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Title: The Prince
Author: Nicolo Machiavelli
Translator: W. K. Marriott
Release Date: February 11, 2006 [EBook #1232]
Last Updated: November 5, 2012
Language: English
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE PRINCE ***
Produced by John Bickers, David Widger and Others
THE PRINCE
by Nicolo Machiavelli
Translated by W. K. Marriott
Nicolo Machiavelli, born at Florence on 3rd May 1469. From 1494 to 1512
held an official post at Florence which included diplomatic missions to
various European courts. Imprisoned in Florence, 1512; later exiled and
returned to San Casciano. Died at Florence on 22nd June 1527.
CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION
YOUTH Aet. 1-25—1469-94
OFFICE Aet. 25-43—1494-1512
LITERATURE AND DEATH Aet. 43-58—1512-27
THE MAN AND HIS WORKS
DEDICATION
THE PRINCE
CHAPTER I HOW MANY KINDS OF PRINCIPALITIES THERE
ARE
CHAPTER II CONCERNING HEREDITARY PRINCIPALITIES
CHAPTER III CONCERNING MIXED PRINCIPALITIES
CHAPTER IV WHY THE KINGDOM OF DARIUS, CONQUERED
BY ALEXANDER
CHAPTER V CONCERNING THE WAY TO GOVERN CITIES OR
PRINCIPALITIES
CHAPTER VI CONCERNING NEW PRINCIPALITIES WHICH ARE
ACQUIRED
CHAPTER VII CONCERNING NEW PRINCIPALITIES WHICH
ARE ACQUIRED
CHAPTER VIII CONCERNING THOSE WHO HAVE OBTAINED A
CHAPTER VIII CONCERNING THOSE WHO HAVE OBTAINED A
PRINCIPALITY
CHAPTER IX CONCERNING A CIVIL PRINCIPALITY
CHAPTER X CONCERNING THE WAY IN WHICH THE
STRENGTH
CHAPTER XI CONCERNING ECCLESIASTICAL
PRINCIPALITIES
CHAPTER XII HOW MANY KINDS OF SOLDIERY THERE ARE
CHAPTER XIII CONCERNING AUXILIARIES, MIXED SOLDIERY
CHAPTER XIV THAT WHICH CONCERNS A PRINCE ON THE
SUBJECT OF WAR
CHAPTER XV CONCERNING THINGS FOR WHICH MEN, AND
ESPECIALLY PRINCES
CHAPTER XVI CONCERNING LIBERALITY AND MEANNESS
CHAPTER XVII CONCERNING CRUELTY AND CLEMENCY
CHAPTER XVIII(*) CONCERNING THE WAY IN WHICH PRINCES
SHOULD KEEP
CHAPTER XIX THAT ONE SHOULD AVOID BEING DESPISED
AND HATED
CHAPTER XX ARE FORTRESSES, AND MANY OTHER THINGS
TO WHICH PRINCES
CHAPTER XXI HOW A PRINCE SHOULD CONDUCT HIMSELF
SO AS TO GAIN RENOWN
CHAPTER XXII CONCERNING THE SECRETARIES OF PRINCES
CHAPTER XXIII HOW FLATTERERS SHOULD BE AVOIDED
CHAPTER XXIV WHY THE PRINCES OF ITALY HAVE LOST
THEIR STATES
CHAPTER XXV WHAT FORTUNE CAN EFFECT IN HUMAN
AFFAIRS
CHAPTER XXVI AN EXHORTATION TO LIBERATE ITALY FROM
THE BARBARIANS
DESCRIPTION OF THE METHODS ADOPTED BY THE DUKE
VALENTINO WHEN MURDERING
THE LIFE OF CASTRUCCIO CASTRACANI OF LUCCA
INTRODUCTION
Nicolo Machiavelli was born at Florence on 3rd May 1469. He was 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.
His life falls naturally into three periods, each of which singularly enough constitutes a
distinct and important era in the history of Florence. His youth was concurrent with the
greatness of Florence as an Italian power under the guidance of Lorenzo de' Medici, Il
Magnifico. The downfall of the Medici in Florence occurred in 1494, in which year
Machiavelli entered the public service. During his official career Florence was free under the
government of a Republic, which lasted until 1512, when the Medici returned to power, and
Machiavelli lost his office. The Medici again ruled Florence from 1512 until 1527, when they
were once more driven out. This was the period of Machiavelli's literary activity and increasing
influence; but he died, within a few weeks of the expulsion of the Medici, on 22nd June 1527,
in his fifty-eighth year, without having regained office.
YOUTH — Aet. 1-25—1469-94
Although there is little recorded of the youth of Machiavelli, the Florence of those days is so
well known that the early environment of this representative citizen may be easily imagined.
Florence has been described as a city with two opposite currents of life, one directed by the
fervent and austere Savonarola, the other by the splendour-loving Lorenzo. Savonarola's
influence upon the young Machiavelli must have been slight, for although at one time he
wielded immense power over the fortunes of Florence, he only furnished Machiavelli with a
subject of a gibe in "The Prince," where he is cited as an example of an unarmed prophet who
came to a bad end. Whereas the magnificence of the Medicean rule during the life of Lorenzo
appeared to have impressed Machiavelli strongly, for he frequently recurs to it in his writings,
and it is to Lorenzo's grandson that he dedicates "The Prince."
Machiavelli, in his "History of Florence," gives us a picture of the young men among whom
his youth was passed. He writes: "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." In a
letter to his son Guido, Machiavelli shows why youth should avail itself of its opportunities for
study, and leads us to infer that his own youth had been so occupied. He writes: "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."
Then, writing of a new patron, he continues: "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 honour is done to me for the little skill I have. Therefore,
my son, if you wish to please me, and to bring success and honour to yourself, do right and
study, because others will help you if you help yourself."
OFFICE — Aet. 25-43—1494-1512
The second period of Machiavelli's life was spent in the service of the free Republic of
Florence, which flourished, as stated above, from the expulsion of the Medici in 1494 until
their return in 1512. After serving four years in one of the public offices he was appointed
their return in 1512. After serving four years in one of the public offices he was appointed
Chancellor and Secretary to the Second Chancery, the Ten of Liberty and Peace. Here we
are on firm ground when dealing with the events of Machiavelli's life, for during this time he
took a leading part in the affairs of the Republic, and we have its decrees, records, and
dispatches to guide us, as well as his own writings. A mere recapitulation of a few of his
transactions with the statesmen and soldiers of his time gives a fair indication of his activities,
and supplies the sources from which he drew the experiences and characters which illustrate
"The Prince."
His first mission was in 1499 to Catherina Sforza, "my lady of Forli" of "The Prince," from
whose conduct and fate he drew the moral that it is far better to earn the confidence of the
people than to rely on fortresses. This is a very noticeable principle in Machiavelli, and is
urged by him in many ways as a matter of vital importance to princes.
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.
Machiavelli's public life was largely occupied with events arising out of the ambitions of
Pope Alexander VI and his son, Cesare Borgia, the Duke Valentino, 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, insomuch that Cesare is
acclaimed by some critics as the "hero" of "The Prince." Yet in "The Prince" the duke is in
point of fact cited as a type of the man who rises on the fortune of others, and falls with them;
who takes every course that might be expected from a prudent man but the course which will
save him; who is prepared for all eventualities but the one which happens; and who, when all
his abilities fail to carry him through, exclaims that it was not his fault, but an extraordinary and
unforeseen fatality.
On the death of Pius III, in 1503, Machiavelli was sent to Rome to watch the election of his
successor, 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
favours will cause great personages to forget old injuries deceives himself. Julius did not rest
until he had ruined Cesare.
It was to Julius II that Machiavelli was sent in 1506, when that pontiff was commencing his
enterprise against Bologna; which he brought to a successful issue, as he did many of his other
adventures, owing chiefly to his impetuous character. 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.
is the bold rather than the cautious man that will win and hold them both.
It is impossible to follow here the varying fortunes of the Italian states, which in 1507 were
controlled by France, Spain, and Germany, with results that have lasted to our day; we are
concerned with those events, and with the three great actors in them, so far only as they
impinge on the personality of Machiavelli. He had several meetings with Louis XII of France,
and his estimate of that monarch's character has already been alluded to. Machiavelli has
painted Ferdinand of Aragon as the man who accomplished great things under the cloak of
religion, but who in reality had no mercy, faith, humanity, or integrity; and who, had he allowed
himself to be influenced by such motives, would have been ruined. The Emperor Maximilian
was one of the most interesting men of the age, and his character has been drawn by many
hands; but Machiavelli, who was an envoy at his court in 1507-8, reveals the secret of his
many failures when he 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
fulfilment of his wishes.
The remaining years of Machiavelli's official career were filled with events arising out of the
League of Cambrai, made in 1508 between the three great European powers already
mentioned and the pope, with the object of crushing the Venetian Republic. This result was
attained in the battle of Vaila, when Venice lost in one day all that she had won in eight
hundred years. 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.
LITERATURE AND DEATH — Aet. 43-58—1512-27
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
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 neighbours, 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. 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
favour 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 endeavour 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.
THE MAN AND HIS WORKS
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," 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
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.
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 neighbours.
In translating "The Prince" my aim has been to achieve at all costs an exact literal rendering
of the original, rather than a fluent paraphrase adapted to the modern notions of style and
expression. Machiavelli was no facile phrasemonger; the conditions under which he wrote
expression. Machiavelli was no facile phrasemonger; the conditions under which he wrote
obliged him to weigh every word; his themes were lofty, his substance grave, his manner nobly
plain and serious. "Quis eo fuit unquam in partiundis rebus, in definiendis, in explanandis
pressior?" In "The Prince," it may be truly said, there is reason assignable, not only for every
word, but for the position of every word. To an Englishman of Shakespeare's time the
translation of such a treatise was in some ways a comparatively easy task, for in those times
the genius of the English more nearly resembled that of the Italian language; to the Englishman
of to-day it is not so simple. To take a single example: the word "intrattenere," employed by
Machiavelli to indicate the policy adopted by the Roman Senate towards the weaker states of
Greece, would by an Elizabethan be correctly rendered "entertain," and every contemporary
reader would understand what was meant by saying that "Rome entertained the Aetolians and
the Achaeans without augmenting their power." But to-day such a phrase would seem
obsolete and ambiguous, if not unmeaning: we are compelled to say that "Rome maintained
friendly relations with the Aetolians," etc., using four words to do the work of one. I have tried
to preserve the pithy brevity of the Italian so far as was consistent with an absolute fidelity to
the sense. If the result be an occasional asperity I can only hope that the reader, in his
eagerness to reach the author's meaning, may overlook the roughness of the road that leads
him to it.
The following is a list of the works of Machiavelli:
Principal works. Discorso sopra le cose di Pisa, 1499; Del modo di trattare i popoli della
Valdichiana ribellati, 1502; Del modo tenuto dal duca Valentino nell' ammazzare Vitellozzo
Vitelli, Oliverotto da Fermo, etc., 1502; Discorso sopra la provisione del danaro, 1502;
Decennale primo (poem in terza rima), 1506; Ritratti delle cose dell' Alemagna, 1508-12;
Decennale secondo, 1509; Ritratti delle cose di Francia, 1510; Discorsi sopra la prima deca
di T. Livio, 3 vols., 1512-17; Il Principe, 1513; Andria, comedy translated from Terence,
1513 (?); Mandragola, prose comedy in five acts, with prologue in verse, 1513; Della lingua
(dialogue), 1514; Clizia, comedy in prose, 1515 (?); Belfagor arcidiavolo (novel), 1515;
Asino d'oro (poem in terza rima), 1517; Dell' arte della guerra, 1519-20; Discorso sopra il
riformare lo stato di Firenze, 1520; Sommario delle cose della citta di Lucca, 1520; Vita di
Castruccio Castracani da Lucca, 1520; Istorie fiorentine, 8 books, 1521-5; Frammenti
storici, 1525.
Other poems include Sonetti, Canzoni, Ottave, and Canti carnascialeschi.
Editions. Aldo, Venice, 1546; della Tertina, 1550; Cambiagi, Florence, 6 vols., 1782-5;
dei Classici, Milan, 10 1813; Silvestri, 9 vols., 1820-2; Passerini, Fanfani, Milanesi, 6 vols.
only published, 1873-7.
Minor works. Ed. F. L. Polidori, 1852; Lettere familiari, ed. E. Alvisi, 1883, 2 editions,
one with excisions; Credited Writings, ed. G. Canestrini, 1857; Letters to F. Vettori, see A.
Ridolfi, Pensieri intorno allo scopo di N. Machiavelli nel libro Il Principe, etc.; D. Ferrara, The
Private Correspondence of Nicolo Machiavelli, 1929.
DEDICATION
To the Magnificent Lorenzo Di Piero De' Medici:
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 honour 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
unmeritedly I suffer a great and continued malignity of fortune.
THE PRINCE
CHAPTER I — HOW MANY KINDS OF
PRINCIPALITIES THERE ARE, AND BY WHAT
MEANS THEY ARE ACQUIRED
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.
CHAPTER II — CONCERNING HEREDITARY
PRINCIPALITIES
I will 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
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.
CHAPTER III — CONCERNING MIXED
PRINCIPALITIES
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
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.
(*) Duke Lodovico was Lodovico Moro, a son of Francesco
Sforza, who married Beatrice d'Este. He ruled over Milan
from 1494 to 1500, and died in 1510.
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 amongst 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
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 neighbours, and to weaken the more powerful
amongst 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
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 valour 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.
(*) See remark in the introduction on the word
"intrattenere."
But let us turn to France and inquire whether she has done any of the things mentioned. I
will speak of Louis(*) (and not of Charles)(+) 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 XII, King of France, "The Father of the People,"
born 1462, died 1515.
(+) Charles VIII, King of France, born 1470, died 1498.
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.
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.
(*) Louis XII divorced his wife, Jeanne, daughter of Louis
XI, and married in 1499 Anne of Brittany, widow of Charles
VIII, in order to retain the Duchy of Brittany for the
crown.
(+) The Archbishop of Rouen. He was Georges d'Amboise,
created a cardinal by Alexander VI. Born 1460, died 1510.
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
never or rarely fails: that he who is the cause of another becoming powerful is ruined; because
that predominancy has been brought about either by astuteness or else by force, and both are
distrusted by him who has been raised to power.
CHAPTER IV — WHY THE KINGDOM OF DARIUS,
CONQUERED BY ALEXANDER, DID NOT REBEL
AGAINST THE SUCCESSORS OF ALEXANDER AT
HIS DEATH
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 favour 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
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 tranquillity 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 amongst 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.
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.
CHAPTER V — CONCERNING THE WAY TO
GOVERN CITIES OR PRINCIPALITIES WHICH
LIVED UNDER THEIR OWN LAWS BEFORE THEY
WERE ANNEXED
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 amongst 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.
CHAPTER VI — CONCERNING NEW
PRINCIPALITIES WHICH ARE ACQUIRED BY
ONE'S OWN ARMS AND ABILITY
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 savour 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 favour 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 mould 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.
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
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.
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, honoured, and happy.
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
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.
CHAPTER VII — CONCERNING NEW
PRINCIPALITIES WHICH ARE ACQUIRED EITHER
BY THE ARMS OF OTHERS OR BY GOOD
FORTUNE
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 favour 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 and correspondencies(*) 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.
(*) "Le radici e corrispondenze," their roots (i.e.
foundations) and correspondencies or relations with other
states—a common meaning of "correspondence" and
"correspondency" in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
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 behoved 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
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 practised, it had not originated with him, but in
the natural sternness of the minister. Under this pretence 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.
(*) 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, amongst
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.
CHAPTER VIII — CONCERNING THOSE WHO
CHAPTER VIII — CONCERNING THOSE WHO
HAVE OBTAINED A PRINCIPALITY BY
WICKEDNESS
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 favour 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 defence, 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 the Sicilian, born 361 B.C., died 289 B.C.
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 favour 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 honour, yet, in order that the citizens
should see he had not spent his time in vain, he desired to come honourably, so would be
accompanied by one hundred horsemen, his friends and retainers; and he entreated Giovanni
to arrange that he should be received honourably by the Fermians, all of which would be not
only to his honour, 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 honourably 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 neighbours. 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
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 severities(*) 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 practise 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 flavour of them may last longer.
And above all things, a prince ought to live amongst 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.
CHAPTER IX — CONCERNING A CIVIL
PRINCIPALITY
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 favour 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
favour of the people or by the favour 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 favour
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 favours 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.
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 honoured 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 honour 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 favour 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 favour 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 favours;
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
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.
CHAPTER X — CONCERNING THE WAY IN
WHICH THE STRENGTH OF ALL PRINCIPALITIES
OUGHT TO BE MEASURED
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
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 labours 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 defence; 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
defence. 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.
CHAPTER XI — CONCERNING ECCLESIASTICAL
PRINCIPALITIES
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;
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 defence 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.
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 labours.
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 practised before Alexander's time. Such things Julius not only followed, but
never been practised 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.
CHAPTER XII — HOW MANY KINDS OF
SOLDIERY THERE ARE, AND CONCERNING
MERCENARIES
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 defence 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
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 amongst
