive men, nor ever thought of doing otherwise, and he always found victims; for there never was a man who had greater power in asserting, or who with greater oaths would affirm a thing, yet would observe it less; nevertheless his deceits always succeeded according to his wishes,(*) because he well understood this side of mankind.

 (*) "Nondimanco sempre gli succederono gli inganni (ad votum)." The words "ad votum" are omitted in the Testina addition, 1550. Alexander never did  what he said, Cesare never said what he did. Italian Proverb.

     Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them. And I shall dare to say this also, that to have them and always to observe them is injurious, and that to appear to have them is useful; to appear merciful, faithful, humane, religious, upright, and to be so, but with a mind so framed that should you require not to be so, you may be able and know how to change to the opposite.

     And you have to understand this, that a prince, especially a new one, cannot observe all those things for which men are esteemed, being often forced, in order to maintain the state, to act contrary to fidelity,(*) friendship, humanity, and religion. Therefore it is necessary for him to have a mind ready to turn itself accordingly as the winds and variations of fortune force it, yet, as I have said above, not to diverge from the good if he can avoid doing so, but, if compelled, then to know how to set about it.

 (*) "Contrary to fidelity" or "faith," "contro alla fede," and "tutto fede," "altogether faithful," in the next paragraph. It is noteworthy that these two phrases, "contro alla fede" and "tutto fede," were omitted in the Testina edition, which was published with the sanction of the papal authorities. It may be that the meaning attached to the word "fede" was "the faith," i.e. the Catholic creed, and not as rendered here "fidelity" and "faithful." Observe that the word "religion" was suffered to stand in the text of the Testina, being used to signify indifferently every shade of belief, as witness "the religion," a phrase inevitably employed to designate the Huguenot heresy. South in his Sermon IX, p. 69, ed. 1843, comments on this passage as follows: "That great patron and Coryphaeus of this tribe, Niccolo Machiavelli, laid down this for a master rule in his political scheme: 'That the show of religion was helpful to the politician, but the reality of it hurtful and pernicious.'"

     For this reason a prince ought to take care that he never lets anything slip from his lips that is not replete with the above-named five qualities, that he may appear to him who sees and hears him altogether merciful, faithful, humane, upright, and religious. There is nothing more necessary to appear to have than this last quality, inasmuch as men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, because it belongs to everybody to see you, to few to come in touch with you. Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are, and those few dare not oppose themselves to the opinion of the many, who have the majesty of the state to defend them; and in the actions of all men, and especially of princes, which it is not prudent to challenge, one judges by the result.

     For that reason, let a prince have the credit of conquering and holding his state, the means will always be considered honest, and he will be praised by everybody; because the vulgar are always taken by what a thing seems to be and by what comes of it; and in the world there are only the vulgar, for the few find a place there only when the many have no ground to rest on.

     One prince(*) of the present time, whom it is not well to name, never preaches anything else but peace and good faith, and to both he is most hostile, and either, if he had kept it, would have deprived him of reputation and kingdom many a time.

(*) Ferdinand of Aragon. "When Machiavelli was writing 'The Prince' it would have been clearly impossible to mention Ferdinand's name here without giving offence." Burd's "Il Principe," p. 308.

(Comparisons of humans to animals were taboo in the church and to compare the prince to the acts of animals may also be a little out of place for high Renaissance Florence. Machiavelli nonetheless takes a good example. The Fox and the Lion is one of his most famous quotes and one of the more vivaciousness ones. He does not show any flattery in this chapter, it is straight advice for how to handle one of the many diverse problems a Prince has in ruling his kingdom)

(Machiavelli was born to a lawyer and a middle class family and he had much more interactions with the common people than the rulers who he was working for. The common man to Machiavelli is a blank, stateless and instinctual human. Machiavelli writes as if to be a prince is to simply be enlightened from knowledge such as this treatise)

(If you watch politics in the modern era you will see the world leaders trying as hard as possible to appear to be a religious, military, economic and political leader. they cannot be all and it is foolish to think of a man to be that powerful, it is rare to find a leader that could excel at all of those fields. Machiavelli seems to be able to think from the citizen and the princes point of view equally, a rare talent. Politics is about change and Machiavelli wanted to make sure you were always ready for change and had the capacity to carry it out. He advises an in your face politics instead of back room deals and puppets being the front of those who really hold power)

(The world of a Machiavellian prince is very lonely and sad. If the pursuit of power does not invigorate you to gain more power, or you cannot keep all of this constant planning to yourself then you will be outpaced by one who has no track on his/her emotions. The Prince has to eerily set themselves without emotions, which is very hard for a person to do long term, as we are humans and bound by our limitations)


     Now, concerning the characteristics of which mention is made above, I have spoken of the more important ones, the others I wish to discuss briefly under this generality, that the prince must consider, as has been in part said before, how to avoid those things which will make him hated or contemptible; and as often as he shall have succeeded he will have fulfilled his part, and he need not fear any danger in other reproaches.

     It makes him hated above all things, as I have said, to be rapacious, and to be a violator of the property and women of his subjects, from both of which he must abstain. And when neither their property nor their honor is touched, the majority of men live content, and he has only to contend with the ambition of a few, whom he can curb with ease in many ways.

(A prince must be a bully and invoke fear and respect into the heart of the citizenry  but to take it on a personal level to the point of taking land and wife of the peasant is a bad thing for the prince. Machiavelli obviously would have left the wives of men alone, as they will have a family and ties into the well being of the state if they have a family to look after and care for)

(Also a Prince was supposed to defend the people themselves  While the majority of examples do include some unfair and brutal prince collecting taxes from the meager peasant and raping their wives accordingly)

     It makes him contemptible to be considered fickle, frivolous, effeminate, mean-spirited, irresolute, from all of which a prince should guard himself as from a rock; and he should endeavor to show in his actions greatness, courage, gravity, and fortitude; and in his private dealings with his subjects let him show that his judgments are irrevocable, and maintain himself in such reputation that no one can hope either to deceive him or to get round him.

(Machiavelli sounds often like a prisoner writing from Angola State in Louisiana. He envisions the Princedom as a person holding an unsteady and constantly changing situations. The bully who can least appear feminine and the most aggressive will win. Machiavelli clearly had no "The good guy always wins" attitude  the good guy never whens in Machiavelli book because the prince are inherently bad and needs to be so to achieve his status and keep it)

     That prince is highly esteemed who conveys this impression of himself, and he who is highly esteemed is not easily conspired against; for, provided it is well known that he is an excellent man and revered by his people, he can only be attacked with difficulty. For this reason a prince ought to have two fears, one from within, on account of his subjects, the other from without, on account of external powers. From the latter he is defended by being well armed and having good allies, and if he is well armed he will have good friends, and affairs will always remain quiet within when they are quiet without, unless they should have been already disturbed by conspiracy; and even should affairs outside be disturbed, if he has carried out his preparations and has lived as I have said, as long as he does not despair, he will resist every attack, as I said Nabis the Spartan did.

(It is important to remember that Machiavelli said the impression of being good and honest matter much more so than actually being honesty  The ability to change your appearance to your citizens should include the face of a genuine man, but Machiavelli would have always advised to not trust anybody and to always be calculating of who you think is your enemy in this world of actors wearing masks) 

     But concerning his subjects, when affairs outside are disturbed he has only to fear that they will conspire secretly, from which a prince can easily secure himself by avoiding being hated and despised, and by keeping the people satisfied with him, which it is most necessary for him to accomplish, as I said above at length. And one of the most efficacious remedies that a prince can have against conspiracies is not to be hated and despised by the people, for he who conspires against a prince always expects to please them by his removal; but when the conspirator can only look forward to offending them, he will not have the courage to take such a course, for the difficulties that confront a conspirator are infinite. And as experience shows, many have been the conspiracies, but few have been successful; because he who conspires cannot act alone, nor can he take a companion except from those whom he believes to be malcontents, and as soon as you have opened your mind to a malcontent you have given him the material with which to content himself, for by denouncing you he can look for every advantage; so that, seeing the gain from this course to be assured, and seeing the other to be doubtful and full of dangers, he must be a very rare friend, or a thoroughly obstinate enemy of the prince, to keep faith with you.

(Machiavelli goes back into his paranoid mode, the Prince again is advised to seek courses of possible actions for even his closest friends. The ties of friendship are very fickle and breakable to Machiavelli. He does not advocate close relationships, you must be very emotionally self sufficient in Machiavelli's ideology to be a Prince, another Masculine property)

(Machiavelli also goes over how hard it is for a conspirator to take a new order of things and try and take the princedom away from the Prince through killing him or other means. History does seem to be rife with examples of failed conspirators that speaks to its difficulties in obtaining a new princedom. Imagine America being juggled in the hands of people like this, it is scary but absolutely true)

     And, to reduce the matter into a small compass, I say that, on the side of the conspirator, there is nothing but fear, jealousy, prospect of punishment to terrify him; but on the side of the prince there is the majesty of the principality, the laws, the protection of friends and the state to defend him; so that, adding to all these things the popular goodwill, it is impossible that any one should be so rash as to conspire. For whereas in general the conspirator has to fear before the execution of his plot, in this case he has also to fear the sequel to the crime; because on account of it he has the people for an enemy, and thus cannot hope for any escape.

(It is hard to simply jump out of societies power structure and operate outside of its purpose. The guards that follow a prince are not there to make sure the people leader is not killed and the state falls into chaos, they are there to defend the prince. The defense of the Prince is the highest priority of any Machiavellian prince. You must build a system where people feel discouraged from plotting against you, both for fear that it will not work, as Machiavelli outlined here, or for fear of punishment, as spoken of earlier in the text)

     Endless examples could be given on this subject, but I will be content with one, brought to pass within the memory of our fathers. Messer Annibale Bentivogli, who was prince in Bologna (grandfather of the present Annibale), having been murdered by the Canneschi, who had conspired against him, not one of his family survived but Messer Giovanni,(*) who was in childhood: immediately after his assassination the people rose and murdered all the Canneschi. This sprung from the popular goodwill which the house of Bentivogli enjoyed in those days in Bologna; which was so great that, although none remained there after the death of Annibale who was able to rule the state, the Bolognese, having information that there was one of the Bentivogli family in Florence, who up to that time had been considered the son of a blacksmith, sent to Florence for him and gave him the government of their city, and it was ruled by him until Messer Giovanni came in due course to the government.

(*) Giovanni Bentivogli, born in Bologna 1438, died at Milan 1508. He ruled Bologna from 1462 to 1506. Machiavelli's strong condemnation of conspiracies may get its edge from his own very recent experience (February 1513), when he had been arrested and tortured for his alleged complicity in the Boscoli conspiracy.

     For this reason I consider that a prince ought to reckon conspiracies of little account when his people hold him in esteem; but when it is hostile to him, and bears hatred towards him, he ought to fear everything and everybody. And well-ordered states and wise princes have taken every care not to drive the nobles to desperation, and to keep the people satisfied and contented, for this is one of the most important objects a prince can have.