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 skilful, 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
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,($) where in one battle they lost that which in eight hundred
years they had acquired with so much trouble. Because from such arms conquests come but
slowly, long delayed and inconsiderable, but the losses sudden and portentous.
(*) Battle of Caravaggio, 15th September 1448.
(+) Johanna II of Naples, the widow of Ladislao, King of
Naples.
(%) Giovanni Acuto. An English knight whose name was Sir
John Hawkwood. He fought in the English wars in France, and
was knighted by Edward III; afterwards he collected a body
of troops and went into Italy. These became the famous
"White Company." He took part in many wars, and died in
Florence in 1394. He was born about 1320 at Sible Hedingham,
a village in Essex. He married Domnia, a daughter of Bernabo
Visconti.
Visconti.
(#) Carmignuola. Francesco Bussone, born at Carmagnola about
1390, executed at Venice, 5th May 1432.
(&) Bartolomeo Colleoni of Bergamo; died 1457. Roberto of
San Severino; died fighting for Venice against Sigismund,
Duke of Austria, in 1487. "Primo capitano in Italia."—
Machiavelli. Count of Pitigliano; Nicolo Orsini, born 1442,
died 1510.
($) 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 favouring 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 valour 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 honoured; 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.
CHAPTER XIII — CONCERNING AUXILIARIES,
MIXED SOLDIERY, AND ONE'S OWN
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.
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 neighbours, 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 dastardy is
most dangerous; in auxiliaries, valour. 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
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 valour 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
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 vigour 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 valour 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.
CHAPTER XIV — THAT WHICH CONCERNS A
PRINCE ON THE SUBJECT OF THE ART OF WAR
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,
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 defence; 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
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.
CHAPTER XV — CONCERNING THINGS FOR
WHICH MEN, AND ESPECIALLY PRINCES, ARE
PRAISED OR BLAMED
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
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.
CHAPTER XVI — CONCERNING LIBERALITY AND
MEANNESS
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 imperilled
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
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.
CHAPTER XVII — CONCERNING CRUELTY AND
CLEMENCY, AND WHETHER IT IS BETTER TO BE
LOVED THAN FEARED
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, saying:
"Res dura, et regni novitas me talia cogunt
Moliri, et late fines custode tueri."(*)
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 severities 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
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
valour, 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
should establish himself on that which is in his own control and not in that of others; he must
endeavour only to avoid hatred, as is noted.
CHAPTER XVIII(*) — CONCERNING THE WAY IN
WHICH PRINCES SHOULD KEEP FAITH
(*) "The present chapter has given greater offence than any
other portion of Machiavelli's writings." Burd, "Il
Principe," p. 297.
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
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 "religione" 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,
Nicolo Machiavel, 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
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.
CHAPTER XIX — THAT ONE SHOULD AVOID
BEING DESPISED AND HATED
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.
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
endeavour 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.
That prince is highly esteemed who conveys this impression of himself, and he who is highly
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 favouring the people, and from the people for favouring the nobles, he set up an arbiter,
who should be one who could beat down the great and favour 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
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
unaspiring 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 humours, 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 endeavour with the utmost
diligence to avoid the hatred of the most powerful. Therefore, those emperors who through
inexperience had need of special favour 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.
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 honoured, 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
humours and to gratify them, and then good works will do you harm.
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
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 valour that, keeping the soldiers friendly,
although the people were oppressed by him, he reigned successfully; for his valour 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 despiser 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 contumeliously killed
him in the service of the state. Antoninus had not taken this care, but had contumeliously 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.
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 theatre
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.
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, practised 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
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.
CHAPTER XX — ARE FORTRESSES, AND MANY
OTHER THINGS TO WHICH PRINCES OFTEN
RESORT, ADVANTAGEOUS OR HURTFUL?
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
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 amongst 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
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 favours has acquired a new state, that he must well consider the reasons
which induced those to favour 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 favourable 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
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.
CHAPTER XXI — HOW A PRINCE SHOULD
CONDUCT HIMSELF SO AS TO GAIN RENOWN
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
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 endeavour 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 favour of one party against the
other; which course will always be more advantageous than standing neutral; because if two of
your powerful neighbours 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 harbour 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 favour 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 favour 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.
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 favour 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 honour the proficient in every
art. At the same time he should encourage his citizens to practise 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 honour 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.
CHAPTER XXII — CONCERNING THE
SECRETARIES OF PRINCES
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.
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
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, honouring him,
enriching him, doing him kindnesses, sharing with him the honours and cares; and at the same
time let him see that he cannot stand alone, so that many honours 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.
CHAPTER XXIII — HOW FLATTERERS SHOULD
BE AVOIDED
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,
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 I, born in 1459, died 1519, Emperor of the
Holy Roman Empire. He married, first, Mary, daughter of
Charles the Bold; after her death, Bianca Sforza; and thus
became involved in Italian politics.
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 counsellors 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,
whencesoever they come, are born of the wisdom of the prince, and not the wisdom of the
prince from good counsels.
CHAPTER XXIV — WHY THE PRINCES OF ITALY
HAVE LOST THEIR STATES
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
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
defence 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 valour.
CHAPTER XXV — WHAT FORTUNE CAN EFFECT
IN HUMAN AFFAIRS AND HOW TO WITHSTAND
HER
HER
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 labour 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.
(*) Frederick the Great was accustomed to say: "The older
one gets the more convinced one becomes that his Majesty
King Chance does three-quarters of the business of this
miserable universe." Sorel's "Eastern Question."
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 defences 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 valour has not prepared to resist her,
and thither she turns her forces where she knows that barriers and defences 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
defence. For if it had been defended by proper valour, 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
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 changeful 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.
CHAPTER XXVI — AN EXHORTATION TO
LIBERATE ITALY FROM THE BARBARIANS
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 honour to him and good to the people of this country, it appears to
me that so many things concur to favour 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 insolencies. 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 valour and fortune, favoured 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.
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
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 honours 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 valour 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 valour 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, honoured 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 valour.
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
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 scourings, 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:
Virtu contro al Furore
Prendera l'arme, e fia il combatter corto:
Che l'antico valore
Negli italici cuor non e ancor morto.
Virtue against fury shall advance the fight,
And it i' th' combat soon shall put to flight:
For the old Roman valour is not dead,
Nor in th' Italians' brests extinguished.
Edward Dacre, 1640.
DESCRIPTION OF THE METHODS ADOPTED BY
THE DUKE VALENTINO WHEN MURDERING
VITELLOZZO VITELLI, OLIVEROTTO DA FERMO,
THE SIGNOR PAGOLO, AND THE DUKE DI
GRAVINA ORSINI
BY
NICOLO MACHIAVELLI
NICOLO MACHIAVELLI
The Duke Valentino had returned from Lombardy, where he had been to clear himself with
the King of France from the calumnies which had been raised against him by the Florentines
concerning the rebellion of Arezzo and other towns in the Val di Chiana, and had arrived at
Imola, whence he intended with his army to enter upon the campaign against Giovanni
Bentivogli, the tyrant of Bologna: for he intended to bring that city under his domination, and to
make it the head of his Romagnian duchy.
These matters coming to the knowledge of the Vitelli and Orsini and their following, it
appeared to them that the duke would become too powerful, and it was feared that, having
seized Bologna, he would seek to destroy them in order that he might become supreme in
Italy. Upon this a meeting was called at Magione in the district of Perugia, to which came the
cardinal, Pagolo, and the Duke di Gravina Orsini, Vitellozzo Vitelli, Oliverotto da Fermo,
Gianpagolo Baglioni, the tyrant of Perugia, and Messer Antonio da Venafro, sent by Pandolfo
Petrucci, the Prince of Siena. Here were discussed the power and courage of the duke and
the necessity of curbing his ambitions, which might otherwise bring danger to the rest of being
ruined. And they decided not to abandon the Bentivogli, but to strive to win over the
Florentines; and they send their men to one place and another, promising to one party
assistance and to another encouragement to unite with them against the common enemy. This
meeting was at once reported throughout all Italy, and those who were discontented under the
duke, among whom were the people of Urbino, took hope of effecting a revolution.
Thus it arose that, men's minds being thus unsettled, it was decided by certain men of
Urbino to seize the fortress of San Leo, which was held for the duke, and which they captured
by the following means. The castellan was fortifying the rock and causing timber to be taken
there; so the conspirators watched, and when certain beams which were being carried to the
rock were upon the bridge, so that it was prevented from being drawn up by those inside,
they took the opportunity of leaping upon the bridge and thence into the fortress. Upon this
capture being effected, the whole state rebelled and recalled the old duke, being encouraged
in this, not so much by the capture of the fort, as by the Diet at Magione, from whom they
expected to get assistance.
Those who heard of the rebellion at Urbino thought they would not lose the opportunity,
and at once assembled their men so as to take any town, should any remain in the hands of the
duke in that state; and they sent again to Florence to beg that republic to join with them in
destroying the common firebrand, showing that the risk was lessened and that they ought not
to wait for another opportunity.
But the Florentines, from hatred, for sundry reasons, of the Vitelli and Orsini, not only
would not ally themselves, but sent Nicolo Machiavelli, their secretary, to offer shelter and
assistance to the duke against his enemies. The duke was found full of fear at Imola, because,
against everybody's expectation, his soldiers had at once gone over to the enemy and he
against everybody's expectation, his soldiers had at once gone over to the enemy and he
found himself disarmed and war at his door. But recovering courage from the offers of the
Florentines, he decided to temporize before fighting with the few soldiers that remained to him,
and to negotiate for a reconciliation, and also to get assistance. This latter he obtained in two
ways, by sending to the King of France for men and by enlisting men-at-arms and others
whom he turned into cavalry of a sort: to all he gave money.
Notwithstanding this, his enemies drew near to him, and approached Fossombrone, where
they encountered some men of the duke and, with the aid of the Orsini and Vitelli, routed
them. When this happened, the duke resolved at once to see if he could not close the trouble
with offers of reconciliation, and being a most perfect dissembler he did not fail in any
practices to make the insurgents understand that he wished every man who had acquired
anything to keep it, as it was enough for him to have the title of prince, whilst others might
have the principality.
And the duke succeeded so well in this that they sent Signor Pagolo to him to negotiate for
a reconciliation, and they brought their army to a standstill. But the duke did not stop his
preparations, and took every care to provide himself with cavalry and infantry, and that such
preparations might not be apparent to the others, he sent his troops in separate parties to
every part of the Romagna. In the meanwhile there came also to him five hundred French
lancers, and although he found himself sufficiently strong to take vengeance on his enemies in
open war, he considered that it would be safer and more advantageous to outwit them, and
for this reason he did not stop the work of reconciliation.
And that this might be effected the duke concluded a peace with them in which he
confirmed their former covenants; he gave them four thousand ducats at once; he promised
not to injure the Bentivogli; and he formed an alliance with Giovanni; and moreover he would
not force them to come personally into his presence unless it pleased them to do so. On the
other hand, they promised to restore to him the duchy of Urbino and other places seized by
them, to serve him in all his expeditions, and not to make war against or ally themselves with
any one without his permission.
This reconciliation being completed, Guido Ubaldo, the Duke of Urbino, again fled to
Venice, having first destroyed all the fortresses in his state; because, trusting in the people, he
did not wish that the fortresses, which he did not think he could defend, should be held by the
enemy, since by these means a check would be kept upon his friends. But the Duke
Valentino, having completed this convention, and dispersed his men throughout the Romagna,
set out for Imola at the end of November together with his French men-at-arms: thence he
went to Cesena, where he stayed some time to negotiate with the envoys of the Vitelli and
Orsini, who had assembled with their men in the duchy of Urbino, as to the enterprise in which
they should now take part; but nothing being concluded, Oliverotto da Fermo was sent to
propose that if the duke wished to undertake an expedition against Tuscany they were ready;
if he did not wish it, then they would besiege Sinigalia. To this the duke replied that he did not
wish to enter into war with Tuscany, and thus become hostile to the Florentines, but that he
wish to enter into war with Tuscany, and thus become hostile to the Florentines, but that he
was very willing to proceed against Sinigalia.
It happened that not long afterwards the town surrendered, but the fortress would not yield
to them because the castellan would not give it up to any one but the duke in person; therefore
they exhorted him to come there. This appeared a good opportunity to the duke, as, being
invited by them, and not going of his own will, he would awaken no suspicions. And the more
to reassure them, he allowed all the French men-at-arms who were with him in Lombardy to
depart, except the hundred lancers under Mons. di Candales, his brother-in-law. He left
Cesena about the middle of December, and went to Fano, and with the utmost cunning and
cleverness he persuaded the Vitelli and Orsini to wait for him at Sinigalia, pointing out to them
that any lack of compliance would cast a doubt upon the sincerity and permanency of the
reconciliation, and that he was a man who wished to make use of the arms and councils of his
friends. But Vitellozzo remained very stubborn, for the death of his brother warned him that he
should not offend a prince and afterwards trust him; nevertheless, persuaded by Pagolo
Orsini, whom the duke had corrupted with gifts and promises, he agreed to wait.
Upon this the duke, before his departure from Fano, which was to be on 30th December
1502, communicated his designs to eight of his most trusted followers, among whom were
Don Michele and the Monsignor d'Euna, who was afterwards cardinal; and he ordered that,
as soon as Vitellozzo, Pagolo Orsini, the Duke di Gravina, and Oliverotto should arrive, his
followers in pairs should take them one by one, entrusting certain men to certain pairs, who
should entertain them until they reached Sinigalia; nor should they be permitted to leave until
they came to the duke's quarters, where they should be seized.
The duke afterwards ordered all his horsemen and infantry, of which there were more than
two thousand cavalry and ten thousand footmen, to assemble by daybreak at the Metauro, a
river five miles distant from Fano, and await him there. He found himself, therefore, on the last
day of December at the Metauro with his men, and having sent a cavalcade of about two
hundred horsemen before him, he then moved forward the infantry, whom he accompanied
with the rest of the men-at-arms.
Fano and Sinigalia are two cities of La Marca situate on the shore of the Adriatic Sea,
fifteen miles distant from each other, so that he who goes towards Sinigalia has the mountains
on his right hand, the bases of which are touched by the sea in some places. The city of
Sinigalia is distant from the foot of the mountains a little more than a bow-shot and from the
shore about a mile. On the side opposite to the city runs a little river which bathes that part of
the walls looking towards Fano, facing the high road. Thus he who draws near to Sinigalia
comes for a good space by road along the mountains, and reaches the river which passes by
Sinigalia. If he turns to his left hand along the bank of it, and goes for the distance of a bow-
shot, he arrives at a bridge which crosses the river; he is then almost abreast of the gate that
leads into Sinigalia, not by a straight line, but transversely. Before this gate there stands a
collection of houses with a square to which the bank of the river forms one side.
The Vitelli and Orsini having received orders to wait for the duke, and to honour him in
The Vitelli and Orsini having received orders to wait for the duke, and to honour him in
person, sent away their men to several castles distant from Sinigalia about six miles, so that
room could be made for the men of the duke; and they left in Sinigalia only Oliverotto and his
band, which consisted of one thousand infantry and one hundred and fifty horsemen, who
were quartered in the suburb mentioned above. Matters having been thus arranged, the Duke
Valentino left for Sinigalia, and when the leaders of the cavalry reached the bridge they did not
pass over, but having opened it, one portion wheeled towards the river and the other towards
the country, and a way was left in the middle through which the infantry passed, without
stopping, into the town.
Vitellozzo, Pagolo, and the Duke di Gravina on mules, accompanied by a few horsemen,
went towards the duke; Vitellozo, unarmed and wearing a cape lined with green, appeared
very dejected, as if conscious of his approaching death—a circumstance which, in view of the
ability of the man and his former fortune, caused some amazement. And it is said that when he
parted from his men before setting out for Sinigalia to meet the duke he acted as if it were his
last parting from them. He recommended his house and its fortunes to his captains, and
advised his nephews that it was not the fortune of their house, but the virtues of their fathers
that should be kept in mind. These three, therefore, came before the duke and saluted him
respectfully, and were received by him with goodwill; they were at once placed between those
who were commissioned to look after them.
But the duke noticing that Oliverotto, who had remained with his band in Sinigalia, was
missing—for Oliverotto was waiting in the square before his quarters near the river, keeping
his men in order and drilling them—signalled with his eye to Don Michelle, to whom the care
of Oliverotto had been committed, that he should take measures that Oliverotto should not
escape. Therefore Don Michele rode off and joined Oliverotto, telling him that it was not right
to keep his men out of their quarters, because these might be taken up by the men of the
duke; and he advised him to send them at once to their quarters and to come himself to meet
the duke. And Oliverotto, having taken this advice, came before the duke, who, when he saw
him, called to him; and Oliverotto, having made his obeisance, joined the others.
So the whole party entered Sinigalia, dismounted at the duke's quarters, and went with him
into a secret chamber, where the duke made them prisoners; he then mounted on horseback,
and issued orders that the men of Oliverotto and the Orsini should be stripped of their arms.
Those of Oliverotto, being at hand, were quickly settled, but those of the Orsini and Vitelli,
being at a distance, and having a presentiment of the destruction of their masters, had time to
prepare themselves, and bearing in mind the valour and discipline of the Orsinian and Vitellian
houses, they stood together against the hostile forces of the country and saved themselves.
But the duke's soldiers, not being content with having pillaged the men of Oliverotto, began
to sack Sinigalia, and if the duke had not repressed this outrage by killing some of them they
would have completely sacked it. Night having come and the tumult being silenced, the duke
prepared to kill Vitellozzo and Oliverotto; he led them into a room and caused them to be
strangled. Neither of them used words in keeping with their past lives: Vitellozzo prayed that
strangled. Neither of them used words in keeping with their past lives: Vitellozzo prayed that
he might ask of the pope full pardon for his sins; Oliverotto cringed and laid the blame for all
injuries against the duke on Vitellozzo. Pagolo and the Duke di Gravina Orsini were kept alive
until the duke heard from Rome that the pope had taken the Cardinal Orsino, the Archbishop
of Florence, and Messer Jacopo da Santa Croce. After which news, on 18th January 1502,
in the castle of Pieve, they also were strangled in the same way.
THE LIFE OF CASTRUCCIO CASTRACANI OF
LUCCA
WRITTEN BY NICOLO MACHIAVELLI
And sent to his friends ZANOBI BUONDELMONTI And LUIGI ALAMANNI
CASTRUCCIO CASTRACANI 1284-1328
It appears, dearest Zanobi and Luigi, a wonderful thing to those who have considered the
matter, that all men, or the larger number of them, who have performed great deeds in the
world, and excelled all others in their day, have had their birth and beginning in baseness and
obscurity; or have been aggrieved by Fortune in some outrageous way. They have either been
exposed to the mercy of wild beasts, or they have had so mean a parentage that in shame they
have given themselves out to be sons of Jove or of some other deity. It would be wearisome
to relate who these persons may have been because they are well known to everybody, and,
as such tales would not be particularly edifying to those who read them, they are omitted. I
believe that these lowly beginnings of great men occur because Fortune is desirous of showing
to the world that such men owe much to her and little to wisdom, because she begins to show
her hand when wisdom can really take no part in their career: thus all success must be
attributed to her. Castruccio Castracani of Lucca was one of those men who did great deeds,
if he is measured by the times in which he lived and the city in which he was born; but, like
many others, he was neither fortunate nor distinguished in his birth, as the course of this history
many others, he was neither fortunate nor distinguished in his birth, as the course of this history
will show. It appeared to be desirable to recall his memory, because I have discerned in him
such indications of valour and fortune as should make him a great exemplar to men. I think
also that I ought to call your attention to his actions, because you of all men I know delight
most in noble deeds.
The family of Castracani was formerly numbered among the noble families of Lucca, but in
the days of which I speak it had somewhat fallen in estate, as so often happens in this world.
To this family was born a son Antonio, who became a priest of the order of San Michele of
Lucca, and for this reason was honoured with the title of Messer Antonio. He had an only
sister, who had been married to Buonaccorso Cenami, but Buonaccorso dying she became a
widow, and not wishing to marry again went to live with her brother. Messer Antonio had a
vineyard behind the house where he resided, and as it was bounded on all sides by gardens,
any person could have access to it without difficulty. One morning, shortly after sunrise,
Madonna Dianora, as the sister of Messer Antonio was called, had occasion to go into the
vineyard as usual to gather herbs for seasoning the dinner, and hearing a slight rustling among
the leaves of a vine she turned her eyes in that direction, and heard something resembling the
cry of an infant. Whereupon she went towards it, and saw the hands and face of a baby who
was lying enveloped in the leaves and who seemed to be crying for its mother. Partly
wondering and partly fearing, yet full of compassion, she lifted it up and carried it to the house,
where she washed it and clothed it with clean linen as is customary, and showed it to Messer
Antonio when he returned home. When he heard what had happened and saw the child he
was not less surprised or compassionate than his sister. They discussed between themselves
what should be done, and seeing that he was priest and that she had no children, they finally
determined to bring it up. They had a nurse for it, and it was reared and loved as if it were
their own child. They baptized it, and gave it the name of Castruccio after their father. As the
years passed Castruccio grew very handsome, and gave evidence of wit and discretion, and
learnt with a quickness beyond his years those lessons which Messer Antonio imparted to
him. Messer Antonio intended to make a priest of him, and in time would have inducted him
into his canonry and other benefices, and all his instruction was given with this object; but
Antonio discovered that the character of Castruccio was quite unfitted for the priesthood. As
soon as Castruccio reached the age of fourteen he began to take less notice of the chiding of
Messer Antonio and Madonna Dianora and no longer to fear them; he left off reading
ecclesiastical books, and turned to playing with arms, delighting in nothing so much as in
learning their uses, and in running, leaping, and wrestling with other boys. In all exercises he far
excelled his companions in courage and bodily strength, and if at any time he did turn to
books, only those pleased him which told of wars and the mighty deeds of men. Messer
Antonio beheld all this with vexation and sorrow.
There lived in the city of Lucca a gentleman of the Guinigi family, named Messer
Francesco, whose profession was arms and who in riches, bodily strength, and valour
excelled all other men in Lucca. He had often fought under the command of the Visconti of
Milan, and as a Ghibelline was the valued leader of that party in Lucca. This gentleman
resided in Lucca and was accustomed to assemble with others most mornings and evenings
under the balcony of the Podesta, which is at the top of the square of San Michele, the finest
square in Lucca, and he had often seen Castruccio taking part with other children of the street
in those games of which I have spoken. Noticing that Castruccio far excelled the other boys,
and that he appeared to exercise a royal authority over them, and that they loved and obeyed
him, Messer Francesco became greatly desirous of learning who he was. Being informed of
the circumstances of the bringing up of Castruccio he felt a greater desire to have him near to
him. Therefore he called him one day and asked him whether he would more willingly live in
the house of a gentleman, where he would learn to ride horses and use arms, or in the house
of a priest, where he would learn nothing but masses and the services of the Church. Messer
Francesco could see that it pleased Castruccio greatly to hear horses and arms spoken of,
even though he stood silent, blushing modestly; but being encouraged by Messer Francesco to
speak, he answered that, if his master were agreeable, nothing would please him more than to
give up his priestly studies and take up those of a soldier. This reply delighted Messer
Francesco, and in a very short time he obtained the consent of Messer Antonio, who was
driven to yield by his knowledge of the nature of the lad, and the fear that he would not be
able to hold him much longer.
Thus Castruccio passed from the house of Messer Antonio the priest to the house of
Messer Francesco Guinigi the soldier, and it was astonishing to find that in a very short time he
manifested all that virtue and bearing which we are accustomed to associate with a true
gentleman. In the first place he became an accomplished horseman, and could manage with
ease the most fiery charger, and in all jousts and tournaments, although still a youth, he was
observed beyond all others, and he excelled in all exercises of strength and dexterity. But what
enhanced so much the charm of these accomplishments, was the delightful modesty which
enabled him to avoid offence in either act or word to others, for he was deferential to the great
men, modest with his equals, and courteous to his inferiors. These gifts made him beloved, not
only by all the Guinigi family, but by all Lucca. When Castruccio had reached his eighteenth
year, the Ghibellines were driven from Pavia by the Guelphs, and Messer Francesco was sent
by the Visconti to assist the Ghibellines, and with him went Castruccio, in charge of his forces.
Castruccio gave ample proof of his prudence and courage in this expedition, acquiring greater
reputation than any other captain, and his name and fame were known, not only in Pavia, but
throughout all Lombardy.
Castruccio, having returned to Lucca in far higher estimation that he left it, did not omit to
use all the means in his power to gain as many friends as he could, neglecting none of those
arts which are necessary for that purpose. About this time Messer Francesco died, leaving a
son thirteen years of age named Pagolo, and having appointed Castruccio to be his son's tutor
and administrator of his estate. Before he died Francesco called Castruccio to him, and
prayed him to show Pagolo that goodwill which he (Francesco) had always shown to HIM,
and to render to the son the gratitude which he had not been able to repay to the father. Upon
and to render to the son the gratitude which he had not been able to repay to the father. Upon
the death of Francesco, Castruccio became the governor and tutor of Pagolo, which
increased enormously his power and position, and created a certain amount of envy against
him in Lucca in place of the former universal goodwill, for many men suspected him of
harbouring tyrannical intentions. Among these the leading man was Giorgio degli Opizi, the
head of the Guelph party. This man hoped after the death of Messer Francesco to become the
chief man in Lucca, but it seemed to him that Castruccio, with the great abilities which he
already showed, and holding the position of governor, deprived him of his opportunity;
therefore he began to sow those seeds which should rob Castruccio of his eminence.
Castruccio at first treated this with scorn, but afterwards he grew alarmed, thinking that
Messer Giorgio might be able to bring him into disgrace with the deputy of King Ruberto of
Naples and have him driven out of Lucca.
The Lord of Pisa at that time was Uguccione of the Faggiuola of Arezzo, who being in the
first place elected their captain afterwards became their lord. There resided in Paris some
exiled Ghibellines from Lucca, with whom Castruccio held communications with the object of
effecting their restoration by the help of Uguccione. Castruccio also brought into his plans
friends from Lucca who would not endure the authority of the Opizi. Having fixed upon a plan
to be followed, Castruccio cautiously fortified the tower of the Onesti, filling it with supplies
and munitions of war, in order that it might stand a siege for a few days in case of need. When
the night came which had been agreed upon with Uguccione, who had occupied the plain
between the mountains and Pisa with many men, the signal was given, and without being
observed Uguccione approached the gate of San Piero and set fire to the portcullis.
Castruccio raised a great uproar within the city, calling the people to arms and forcing open
the gate from his side. Uguccione entered with his men, poured through the town, and killed
Messer Giorgio with all his family and many of his friends and supporters. The governor was
driven out, and the government reformed according to the wishes of Uguccione, to the
detriment of the city, because it was found that more than one hundred families were exiled at
that time. Of those who fled, part went to Florence and part to Pistoia, which city was the
headquarters of the Guelph party, and for this reason it became most hostile to Uguccione and
the Lucchese.
As it now appeared to the Florentines and others of the Guelph party that the Ghibellines
absorbed too much power in Tuscany, they determined to restore the exiled Guelphs to
Lucca. They assembled a large army in the Val di Nievole, and seized Montecatini; from
thence they marched to Montecarlo, in order to secure the free passage into Lucca. Upon this
Uguccione assembled his Pisan and Lucchese forces, and with a number of German cavalry
which he drew out of Lombardy, he moved against the quarters of the Florentines, who upon
the appearance of the enemy withdrew from Montecarlo, and posted themselves between
Montecatini and Pescia. Uguccione now took up a position near to Montecarlo, and within
about two miles of the enemy, and slight skirmishes between the horse of both parties were of
daily occurrence. Owing to the illness of Uguccione, the Pisans and Lucchese delayed coming
to battle with the enemy. Uguccione, finding himself growing worse, went to Montecarlo to be
to battle with the enemy. Uguccione, finding himself growing worse, went to Montecarlo to be
cured, and left the command of the army in the hands of Castruccio. This change brought
about the ruin of the Guelphs, who, thinking that the hostile army having lost its captain had
lost its head, grew over-confident. Castruccio observed this, and allowed some days to pass
in order to encourage this belief; he also showed signs of fear, and did not allow any of the
munitions of the camp to be used. On the other side, the Guelphs grew more insolent the more
they saw these evidences of fear, and every day they drew out in the order of battle in front of
the army of Castruccio. Presently, deeming that the enemy was sufficiently emboldened, and
having mastered their tactics, he decided to join battle with them. First he spoke a few words
of encouragement to his soldiers, and pointed out to them the certainty of victory if they would
but obey his commands. Castruccio had noticed how the enemy had placed all his best troops
in the centre of the line of battle, and his less reliable men on the wings of the army;
whereupon he did exactly the opposite, putting his most valiant men on the flanks, while those
on whom he could not so strongly rely he moved to the centre. Observing this order of battle,
he drew out of his lines and quickly came in sight of the hostile army, who, as usual, had come
in their insolence to defy him. He then commanded his centre squadrons to march slowly,
whilst he moved rapidly forward those on the wings. Thus, when they came into contact with
the enemy, only the wings of the two armies became engaged, whilst the center battalions
remained out of action, for these two portions of the line of battle were separated from each
other by a long interval and thus unable to reach each other. By this expedient the more valiant
part of Castruccio's men were opposed to the weaker part of the enemy's troops, and the
most efficient men of the enemy were disengaged; and thus the Florentines were unable to
fight with those who were arrayed opposite to them, or to give any assistance to their own
flanks. So, without much difficulty, Castruccio put the enemy to flight on both flanks, and the
centre battalions took to flight when they found themselves exposed to attack, without having
a chance of displaying their valour. The defeat was complete, and the loss in men very heavy,
there being more than ten thousand men killed with many officers and knights of the Guelph
party in Tuscany, and also many princes who had come to help them, among whom were
Piero, the brother of King Ruberto, and Carlo, his nephew, and Filippo, the lord of Taranto.
On the part of Castruccio the loss did not amount to more than three hundred men, among
whom was Francesco, the son of Uguccione, who, being young and rash, was killed in the
first onset.
This victory so greatly increased the reputation of Castruccio that Uguccione conceived
some jealousy and suspicion of him, because it appeared to Uguccione that this victory had
given him no increase of power, but rather than diminished it. Being of this mind, he only
waited for an opportunity to give effect to it. This occurred on the death of Pier Agnolo
Micheli, a man of great repute and abilities in Lucca, the murderer of whom fled to the house
of Castruccio for refuge. On the sergeants of the captain going to arrest the murderer, they
were driven off by Castruccio, and the murderer escaped. This affair coming to the
knowledge of Uguccione, who was than at Pisa, it appeared to him a proper opportunity to
punish Castruccio. He therefore sent for his son Neri, who was the governor of Lucca, and
commissioned him to take Castruccio prisoner at a banquet and put him to death. Castruccio,
fearing no evil, went to the governor in a friendly way, was entertained at supper, and then
thrown into prison. But Neri, fearing to put him to death lest the people should be incensed,
kept him alive, in order to hear further from his father concerning his intentions. Ugucionne
cursed the hesitation and cowardice of his son, and at once set out from Pisa to Lucca with
four hundred horsemen to finish the business in his own way; but he had not yet reached the
baths when the Pisans rebelled and put his deputy to death and created Count Gaddo della
Gherardesca their lord. Before Uguccione reached Lucca he heard of the occurrences at Pisa,
but it did not appear wise to him to turn back, lest the Lucchese with the example of Pisa
before them should close their gates against him. But the Lucchese, having heard of what had
happened at Pisa, availed themselves of this opportunity to demand the liberation of
Castruccio, notwithstanding that Uguccione had arrived in their city. They first began to speak
of it in private circles, afterwards openly in the squares and streets; then they raised a tumult,
and with arms in their hands went to Uguccione and demanded that Castruccio should be set
at liberty. Uguccione, fearing that worse might happen, released him from prison. Whereupon
Castruccio gathered his friends around him, and with the help of the people attacked
Uguccione; who, finding he had no resource but in flight, rode away with his friends to