(Machiavelli takes a step back from his usually all calculating and conscious Prince and tells them that they can take a breather if they are loved in their land. a conspirator would be a fool to try and harm or remove a Prince who has immense public approval)

     Among the best ordered and governed kingdoms of our times is France, and in it are found many good institutions on which depend the liberty and security of the king; of these the first is the parliament and its authority, because he who founded the kingdom, knowing the ambition of the nobility and their boldness, considered that a bit to their mouths would be necessary to hold them in; and, on the other side, knowing the hatred of the people, founded in fear, against the nobles, he wished to protect them, yet he was not anxious for this to be the particular care of the king; therefore, to take away the reproach which he would be liable to from the nobles for favoring the people, and from the people for favoring the nobles, he set up an arbiter, who should be one who could beat down the great and favor the lesser without reproach to the king. Neither could you have a better or a more prudent arrangement, or a greater source of security to the king and kingdom. From this one can draw another important conclusion, that princes ought to leave affairs of reproach to the management of others, and keep those of grace in their own hands. And further, I consider that a prince ought to cherish the nobles, but not so as to make himself hated by the people.

     It may appear, perhaps, to some who have examined the lives and deaths of the Roman emperors that many of them would be an example contrary to my opinion, seeing that some of them lived nobly and showed great qualities of soul, nevertheless they have lost their empire or have been killed by subjects who have conspired against them. Wishing, therefore, to answer these objections, I will recall the characters of some of the emperors, and will show that the causes of their ruin were not different to those alleged by me; at the same time I will only submit for consideration those things that are noteworthy to him who studies the affairs of those times.

     It seems to me sufficient to take all those emperors who succeeded to the empire from Marcus the philosopher down to Maximinus; they were Marcus and his son Commodus, Pertinax, Julian, Severus and his son Antoninus Caracalla, Macrinus, Heliogabalus, Alexander, and Maximinus.

     There is first to note that, whereas in other principalities the ambition of the nobles and the insolence of the people only have to be contended with, the Roman emperors had a third difficulty in having to put up with the cruelty and avarice of their soldiers, a matter so beset with difficulties that it was the ruin of many; for it was a hard thing to give satisfaction both to soldiers and people; because the people loved peace, and for this reason they loved the uninspiring prince, whilst the soldiers loved the warlike prince who was bold, cruel, and rapacious, which qualities they were quite willing he should exercise upon the people, so that they could get double pay and give vent to their own greed and cruelty. Hence it arose that those emperors were always overthrown who, either by birth or training, had no great authority, and most of them, especially those who came new to the principality, recognizing the difficulty of these two opposing humors  were inclined to give satisfaction to the soldiers, caring little about injuring the people. Which course was necessary, because, as princes cannot help being hated by someone, they ought, in the first place, to avoid being hated by every one, and when they cannot compass this, they ought to endeavor with the utmost diligence to avoid the hatred of the most powerful. Therefore, those emperors who through inexperience had need of special favor adhered more readily to the soldiers than to the people; a course which turned out advantageous to them or not, accordingly as the prince knew how to maintain authority over them.

(Machiavelli had an economics mind for how to distribute the goodies when acquiring a new kingdom. You do not want to give to much out to fast, you do not want to give the wrong people anything and you do not want to over-give to encourage a returning hand. Machiavelli also places his trust and benefice in the soldiers. They represent a sort of super citizen to Machiavelli since their interest may be more tied up in the state than an average farmer. The ambitious solider was closer to Machiavelli's mindset than any common man it seems)

     From these causes it arose that Marcus, Pertinax, and Alexander, being all men of modest life, lovers of justice, enemies to cruelty, humane, and benignant, came to a sad end except Marcus; he alone lived and died honored  because he had succeeded to the throne by hereditary title, and owed nothing either to the soldiers or the people; and afterwards, being possessed of many virtues which made him respected, he always kept both orders in their places whilst he lived, and was neither hated nor despised.

     But Pertinax was created emperor against the wishes of the soldiers, who, being accustomed to live licentiously under Commodus, could not endure the honest life to which Pertinax wished to reduce them; thus, having given cause for hatred, to which hatred there was added contempt for his old age, he was overthrown at the very beginning of his administration. And here it should be noted that hatred is acquired as much by good works as by bad ones, therefore, as I said before, a prince wishing to keep his state is very often forced to do evil; for when that body is corrupt whom you think you have need of to maintain yourself; it may be either the people or the soldiers or the nobles, you have to submit to its humors and to gratify them, and then good works will do you harm.

(Machiavelli says "The prince is force to do Evil", this shows the place and job of a prince. It shows that he must realize his place in life how to separate his human emotions that may get in the way of executing his will and that the Prince must be trained to do so when it is appropriate as to not risk a change of things beyond the princes craftiness and autonomy)

     But let us come to Alexander, who was a man of such great goodness, that among the other praises which are accorded him is this, that in the fourteen years he held the empire no one was ever put to death by him unjudged; nevertheless, being considered effeminate and a man who allowed himself to be governed by his mother, he became despised, the army conspired against him, and murdered him.

     Turning now to the opposite characters of Commodus, Severus, Antoninus Caracalla, and Maximinus, you will find them all cruel and rapacious-men who, to satisfy their soldiers, did not hesitate to commit every kind of iniquity against the people; and all, except Severus, came to a bad end; but in Severus there was so much valor that, keeping the soldiers friendly, although the people were oppressed by him, he reigned successfully; for his valor made him so much admired in the sight of the soldiers and people that the latter were kept in a way astonished and awed and the former respectful and satisfied. And because the actions of this man, as a new prince, were great, I wish to show briefly that he knew well how to counterfeit the fox and the lion, which natures, as I said above, it is necessary for a prince to imitate.

     Knowing the sloth of the Emperor Julian, he persuaded the army in Sclavonia, of which he was captain, that it would be right to go to Rome and avenge the death of Pertinax, who had been killed by the praetorian soldiers; and under this pretext, without appearing to aspire to the throne, he moved the army on Rome, and reached Italy before it was known that he had started. On his arrival at Rome, the Senate, through fear, elected him emperor and killed Julian. After this there remained for Severus, who wished to make himself master of the whole empire, two difficulties; one in Asia, where Niger, head of the Asiatic army, had caused himself to be proclaimed emperor; the other in the west where Albinus was, who also aspired to the throne. And as he considered it dangerous to declare himself hostile to both, he decided to attack Niger and to deceive Albinus. To the latter he wrote that, being elected emperor by the Senate, he was willing to share that dignity with him and sent him the title of Caesar; and, moreover, that the Senate had made Albinus his colleague; which things were accepted by Albinus as true. But after Severus had conquered and killed Niger, and settled oriental affairs, he returned to Rome and complained to the Senate that Albinus, little recognizing the benefits that he had received from him, had by treachery sought to murder him, and for this ingratitude he was compelled to punish him. Afterwards he sought him out in France, and took from him his government and life. He who will, therefore, carefully examine the actions of this man will find him a most valiant lion and a most cunning fox; he will find him feared and respected by every one, and not hated by the army; and it need not be wondered at that he, a new man, was able to hold the empire so well, because his supreme renown always protected him from that hatred which the people might have conceived against him for his violence.

     But his son Antoninus was a most eminent man, and had very excellent qualities, which made him admirable in the sight of the people and acceptable to the soldiers, for he was a warlike man, most enduring of fatigue, a consumer of all delicate food and other luxuries, which caused him to be beloved by the armies. Nevertheless, his ferocity and cruelties were so great and so unheard of that, after endless single murders, he killed a large number of the people of Rome and all those of Alexandria. He became hated by the whole world, and also feared by those he had around him, to such an extent that he was murdered in the midst of his army by a centurion. And here it must be noted that such-like deaths, which are deliberately inflicted with a resolved and desperate courage, cannot be avoided by princes, because any one who does not fear to die can inflict them; but a prince may fear them the less because they are very rare; he has only to be careful not to do any grave injury to those whom he employs or has around him in the service of the state. Antoninus had not taken this care, but had contumaciously killed a brother of that centurion, whom also he daily threatened, yet retained in his bodyguard; which, as it turned out, was a rash thing to do, and proved the emperor's ruin.

(Machiavelli goes back to his economist views of distributing pain and murder throughout your kingdom to quell possible actions being taken against the Prince. You must also realize there is not a benefit off of murdering the next man, his family will be the first of many possible avengers. Make a clear example, but do not overdo it)

     But let us come to Commodus, to whom it should have been very easy to hold the empire, for, being the son of Marcus, he had inherited it, and he had only to follow in the footsteps of his father to please his people and soldiers; but, being by nature cruel and brutal, he gave himself up to amusing the soldiers and corrupting them, so that he might indulge his rapacity upon the people; on the other hand, not maintaining his dignity, often descending to the theater to compete with gladiators, and doing other vile things, little worthy of the imperial majesty, he fell into contempt with the soldiers, and being hated by one party and despised by the other, he was conspired against and was killed. '

(Machiavelli does not advise for unwarranted and cruel punishment, this is crude and not precise to the problems facing the Prince. Constantly appearing as a brute or thug is not safe for the prince, he should appear to be everything to many different people, not 1 thing to everyone)

     It remains to discuss the character of Maximinus. He was a very warlike man, and the armies, being disgusted with the effeminacy of Alexander, of whom I have already spoken, killed him and elected Maximinus to the throne. This he did not possess for long, for two things made him hated and despised; the one, his having kept sheep in Thrace, which brought him into contempt (it being well known to all, and considered a great indignity by every one), and the other, his having at the accession to his dominions deferred going to Rome and taking possession of the imperial seat; he had also gained a reputation for the utmost ferocity by having, through his prefects in Rome and elsewhere in the empire, practiced many cruelties, so that the whole world was moved to anger at the meanness of his birth and to fear at his barbarity. First Africa rebelled, then the Senate with all the people of Rome, and all Italy conspired against him, to which may be added his own army; this latter, besieging Aquileia and meeting with difficulties in taking it, were disgusted with his cruelties, and fearing him less when they found so many against him, murdered him.

     I do not wish to discuss Heliogabalus, Macrinus, or Julian, who, being thoroughly contemptible, were quickly wiped out; but I will bring this discourse to a conclusion by saying that princes in our times have this difficulty of giving inordinate satisfaction to their soldiers in a far less degree, because, notwithstanding one has to give them some indulgence, that is soon done; none of these princes have armies that are veterans in the governance and administration of provinces, as were the armies of the Roman Empire; and whereas it was then more necessary to give satisfaction to the soldiers than to the people, it is now more necessary to all princes, except the Turk and the Soldan, to satisfy the people rather the soldiers, because the people are the more powerful.

     From the above I have excepted the Turk, who always keeps round him twelve thousand infantry and fifteen thousand cavalry on which depend the security and strength of the kingdom, and it is necessary that, putting aside every consideration for the people, he should keep them his friends. The kingdom of the Soldan is similar; being entirely in the hands of soldiers, it follows again that, without regard to the people, he must keep them his friends. But you must note that the state of the Soldan is unlike all other principalities, for the reason that it is like the Christian pontificate, which cannot be called either an hereditary or a newly formed principality; because the sons of the old prince are not the heirs, but he who is elected to that position by those who have authority, and the sons remain only noblemen. And this being an ancient custom, it cannot be called a new principality, because there are none of those difficulties in it that are met with in new ones; for although the prince is new, the constitution of the state is old, and it is framed so as to receive him as if he were its hereditary lord.

     But returning to the subject of our discourse, I say that whoever will consider it will acknowledge that either hatred or contempt has been fatal to the above-named emperors, and it will be recognized also how it happened that, a number of them acting in one way and a number in another, only one in each way came to a happy end and the rest to unhappy ones. Because it would have been useless and dangerous for Pertinax and Alexander, being new princes, to imitate Marcus, who was heir to the principality; and likewise it would have been utterly destructive to Caracalla, Commodus, and Maximinus to have imitated Severus, they not having sufficient valour to enable them to tread in his footsteps. Therefore a prince, new to the principality, cannot imitate the actions of Marcus, nor, again, is it necessary to follow those of Severus, but he ought to take from Severus those parts which are necessary to found his state, and from Marcus those which are proper and glorious to keep a state that may already be stable and firm.


1. Some princes, so as to hold securely the state, have disarmed their subjects; others have kept their subject towns distracted by factions; others have fostered enmities against themselves; others have laid themselves out to gain over those whom they distrusted in the beginning of their governments; some have built fortresses; some have overthrown and destroyed them. And although one cannot give a final judgment on all of these things unless one possesses the particulars of those states in which a decision has to be made, nevertheless I will speak as comprehensively as the matter of itself will admit.

2. There never was a new prince who has disarmed his subjects; rather when he has found them disarmed he has always armed them, because, by arming them, those arms become yours, those men who were distrusted become faithful, and those who were faithful are kept so, and your subjects become your adherents. And whereas all subjects cannot be armed, yet when those whom you do arm are benefited, the others can be handled more freely, and this difference in their treatment, which they quite understand, makes the former your dependents, and the latter, considering it to be necessary that those who have the most danger and service should have the most reward, excuse you. But when you disarm them, you at once offend them by showing that you distrust them, either for cowardice or for want of loyalty, and either of these opinions breeds hatred against you. And because you cannot remain unarmed, it follows that you turn to mercenaries, which are of the character already shown; even if they should be good they would not be sufficient to defend you against powerful enemies and distrusted subjects. Therefore, as I have said, a new prince in a new principality has always distributed arms. Histories are full of examples. But when a prince acquires a new state, which he adds as a province to his old one, then it is necessary to disarm the men of that state, except those who have been his adherents in acquiring it; and these again, with time and opportunity, should be rendered soft and effeminate; and matters should be managed in such a way that all the armed men in the state shall be your own soldiers who in your old state were living near you.

3. Our forefathers, and those who were reckoned wise, were accustomed to say that it was necessary to hold Pistoia by factions and Pisa by fortresses; and with this idea they fostered quarrels in some of their tributary towns so as to keep possession of them the more easily. This may have been well enough in those times when Italy was in a way balanced, but I do not believe that it can be accepted as a precept for to-day, because I do not believe that factions can ever be of use; rather it is certain that when the enemy comes upon you in divided cities you are quickly lost, because the weakest party will always assist the outside forces and the other will not be able to resist. The Venetians, moved, as I believe, by the above reasons, fostered the Guelph and Ghibelline factions in their tributary cities; and although they never allowed them to come to bloodshed, yet they nursed these disputes among them, so that the citizens, distracted by their differences, should not unite against them. Which, as we saw, did not afterwards turn out as expected, because, after the rout at Vaila, one party at once took courage and seized the state. Such methods argue, therefore, weakness in the prince, because these factions will never be permitted in a vigorous principality; such methods for enabling one the more easily to manage subjects are only useful in times of peace, but if war comes this policy proves fallacious.

4. Without doubt princes become great when they overcome the difficulties and obstacles by which they are confronted, and therefore fortune, especially when she desires to make a new prince great, who has a greater necessity to earn renown than an hereditary one, causes enemies to arise and form designs against him, in order that he may have the opportunity of overcoming them, and by them to mount higher, as by a ladder which his enemies have raised. For this reason many consider that a wise prince, when he has the opportunity, ought with craft to foster some animosity against himself, so that, having crushed it, his renown may rise higher.

5. Princes, especially new ones, have found more fidelity and assistance in those men who in the beginning of their rule were distrusted than among those who in the beginning were trusted. Pandolfo Petrucci, Prince of Siena, ruled his state more by those who had been distrusted than by others. But on this question one cannot speak generally, for it varies so much with the individual; I will only say this, that those men who at the commencement of a princedom have been hostile, if they are of a description to need assistance to support themselves, can always be gained over with the greatest ease, and they will be tightly held to serve the prince with fidelity, inasmuch as they know it to be very necessary for them to cancel by deeds the bad impression which he had formed of them; and thus the prince always extracts more profit from them than from those who, serving him in too much security, may neglect his affairs. And since the matter demands it, I must not fail to warn a prince, who by means of secret favors has acquired a new state, that he must well consider the reasons which induced those to favor him who did so; and if it be not a natural affection towards him, but only discontent with their government, then he will only keep them friendly with great trouble and difficulty, for it will be impossible to satisfy them. And weighing well the reasons for this in those examples which can be taken from ancient and modern affairs, we shall find that it is easier for the prince to make friends of those men who were contented under the former government, and are therefore his enemies, than of those who, being discontented with it, were favorable to him and encouraged him to seize it.

6. It has been a custom with princes, in order to hold their states more securely, to build fortresses that may serve as a bridle and bit to those who might design to work against them, and as a place of refuge from a first attack. I praise this system because it has been made use of formerly. Notwithstanding that, Messer Nicolo Vitelli in our times has been seen to demolish two fortresses in Citta di Castello so that he might keep that state; Guido Ubaldo, Duke of Urbino, on returning to his dominion, whence he had been driven by Cesare Borgia, razed to the foundations all the fortresses in that province, and considered that without them it would be more difficult to lose it; the Bentivogli returning to Bologna came to a similar decision. Fortresses, therefore, are useful or not according to circumstances; if they do you good in one way they injure you in another. And this question can be reasoned thus: the prince who has more to fear from the people than from foreigners ought to build fortresses, but he who has more to fear from foreigners than from the people ought to leave them alone. The castle of Milan, built by Francesco Sforza, has made, and will make, more trouble for the house of Sforza than any other disorder in the state. For this reason the best possible fortress is—not to be hated by the people, because, although you may hold the fortresses, yet they will not save you if the people hate you, for there will never be wanting foreigners to assist a people who have taken arms against you. It has not been seen in our times that such fortresses have been of use to any prince, unless to the Countess of Forli,(*) when the Count Girolamo, her consort, was killed; for by that means she was able to withstand the popular attack and wait for assistance from Milan, and thus recover her state; and the posture of affairs was such at that time that the foreigners could not assist the people. But fortresses were of little value to her afterwards when Cesare Borgia attacked her, and when the people, her enemy, were allied with foreigners. Therefore, it would have been safer for her, both then and before, not to have been hated by the people than to have had the fortresses. All these things considered then, I shall praise him who builds fortresses as well as him who does not, and I shall blame whoever, trusting in them, cares little about being hated by the people.

(*) Catherine Sforza, a daughter of Galeazzo Sforza and Lucrezia Landriani, born 1463, died 1509. It was to the Countess of Forli that Machiavelli was sent as envy on 1499. A letter from Fortunati to the countess announces the appointment: "I have been with the signori," wrote Fortunati, "to learn whom they would send and when. They tell me that Nicolo Machiavelli, a learned young Florentine noble, secretary to my Lords of the Ten, is to leave with me at once." Cf. "Catherine Sforza," by Count Pasolini, translated by P. Sylvester, 1898.

(Machiavelli does not seem to think war as a fight between two armies, but more as as a fight between two opportunities and ideas. He sees fortresses as a place that Princes hide and try to avoid war in. the Prince who cannot meet on open battle and defend his land is a Prince that is soon to lose power).


     Nothing makes a prince so much esteemed as great enterprises and setting a fine example. We have in our time Ferdinand of Aragon, the present King of Spain. He can almost be called a new prince, because he has risen, by fame and glory, from being an insignificant king to be the foremost king in Christendom; and if you will consider his deeds you will find them all great and some of them extraordinary. In the beginning of his reign he attacked Granada, and this enterprise was the foundation of his dominions. He did this quietly at first and without any fear of hindrance, for he held the minds of the barons of Castile occupied in thinking of the war and not anticipating any innovations; thus they did not perceive that by these means he was acquiring power and authority over them. He was able with the money of the Church and of the people to sustain his armies, and by that long war to lay the foundation for the military skill which has since distinguished him. Further, always using religion as a plea, so as to undertake greater schemes, he devoted himself with pious cruelty to driving out and clearing his kingdom of the Moors; nor could there be a more admirable example, nor one more rare. Under this same cloak he assailed Africa, he came down on Italy, he has finally attacked France; and thus his achievements and designs have always been great, and have kept the minds of his people in suspense and admiration and occupied with the issue of them. And his actions have arisen in such a way, one out of the other, that men have never been given time to work steadily against him.

     Again, it much assists a prince to set unusual examples in internal affairs, similar to those which are related of Messer Bernabo da Milano, who, when he had the opportunity, by any one in civil life doing some extraordinary thing, either good or bad, would take some method of rewarding or punishing him, which would be much spoken about. And a prince ought, above all things, always endeavor in every action to gain for himself the reputation of being a great and remarkable man.

     A prince is also respected when he is either a true friend or a downright enemy, that is to say, when, without any reservation, he declares himself in favor of one party against the other; which course will always be more advantageous than standing neutral; because if two of your powerful neighbors come to blows, they are of such a character that, if one of them conquers, you have either to fear him or not. In either case it will always be more advantageous for you to declare yourself and to make war strenuously; because, in the first case, if you do not declare yourself, you will invariably fall a prey to the conqueror, to the pleasure and satisfaction of him who has been conquered, and you will have no reasons to offer, nor anything to protect or to shelter you. Because he who conquers does not want doubtful friends who will not aid him in the time of trial; and he who loses will not harbor you because you did not willingly, sword in hand, court his fate.

     Antiochus went into Greece, being sent for by the Aetolians to drive out the Romans. He sent envoys to the Achaeans, who were friends of the Romans, exhorting them to remain neutral; and on the other hand the Romans urged them to take up arms. This question came to be discussed in the council of the Achaeans, where the legate of Antiochus urged them to stand neutral. To this the Roman legate answered: "As for that which has been said, that it is better and more advantageous for your state not to interfere in our war, nothing can be more erroneous; because by not interfering you will be left, without favor or consideration, the guerdon of the conqueror." Thus it will always happen that he who is not your friend will demand your neutrality, whilst he who is your friend will entreat you to declare yourself with arms. And irresolute princes, to avoid present dangers, generally follow the neutral path, and are generally ruined. But when a prince declares himself gallantly in favor of one side, if the party with whom he allies himself conquers, although the victor may be powerful and may have him at his mercy, yet he is indebted to him, and there is established a bond of amity; and men are never so shameless as to become a monument of ingratitude by oppressing you. Victories after all are never so complete that the victor must not show some regard, especially to justice. But if he with whom you ally yourself loses, you may be sheltered by him, and whilst he is able he may aid you, and you become companions on a fortune that may rise again.