Lombardy, to the lords of Scale, where he died in poverty.
But Castruccio from being a prisoner became almost a prince in Lucca, and he carried
himself so discreetly with his friends and the people that they appointed him captain of their
army for one year. Having obtained this, and wishing to gain renown in war, he planned the
recovery of the many towns which had rebelled after the departure of Uguccione, and with the
help of the Pisans, with whom he had concluded a treaty, he marched to Serezzana. To
capture this place he constructed a fort against it, which is called to-day Zerezzanello; in the
course of two months Castruccio captured the town. With the reputation gained at that siege,
he rapidly seized Massa, Carrara, and Lavenza, and in a short time had overrun the whole of
Lunigiana. In order to close the pass which leads from Lombardy to Lunigiana, he besieged
Pontremoli and wrested it from the hands of Messer Anastagio Palavicini, who was the lord of
it. After this victory he returned to Lucca, and was welcomed by the whole people. And now
Castruccio, deeming it imprudent any longer to defer making himself a prince, got himself
created the lord of Lucca by the help of Pazzino del Poggio, Puccinello dal Portico,
Francesco Boccansacchi, and Cecco Guinigi, all of whom he had corrupted; and he was
afterwards solemnly and deliberately elected prince by the people. At this time Frederick of
Bavaria, the King of the Romans, came into Italy to assume the Imperial crown, and
Castruccio, in order that he might make friends with him, met him at the head of five hundred
horsemen. Castruccio had left as his deputy in Lucca, Pagolo Guinigi, who was held in high
estimation, because of the people's love for the memory of his father. Castruccio was received
in great honour by Frederick, and many privileges were conferred upon him, and he was
appointed the emperor's lieutenant in Tuscany. At this time the Pisans were in great fear of
appointed the emperor's lieutenant in Tuscany. At this time the Pisans were in great fear of
Gaddo della Gherardesca, whom they had driven out of Pisa, and they had recourse for
assistance to Frederick. Frederick created Castruccio the lord of Pisa, and the Pisans, in
dread of the Guelph party, and particularly of the Florentines, were constrained to accept him
as their lord.
Frederick, having appointed a governor in Rome to watch his Italian affairs, returned to
Germany. All the Tuscan and Lombardian Ghibellines, who followed the imperial lead, had
recourse to Castruccio for help and counsel, and all promised him the governorship of his
country, if enabled to recover it with his assistance. Among these exiles were Matteo Guidi,
Nardo Scolari, Lapo Uberti, Gerozzo Nardi, and Piero Buonaccorsi, all exiled Florentines
and Ghibellines. Castruccio had the secret intention of becoming the master of all Tuscany by
the aid of these men and of his own forces; and in order to gain greater weight in affairs, he
entered into a league with Messer Matteo Visconti, the Prince of Milan, and organized for him
the forces of his city and the country districts. As Lucca had five gates, he divided his own
country districts into five parts, which he supplied with arms, and enrolled the men under
captains and ensigns, so that he could quickly bring into the field twenty thousand soldiers,
without those whom he could summon to his assistance from Pisa. While he surrounded
himself with these forces and allies, it happened at Messer Matteo Visconti was attacked by
the Guelphs of Piacenza, who had driven out the Ghibellines with the assistance of a Florentine
army and the King Ruberto. Messer Matteo called upon Castruccio to invade the Florentines
in their own territories, so that, being attacked at home, they should be compelled to draw
their army out of Lombardy in order to defend themselves. Castruccio invaded the Valdarno,
and seized Fucecchio and San Miniato, inflicting immense damage upon the country.
Whereupon the Florentines recalled their army, which had scarcely reached Tuscany, when
Castruccio was forced by other necessities to return to Lucca.
There resided in the city of Lucca the Poggio family, who were so powerful that they could
not only elevate Castruccio, but even advance him to the dignity of prince; and it appearing to
them they had not received such rewards for their services as they deserved, they incited other
families to rebel and to drive Castruccio out of Lucca. They found their opportunity one
morning, and arming themselves, they set upon the lieutenant whom Castruccio had left to
maintain order and killed him. They endeavoured to raise the people in revolt, but Stefano di
Poggio, a peaceable old man who had taken no hand in the rebellion, intervened and
compelled them by his authority to lay down their arms; and he offered to be their mediator
with Castruccio to obtain from him what they desired. Therefore they laid down their arms
with no greater intelligence than they had taken them up. Castruccio, having heard the news of
what had happened at Lucca, at once put Pagolo Guinigi in command of the army, and with a
troop of cavalry set out for home. Contrary to his expectations, he found the rebellion at an
end, yet he posted his men in the most advantageous places throughout the city. As it
appeared to Stefano that Castruccio ought to be very much obliged to him, he sought him out,
and without saying anything on his own behalf, for he did not recognize any need for doing so,
he begged Castruccio to pardon the other members of his family by reason of their youth, their
he begged Castruccio to pardon the other members of his family by reason of their youth, their
former friendships, and the obligations which Castruccio was under to their house. To this
Castruccio graciously responded, and begged Stefano to reassure himself, declaring that it
gave him more pleasure to find the tumult at an end than it had ever caused him anxiety to hear
of its inception. He encouraged Stefano to bring his family to him, saying that he thanked God
for having given him the opportunity of showing his clemency and liberality. Upon the word of
Stefano and Castruccio they surrendered, and with Stefano were immediately thrown into
prison and put to death. Meanwhile the Florentines had recovered San Miniato, whereupon it
seemed advisable to Castruccio to make peace, as it did not appear to him that he was
sufficiently secure at Lucca to leave him. He approached the Florentines with the proposal of
a truce, which they readily entertained, for they were weary of the war, and desirous of getting
rid of the expenses of it. A treaty was concluded with them for two years, by which both
parties agreed to keep the conquests they had made. Castruccio thus released from this
trouble, turned his attention to affairs in Lucca, and in order that he should not again be
subject to the perils from which he had just escaped, he, under various pretences and reasons,
first wiped out all those who by their ambition might aspire to the principality; not sparing one
of them, but depriving them of country and property, and those whom he had in his hands of
life also, stating that he had found by experience that none of them were to be trusted. Then
for his further security he raised a fortress in Lucca with the stones of the towers of those
whom he had killed or hunted out of the state.
Whilst Castruccio made peace with the Florentines, and strengthened his position in Lucca,
he neglected no opportunity, short of open war, of increasing his importance elsewhere. It
appeared to him that if he could get possession of Pistoia, he would have one foot in Florence,
which was his great desire. He, therefore, in various ways made friends with the mountaineers,
and worked matters so in Pistoia that both parties confided their secrets to him. Pistoia was
divided, as it always had been, into the Bianchi and Neri parties; the head of the Bianchi was
Bastiano di Possente, and of the Neri, Jacopo da Gia. Each of these men held secret
communications with Castruccio, and each desired to drive the other out of the city; and, after
many threatenings, they came to blows. Jacopo fortified himself at the Florentine gate,
Bastiano at that of the Lucchese side of the city; both trusted more in Castruccio than in the
Florentines, because they believed that Castruccio was far more ready and willing to fight than
the Florentines, and they both sent to him for assistance. He gave promises to both, saying to
Bastiano that he would come in person, and to Jacopo that he would send his pupil, Pagolo
Guinigi. At the appointed time he sent forward Pagolo by way of Pisa, and went himself direct
to Pistoia; at midnight both of them met outside the city, and both were admitted as friends.
Thus the two leaders entered, and at a signal given by Castruccio, one killed Jacopo da Gia,
and the other Bastiano di Possente, and both took prisoners or killed the partisans of either
faction. Without further opposition Pistoia passed into the hands of Castruccio, who, having
forced the Signoria to leave the palace, compelled the people to yield obedience to him,
making them many promises and remitting their old debts. The countryside flocked to the city
to see the new prince, and all were filled with hope and quickly settled down, influenced in a
to see the new prince, and all were filled with hope and quickly settled down, influenced in a
great measure by his great valour.
About this time great disturbances arose in Rome, owing to the dearness of living which
was caused by the absence of the pontiff at Avignon. The German governor, Enrico, was
much blamed for what happened—murders and tumults following each other daily, without his
being able to put an end to them. This caused Enrico much anxiety lest the Romans should call
in Ruberto, the King of Naples, who would drive the Germans out of the city, and bring back
the Pope. Having no nearer friend to whom he could apply for help than Castruccio, he sent
to him, begging him not only to give him assistance, but also to come in person to Rome.
Castruccio considered that he ought not to hesitate to render the emperor this service,
because he believed that he himself would not be safe if at any time the emperor ceased to
hold Rome. Leaving Pagolo Guinigi in command at Lucca, Castruccio set out for Rome with
six hundred horsemen, where he was received by Enrico with the greatest distinction. In a
short time the presence of Castruccio obtained such respect for the emperor that, without
bloodshed or violence, good order was restored, chiefly by reason of Castruccio having sent
by sea from the country round Pisa large quantities of corn, and thus removed the source of
the trouble. When he had chastised some of the Roman leaders, and admonished others,
voluntary obedience was rendered to Enrico. Castruccio received many honours, and was
made a Roman senator. This dignity was assumed with the greatest pomp, Castruccio being
clothed in a brocaded toga, which had the following words embroidered on its front: "I am
what God wills." Whilst on the back was: "What God desires shall be."
During this time the Florentines, who were much enraged that Castruccio should have
seized Pistoia during the truce, considered how they could tempt the city to rebel, to do which
they thought would not be difficult in his absence. Among the exiled Pistoians in Florence were
Baldo Cecchi and Jacopo Baldini, both men of leading and ready to face danger. These men
kept up communications with their friends in Pistoia, and with the aid of the Florentines
entered the city by night, and after driving out some of Castruccio's officials and partisans, and
killing others, they restored the city to its freedom. The news of this greatly angered
Castruccio, and taking leave of Enrico, he pressed on in great haste to Pistoia. When the
Florentines heard of his return, knowing that he would lose no time, they decided to intercept
him with their forces in the Val di Nievole, under the belief that by doing so they would cut off
his road to Pistoia. Assembling a great army of the supporters of the Guelph cause, the
Florentines entered the Pistoian territories. On the other hand, Castruccio reached Montecarlo
with his army; and having heard where the Florentines' lay, he decided not to encounter it in
the plains of Pistoia, nor to await it in the plains of Pescia, but, as far as he possibly could, to
attack it boldly in the Pass of Serravalle. He believed that if he succeeded in this design,
victory was assured, although he was informed that the Florentines had thirty thousand men,
whilst he had only twelve thousand. Although he had every confidence in his own abilities and
the valour of his troops, yet he hesitated to attack his enemy in the open lest he should be
overwhelmed by numbers. Serravalle is a castle between Pescia and Pistoia, situated on a hill
overwhelmed by numbers. Serravalle is a castle between Pescia and Pistoia, situated on a hill
which blocks the Val di Nievole, not in the exact pass, but about a bowshot beyond; the pass
itself is in places narrow and steep, whilst in general it ascends gently, but is still narrow,
especially at the summit where the waters divide, so that twenty men side by side could hold
it. The lord of Serravalle was Manfred, a German, who, before Castruccio became lord of
Pistoia, had been allowed to remain in possession of the castle, it being common to the
Lucchese and the Pistoians, and unclaimed by either—neither of them wishing to displace
Manfred as long as he kept his promise of neutrality, and came under obligations to no one.
For these reasons, and also because the castle was well fortified, he had always been able to
maintain his position. It was here that Castruccio had determined to fall upon his enemy, for
here his few men would have the advantage, and there was no fear lest, seeing the large
masses of the hostile force before they became engaged, they should not stand. As soon as
this trouble with Florence arose, Castruccio saw the immense advantage which possession of
this castle would give him, and having an intimate friendship with a resident in the castle, he
managed matters so with him that four hundred of his men were to be admitted into the castle
the night before the attack on the Florentines, and the castellan put to death.
Castruccio, having prepared everything, had now to encourage the Florentines to persist in
their desire to carry the seat of war away from Pistoia into the Val di Nievole, therefore he did
not move his army from Montecarlo. Thus the Florentines hurried on until they reached their
encampment under Serravalle, intending to cross the hill on the following morning. In the
meantime, Castruccio had seized the castle at night, had also moved his army from
Montecarlo, and marching from thence at midnight in dead silence, had reached the foot of
Serravalle: thus he and the Florentines commenced the ascent of the hill at the same time in the
morning. Castruccio sent forward his infantry by the main road, and a troop of four hundred
horsemen by a path on the left towards the castle. The Florentines sent forward four hundred
cavalry ahead of their army which was following, never expecting to find Castruccio in
possession of the hill, nor were they aware of his having seized the castle. Thus it happened
that the Florentine horsemen mounting the hill were completely taken by surprise when they
discovered the infantry of Castruccio, and so close were they upon it they had scarcely time to
pull down their visors. It was a case of unready soldiers being attacked by ready, and they
were assailed with such vigour that with difficulty they could hold their own, although some
few of them got through. When the noise of the fighting reached the Florentine camp below, it
was filled with confusion. The cavalry and infantry became inextricably mixed: the captains
were unable to get their men either backward or forward, owing to the narrowness of the
pass, and amid all this tumult no one knew what ought to be done or what could be done. In a
short time the cavalry who were engaged with the enemy's infantry were scattered or killed
without having made any effective defence because of their unfortunate position, although in
sheer desperation they had offered a stout resistance. Retreat had been impossible, with the
mountains on both flanks, whilst in front were their enemies, and in the rear their friends. When
Castruccio saw that his men were unable to strike a decisive blow at the enemy and put them
to flight, he sent one thousand infantrymen round by the castle, with orders to join the four
to flight, he sent one thousand infantrymen round by the castle, with orders to join the four
hundred horsemen he had previously dispatched there, and commanded the whole force to fall
upon the flank of the enemy. These orders they carried out with such fury that the Florentines
could not sustain the attack, but gave way, and were soon in full retreat—conquered more by
their unfortunate position than by the valour of their enemy. Those in the rear turned towards
Pistoia, and spread through the plains, each man seeking only his own safety. The defeat was
complete and very sanguinary. Many captains were taken prisoners, among whom were
Bandini dei Rossi, Francesco Brunelleschi, and Giovanni della Tosa, all Florentine noblemen,
with many Tuscans and Neapolitans who fought on the Florentine side, having been sent by
King Ruberto to assist the Guelphs. Immediately the Pistoians heard of this defeat they drove
out the friends of the Guelphs, and surrendered to Castruccio. He was not content with
occupying Prato and all the castles on the plains on both sides of the Arno, but marched his
army into the plain of Peretola, about two miles from Florence. Here he remained many days,
dividing the spoils, and celebrating his victory with feasts and games, holding horse races, and
foot races for men and women. He also struck medals in commemoration of the defeat of the
Florentines. He endeavoured to corrupt some of the citizens of Florence, who were to open
the city gates at night; but the conspiracy was discovered, and the participators in it taken and
beheaded, among whom were Tommaso Lupacci and Lambertuccio Frescobaldi. This defeat
caused the Florentines great anxiety, and despairing of preserving their liberty, they sent
envoys to King Ruberto of Naples, offering him the dominion of their city; and he, knowing of
what immense importance the maintenance of the Guelph cause was to him, accepted it. He
agreed with the Florentines to receive from them a yearly tribute of two hundred thousand
florins, and he send his son Carlo to Florence with four thousand horsemen.
Shortly after this the Florentines were relieved in some degree of the pressure of
Castruccio's army, owing to his being compelled to leave his positions before Florence and
march on Pisa, in order to suppress a conspiracy that had been raised against him by
Benedetto Lanfranchi, one of the first men in Pisa, who could not endure that his fatherland
should be under the dominion of the Lucchese. He had formed this conspiracy, intending to
seize the citadel, kill the partisans of Castruccio, and drive out the garrison. As, however, in a
conspiracy paucity of numbers is essential to secrecy, so for its execution a few are not
sufficient, and in seeking more adherents to his conspiracy Lanfranchi encountered a person
who revealed the design to Castruccio. This betrayal cannot be passed by without severe
reproach to Bonifacio Cerchi and Giovanni Guidi, two Florentine exiles who were suffering
their banishment in Pisa. Thereupon Castruccio seized Benedetto and put him to death, and
beheaded many other noble citizens, and drove their families into exile. It now appeared to
Castruccio that both Pisa and Pistoia were thoroughly disaffected; he employed much thought
and energy upon securing his position there, and this gave the Florentines their opportunity to
reorganize their army, and to await the coming of Carlo, the son of the King of Naples. When
Carlo arrived they decided to lose no more time, and assembled a great army of more than
thirty thousand infantry and ten thousand cavalry—having called to their aid every Guelph
there was in Italy. They consulted whether they should attack Pistoia or Pisa first, and decided
that it would be better to march on the latter—a course, owing to the recent conspiracy, more
likely to succeed, and of more advantage to them, because they believed that the surrender of
Pistoia would follow the acquisition of Pisa.
In the early part of May 1328, the Florentines put in motion this army and quickly occupied
Lastra, Signa, Montelupo, and Empoli, passing from thence on to San Miniato. When
Castruccio heard of the enormous army which the Florentines were sending against him, he
was in no degree alarmed, believing that the time had now arrived when Fortune would deliver
the empire of Tuscany into his hands, for he had no reason to think that his enemy would
make a better fight, or had better prospects of success, than at Pisa or Serravalle. He
assembled twenty thousand foot soldiers and four thousand horsemen, and with this army
went to Fucecchio, whilst he sent Pagolo Guinigi to Pisa with five thousand infantry. Fucecchio
has a stronger position than any other town in the Pisan district, owing to its situation between