     In the second case, when those who fight are of such a character that you have no anxiety as to who may conquer, so much the more is it greater prudence to be allied, because you assist at the destruction of one by the aid of another who, if he had been wise, would have saved him; and conquering, as it is impossible that he should not do with your assistance, he remains at your discretion. And here it is to be noted that a prince ought to take care never to make an alliance with one more powerful than himself for the purposes of attacking others, unless necessity compels him, as is said above; because if he conquers you are at his discretion, and princes ought to avoid as much as possible being at the discretion of any one. The Venetians joined with France against the Duke of Milan, and this alliance, which caused their ruin, could have been avoided. But when it cannot be avoided, as happened to the Florentines when the Pope and Spain sent armies to attack Lombardy, then in such a case, for the above reasons, the prince ought to favor one of the parties.

     Never let any Government imagine that it can choose perfectly safe courses; rather let it expect to have to take very doubtful ones, because it is found in ordinary affairs that one never seeks to avoid one trouble without running into another; but prudence consists in knowing how to distinguish the character of troubles, and for choice to take the lesser evil.

     A prince ought also to show himself a patron of ability, and to honor the proficient in every art. At the same time he should encourage his citizens to practice their callings peaceably, both in commerce and agriculture, and in every other following, so that the one should not be deterred from improving his possessions for fear lest they be taken away from him or another from opening up trade for fear of taxes; but the prince ought to offer rewards to whoever wishes to do these things and designs in any way to honor his city or state.

     Further, he ought to entertain the people with festivals and spectacles at convenient seasons of the year; and as every city is divided into guilds or into societies,(*) he ought to hold such bodies in esteem, and associate with them sometimes, and show himself an example of courtesy and liberality; nevertheless, always maintaining the majesty of his rank, for this he must never consent to abate in anything.

(*) "Guilds or societies," "in arti o in tribu." "Arti" were craft or trade guilds, cf. Florio: "Arte . . . a whole company of any trade in any city or corporation town." The guilds of Florence are most admirably described by Mr Edgcumbe Staley in his work on the subject (Methuen, 1906). Institutions of a somewhat similar character, called "artel," exist in Russia to-day, cf. Sir Mackenzie Wallace's "Russia," ed. 1905: "The sons were always during the working season members of an artel. In some of the larger towns there are artels of a much more complex kind— permanent associations, possessing large capital, and pecuniarily responsible for the acts of the individual members." The word "artel," despite its apparent similarity, has, Mr Aylmer Maude assures me, no connection with "ars" or "arte." Its root is that of the verb "rotisya," to bind oneself by an oath; and it is generally admitted to be only another form of "rota," which now signifies a "regimental company." In both words the underlying idea is that of a body of men united by an oath. "Tribu" were possibly gentile groups, united by common descent, and included individuals connected by marriage. Perhaps our words "sects" or "clans" would be most appropriate.

(Machiavelli says that a state should pick its enemies well and make sure they are either wholly enemies or wholly friends, for it is confusing to be in the middle and could lead to bad things for the Prince. Machiavelli goes over some of the things a prince must do to his own people, such as encourage natural commerce  support a justice system, keep the fear of removal through taxes present and to hold festivals, this reminds me of the Romans "Bread and Circus" policy where they entertained and fed the people while Rome &  her imperialism was falling apart)


     The choice of servants is of no little importance to a prince, and they are good or not according to the discrimination of the prince. And the first opinion which one forms of a prince, and of his understanding, is by observing the men he has around him; and when they are capable and faithful he may always be considered wise, because he has known how to recognize the capable and to keep them faithful. But when they are otherwise one cannot form a good opinion of him, for the prime error which he made was in choosing them.

(Think of what it is like to advise the president. The intimidation of the moment,  the importance on getting it right and hard issues make this job crucial for the president to pick right. I do not think many of these guys are anything more than a ceremonial actor though and most of the work is done behind the doors of the departments themselves. Think of what it would be like to discuss serious issues in depth when your schedule is so busy and the media is constantly snapping off pictures. you cannot concentrate appropriately. This is something the politicians must present the image of. As Machiavelli said the Prince must appear to be a lot of things and Obama looks like the leader of a wise counsel in this picture)

     There were none who knew Messer Antonio da Venafro as the servant of Pandolfo Petrucci, Prince of Siena, who would not consider Pandolfo to be a very clever man in having Venafro for his servant. Because there are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehended; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others; the first is the most excellent, the second is good, the third is useless. Therefore, it follows necessarily that, if Pandolfo was not in the first rank, he was in the second, for whenever one has judgment to know good and bad when it is said and done, although he himself may not have the initiative, yet he can recognize the good and the bad in his servant, and the one he can praise and the other correct; thus the servant cannot hope to deceive him, and is kept honest.

     But to enable a prince to form an opinion of his servant there is one test which never fails; when you see the servant thinking more of his own interests than of yours, and seeking inwardly his own profit in everything, such a man will never make a good servant, nor will you ever be able to trust him; because he who has the state of another in his hands ought never to think of himself, but always of his prince, and never pay any attention to matters in which the prince is not concerned.

     On the other hand, to keep his servant honest the prince ought to study him, honoring him, enriching him, doing him kindnesses, sharing with him the honors and cares; and at the same time let him see that he cannot stand alone, so that many honors may not make him desire more, many riches make him wish for more, and that many cares may make him dread chances. When, therefore, servants, and princes towards servants, are thus disposed, they can trust each other, but when it is otherwise, the end will always be disastrous for either one or the other.

(Machiavelli's diligence in preparing for any possible change that is coming. He advocates a careful selection of advisers  but always view them as interested in their own self. Machiavelli gives us 3 kinds of intelligence that he has divided people into.The kind that understands things for itself—which is excellent to have. The kind that understands what others can understand—which is good to have. The kind that does not understand for itself, nor through others—which is useless to have. this chapter has the Machiavellian concept of every man is his own world, you cannot trust anybody it seems if you are the Prince)


     I do not wish to leave out an important branch of this subject, for it is a danger from which princes are with difficulty preserved, unless they are very careful and discriminating. It is that of flatterers, of whom courts are full, because men are so self-complacent in their own affairs, and in a way so deceived in them, that they are preserved with difficulty from this pest, and if they wish to defend themselves they run the danger of falling into contempt. Because there is no other way of guarding oneself from flatterers except letting men understand that to tell you the truth does not offend you; but when every one may tell you the truth, respect for you abates.

     Therefore a wise prince ought to hold a third course by choosing the wise men in his state, and giving to them only the liberty of speaking the truth to him, and then only of those things of which he inquires, and of none others; but he ought to question them upon everything, and listen to their opinions, and afterwards form his own conclusions. With these Councillors  separately and collectively, he ought to carry himself in such a way that each of them should know that, the more freely he shall speak, the more he shall be preferred; outside of these, he should listen to no one, pursue the thing resolved on, and be steadfast in his resolutions. He who does otherwise is either overthrown by flatterers, or is so often changed by varying opinions that he falls into contempt.

      I wish on this subject to adduce a modern example. Fra Luca, the man of affairs to Maximilian,(*) the present emperor, speaking of his majesty, said: He consulted with no one, yet never got his own way in anything. This arose because of his following a practice the opposite to the above; for the emperor is a secretive man—he does not communicate his designs to any one, nor does he receive opinions on them. But as in carrying them into effect they become revealed and known, they are at once obstructed by those men whom he has around him, and he, being pliant, is diverted from them. Hence it follows that those things he does one day he undoes the next, and no one ever understands what he wishes or intends to do, and no one can rely on his resolutions.

(Maximilian seen and sparked the German Renaissance. He was a man of the arts, politics and of war. He would have been a fine example for Machiavelli to draw upon with his diplomatic marriages to France, Milanese, Bohemian and Hungarian powerful families. He appeared as many to his people as Machiavelli advocates and was always worried about people trying to overthrow him)

     A prince, therefore, ought always to take counsel, but only when he wishes and not when others wish; he ought rather to discourage every one from offering advice unless he asks it; but, however, he ought to be a constant inquirer, and afterwards a patient listener concerning the things of which he inquired; also, on learning that any one, on any consideration, has not told him the truth, he should let his anger be felt.

     And if there are some who think that a prince who conveys an impression of his wisdom is not so through his own ability, but through the good advisers that he has around him, beyond doubt they are deceived, because this is an axiom which never fails: that a prince who is not wise himself will never take good advice, unless by chance he has yielded his affairs entirely to one person who happens to be a very prudent man. In this case indeed he may be well governed, but it would not be for long, because such a governor would in a short time take away his state from him.

     But if a prince who is not inexperienced should take counsel from more than one he will never get united counsels, nor will he know how to unite them. Each of the counselors will think of his own interests, and the prince will not know how to control them or to see through them. And they are not to found otherwise, because men will always prove untrue to you unless they are kept honest by constraint. Therefore it must be inferred that good counsels, whenever they come, are born of the wisdom of the prince, and not the wisdom of the prince from good counsels.

(Although Machiavelli is himself a total suck up he tells the Prince to be wary of those that are intimated or otherwise pressured to give their opinion. Machiavelli also points out that you cannot help some princes if they are un-wise and do not listen to their counsel.)

(Machiavelli also points out the need for an advisory team for the prince, for his knowledge is just in politics & war. A main point again outlined here is the inherent lying in politics  You must understand your advisers goals and interests also. To have some elders to consult with for young princes seems to be Machiavelli's choice for running a state)


     The previous suggestions, carefully observed, will enable a new prince to appear well established, and render him at once more secure and fixed in the state than if he had been long seated there. For the actions of a new prince are more narrowly observed than those of an hereditary one, and when they are seen to be able they gain more men and bind far tighter than ancient blood; because men are attracted more by the present than by the past, and when they find the present good they enjoy it and seek no further; they will also make the utmost defense of a prince if he fails them not in other things. Thus it will be a double glory for him to have established a new principality, and adorned and strengthened it with good laws, good arms, good allies, and with a good example; so will it be a double disgrace to him who, born a prince, shall lose his state by want of wisdom.

     And if those seigniors are considered who have lost their states in Italy in our times, such as the King of Naples, the Duke of Milan, and others, there will be found in them, firstly, one common defect in regard to arms from the causes which have been discussed at length; in the next place, some one of them will be seen, either to have had the people hostile, or if he has had the people friendly, he has not known how to secure the nobles. In the absence of these defects states that have power enough to keep an army in the field cannot be lost.

     Philip of Macedon, not the father of Alexander the Great, but he who was conquered by Titus Quintius, had not much territory compared to the greatness of the Romans and of Greece who attacked him, yet being a warlike man who knew how to attract the people and secure the nobles, he sustained the war against his enemies for many years, and if in the end he lost the dominion of some cities, nevertheless he retained the kingdom.

     Therefore, do not let our princes accuse fortune for the loss of their principalities after so many years' possession, but rather their own sloth, because in quiet times they never thought there could be a change (it is a common defect in man not to make any provision in the calm against the tempest), and when afterwards the bad times came they thought of flight and not of defending themselves, and they hoped that the people, disgusted with the insolence of the conquerors, would recall them. This course, when others fail, may be good, but it is very bad to have neglected all other expedients for that, since you would never wish to fall because you trusted to be able to find someone later on to restore you. This again either does not happen, or, if it does, it will not be for your security, because that deliverance is of no avail which does not depend upon yourself; those only are reliable, certain, and durable that depend on yourself and your valor. 

(In this chapter Machiavelli is talking of planning the foundation for a strong kingdom by always working on keeping your task at hand. Machiavelli always is pro-active in his ideas, he wants to snip a problem before it seems to get to big. Machiavelli also wanted to remind Lorenzo to always oversee the nobles and peasants)


     It is not unknown to me how many men have had, and still have, the opinion that the affairs of the world are in such wise governed by fortune and by God that men with their wisdom cannot direct them and that no one can even help them; and because of this they would have us believe that it is not necessary to labor much in affairs, but to let chance govern them. This opinion has been more credited in our times because of the great changes in affairs which have been seen, and may still be seen, every day, beyond all human conjecture. Sometimes pondering over this, I am in some degree inclined to their opinion. Nevertheless, not to extinguish our free will, I hold it to be true that Fortune is the arbiter of one-half of our actions, but that she still leaves us to direct the other half, or perhaps a little less.

     I compare her to one of those raging rivers, which when in flood overflows the plains, sweeping away trees and buildings, bearing away the soil from place to place; everything flies before it, all yield to its violence, without being able in any way to withstand it; and yet, though its nature be such, it does not follow therefore that men, when the weather becomes fair, shall not make provision, both with defenses and barriers, in such a manner that, rising again, the waters may pass away by canal, and their force be neither so unrestrained nor so dangerous. So it happens with fortune, who shows her power where valor has not prepared to resist her, and thither she turns her forces where she knows that barriers and defenses have not been raised to constrain her.

     And if you will consider Italy, which is the seat of these changes, and which has given to them their impulse, you will see it to be an open country without barriers and without any defense  For if it had been defended by proper valor, as are Germany, Spain, and France, either this invasion would not have made the great changes it has made or it would not have come at all. And this I consider enough to say concerning resistance to fortune in general.

     But confining myself more to the particular, I say that a prince may be seen happy to-day and ruined to-morrow without having shown any change of disposition or character. This, I believe, arises firstly from causes that have already been discussed at length, namely, that the prince who relies entirely on fortune is lost when it changes. I believe also that he will be successful who directs his actions according to the spirit of the times, and that he whose actions do not accord with the times will not be successful. Because men are seen, in affairs that lead to the end which every man has before him, namely, glory and riches, to get there by various methods; one with caution, another with haste; one by force, another by skill; one by patience, another by its opposite; and each one succeeds in reaching the goal by a different method. One can also see of two cautious men the one attain his end, the other fail; and similarly, two men by different observances are equally successful, the one being cautious, the other impetuous; all this arises from nothing else than whether or not they conform in their methods to the spirit of the times. This follows from what I have said, that two men working differently bring about the same effect, and of two working similarly, one attains his object and the other does not.

     Changes in estate also issue from this, for if, to one who governs himself with caution and patience, times and affairs converge in such a way that his administration is successful, his fortune is made; but if times and affairs change, he is ruined if he does not change his course of action. But a man is not often found sufficiently circumspect to know how to accommodate himself to the change, both because he cannot deviate from what nature inclines him to do, and also because, having always prospered by acting in one way, he cannot be persuaded that it is well to leave it; and, therefore, the cautious man, when it is time to turn adventurous, does not know how to do it, hence he is ruined; but had he changed his conduct with the times fortune would not have changed.

     Pope Julius the Second went to work impetuously in all his affairs, and found the times and circumstances conform so well to that line of action that he always met with success. Consider his first enterprise against Bologna, Messer Giovanni Bentivogli being still alive. The Venetians were not agreeable to it, nor was the King of Spain, and he had the enterprise still under discussion with the King of France; nevertheless he personally entered upon the expedition with his accustomed boldness and energy, a move which made Spain and the Venetians stand irresolute and passive, the latter from fear, the former from desire to recover the kingdom of Naples; on the other hand, he drew after him the King of France, because that king, having observed the movement, and desiring to make the Pope his friend so as to humble the Venetians, found it impossible to refuse him. Therefore Julius with his impetuous action accomplished what no other pontiff with simple human wisdom could have done; for if he had waited in Rome until he could get away, with his plans arranged and everything fixed, as any other pontiff would have done, he would never have succeeded. Because the King of France would have made a thousand excuses, and the others would have raised a thousand fears.

     I will leave his other actions alone, as they were all alike, and they all succeeded, for the shortness of his life did not let him experience the contrary; but if circumstances had arisen which required him to go cautiously, his ruin would have followed, because he would never have deviated from those ways to which nature inclined him.

     I conclude, therefore that, fortune being changeable and mankind steadfast in their ways, so long as the two are in agreement men are successful, but unsuccessful when they fall out. For my part I consider that it is better to be adventurous than cautious, because fortune is a woman, and if you wish to keep her under it is necessary to beat and ill-use her; and it is seen that she allows herself to be mastered by the adventurous rather than by those who go to work more coldly. She is, therefore, always, woman-like, a lover of young men, because they are less cautious, more violent, and with more audacity command her.

(In This chapter Machiavelli points out that human nature is fixed but fortune is not. You must plan frequently to be a proper prince and I think Machiavelli would have emphasized a 10 hour work day 7 days a week for this subject. He also gives one of his most famous quotes relating fortune to a woman. The woman always go for the bad boys and they bend to those who are more adventurous.)


     Having carefully considered the subject of the above discourses, and wondering within myself whether the present times were propitious to a new prince, and whether there were elements that would give an opportunity to a wise and virtuous one to introduce a new order of things which would do honor to him and good to the people of this country, it appears to me that so many things concur to favor a new prince that I never knew a time more fit than the present.

     And if, as I said, it was necessary that the people of Israel should be captive so as to make manifest the ability of Moses; that the Persians should be oppressed by the Medes so as to discover the greatness of the soul of Cyrus; and that the Athenians should be dispersed to illustrate the capabilities of Theseus: then at the present time, in order to discover the virtue of an Italian spirit, it was necessary that Italy should be reduced to the extremity that she is now in, that she should be more enslaved than the Hebrews, more oppressed than the Persians, more scattered than the Athenians; without head, without order, beaten, despoiled, torn, overrun; and to have endured every kind of desolation.

     Although lately some spark may have been shown by one, which made us think he was ordained by God for our redemption, nevertheless it was afterwards seen, in the height of his career, that fortune rejected him; so that Italy, left as without life, waits for him who shall yet heal her wounds and put an end to the ravaging and plundering of Lombardy, to the swindling and taxing of the kingdom and of Tuscany, and cleanse those sores that for long have festered. It is seen how she entreats God to send someone who shall deliver her from these wrongs and barbarous insolence  It is seen also that she is ready and willing to follow a banner if only someone will raise it.

     Nor is there to be seen at present one in whom she can place more hope than in your illustrious house,(*) with its valor and fortune, favored by God and by the Church of which it is now the chief, and which could be made the head of this redemption. This will not be difficult if you will recall to yourself the actions and lives of the men I have named. And although they were great and wonderful men, yet they were men, and each one of them had no more opportunity than the present offers, for their enterprises were neither more just nor easier than this, nor was God more their friend than He is yours.

(*) Giuliano de Medici. He had just been created a cardinal by Leo X. In 1523 Giuliano was elected Pope, and took the title of Clement VII.

(Pope Clement the 7th was born in Florence around the time of the assassination of his father and his mother passed in bearing him. He was born illegitimate and it took some arm twisting and interpretation of canon law   to lessen the stigma of "illegitimate". He was trained and educated by his uncle Lorenzo the Great and without a doubt seen the ways a prince would rule Machiavelli's city firsthand. He was also an example that Machiavelli without a doubt studied. Clement tried to stop wars in Spain and France, stop the protestant reformation shifting throughout middle and Great Britain. He resided over the sack of Rome in 1527 by the Holy Roman empire and that ended the Renaissance in that city. Rivals in Italy took the opportunity to seize lands owned by Romans (In the sense of people of and for Rome)

     With us there is great justice, because that war is just which is necessary, and arms are hallowed when there is no other hope but in them. Here there is the greatest willingness, and where the willingness is great the difficulties cannot be great if you will only follow those men to whom I have directed your attention. Further than this, how extraordinarily the ways of God have been manifested beyond example: the sea is divided, a cloud has led the way, the rock has poured forth water, it has rained manna, everything has contributed to your greatness; you ought to do the rest. God is not willing to do everything, and thus take away our free will and that share of glory which belongs to us.

     And it is not to be wondered at if none of the above-named Italians have been able to accomplish all that is expected from your illustrious house; and if in so many revolutions in Italy, and in so many campaigns, it has always appeared as if military virtue were exhausted, this has happened because the old order of things was not good, and none of us have known how to find a new one. And nothing honors a man more than to establish new laws and new ordinances when he himself was newly risen. Such things when they are well founded and dignified will make him revered and admired, and in Italy there are not wanting opportunities to bring such into use in every form.

     Here there is great valor in the limbs whilst it fails in the head. Look attentively at the duels and the hand-to-hand combats, how superior the Italians are in strength, dexterity, and subtlety. But when it comes to armies they do not bear comparison, and this springs entirely from the insufficiency of the leaders, since those who are capable are not obedient, and each one seems to himself to know, there having never been any one so distinguished above the rest, either by valor or fortune, that others would yield to him. Hence it is that for so long a time, and during so much fighting in the past twenty years, whenever there has been an army wholly Italian, it has always given a poor account of itself; the first witness to this is Il Taro, afterwards Allesandria, Capua, Genoa, Vaila, Bologna, Mestri.(*)

(*) The battles of Il Taro, 1495; Alessandria, 1499; Capua, 1501; Genoa, 1507; Vaila, 1509; Bologna, 1511; Mestri, 1513.

     If, therefore, your illustrious house wishes to follow these remarkable men who have redeemed their country, it is necessary before all things, as a true foundation for every enterprise, to be provided with your own forces, because there can be no more faithful, truer, or better soldiers. And although singly they are good, altogether they will be much better when they find themselves commanded by their prince, honored by him, and maintained at his expense. Therefore it is necessary to be prepared with such arms, so that you can be defended against foreigners by Italian valor.