the rivers Arno and Gusciana and its slight elevation above the surrounding plain. Moreover,
the enemy could not hinder its being victualled unless they divided their forces, nor could they
approach it either from the direction of Lucca or Pisa, nor could they get through to Pisa, or
attack Castruccio's forces except at a disadvantage. In one case they would find themselves
placed between his two armies, the one under his own command and the other under Pagolo,
and in the other case they would have to cross the Arno to get to close quarters with the
enemy, an undertaking of great hazard. In order to tempt the Florentines to take this latter
course, Castruccio withdrew his men from the banks of the river and placed them under the
walls of Fucecchio, leaving a wide expanse of land between them and the river.
The Florentines, having occupied San Miniato, held a council of war to decide whether they
The Florentines, having occupied San Miniato, held a council of war to decide whether they
should attack Pisa or the army of Castruccio, and, having weighed the difficulties of both
courses, they decided upon the latter. The river Arno was at that time low enough to be
fordable, yet the water reached to the shoulders of the infantrymen and to the saddles of the
horsemen. On the morning of 10 June 1328, the Florentines commenced the battle by
ordering forward a number of cavalry and ten thousand infantry. Castruccio, whose plan of
action was fixed, and who well knew what to do, at once attacked the Florentines with five
thousand infantry and three thousand horsemen, not allowing them to issue from the river
before he charged them; he also sent one thousand light infantry up the river bank, and the
same number down the Arno. The infantry of the Florentines were so much impeded by their
arms and the water that they were not able to mount the banks of the river, whilst the cavalry
had made the passage of the river more difficult for the others, by reason of the few who had
crossed having broken up the bed of the river, and this being deep with mud, many of the
horses rolled over with their riders and many of them had stuck so fast that they could not
move. When the Florentine captains saw the difficulties their men were meeting, they withdrew
them and moved higher up the river, hoping to find the river bed less treacherous and the
banks more adapted for landing. These men were met at the bank by the forces which
Castruccio had already sent forward, who, being light armed with bucklers and javelins in their
hands, let fly with tremendous shouts into the faces and bodies of the cavalry. The horses,
alarmed by the noise and the wounds, would not move forward, and trampled each other in
great confusion. The fight between the men of Castruccio and those of the enemy who
succeeded in crossing was sharp and terrible; both sides fought with the utmost desperation
and neither would yield. The soldiers of Castruccio fought to drive the others back into the
river, whilst the Florentines strove to get a footing on land in order to make room for the
others pressing forward, who if they could but get out of the water would be able to fight, and
in this obstinate conflict they were urged on by their captains. Castruccio shouted to his men
that these were the same enemies whom they had before conquered at Serravalle, whilst the
Florentines reproached each other that the many should be overcome by the few. At length
Castruccio, seeing how long the battle had lasted, and that both his men and the enemy were
utterly exhausted, and that both sides had many killed and wounded, pushed forward another
body of infantry to take up a position at the rear of those who were fighting; he then
commanded these latter to open their ranks as if they intended to retreat, and one part of them
to turn to the right and another to the left. This cleared a space of which the Florentines at
once took advantage, and thus gained possession of a portion of the battlefield. But when
these tired soldiers found themselves at close quarters with Castruccio's reserves they could
not stand against them and at once fell back into the river. The cavalry of either side had not
as yet gained any decisive advantage over the other, because Castruccio, knowing his
inferiority in this arm, had commanded his leaders only to stand on the defensive against the
attacks of their adversaries, as he hoped that when he had overcome the infantry he would be
able to make short work of the cavalry. This fell out as he had hoped, for when he saw the
Florentine army driven back across the river he ordered the remainder of his infantry to attack
Florentine army driven back across the river he ordered the remainder of his infantry to attack
the cavalry of the enemy. This they did with lance and javelin, and, joined by their own
cavalry, fell upon the enemy with the greatest fury and soon put him to flight. The Florentine
captains, having seen the difficulty their cavalry had met with in crossing the river, had
attempted to make their infantry cross lower down the river, in order to attack the flanks of
Castruccio's army. But here, also, the banks were steep and already lined by the men of
Castruccio, and this movement was quite useless. Thus the Florentines were so completely
defeated at all points that scarcely a third of them escaped, and Castruccio was again covered
with glory. Many captains were taken prisoners, and Carlo, the son of King Ruberto, with
Michelagnolo Falconi and Taddeo degli Albizzi, the Florentine commissioners, fled to Empoli.
If the spoils were great, the slaughter was infinitely greater, as might be expected in such a
battle. Of the Florentines there fell twenty thousand two hundred and thirty-one men, whilst
Castruccio lost one thousand five hundred and seventy men.
But Fortune growing envious of the glory of Castruccio took away his life just at the time
when she should have preserved it, and thus ruined all those plans which for so long a time he
had worked to carry into effect, and in the successful prosecution of which nothing but death
could have stopped him. Castruccio was in the thick of the battle the whole of the day; and
when the end of it came, although fatigued and overheated, he stood at the gate of Fucecchio
to welcome his men on their return from victory and personally thank them. He was also on
the watch for any attempt of the enemy to retrieve the fortunes of the day; he being of the
opinion that it was the duty of a good general to be the first man in the saddle and the last out
of it. Here Castruccio stood exposed to a wind which often rises at midday on the banks of
the Arno, and which is often very unhealthy; from this he took a chill, of which he thought
nothing, as he was accustomed to such troubles; but it was the cause of his death. On the
following night he was attacked with high fever, which increased so rapidly that the doctors
saw it must prove fatal. Castruccio, therefore, called Pagolo Guinigi to him, and addressed
him as follows:
"If I could have believed that Fortune would have cut me off in the midst of the career
which was leading to that glory which all my successes promised, I should have laboured less,
and I should have left thee, if a smaller state, at least with fewer enemies and perils, because I
should have been content with the governorships of Lucca and Pisa. I should neither have
subjugated the Pistoians, nor outraged the Florentines with so many injuries. But I would have
made both these peoples my friends, and I should have lived, if no longer, at least more
peacefully, and have left you a state without a doubt smaller, but one more secure and
established on a surer foundation. But Fortune, who insists upon having the arbitrament of
human affairs, did not endow me with sufficient judgment to recognize this from the first, nor
the time to surmount it. Thou hast heard, for many have told thee, and I have never concealed
it, how I entered the house of thy father whilst yet a boy—a stranger to all those ambitions
which every generous soul should feel—and how I was brought up by him, and loved as
though I had been born of his blood; how under his governance I learned to be valiant and
capable of availing myself of all that fortune, of which thou hast been witness. When thy good
father came to die, he committed thee and all his possessions to my care, and I have brought
thee up with that love, and increased thy estate with that care, which I was bound to show.
And in order that thou shouldst not only possess the estate which thy father left, but also that
which my fortune and abilities have gained, I have never married, so that the love of children
should never deflect my mind from that gratitude which I owed to the children of thy father.
Thus I leave thee a vast estate, of which I am well content, but I am deeply concerned,
inasmuch as I leave it thee unsettled and insecure. Thou hast the city of Lucca on thy hands,
which will never rest contented under they government. Thou hast also Pisa, where the men
are of nature changeable and unreliable, who, although they may be sometimes held in
subjection, yet they will ever disdain to serve under a Lucchese. Pistoia is also disloyal to thee,
she being eaten up with factions and deeply incensed against thy family by reason of the
wrongs recently inflicted upon them. Thou hast for neighbours the offended Florentines,
injured by us in a thousand ways, but not utterly destroyed, who will hail the news of my death
with more delight than they would the acquisition of all Tuscany. In the Emperor and in the
princes of Milan thou canst place no reliance, for they are far distant, slow, and their help is
very long in coming. Therefore, thou hast no hope in anything but in thine own abilities, and in
the memory of my valour, and in the prestige which this latest victory has brought thee; which,
as thou knowest how to use it with prudence, will assist thee to come to terms with the
Florentines, who, as they are suffering under this great defeat, should be inclined to listen to
thee. And whereas I have sought to make them my enemies, because I believed that war with
them would conduce to my power and glory, thou hast every inducement to make friends of
them, because their alliance will bring thee advantages and security. It is of the greatest
important in this world that a man should know himself, and the measure of his own strength
and means; and he who knows that he has not a genius for fighting must learn how to govern
by the arts of peace. And it will be well for thee to rule they conduct by my counsel, and to
learn in this way to enjoy what my life-work and dangers have gained; and in this thou wilt
easily succeed when thou hast learnt to believe that what I have told thee is true. And thou wilt
be doubly indebted to me, in that I have left thee this realm and have taught thee how to keep
it."
After this there came to Castruccio those citizens of Pisa, Pistoia, and Lucca, who had
been fighting at his side, and whilst recommending Pagolo to them, and making them swear
obedience to him as his successor, he died. He left a happy memory to those who had known
him, and no prince of those times was ever loved with such devotion as he was. His obsequies
were celebrated with every sign of mourning, and he was buried in San Francesco at Lucca.
Fortune was not so friendly to Pagolo Guinigi as she had been to Castruccio, for he had not
the abilities. Not long after the death of Castruccio, Pagolo lost Pisa, and then Pistoia, and
only with difficulty held on to Lucca. This latter city continued in the family of Guinigi until the
time of the great-grandson of Pagolo.
From what has been related here it will be seen that Castruccio was a man of exceptional
From what has been related here it will be seen that Castruccio was a man of exceptional
abilities, not only measured by men of his own time, but also by those of an earlier date. In
stature he was above the ordinary height, and perfectly proportioned. He was of a gracious
presence, and he welcomed men with such urbanity that those who spoke with him rarely left
him displeased. His hair was inclined to be red, and he wore it cut short above the ears, and,
whether it rained or snowed, he always went without a hat. He was delightful among friends,
but terrible to his enemies; just to his subjects; ready to play false with the unfaithful, and
willing to overcome by fraud those whom he desired to subdue, because he was wont to say
that it was the victory that brought the glory, not the methods of achieving it. No one was
bolder in facing danger, none more prudent in extricating himself. He was accustomed to say
that men ought to attempt everything and fear nothing; that God is a lover of strong men,
because one always sees that the weak are chastised by the strong. He was also wonderfully
sharp or biting though courteous in his answers; and as he did not look for any indulgence in
this way of speaking from others, so he was not angered with others did not show it to him. It
has often happened that he has listened quietly when others have spoken sharply to him, as on
the following occasions. He had caused a ducat to be given for a partridge, and was taken to
task for doing so by a friend, to whom Castruccio had said: "You would not have given more
than a penny." "That is true," answered the friend. Then said Castruccio to him: "A ducat is
much less to me." Having about him a flatterer on whom he had spat to show that he scorned
him, the flatterer said to him: "Fisherman are willing to let the waters of the sea saturate them in
order that they make take a few little fishes, and I allow myself to be wetted by spittle that I
may catch a whale"; and this was not only heard by Castruccio with patience but rewarded.
When told by a priest that it was wicked for him to live so sumptuously, Castruccio said: "If
that be a vice than you should not fare so splendidly at the feasts of our saints." Passing
through a street he saw a young man as he came out of a house of ill fame blush at being seen
by Castruccio, and said to him: "Thou shouldst not be ashamed when thou comest out, but
when thou goest into such places." A friend gave him a very curiously tied knot to undo and
was told: "Fool, do you think that I wish to untie a thing which gave so much trouble to
fasten." Castruccio said to one who professed to be a philosopher: "You are like the dogs
who always run after those who will give them the best to eat," and was answered: "We are
rather like the doctors who go to the houses of those who have the greatest need of them."
Going by water from Pisa to Leghorn, Castruccio was much disturbed by a dangerous storm
that sprang up, and was reproached for cowardice by one of those with him, who said that he
did not fear anything. Castruccio answered that he did not wonder at that, since every man
valued his soul for what is was worth. Being asked by one what he ought to do to gain
estimation, he said: "When thou goest to a banquet take care that thou dost not seat one piece
of wood upon another." To a person who was boasting that he had read many things,
Castruccio said: "He knows better than to boast of remembering many things." Someone
bragged that he could drink much without becoming intoxicated. Castruccio replied: "An ox
does the same." Castruccio was acquainted with a girl with whom he had intimate relations,
and being blamed by a friend who told him that it was undignified for him to be taken in by a
and being blamed by a friend who told him that it was undignified for him to be taken in by a
woman, he said: "She has not taken me in, I have taken her." Being also blamed for eating
very dainty foods, he answered: "Thou dost not spend as much as I do?" and being told that it
was true, he continued: "Then thou art more avaricious than I am gluttonous." Being invited by
Taddeo Bernardi, a very rich and splendid citizen of Luca, to supper, he went to the house
and was shown by Taddeo into a chamber hung with silk and paved with fine stones
representing flowers and foliage of the most beautiful colouring. Castruccio gathered some
saliva in his mouth and spat it out upon Taddeo, and seeing him much disturbed by this, said to
him: "I knew not where to spit in order to offend thee less." Being asked how Caesar died he
said: "God willing I will die as he did." Being one night in the house of one of his gentlemen
where many ladies were assembled, he was reproved by one of his friends for dancing and
amusing himself with them more than was usual in one of his station, so he said: "He who is
considered wise by day will not be considered a fool at night." A person came to demand a
favour of Castruccio, and thinking he was not listening to his plea threw himself on his knees to
the ground, and being sharply reproved by Castruccio, said: "Thou art the reason of my acting
thus for thou hast thy ears in thy feet," whereupon he obtained double the favour he had
asked. Castruccio used to say that the way to hell was an easy one, seeing that it was in a
downward direction and you travelled blindfolded. Being asked a favour by one who used
many superfluous words, he said to him: "When you have another request to make, send
someone else to make it." Having been wearied by a similar man with a long oration who
wound up by saying: "Perhaps I have fatigued you by speaking so long," Castruccio said:
"You have not, because I have not listened to a word you said." He used to say of one who
had been a beautiful child and who afterwards became a fine man, that he was dangerous,
because he first took the husbands from the wives and now he took the wives from their
husbands. To an envious man who laughed, he said: "Do you laugh because you are successful
or because another is unfortunate?" Whilst he was still in the charge of Messer Francesco
Guinigi, one of his companions said to him: "What shall I give you if you will let me give you a
blow on the nose?" Castruccio answered: "A helmet." Having put to death a citizen of Lucca
who had been instrumental in raising him to power, and being told that he had done wrong to
kill one of his old friends, he answered that people deceived themselves; he had only killed a
new enemy. Castruccio praised greatly those men who intended to take a wife and then did
not do so, saying that they were like men who said they would go to sea, and then refused
when the time came. He said that it always struck him with surprise that whilst men in buying
an earthen or glass vase would sound it first to learn if it were good, yet in choosing a wife
they were content with only looking at her. He was once asked in what manner he would wish
to be buried when he died, and answered: "With the face turned downwards, for I know
when I am gone this country will be turned upside down." On being asked if it had ever
occurred to him to become a friar in order to save his soul, he answered that it had not,
because it appeared strange to him that Fra Lazerone should go to Paradise and Uguccione
della Faggiuola to the Inferno. He was once asked when should a man eat to preserve his
health, and replied: "If the man be rich let him eat when he is hungry; if he be poor, then when
health, and replied: "If the man be rich let him eat when he is hungry; if he be poor, then when
he can." Seeing on of his gentlemen make a member of his family lace him up, he said to him:
"I pray God that you will let him feed you also." Seeing that someone had written upon his
house in Latin the words: "May God preserve this house from the wicked," he said, "The
owner must never go in." Passing through one of the streets he saw a small house with a very
large door, and remarked: "That house will fly through the door." He was having a discussion
with the ambassador of the King of Naples concerning the property of some banished nobles,
when a dispute arose between them, and the ambassador asked him if he had no fear of the
king. "Is this king of yours a bad man or a good one?" asked Castruccio, and was told that he
was a good one, whereupon he said, "Why should you suggest that I should be afraid of a
good man?"
I could recount many other stories of his sayings both witty and weighty, but I think that the
above will be sufficient testimony to his high qualities. He lived forty-four years, and was in
every way a prince. And as he was surrounded by many evidences of his good fortune, so he
also desired to have near him some memorials of his bad fortune; therefore the manacles with
which he was chained in prison are to be seen to this day fixed up in the tower of his
residence, where they were placed by him to testify for ever to his days of adversity. As in his
life he was inferior neither to Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander, nor to Scipio of
Rome, so he died in the same year of his age as they did, and he would doubtless have
excelled both of them had Fortune decreed that he should be born, not in Lucca, but in
Macedonia or Rome.
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Prince, by Nicolo Machiavelli This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: The Prince Author: Nicolo Machiavelli Translator: W. K. Marriott Release Date: February 11, 2006 [EBook #1232] Last Updated: November 5, 2012 Language: English *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE PRINCE ***

Produced by John Bickers, David Widger and Others

THE PRINCE
by Nicolo Machiavelli
Translated by W. K. Marriott

Nicolo Machiavelli, born at Florence on 3rd May 1469. From 1494 to 1512 held an official post at Florence which included diplomatic missions to various European courts. Imprisoned in Florence, 1512; later exiled and returned to San Casciano. Died at Florence on 22nd June 1527.

CONTENTS INTRODUCTION YOUTH Aet. 1-25—1469-94 OFFICE Aet. 25-43—1494-1512 LITERATURE AND DEATH Aet. 43-58—1512-27 THE MAN AND HIS WORKS DEDICATION THE PRINCE CHAPTER I ARE HOW MANY KINDS OF PRINCIPALITIES THERE

CHAPTER II CONCERNING HEREDITARY PRINCIPALITIES CHAPTER III CONCERNING MIXED PRINCIPALITIES CHAPTER IV WHY THE KINGDOM OF DARIUS, CONQUERED BY ALEXANDER CHAPTER V CONCERNING THE WAY TO GOVERN CITIES OR PRINCIPALITIES CHAPTER VI CONCERNING NEW PRINCIPALITIES WHICH ARE ACQUIRED CHAPTER VII CONCERNING NEW PRINCIPALITIES WHICH ARE ACQUIRED

CHAPTER VIII CONCERNING THOSE WHO HAVE OBTAINED A PRINCIPALITY CHAPTER IX CONCERNING A CIVIL PRINCIPALITY CHAPTER X STRENGTH CHAPTER XI PRINCIPALITIES CONCERNING THE WAY IN WHICH THE CONCERNING ECCLESIASTICAL

CHAPTER XII HOW MANY KINDS OF SOLDIERY THERE ARE CHAPTER XIII CONCERNING AUXILIARIES, MIXED SOLDIERY CHAPTER XIV THAT WHICH CONCERNS A PRINCE ON THE SUBJECT OF WAR CHAPTER XV CONCERNING THINGS FOR WHICH MEN, AND ESPECIALLY PRINCES CHAPTER XVI CONCERNING LIBERALITY AND MEANNESS CHAPTER XVII CONCERNING CRUELTY AND CLEMENCY CHAPTER XVIII(*) CONCERNING THE WAY IN WHICH PRINCES SHOULD KEEP CHAPTER XIX AND HATED THAT ONE SHOULD AVOID BEING DESPISED

CHAPTER XX ARE FORTRESSES, AND MANY OTHER THINGS TO WHICH PRINCES CHAPTER XXI HOW A PRINCE SHOULD CONDUCT HIMSELF SO AS TO GAIN RENOWN CHAPTER XXII CONCERNING THE SECRETARIES OF PRINCES CHAPTER XXIII HOW FLATTERERS SHOULD BE AVOIDED

CHAPTER XXIV THEIR STATES CHAPTER XXV AFFAIRS

WHY THE PRINCES OF ITALY HAVE LOST WHAT FORTUNE CAN EFFECT IN HUMAN

CHAPTER XXVI AN EXHORTATION TO LIBERATE ITALY FROM THE BARBARIANS DESCRIPTION OF THE METHODS ADOPTED BY THE DUKE VALENTINO WHEN MURDERING THE LIFE OF CASTRUCCIO CASTRACANI OF LUCCA

INTRODUCTION
Nicolo Machiavelli was born at Florence on 3rd May 1469. He was 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. His life falls naturally into three periods, each of which singularly enough constitutes a distinct and important era in the history of Florence. His youth was concurrent with the greatness of Florence as an Italian power under the guidance of Lorenzo de' Medici, Il Magnifico. The downfall of the Medici in Florence occurred in 1494, in which year Machiavelli entered the public service. During his official career Florence was free under the government of a Republic, which lasted until 1512, when the Medici returned to power, and Machiavelli lost his office. The Medici again ruled Florence from 1512 until 1527, when they were once more driven out. This was the period of Machiavelli's literary activity and increasing influence; but he died, within a few weeks of the expulsion of the Medici, on 22nd June 1527, in his fifty-eighth year, without having regained office.

YOUTH — Aet. 1-25—1469-94
Although there is little recorded of the youth of Machiavelli, the Florence of those days is so well known that the early environment of this representative citizen may be easily imagined. Florence has been described as a city with two opposite currents of life, one directed by the fervent and austere Savonarola, the other by the splendour-loving Lorenzo. Savonarola's influence upon the young Machiavelli must have been slight, for although at one time he wielded immense power over the fortunes of Florence, he only furnished Machiavelli with a subject of a gibe in "The Prince," where he is cited as an example of an unarmed prophet who came to a bad end. Whereas the magnificence of the Medicean rule during the life of Lorenzo appeared to have impressed Machiavelli strongly, for he frequently recurs to it in his writings, and it is to Lorenzo's grandson that he dedicates "The Prince." Machiavelli, in his "History of Florence," gives us a picture of the young men among whom his youth was passed. He writes: "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." In a letter to his son Guido, Machiavelli shows why youth should avail itself of its opportunities for study, and leads us to infer that his own youth had been so occupied. He writes: "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." Then, writing of a new patron, he continues: "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 honour is done to me for the little skill I have. Therefore, my son, if you wish to please me, and to bring success and honour to yourself, do right and study, because others will help you if you help yourself."