     And although Swiss and Spanish infantry may be considered very formidable, nevertheless there is a defect in both, by reason of which a third order would not only be able to oppose them, but might be relied upon to overthrow them. For the Spaniards cannot resist cavalry, and the Switzers are afraid of infantry whenever they encounter them in close combat. Owing to this, as has been and may again be seen, the Spaniards are unable to resist French cavalry, and the Switzers are overthrown by Spanish infantry. And although a complete proof of this latter cannot be shown, nevertheless there was some evidence of it at the battle of Ravenna, when the Spanish infantry were confronted by German battalions, who follow the same tactics as the Swiss; when the Spaniards, by agility of body and with the aid of their shields, got in under the pikes of the Germans and stood out of danger, able to attack, while the Germans stood helpless, and, if the cavalry had not dashed up, all would have been over with them. It is possible, therefore, knowing the defects of both these infantries, to invent a new one, which will resist cavalry and not be afraid of infantry; this need not create a new order of arms, but a variation upon the old. And these are the kind of improvements which confer reputation and power upon a new prince.

     This opportunity, therefore, ought not to be allowed to pass for letting Italy at last see her liberator appear. Nor can one express the love with which he would be received in all those provinces which have suffered so much from these foreign scouring, with what thirst for revenge, with what stubborn faith, with what devotion, with what tears. What door would be closed to him? Who would refuse obedience to him? What envy would hinder him? What Italian would refuse him homage? To all of us this barbarous dominion stinks. Let, therefore, your illustrious house take up this charge with that courage and hope with which all just enterprises are undertaken, so that under its standard our native country may be ennobled, and under its auspices may be verified that saying of Petrarch;

"Virtue against fury shall advance the fight
And it i' th' combat soon shall put to flight:
For the Old Roman Valor is not dead
Nor in the Italian breasts extinguished"

(In this chapter Machiavelli shows his patriotism to the State of Italy and not the cities. Being a traveled man, Machiavelli seen the differences of his Italian like neighbors and the far lands of Western and Northern Europe. The idea of a strong Italy is one of the common themes through the Renaissance. The move from city states to nation-states was accelerating. The acceleration of urbanization was strong and Italy's economy was strong.)

(below is a map of Italy in 1492, around the time Machiavelli notice the amount of different examples he could draw upon to show the workings of different structured governments and states. Machiavelli spent time in almost all of these states through travel and through his job as a diplomat for Florence)

(Machiavelli also points out to Lorenzo that he could gain more power because he has a pope in the family. He says that God is much more a friend to Lorenzo than the previous men outlined in the Prince  Machiavelli also goes back over his idea of destiny seeming to have just as much to do with a princes come up as the abilities of the prince himself. He is also obviously sucking up to the family that expelled him from his native city. Machiavelli could have been trying to flatter Lorenzo and earn favor from him. This whole treatise is one of trying to flatter the Prince, Machiavelli wrote this with some mixed intentions, it would be interesting to read a version written for a different prince.)

(Machiavelli also seems to be trying to rally Lorenzo into a war to unite Italy. With an Italian running the church and Florence at the tip of its power, without a doubt Machiavelli envisioned Florence as the true capital of Italy and it only fitting to have the biggest Merchant/Banking/Political family at its helm. Machiavelli seen a lot of fighting in Italy, many times Italians killing Italians, Machiavelli must have thought that this war would unite the citizens of Italy against another solid group. This was a key step in the direction of state based nations)

(Machiavelli also gives us a small poem, another reference to Italy, the ancient Roman empire and more big dreams, Machiavelli never thinks small).

The End of the Prince

How to use "The Prince" in modern times

     Machiavelli wrote "The Prince", to appease the Medici family, through subtle appreciation and by delivering a truly valuable guide to abide by. He wanted to write a "For Dummies" book, if you will, for not only Lorenzo De Magnificent, but also for the shadow figure behind the person. To "Use" the Prince, is to appreciate this guide, by putting yourself in the shows of king. Machiavelli stuck by principle and that is the aim of philosophers, not to explain how this rock falls, but how all rocks fall, so the references in the book are antqiated, but purposely provide the core idea behind many problems we may face today in whatever our pursuits are.

     First, I would like to say that to understand "The Prince" and the fact that you are aware of it (I am talking directly to the reader now) puts you ahead of most of the world already. To practice the principles in the Prince are without a doubt the best way to power, in my honest and humble opinion.

     One way of using the prince is adopting its view on human nature in general. Men are fickle, evil, greedy, fearful of change and in general animals. The Prince is the leader of the pack, and the Prince helps explain his actions on the herds possible effects. Machiavelli, like any people of the time would be amazed if they seen the literacy rates we have attained. They did not have the confidence in the people to make intellectual decisions, Hobbes would later some similar things referring to the citizenry and its need of the government to make sure they do not tear each other apart.

     To look upon each individual subject case for advice may not be the best way to use the Prince. It does not make sense to use the prince's methodology if your dealing with family. To draw advice from the history Machiavelli outlined is just as dear as his advice on the situation. Machiavelli did not have a computer and internet to research all these events, and he still seemed to have an ability to peer past influenced and bias accounts of history. He finds common themes quite easy and "The Prince" at least provides some historical stories from a different and critical point of view. 

How was "The Prince" revolutionary and original?

     Most political and social theories before the prince were based upon theoretical examples of civilizations that have never existed. They were made up and the imagination of men who wanted to prove their point. Machiavelli instead of looking to the future for his answer looked at history for examples. This was in his manner of treating politics as a science and not an ethical issue. Machiavelli could separate the ethical issues and the political ones. This was a new way of thinking of things. The book was also dedicated to a current ruler of the country and not for an academic pursuit or endowment of any kind.

     Machiavelli was also forward looking if predicating the rise of the nation state as the best way to run a state. Europe was extremely fragmented  the Feudal era had left a continent carved out into spheres of military influence. The lack of large and centralized armies made Europe a land of constant civil war, rebellion, religious war, conquests, revenge strikes and many more kinds of wars. The mercenaries were cheap and to perform a favor for a local generals loyalty was common. Overnight you could wake to all of your allies having turned your back on you and armies organizing as you wake to come and fight. It required constant planning and balancing your relationships relative to other states. The modern day nation state and modern day national policy is a result of Machiavelli.

     The Prince was original in a style that it was written. Reading the prince gives the feeling of a friend teaching another how to rule. Machiavelli talked as though nobody else would read this in the way that he was honest. This goes against a theory I stated early that he may have written the Prince for the sole purpose of the non-elite class to see how their rulers got where they are and why they do the things they do. Machiavelli's quote "To understand the prince, one must be the people" and vice versa shows how Machiavelli could step outside both the commoners box and the ruling class box.

     Machiavelli also placed a high importance on a man being able to shape his own destiny, to be control of his own fortune. The religious tones of the time reinforced a divine destiny belief. That men had a pace in the world that they cannot change. This itself is a way the nobles can keep the ambitions of the peasants and other competing forces in check. The people are less likely to want to overthrown you if they think the way of things is normal and unchangeable, especially by God. Machiavelli thought a man could avoid disasters in life and shape himself a good future by his own hard work and due diligence.

The Prince affect/reception and impact on society

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     "The Prince" was published and seen almost immediately as a threat, from the ruling class. They were shocked, to see the most extreme and least dressed presentation of the world that they were living in and it was a rewalization for themeslves after reading/hearing it (many Kings could not read, well into the Renaissance and later). The book made its way around Italy and into France, Germany and the United Kingdom and dissementaed into the growing Republic style government combined pshyche of the continent. The works of many Classical Liberals steemed form Machiavellis subtle confession of Government as a source of theft, corruption and violence.  To see the violent way of politics shook the minds of European scholars. To see the beast is to believe it is there. Without the subtle realization and alaytical analysis presented by Machiavelli in regards to the State, the movement away from Monarchy may not have been as sudden or pronounced. 

     The Prince

had a reception with few scholars after being published, but found its ways into other languages and courts. It is sufficiently complex to where everyone gets a different view on it. I wrote this review for the prince and doubt that I would have partaken on one for a different "Philosopher" Machiavelli may have written the Prince in a way to let the common man understand the world of the political leaders. He may have written it specifically for the rulers, but they already knew the principles he was covering, to write them down was a little taboo. It was like the guilds at the time publishing how to manufacture the goods that they had a monopoly on. The circulation of the Prince has been kept low by many leaders, the church and governments. It seen a revival in interest with the American involvement in international affairs following world war 2. The Prince's most practical purpose, I believe  is in its application to state-to-state interactions, as there is no real law in that area and the restrictions for anything is not present. The dirty reality of the world is most seen when there is no regulator and "Bigger body" present to facilitate the functioning and application of law and punishment. 

     This book was shocking to may who first read it. The few peasants who were literate and could somehow find a copy of the prince must have found a completely different world. They were constantly lied to and swindled by their politicians  much more so than today , and this treatise would have been a simple explanation to why leaders undertook certain actions, instead of listening to what the leaders were wanting the people to think. The prince was like a translation of action taken by the prince to what he may possible want to achieve. For example a citizen reading the prince would have had a rare critic of taking arm's from  the people. The importance of an armed populace was not broadcast by the leaders of the time and the citizens were often tricked with what today may be called "Gun Control". It is important to remember that many people trusted politicians because they knew nothing else. Machiavelli's points where ones not championed by the average politician for it would enlighten his people to what truly benefits them and how the prince would manipulate them.

     Machiavelli's affect on peoples interpretation of imperfectness in humans and therefore the world was also prominent. The republic" is the work he is referring to in his quote ""Many men have imagined republics and principalities that never really existed at all". This continues his belief that people are always going to fail and that it is not good to trick yourself into believing something. 

     Machiavelli wrote the prince in a lucky era. The insight is not knowledge was losing its religious appeal and people were becoming more concerned with facts, provable by math or logic not based on scripture. Machiavelli did not write this knowing that it would come to this many people though. Nobody in Italy knew they were in the renaissance. Machiavelli was lucky for historical reasons as he was on the prestigious of the move of Europe away from feudalism and into the modern nation state. 

     Machiavelli wrote the Prince for the Medici Family, who was also in control of the Church  Machiavelli could have been trying to be somewhat satirical with Machiavelli noting the ways Princes abuse their power. Machiavelli could have wanted the work to reach the masses and wrote it in the only way that he could have reached them and not feared execution for it. Even to this day with an assortment of knowledge for the public to sift through, the Prince is a cold reminder of what may really be true politics. It is important to look at the interests of people writing works like this and Machiavelli's has no interests to not tell the Medici family his honest review of the system. To find honesty in political circles to this extent usually requires a lot of money and a good consultant inside the industry. 

     Another theory is that Machiavelli really wrote this for princes and had no intentions for it to be as big and well known as it is. This theory says that he was simply writing in the "Mirror for Princes" style, where a prince is educated on  aspects relating to his princedom. This style was very common throughout the Middle Ages and Machiavelli must have seen many of them being in the Urban metropolis that was Florence at the time.

  • Baldassare Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier.
  • Machiavelli, Il Principe (c. 1513, published in 1532).
  • Erasmus, Institutio principis Christiani 'Education of a Christian Prince' (1516), written as advice to King Charles of Spain (the later Charles V).
  • John Skelton, Speculum principis, lost work written for the then future Henry VIII. A copy of this treatise, which may not be entirely the same as that presented to Henry, resides with the British Museum.
  • Johann Damgaard, Alithia (1597), written for the young King Christian IV.
  • George Buchanan, De iure regni apud Scotos (1579), a work in the form of a Socratic dialogue on ideal kingship dedicated to the young James VI of Scotland
  • Juan de Mariana, De rege et regis institutione (Toledo, 1598); The King and the Education of the King, translated by George Albert Moore, Country Dollar Press (1948).
  • James VI of Scotland, wrote Basilikon Doron as a gift to his eldest son.

     Even though Machiavelli wrote this for the Medici Family almost any person wanting to come to power can read it. One reason for the success of "The Prince" is because it is easy to understand, the concepts and examples are clearly laid out. It does not require any prior knowledge and Machiavelli goes over many of his historical examples in enough detail for the most ignorant person in history to understand. For a person of European history, the examples Machiavelli gave are commonly used in other historical works.

Giovanni Battista Busini wrote summing up the Prince-

“Everyone hated Machiavelli on account of The Prince; to the rich, it 
seemed that his Prince was a document for teaching the duke how to steal their 
possessions, to the poor their liberty. To the followers of Savonarola he 
seemed a heretic, to the good dishonorable, to the wicked more wicked or more clever 
than they: so that everyone hated him.”

in 1566 a French Student of Machiavelli  Bodin said Machiavelli was the first to make a significant impact on political theory since “1,200 years of barbarism had overwhelmed everything.” But Machiavelli's interpretation and acceptance has always been a up and down think. 10 years later the same man said “[Machiavelli is an] atheist [whose] political science consists of nothing but tyrannical ruses that he has searched out in all corners of Italy.”

     The Prince was banned by the Catholic church in 1557, usually reserved for documents considered dangerous to circulate widely, along the same time it was gaining popularity in France.

     T. S. Elliot reflected: “the growth of Protestantism . . . created a disposition against Machiavelli.” This was coupling with the rise of protestant in Northern Europe, exacerbated by Henry the 8th breaking the Church of England's from the Catholic church and Martin Luther protesting church rules. This made a divide of Northern Europe and the corrupt South. Italy was viewed as an old world reflecting the dark ages, Machiavelli was the symbol of this corruption.

     Innocent Gentillet, French Huguenot lawyer, was the first to publish a criticism of Machiavelli’s Prince, he published it anonymously in French  "the Contre Machiavelli" in 1576. As a lawyer, he lashed out at Machiavelli for not considering civil law, natural law and supporting a strong and central monarchy. He blames Machiavelli policies for the civil wars that distraught France in the 1500's.

     Around this time the prince was being banned in small communities and on the Federal level of the government. The combination of being banned on the Papal list and being reputed Satanic in the South and Catholic in the North, Machiavellian knowledge seemed to be shared as though it was a secret. Many sects of scholars and men of status treasured their copy and kept it secret for fear of being caught with it, for punishment of having a banned book was death in many circumstances. The intrigue into what the little book contained attracted interest and drew readers nonetheless.

     In 1584 John Wolfe eluded the ban when he translated The Prince and the Discourses in manuscript. “The more I read, the more they pleased me. In brief, I realized that I had learned more from these works in one day about the government of the world, than I had in all my past life”

     The Italian international law scholar Alberico Gentili first raised the proposal of The Prince as a satire in 1585 when he wrote De legationibus libri tres. He goes on to say \“a strong supporter and enthusiast for democracy. Therefore he did not help the tyrant; . . . [because] while appearing to instruct the prince he was actually educating the people.”

     Machiavelli is referred to on several occasions in Elizabethan literature, as in Shakespeare’s infamous line in Henry VI about the “Murderous Machiavel.” The Prince had more influence on Tudor
England than any other work and no writer was more commonly cited than Machiavelli.52
Eduard Meyer’s study pointed out at least 395 references to Machiavelli in Elizabethan

     With the Prince moving from French translation to Spanish the censure of Machiavelli in Spain officially began in 1595 when diplomat Pedro de Rivadeneira wrote the "Treatise of Religion, and Virtues which the Christian Prince Must Have to Govern and Conserve his States, against what Machiavelli and Politicos of this Time Teach". He dedicated his refutation of The Prince to Philip III shortly before he became the ruler of Spain. The Jesuits in Spain shared this anti-Machiavelli feel and made accessing his works and publicly discussing his ideas hard in the Iberian peninsula  Claudio Clemente, wrote Machiavellianism Decapitated by Christian Wisdom of Spain and Austria in 1637 on the same religious front that Pedro and Innocent.

(Sir Francis Bacon named Machiavelli as the predecessor of modern day science in the 16th century  The results and experimentation were more important than the metaphysics and assumptions around religion on objects and people. Machiavelli was like Bacon in not placing morals on what he measured, this is crucial to thinking of things in a scientific manner as opposed to the religious view that dominated the Medieval ages and Renaissance. Most works up to that point where theories that were constructed out of imaginary examples. Machiavelli, was more focused on direct results of actions and events. He wanted to prove that "X" happened because of the right does of "A, B, C and D". This is the refinement of realism, as opposed to the idealism that dominated medieval Europe).

(Thomas Hobbes, in the 17th century, would later echo the Machiavellian principle that assumes that all men are evil and wicked. He came to the conclusion that men need government to stop them from reducing society to ruble. Machiavelli did not grow up in the time of the nation state like Hobbes seen, where France, England, Germany and Spain were setting a new way of thinking of a cohesive body of people vying for each others benefit

     While it is important to note that most of the denial of Machiavelli came directly from the association he had with anti-religion. for those states or communities that had religious tolerance or a secular feel to them, then Machiavelli was accepted in different meaning. A Dutch philosopher of the time, Baruch Spinoza thought highly of him and cited him regularly in his works.56 In fact, Spinoza construed The Prince as a clandestinely republican work and referred to Machiavelli as a “wise man who gave some very sound advice for preserving freedom”.

Frederick wrote Antimachiavel in 1739 and had it published in
1740 before he became king. He described Machiavelli as a hindrance to the betterment
of society.58 It has been suggested that his refutation of The Prince was ironically a
classic Machiavellian plot in order to eliminate any thought among Prussians that he
would be a despotic ruler, a tactic that Machiavelli would have applauded.59 In fact,
Voltaire advised Frederick to write Antimachiavel reasoning that Machiavelli would have
looked favorably upon a leader for denouncing The Prince.
60 Voltaire’s recommendation
to admonish the “poisonous”61 instruction of Machiavelli led to a systematic attack on
every chapter of The Prince. In a sense, Frederick was even mimicking Machiavelli
because his treatise contains twenty-six chapters, the same as Machiavelli’s Prince.
 Frederick was explicit in his disapproval of Machiavelli. He believed Machiavelli
had a terrible impact on politics and that his ideas would have grave effects on
civilization. He goes on to refer to Machiavelli as a “monster” who wants to destroy
humanity and states, “I have always regarded The Prince of Machiavelli as one of the
most dangerous works that have ever been poured out on the world.” Frederick had a
fear that The Prince would influence the young and ultimately lead to corruption and evil
leadership.62 He lamented the thought of people living under the type of prince that
Machiavelli endorsed because they would ultimately be at the disposal of their leader in
every respect. Frederick even claimed that Machiavelli endorsed the value that princes
“ought to abuse the world with their dissimulation.” Furthermore, he disagreed with
Machiavelli’s suggestion that humans are inherently selfish and iniquitous.63

Rousseau gives Machiavelli adoring praise in his Social Contract: (1762)

“While appearing to instruct kings he has done much to educate people. Machiavelli’s
Prince is the book of republicans.”

Italian poet Vittorio Alfieri “the divine genius of our Machiavelli” in his 1796 work, Del principe e delle lettere.

Many were beginning to argue that Machiavelli was merely writing to

solve the problems of Italy during his day. This interpretation thrust nationalism into the
picture as Machiavelli’s prime motivation

Pasquale Villari wrote a classic biography on Machiavelli, believed that The Prince was written to support nationalism. Villari himself had played a lively role in the unification of Italy, which likely had an impact on his interpretation. He said it was a blessing that the Medici returned to Florence and Machiavelli was forced into semi-exile, and off to write his book. “It is impossible not to grant him our admiration when we find him preaching the necessity of arming the people [and] training [them] to self-sacrifice for [their] country’s
cause . . . .” This solidified Machiavelli as a stateman and patriot of Italy. his last chapter was oftne printed freely away from the Prince and passed to Italian citizens in various political movements and as part of other literature. Machiavelli said in the chapter that Italians are "more enslaved than the Jews. She has no leader, no organization. She is beaten, robbed, wounded. And she has experienced every sort of injury.”

De Sanctis “Let us be
proud of our Machiavelli! . . . [Let] there be glory to Machiavelli! At the moment in
which I am writing, . . . the people are shouting Viva for the independence of Italy! Glory
to Machiavelli!” The loyalty for the State found a perfect voice for unification & centralization of Italy in Mahciavelli.

Professor Emeritus Leo Strauss of the University of Chicago is

one of the most renowned scholars of Machiavelli the world has ever known. Harvard
professor Harvey C. Mansfield states every time he touches upon a new aspect of
Machiavelli he is greeted with the message that Strauss has already been there.76 Strauss
wrote extensively on Machiavelli in the 1950s and maintained a philosophy similar to
Gentillet and Frederick II, establishing a reputation as a stern anti-Machiavellian.
Professor Strauss is adamant in portraying a ruthless Machiavelli by stressing that
his teachings are “immoral and irreligious.”77 He cannot comprehend how Machiavelli’s
recommendations could be classified as anything other than evil and validates his claim
by citing Machiavelli’s support of murder to achieve desired ends. Indeed, Strauss states the mere fact Machiavelli associates his name with such tactics is more than enough to
characterize him as an evil man. He also rejects the argument that Machiavelli was a
patriot or a scientist, as he defines Machiavelli’s patriotism to be “collective selfshness,”

and emphasizes that anyone who misinterprets him has fallen prey to his principles.78
Strauss’s explanation of Machiavelli is obviously guided by his severe contempt.

historian Garrett Mattingly in 1958 wrote “Machiavelli’s Prince: Political Science or Political Satire?”

In 1929 Max Lerner said “It is our recognition that the realities he described are realities; that men, whether in
politics, in business or in private life, do not act according to their professions of virtue;
[and] that leaders in every field seek power ruthlessly and hold on to it tenaciously. . . .” He goes on to say

“hard-bitten inquiry into how things actually get
accomplished in a real world.”