OFFICE — Aet. 25-43—1494-1512
The second period of Machiavelli's life was spent in the service of the free Republic of Florence, which flourished, as stated above, from the expulsion of the Medici in 1494 until

" Yet in "The Prince" the duke is in point of fact cited as a type of the man who rises on the fortune of others. This is a very noticeable principle in Machiavelli. "my lady of Forli" of "The Prince." and was consequently driven out. Machiavelli was sent to Rome to watch the election of his successor. who is prepared for all eventualities but the one which happens. and there he saw Cesare Borgia cheated into allowing the choice of the College to fall on Giuliano delle Rovere (Julius II). when that pontiff was commencing his enterprise against Bologna. says that he who thinks new favours will cause great personages to forget old injuries deceives himself. which leads Machiavelli to refer those who urge that such promises should be kept to what he has written concerning the faith of princes. Cesare Borgia. It was to Julius II that Machiavelli was sent in 1506. but an extraordinary and unforeseen fatality. which he brought to a successful issue. On the death of Pius III. records. when all his abilities fail to carry him through. and concludes that it . in 1503. Machiavelli's public life was largely occupied with events arising out of the ambitions of Pope Alexander VI and his son. and supplies the sources from which he drew the experiences and characters which illustrate "The Prince. when commenting on this election. In 1500 he was sent to France to obtain terms from Louis XII for continuing the war against Pisa: this king it was who. and is urged by him in many ways as a matter of vital importance to princes. A mere recapitulation of a few of his transactions with the statesmen and soldiers of his time gives a fair indication of his activities. and who. He. After serving four years in one of the public offices he was appointed Chancellor and Secretary to the Second Chancery. and these characters fill a large space of "The Prince. who takes every course that might be expected from a prudent man but the course which will save him. for during this time he took a leading part in the affairs of the Republic. who was one of the cardinals that had most reason to fear the duke.their return in 1512. Machiavelli." His first mission was in 1499 to Catherina Sforza. It is in reference to Pope Julius that Machiavelli moralizes on the resemblance between Fortune and women. insomuch that Cesare is acclaimed by some critics as the "hero" of "The Prince. committed the five capital errors in statecraft summarized in "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. the Ten of Liberty and Peace. and falls with them. exclaims that it was not his fault." from whose conduct and fate he drew the moral that it is far better to earn the confidence of the people than to rely on fortresses. and we have its decrees. find no precepts to offer so good as the pattern of Cesare Borgia's conduct. it was who made the dissolution of his marriage a condition of support to Pope Alexander VI. as well as his own writings. owing chiefly to his impetuous character. as he did many of his other adventures. also. indeed. the Duke Valentino. in his conduct of affairs in Italy. Here we are on firm ground when dealing with the events of Machiavelli's life. Julius did not rest until he had ruined Cesare. and dispatches to guide us.

near Florence. and with the assistance of the Swiss drove the French out of Italy. Machiavelli. Shortly after this he was accused of complicity in an abortive conspiracy against the Medici.is the bold rather than the cautious man that will win and hold them both. as we have seen. which in 1507 were controlled by France. humanity. but Machiavelli. This result was attained in the battle of Vaila. had he allowed himself to be influenced by such motives. reveals the secret of his many failures when he describes him as a secretive man. LITERATURE AND DEATH — Aet. Julius II finally formed the Holy League against France. When. and never insisting on the fulfilment of his wishes. The remaining years of Machiavelli's official career were filled with events arising out of the League of Cambrai. for. with results that have lasted to our day. would have been ruined. The new Medicean pope. Machiavelli has painted Ferdinand of Aragon as the man who accomplished great things under the cloak of religion. who for a few weeks had vainly hoped to retain his office under the new masters of Florence. was the signal for the dismissal of Machiavelli and his friends. Florence lay at the mercy of the Pope. . and he retired to his small property at San Casciano. It is impossible to follow here the varying fortunes of the Italian states. and had to submit to his terms. Spain. and the consequent fall of the Republic. in 1511. with the object of crushing the Venetian Republic. and who. so far only as they impinge on the personality of Machiavelli. and his character has been drawn by many hands. and his estimate of that monarch's character has already been alluded to. procured his release. and thus put an end to his public career. or integrity. but who in reality had no mercy. The return of the Medici to Florence on 1st September 1512. because friendship with France had dictated the entire policy of the Republic. and Germany. imprisoned. 43-58—1512-27 On the return of the Medici. and put to the question by torture. made in 1508 between the three great European powers already mentioned and the pope. we are concerned with those events. Leo X. He had several meetings with Louis XII of France. when Venice lost in one day all that she had won in eight hundred years. and with the three great actors in them. Florence had a difficult part to play during these events. who was an envoy at his court in 1507-8. faith. one of which was that the Medici should be restored. without force of character—ignoring the human agencies necessary to carry his schemes into effect. was dismissed by decree dated 7th November 1512. The Emperor Maximilian was one of the most interesting men of the age. he died without regaining office. complicated as they were by the feud which broke out between the pope and the French.

how they can be kept." which should be read concurrently with "The Prince. and its text is still disputable. for he who has been faithful and honest.where he devoted himself to literature. it should be welcome: therefore I dedicate it to his Magnificence Giuliano. at the entrance I pull off my peasant-clothes. Although it was plagiarized during Machiavelli's lifetime." After describing his daily occupations with his family and neighbours. and for four hours I feel no weariness. I am possessed entirely by those great men. covered with dust and dirt. and of the discourses I have had with him. cannot change his nature. what kinds there are. but . nevertheless." 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. he writes: "The evening being come. dated 13th December 1513. which elucidates his methods and his motives in writing "The Prince." These and several minor works occupied him until the year 1518. Filippo Casavecchio has seen it. I have noted down what I have gained from their conversation. how they can be acquired. when he accepted a small commission to look after the affairs of some Florentine merchants at Genoa. "The Prince" was never published by him. and for some unknown reason it was finally dedicated to Lorenzo de' Medici. and to ask for the reason of their actions. he will be able to tell you what is in it. and Machiavelli with others was consulted upon a new constitution under which the Great Council was to be restored. And because Dante says: Knowledge doth come of learning well retained.' where I pour myself out as fully as I can in meditation on the subject. he has left a very interesting description of his life at this period. especially to a new one. why they are lost: and if any of my fancies ever pleased you. and have composed a small work on 'Principalities. as I have. and put on my noble court dress. its title and patron were changed. Unfruitful else. In 1519 the Medicean rulers of Florence granted a few political concessions to her citizens. discussing what a principality is. I forget every trouble. I am still enriching and polishing it. death does not terrify me. there is no evidence that Lorenzo ever received or even read it: he certainly never gave Machiavelli any employment. this ought not to displease you: and to a prince. and my poverty is a witness to my honesty. I am fed with that food which is mine alone. because having always kept faith I could not now learn how to break it. 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. Machiavelli concludes his letter to Vettori thus: "And as to this little thing [his book]. where. and they in their benignity answer me. In a letter to Francesco Vettori. I return home and go to my study. And of my loyalty none could doubt. poverty does not dismay. being lovingly received by them. where I do not hesitate to speak with them. and thus becomingly re-clothed I pass into the ancient courts of the men of old. Although Machiavelli discussed with Casavecchio whether it should be sent or presented in person to the patron." Before Machiavelli had got "The Prince" off his hands he commenced his "Discourse on the First Decade of Titus Livius. and men ought ever to desire to be served by one who has reaped experience at the expense of others.

and with his supreme literary gift turning it . he dedicated the "History of Florence" to the head of the family when its ruin was now at hand. and left Francis I a prisoner in the hands of his great rival. It is due to these inquiries that the shape of an "unholy necromancer. has begun to fade. Charles V. whatever other nations may have found in his works. who were once more banished. but modern Florence has decreed him a stately cenotaph in Santa Croce.on one pretext or another it was not promulgated. in 1525. noting with appreciative eye whatever passed before him. This was followed by the sack of Rome. it may be pointed out that the harsh construction of his doctrine which this sinister reputation implies was unknown to his own day. Machiavelli was undoubtedly a man of great observation. but hastened his return." a task which occupied him until 1525. and that the researches of recent times have enabled us to interpret him more reasonably. acuteness. Italy found in them the idea of her unity and the germs of her renaissance among the nations of Europe. so. It is somewhat remarkable that. Giuliano de' Medici. who had in the meanwhile become pope under the title of Clement VII. THE MAN AND HIS WORKS No one can say where the bones of Machiavelli rest. will endeavour to overturn the ship unless he has an empty cask to play with. Machiavelli took it to Rome for presentation to his patron. Machiavelli had written "The Prince" for the instruction of the Medici after they had just regained power in Florence. by the side of her most famous sons. In 1520 the Florentine merchants again had recourse to Machiavelli to settle their difficulties with Lucca. and also for the production of his "Art of War. hoping to secure his former office of secretary to the "Ten of Liberty and Peace. in 1513." When the "History of Florence" was finished. but this year was chiefly remarkable for his re-entry into Florentine literary society. as. like a huge whale." Unhappily he was taken ill soon after he reached Florence. In that year the battle of Pavia destroyed the French rule in Italy. Whilst it is idle to protest against the world-wide and evil signification of his name. and industry. where he died on 22nd June 1527. where he was much sought after. Machiavelli was absent from Florence at this time. for an old writer observes that "an able statesman out of work. upon the news of which the popular party at Florence threw off the yoke of the Medici." which so long haunted men's vision. recognizing that. His return to popular favour may have determined the Medici to give him this employment." It was in the same year that he received a commission at the instance of Cardinal de' Medici to write the "History of Florence.

as they were in the days of Alexander VI. overawed by Cesare Borgia. the conditions under which he wrote ." rather than employ him in the state. Necessary wars are just wars. and the soldiery that he raised astonished everybody by their cowardice. and with his supreme literary gift turning it to account in his enforced retirement from affairs. In the conduct of his own affairs he was timid and time-serving. He was misled by Catherina Sforza. In translating "The Prince" my aim has been to achieve at all costs an exact literal rendering of the original. he dared not appear by the side of Soderini. Machiavelli always refused to write either of men or of governments otherwise than as he found them. "The Prince" is bestrewn with truths that can be proved at every turn. to this "high argument" "The Prince" contributes but little. to whom he owed so much. Leaving out of consideration those maxims of state which still furnish some European and eastern statesmen with principles of action. ignored by Louis XII. Then—to pass to a higher plane— Machiavelli reiterates that. nor is he depicted by his contemporaries. for he appears to have been only moderately prosperous in his several embassies and political employments. and Giuliano appears to have recognized his real forte when he set him to write the "History of Florence. they do not win glory. as a type of that rare combination. because they are the eternal problems between the ruled and their rulers. rather than a fluent paraphrase adapted to the modern notions of style and expression. and there alone. capable of inspiring the people with a just recognition of the fundamental principles of society. Such as they are. his attempts to fortify Florence failed. Men are still the dupes of their simplicity and greed. his connection with the Medici was open to suspicion. 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." its problems are still debatable and interesting. Men will not look at things as they really are. Machiavelli was no facile phrasemonger. for fear of compromising himself. several of his embassies were quite barren of results. 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. and the arms of a nation are hallowed when it has no other resource but to fight. and he writes with such skill and insight that his work is of abiding value. but as they wish them to be—and are ruined. He does not present himself. the successful statesman and author. It is the cry of a far later day than Machiavelli's that government should be elevated into a living moral force. Although the light of almost four centuries has been focused on "The Prince. that we find no weakness and no failure. although crimes may win an empire. And it is on the literary side of his character. 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 neighbours. The cloak of religion still conceals the vices which Machiavelli laid bare in the character of Ferdinand of Aragon. prudence consists in choosing the least dangerous ones.with appreciative eye whatever passed before him. its ethics are those of Machiavelli's contemporaries. In politics there are no perfectly safe courses.

may overlook the roughness of the road that leads him to it. 1519-20. 1782-5. Other poems include Sonetti." employed by Machiavelli to indicate the policy adopted by the Roman Senate towards the weaker states of Greece. 1502. 1499. F. Venice. not only for every word. To an Englishman of Shakespeare's time the translation of such a treatise was in some ways a comparatively easy task. 1929. Del modo tenuto dal duca Valentino nell' ammazzare Vitellozzo Vitelli. Mandragola. della Tertina. 6 vols. G. Ridolfi. for in those times the genius of the English more nearly resembled that of the Italian language. Discorsi sopra la prima deca di T. 1820-2. 1502. Cambiagi. 9 vols.. Dell' arte della guerra. using four words to do the work of one. L. Machiavelli was no facile phrasemonger. 1510. 1550. 1512-17. Fanfani. his substance grave. 1513. Ferrara. Vita di Castruccio Castracani da Lucca. Livio. Letters to F. 1852. to the Englishman of to-day it is not so simple. Ritratti delle cose di Francia. 1513. etc. Del modo di trattare i popoli della Valdichiana ribellati. E. Machiavelli nel libro Il Principe. and Canti carnascialeschi. Polidori. 1525. 1517. Belfagor arcidiavolo (novel).expression. Frammenti storici. Il Principe. Sommario delle cose della citta di Lucca. D. ed. Andria. Milan. 6 vols. 1520. Canzoni. To take a single example: the word "intrattenere. Ottave. prose comedy in five acts. Decennale primo (poem in terza rima). Passerini. 1515 (?)." etc. in definiendis." and every contemporary reader would understand what was meant by saying that "Rome entertained the Aetolians and the Achaeans without augmenting their power. The following is a list of the works of Machiavelli: Principal works. . 1509. etc. The Private Correspondence of Nicolo Machiavelli. Asino d'oro (poem in terza rima). Clizia. 1508-12. dei Classici.. but for the position of every word. comedy in prose. with prologue in verse. 10 1813. Vettori. see A. Canestrini. Credited Writings. 1857. 1546." it may be truly said. 1506.. in explanandis pressior?" In "The Prince. in his eagerness to reach the author's meaning. Discorso sopra la provisione del danaro.. 1513 (?). Istorie fiorentine. Oliverotto da Fermo. Discorso sopra il riformare lo stato di Firenze. Milanesi. the conditions under which he wrote obliged him to weigh every word. Ed. 1520. Alvisi. I have tried to preserve the pithy brevity of the Italian so far as was consistent with an absolute fidelity to the sense. Silvestri. only published. Minor works. Aldo. Della lingua (dialogue). his themes were lofty. Decennale secondo. one with excisions. 8 books. "Quis eo fuit unquam in partiundis rebus. his manner nobly plain and serious. 1502. Pensieri intorno allo scopo di N. Lettere familiari. Florence. Ritratti delle cose dell' Alemagna. 2 editions. if not unmeaning: we are compelled to say that "Rome maintained friendly relations with the Aetolians. comedy translated from Terence. would by an Elizabethan be correctly rendered "entertain. 1521-5. 1520. 1514.. Discorso sopra le cose di Pisa. 1883." But to-day such a phrase would seem obsolete and ambiguous. 3 vols.. Editions. If the result be an occasional asperity I can only hope that the reader. 1515. ed. there is reason assignable. 1873-7.