Mattingly famously portrayed The Prince as a “savage satire” and defended his
argument by providing several examples of Machiavelli’s life, along with his
controversial portrayal of the unsuccessful Cesare Borgia as the model prince. 90 He
cynically looks upon the suggestion that Machiavelli seriously wrote a how-to book for
tyrants. Instead, Mattingly reiterates Machiavelli’s struggles for liberty and citizen
participation. He asks why Machiavelli portrays the failed Borgia as the ideal leader. In
addition, Mattingly uses the well-worn example of the Discourses as the true
embodiment of Machiavelli’s ethos. Mattingly then states that The Prince would have
been a negation of everything Machiavelli ever wrote and stood for in his life. He
believes it made “excellent sense” to view The Prince as a satire because it is the only
way to understand why Borgia was selected as the model prince. Moreover, a satire
would explain why Machiavelli’s friends did not chastise him for authoring The Prince.
Lastly, this interpretation clears up many ambiguities that arise in the case of a known
republican advocating authoritarianism.While Mattingly initially set forth the idea of political satire, he had a change of
heart before his death. In 1961 Mattingly reversed his opinion of The Prince when he
noted: “. . . of course, the proposal that The Prince was conceived as a satire is the kind
of anachronism which only the eighteenth century could have perpetrated. . . .
[Machiavelli] would have failed completely to understand the proposition that The Prince
was a satire.”92 Furthermore, Hans Baron claims Mattingly told him before his death “that the theory of a satirical meaning of The Prince cannot be maintained.”93 Although
Mattingly originally interpreted The Prince as a satire, his change of opinion truly
epitomizes the essence of the continuous debate over the understanding of Machiavelli’s

The Prince as a main influence

     Henry the 8th was said to have carried a copy of the prince in his pocket. He was publicly called by many in England a "Son of a Florentine", meaning son of Niccolo Machiavelli.

     Many have said that the discourses is the way to keep a republic and the prince is just a short term fix to problme.s The Republic needs a Prince and the prince needs a republic.

The Prince relative discourses

     Many have said that the discourses is the way to keep a republic and the prince is just a short term fix to problems the Republic needs a Prince and the prince needs a republic.

     The Prince was frantically written after the overthrown of the Florentine Republic. Torture, exile and thoughts of better times must have soured the mood of Machiavelli while writing the Prince. The Discourses, probably stretched over four years and was a project that Machiavelli worked at fervently and dedicatedly. The Discourses were Machiavellis more proud work and that which he thought he would have been more famous for. He overvauled his historian skills and undervalued his political skills. The Prince was the one we rememerb him by one becasue it was shorter and "sexier" than discourses.

Was Machiavelli a Machiavellian?

     Hardly, Machiavelli may have been during the five months that it took him to write the prince, but overall he advocated a republican style of government and anit-tyrannical measures and the way to go in every instance outside of the Prince. the discourses on Livy must be read with the Prince and you will get a balanced version of his thought. It is important to understand that Machiavelli wrote the Prince after a hard life of betrayal  war and politics, he was used to the worst in humanity and was writing to a politician himself. the prince is meant in a way to appeal to a Machiavellian  even if Machiavelli was not one himself. Machiavelli was a political scientist, he could offer his talent for good or bad and he was selling his services for bad reasons in writing the Prince. I think to say he wrote it as a defensive guide for the Medici is not likely, Machiavelli wanted to get back into politics more than anything and may have bent his own moral standards to write a book stripped of moral means.

     Machiavelli was also a constant reviewer of history. In a way people say this is Machiavellian. to always look at historical examples will yield you the results yo want. If you go by history I think you will be paranoid and all preparing just like Machiavelli. I think one reason for the Princes lack of morals is Machiavelli reading historical account after historical account of Men thinking things as being different than what they really are. He without a doubt was fed up with the idealism of the Greek Philosophers and could not wait to say something different and be one to say "Well maybe its not something new". history to this point had been very violent, an reasonable student of history will have a much less virgin view of Machiavelli and his tactics.

“Those who write and always address their works to some prince [are] blinded by ambition and by avarice, and praise him for all his virtuous qualities when they ought to be blaming him for all his bad qualities”

     This pretty much negates that butt kissing that Machiavelli did in the dedication letter  He was obviously not a Machiavellian and had his heart set on a republic. Many have shot the messenger in Machiavelli, the man was trying to get a job, not get tortured or killed and of course gain some fame himself. The prince is like a one last shot attempt into getting back into the limelight  It is a boxer against the ropes or a football tea that is down 14 in the 4th quarter. Machiavelli had to go hard or go home and he did in the prince. He must have really felt that morality was no consideration and only disclosed it because he was hired, in a way, to advise Lorenzo, that was it. Similar to hiring a lawyer today, the lawyer may not agree on the case, but he will defend his client to the fullest extent of the law.

     He believed that men like Buondelmonti and Rucellai (Member's of a group of people Machiavelli would meet and talk gossip with) would serve as the best leaders because they were innately “generous,” unlike dictators who are merely “potentially generous.”

     Machiavelli described Michele, in The history of Florence" as: “[accepting] the

lordship, and because he was a sagacious and prudent man who owed more to nature than
to fortune, he resolved to quiet the city and stop the tumults.”138 Machiavelli said
Michele exclaimed to a gathered crowd that Florence was in the people’s hands and it
was their decision to determine who their leader would be.

“In spirit, prudence, and goodness [Michele] surpassed any citizen of his time, and he deserves to be numbered among the few who have benefited their fatherland.”

     But then again you can counter all of Machiavelli claims with another one of his letters or passages, he may have been tricking us the whole time, which indeed itself is very Machiavellian.

     He wrote to Francesco Guicciardini only six years before he died: “As for the lies of these citizens of Carpi, I can beat all of them out, because it has been a while since I have become a doctor of this art... so, for some time now I have never said what I believe or never believed what I said; and if indeed I do sometimes tell the truth, I hide it behind so many lies that it is hard to find.”

The Princes place as part of the Florence Renaissance atmosphere.

Who influenced Machiavelli
     Machiavelli should truly be thought of as a new way of thinking. There were few references, or direct influences seen in Machiavelli writing the Prince  He debunks Plato's philosopher kings, denies that a Prince only reaches his position through Christian virtues and touts directly an idealistic way of viewing the world. Machiavelli was the inventor of political science by pure curiosity into how a prince comes to power. The truth was the objective of his study, not some scholarly or academic praise. The Prince is a "How To" guide, not a guide concerned with "Why" things are as they are, but how to deal with it. 

     Everyone is influenced by what they sense. Every stimuli has an impact on the physche. Machiavelli was educated in Latin and studied the classics without a doubt.

     Titus Livy Cicero. Polybius, Plato, Aristotle, and Seneca. Hannibal, Girolamo Savonarola, Pope Julius II and Cesare Borgia are all the most direct influences seen in and admitted of Machiavelli.

File:Raffaello Scuola di Atene numbered.svg

     The best way to show who was influencing the Renaissance, Florence and therefore Machiavelli in indirect ways is to look at Raphael s "School Of Athens" painting showing the majors thinkers of the time.
  1. Epicurus 
  2. Unknown
  3. Boethius 
  4. Averroes 
  5. Pythagoras 
  6. Alcibiades
  7. Antisthenes
  8. Raphael
  9.  Aeschines
  10. Parmenides
  11. Socrates 
  12. Heraclitus 
  13. Plato
  14. Aristotle  
  15. Diogenes of Sinope 
  16. Plotinus 
  17. Euclid 
  18. Zoroaster 
  19. Ptolemy
  20. Protogenes 
Other books written in the "Mirror of Princes" genre

Baldassare Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier.
Erasmus- Education of a Christian Prince (1516, to King Charles V, was in a much more positive manner, some parts sound like the opposite of the Prince in many parts)
John Skelton- Speculum principis (wrote for the future king Henry VIII, before he became king. 
Johann Damgaard, Alithia (1597), written for the young King Christian IV.[6]
George Buchanan, De iure regni apud Scotos (1579), a work in the form of a Socratic dialogue on ideal kingship dedicated to the young James VI of Scotland
Juan de Mariana, De rege et regis institutione (Toledo, 1598); The King and the Education of the King, translated by George Albert Moore, Country Dollar Press (1948).
James VI of Scotland, wrote Basilikon Doron as a gift to his eldest son.

Conclusion & Review of the Prince

     The Prince is without a doubt the most knowledge packed book that I ever read. I feel like Machiavelli was very rare in being honest with his unconscious mind. He was a scientist in the respect for his accuracy of aligning the real world with how he interpreted things. Machiavelli seemed to have a strong aversion to other influencing him and especially if he thought the leader was committing "Machiavellian" politics. He was always a critic of a rulers way of doing things and was always monitoring and aware the situation for honesty and subconscious aspects. Machiavelli would have been excellent at a game of poker.

     Nonetheless, his infantry squad that he assembled was ran for cowardice, he never attained a major status in life beyond being feared by the elites in Florence and a small fan-base in foreign courts of European state surrounding Italy. Machiavelli is famous, but not as much as Adam Smith, Leonardo Da Vinvi, Raphael, Michelangelo or even Donatello. The name Machiavelli is not even associated with the man himself. I was glad the day that my teacher in organizational culture also heard Tupac Shakur pulled a "Machiavelli" or faked his death and wondered what that had to do with it all. 

     I do not think Machiavelli faked his death, but I do believe that this is the unedited and original text, maybe not in its entirety, but I think it was written and edited by Machiavelli. It fits in so perfect with his other works. Namely how prone he is to go off into history lessons.

     I wrote this review to have one that I thought would be relevant to today's issues. I wanted something that could really try and take a great piece of work and help me to understand it for my situation  I am glad to publish it on blogger and help out anybody who may read it and find it useful. I am going to record "The Prince" on a sound recorder for audio-book files and maybe I can throw some notes and commentary on top of those also. This report, like most of mine, are ongoing  as they are down for my own business uses. 

     I started this in the depths of Winter 2012. I did not think I would ever get it looking this good. To embark on something like this is pretty big. I think I need to save all of my material on a hard drive or something like that. This is worth some money. If it did so, at least I would have the skills and experience to re-write an even better one.

     I will write another review of a philosopher, if you apply the 18th century definition. Or you could call him the first economist, Adam Smith. Smith is another influential side of business and to have a crucial understanding of the best mind in politics and the best mind in business is crucial and a way to get over the competition. While those on Seeking Alpha babble about Technical Trading and ridiculous charts, derivative and whatever else based finance  I will actually learn something that will let me peer into a companies soul and see their true worth.

     This Machiavelli was written for some young business men like myself who may be looking for an edge up through studying the ancients. Machiavelli said himself that a Prince should concern himself with nothing but the study of war, which means competition. Machiavelli would always want you to remember the constant times when your opponents can show aggression  This falls later into Game Theory, which I think Machiavelli would have been a fan of in many ways. 

     I think that it is obvious to see that Machiavelli is an Italian patriot. his love of the State of Italy could have been united Italy and made her the strongest European power, but a divided Italy slowly was beaten by Britain, Germanic states and France. Those with strong ties for nationality and those who fought with citizen armies were the most successful, as Machiavelli pointed out. Italy failed to unite, was a land of constant change and therefore the order of things were frequently short lived.

     I do not care that people associate bad things with Machiavelli. That shows how ignorant they are to the world of politics  To many rulers who read the prince, they simply say this is the most true account of how "It really goes on". An understanding of this is crucial to any economic students class. It also compliments the individual concepts of libertarianism by outlining the true incentives that drive national decision, personal incentives. 

     Thank you for reading this, I hope you found it insightful and thought provoking. I feel blessed to contribute to the many reviews of this classic.

     -Michael G. Morrison ll, CEO- Morrison Marketing, Author

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