and to understand that of princes it needs to be of the people. I now send. even so to understand the nature of the people it needs to be a prince. because. the knowledge of the actions of great men. whence one often sees horses. or in which they see him take most delight. Take then. cloth of gold. and similar ornaments presented to princes. with which so many are accustomed to embellish their works. or else that the truth of the matter and the weightiness of the theme shall make it acceptable. having reflected upon it with great and prolonged diligence. to your Magnificence. 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. and a continual study of antiquity. worthy of their greatness. your Magnificence. and with so many troubles and dangers. I have not found among my possessions anything which I hold more dear than. Desiring therefore to present myself to your Magnificence with some testimony of my devotion towards you. nevertheless I trust much to your benignity that it may be acceptable. and in order to contemplate the plains place themselves upon high mountains. you will learn my extreme desire that you should attain that greatness which fortune and your other attributes promise. nor with any extrinsic allurements or adornments whatever. just as those who draw landscapes place themselves below in the plain to contemplate the nature of the mountains and of lofty places. nor stuffed with rounded periods. And if your Magnificence from the summit of your greatness will sometimes turn your eyes to these lower regions. 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. precious stones. this little gift in the spirit in which I send it. acquired by long experience in contemporary affairs. . digested into a little volume. for I have wished either that no honour should be given it. which.DEDICATION To the Magnificent Lorenzo Di Piero De' Medici: 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. which work I have not embellished with swelling or magnificent words. if it be diligently read and considered by you. And although I may consider this work unworthy of your countenance. you will see how unmeritedly I suffer a great and continued malignity of fortune. or value so much as. wherein. arms.

whenever . and will address myself only to principalities. all powers. in which the family has been long established. and if he should be so deprived of it. members annexed to the hereditary state of the prince who has acquired them. for a prince of average powers to maintain himself in his state. inasmuch as in another place I have written of them at length.THE PRINCE CHAPTER I — HOW MANY KINDS OF PRINCIPALITIES THERE ARE. AND BY WHAT MEANS THEY ARE ACQUIRED All states. CHAPTER II — CONCERNING HEREDITARY PRINCIPALITIES I will leave out all discussion on republics. than new ones. or they are. and are acquired either by the arms of the prince himself. and discuss how such principalities are to be ruled and preserved. as was the kingdom of Naples to that of the King of Spain. or else by fortune or by ability. In doing so I will keep to the order indicated above. or to live in freedom. and to deal prudently with circumstances as they arise. Principalities are either hereditary. for it is sufficient only not to transgress the customs of his ancestors. that have held and hold rule over men have been and are either republics or principalities. and those long accustomed to the family of their prince. Such dominions thus acquired are either accustomed to live under a prince. unless he be deprived of it by some extraordinary and excessive force. or of others. The new are either entirely new. or they are new. as was Milan to Francesco Sforza. I say at once there are fewer difficulties in holding hereditary states. as it were.

who could not have withstood the attacks of the Venetians in '84. for one change always leaves the toothing for another. hence it happens that he will be more loved. the Duke of Ferrara. would not endure the ill-treatment of the new prince. unless he had been long established in his dominions. This follows also on another natural and common necessity. because the prince. 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. may be called composite. a member of a state which. CHAPTER III — CONCERNING MIXED PRINCIPALITIES But the difficulties occur in a new principality. and this hope induces them to take up arms against him who rules: wherein they are deceived. but to cause him to lose it a second time it was necessary to bring the whole world . King of France. It is very true that. Thus to cause France to lose Milan the first time it was enough for the Duke Lodovico(*) to raise insurrections on the borders. although one may be very strong in armed forces. and you cannot take strong measures against them. and to strengthen himself in the weakest places. the changes arise chiefly from an inherent difficulty which there is in all new principalities. but is. and if he should be so deprived of it. and to turn him out the first time it only needed Lodovico's own forces. as it were. hoping to better themselves. with little reluctance. And firstly. For. if it be not entirely new. and in the antiquity and duration of his rule the memories and motives that make for change are lost. We have in Italy. and unless extraordinary vices cause him to be hated. for men change their rulers willingly. he will regain it. In this way you have enemies in all those whom you have injured in seizing that principality. to clear out the suspects. For these reasons Louis the Twelfth. they are not so lightly lost afterwards. and as quickly lost it. For the hereditary prince has less cause and less necessity to offend.it by some extraordinary and excessive force. taken collectively. for example. it is reasonable to expect that his subjects will be naturally well disposed towards him. yet in entering a province one has always need of the goodwill of the natives. feeling bound to them. after acquiring rebellious provinces a second time. because those who had opened the gates to him. nor those of Pope Julius in '10. quickly occupied Milan. takes the opportunity of the rebellion to punish the delinquents. finding themselves deceived in their hopes of future benefit. whenever anything sinister happens to the usurper. because they afterwards find by experience they have gone from bad to worse. 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.

and not being unlike in customs. and what any one in his situation would have had for maintaining himself more securely in his acquisition than did the King of France. and he offends a minority only of the citizens from whom he takes lands and houses to give them to the new inhabitants. Besides this.borders. But when states are acquired in a country differing in language. and one of the greatest and most real helps would be that he who has acquired them should go and reside there. and died in 1510. the other. notwithstanding all the other measures taken by him for holding that state. there are difficulties. Because. are never able to injure him. for it is necessary either to do this or else to keep there a great number of cavalry and infantry. will live quietly together. The other and better course is to send colonies to one or two places. and Normandy. that neither their laws nor their taxes are altered. it is easier to hold them. He who has annexed them. disorders are seen as they spring up. and good fortune and great energy are needed to hold them. He who would attack that state from the outside must have the utmost caution. and to hold them securely it is enough to have destroyed the family of the prince who was ruling them. A prince does not spend much on colonies. whilst the rest being uninjured are . and that his armies should be defeated and driven out of Italy. (*) Duke Lodovico was Lodovico Moro. When they are. The general reasons for the first have been discussed. remaining poor and scattered. thus. Now I say that those dominions which. which followed from the causes above mentioned. but if one is not at hand. when acquired. nevertheless the customs are alike. or laws. or they are not. would not have been able to keep it. if one is on the spot. that the family of their former lord is extinguished. as one has seen in Brittany. a son of Francesco Sforza. if he wishes to hold them. which may be as keys to that state. and to see what resources he had. and those whom he offends. who. and wishing to be otherwise. who married Beatrice d'Este. and then one can no longer remedy them. and the people will easily be able to get on amongst themselves. He ruled over Milan from 1494 to 1500. it remains to name those for the second. preserving in other things the old conditions. Burgundy. are added to an ancient state by him who acquires them. they have more cause to love him. so that in a very short time they will become entirely one body with the old principality. to fear him. wishing to be good. Nevertheless Milan was taken from France both the first and the second time. has only to bear in mind two considerations: the one. customs. although there may be some difference in language. if he had not settled there. for with little or no expense he can send them out and keep them there. because the two peoples. especially when they have not been accustomed to selfgovernment. are either of the same country and language. but to cause him to lose it a second time it was necessary to bring the whole world against him. they are heard of only when they are great. as long as the prince resides there it can only be wrested from him with the greatest difficulty. and one can quickly remedy them. which have been bound to France for so long a time: and. the country is not pillaged by your officials. the subjects are satisfied by prompt recourse to the prince. This would make his position more secure and durable. Gascony. as it has made that of the Turk in Greece.

they sent colonies and maintained friendly relations with(*) the minor powers. all the subject states are drawn to him. having to consume on the garrison all the income from the state. whilst the rest being uninjured are easily kept quiet. and then with his own forces. it is easy to remedy . because. are yet able to do hurt. as has been said. they kept down the greater. The Romans. by any accident. I say that these colonies are not costly. Because the Romans did in these instances what all prudent princes ought to do. and with their goodwill. and in every other country where they obtained a footing they were brought in by the inhabitants. and whilst he does hold it he will have endless difficulties and troubles. So that in respect to those subject states he has not to take any trouble to gain them over to himself. he can easily keep down the more powerful of them. But in maintaining armed men there in place of colonies one spends much more. without increasing their strength. and did not allow any strong foreign powers to gain authority. Greece appears to me sufficient for an example. for the whole of them quickly rally to the state which he has acquired there. in the countries which they annexed. taking care that no foreigner as powerful as himself shall. such guards are as useless as a colony is useful. observed closely these measures. and the injured. because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries. who have to regard not only present troubles. the kingdom of Macedonia was humbled. as soon as a powerful foreigner enters a country. He has only to take care that they do not get hold of too much power and too much authority. And he who does not properly manage this business will soon lose what he has acquired. nor did the persuasions of Philip ever induce the Romans to be his friends without first humbling him. one has to remark that men ought either to be well treated or crushed. they injure less. so as to remain entirely master in the country. nor did the influence of Antiochus make them agree that he should retain any lordship over the country. as one has seen already. and all become hostile. whilst beaten on their own ground. 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. and many more are exasperated. because the whole state is injured. The Achaeans and Aetolians were kept friendly by them. The Romans were brought into Greece by the Aetolians. being poor and scattered. 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.remaining poor and scattered. For every reason. so that the acquisition turns into a loss. Upon this. but also future ones. In conclusion. moved by the hatred which they feel against the ruling power. get a footing there. yet the merits of the Achaeans and Aetolians never secured for them permission to increase their power. for which they must prepare with every energy. through the shifting of the garrison up and down all become acquainted with hardship. of more serious ones they cannot. either through excess of ambition or through fear. the prince who holds a country differing in the above respects ought to make himself the head and defender of his less powerful neighbours. Again. and to weaken the more powerful amongst them. are never able to injure him. Antiochus was driven out. therefore. for it will always happen that such a one will be introduced by those who are discontented. they are more faithful. when foreseen. and they are enemies who. And the usual course of affairs is that. cannot hurt.

for when the evils that arise have been foreseen (which it is only given to a wise man to see). would not let them come to a head. the medicine is no longer in time because the malady has become incurable. when foreseen. foreseeing troubles. and evil as well as good. This it happens in affairs of state. but is only to be put off to the advantage of others.which they must prepare with every energy. the Romans. they can be quickly redressed. 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 valour and prudence. and is able to bring with it good as well as evil. as the physicians say it happens in hectic fever. 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. but this they did not wish. . for time drives everything before it. but when. Therefore. dealt with them at once. for it happens in this. but if you wait until they approach. moreover they wished to fight with Philip and Antiochus in Greece so as not to have to do it in Italy. through not having been foreseen. because. for they knew that war is not to be avoided. even to avoid a war. they have been permitted to grow in a way that every one can see them. and. that in the beginning of the malady it is easy to cure but difficult to detect. there is no longer a remedy. they could have avoided both. it is easy to remedy them.

. he was obliged to follow it up." born 1462. Then could the Venetians realize the rashness of the course taken by them. And as if it were not enough to have aggrandized the Church. of Camerino. so that the ambitious of that country and the malcontents of his own should have somewhere to shelter. had made the king master of two-thirds of Italy. which. (+) Charles VIII. of Rimini. 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. and kept all his friends secure and protected. in order that they might secure two towns in Lombardy. Louis. who desired to obtain half the state of Lombardy by his intervention. I will speak of Louis(*) (and not of Charles)(+) as the one whose conduct is the better to be observed. And having committed this prime error. But he was no sooner in Milan than he did the contrary by assisting Pope Alexander to occupy the Romagna. the Duke of Ferrara. however. the Lords of Faenza. so much so that. some of the Venetians. thus giving it greater authority. 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. wishing to have the kingdom of Naples. and he would have succeeded very quickly in his design if in other matters he had not made some mistakes. the Bentivogli. It never occurred to him that by this action he was weakening himself.(*) See remark in the introduction on the word "intrattenere. I will not blame the course taken by the king. The king. he was himself forced to come into Italy. whilst he aggrandized the Church by adding much temporal power to the spiritual. for although they were numerous they were both weak and timid. and where he was the prime arbiter in Italy he takes an associate. King of France. divides it with the King of Spain. of Piombino. the Florentines became his friends. he. (*) Louis XII. to put an end to the ambition of Alexander. died 1515. some afraid of the Church. the Pisans. to put one there who was able to drive him. having acquired Lombardy. he having held possession of Italy for the longest period. King Louis was brought into Italy by the ambition of the Venetians. the Marquess of Mantua. and to prevent his becoming the master of Tuscany. 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 thus they would always have been forced to stand in with him." But let us turn to France and inquire whether she has done any of the things mentioned. and deprived himself of friends. the Sienese—everybody made advances to him to become his friend. and by their means he could easily have made himself secure against those who remained powerful. depriving himself of friends and of those who had thrown themselves into his lap. he drove him out. regained at once the authority which Charles had lost: Genoa yielded. and whereas he could have left in the kingdom his own pensioner as king. died 1498. because. of Pesaro. born 1470. out in turn. the Lucchese. "The Father of the People. wishing to get a foothold in Italy. King of France. my lady of Forli.

it would have been very reasonable and necessary to humble them. (*) Louis XII divorced his wife. And on these matters I spoke at Nantes with Rouen. And if any one should say: "King Louis yielded the Romagna to Alexander and the kingdom to Spain to avoid war. Nor is there any miracle in this. he brought in a foreign power. And in fact is has been seen that the greatness of the Church and of Spain in Italy has been caused by France. he increased the strength of one of the greater powers in Italy. but is only deferred to your disadvantage. yet wish to do so by any means. died 1510. and for this they will be praised not blamed. I replied to him that the French did not understand statecraft. as Cesare Borgia. was usually called. had he lived. Louis. for it had not the excuse of that necessity. occupied the Romagna. (+) The Archbishop of Rouen. and to run counter to both they would not have had the courage. and married in 1499 Anne of Brittany. created a cardinal by Alexander VI. and how it ought to be kept. when Valentino. Born 1460. From this a general rule is drawn which . the son of Pope Alexander. in exchange for the dissolution of his marriage(*) and for the cap to Rouen. had he not aggrandized the Church." I answer for the reasons given above that a blunder ought never to be perpetrated to avoid war. daughter of Louis XI. widow of Charles VIII. Jeanne.(+) to that I reply what I shall write later on concerning the faith of princes. would always have kept off others from designs on Lombardy. this other partition merited blame. and her ruin may be attributed to them. but having first taken these steps. And if another should allege the pledge which the king had given to the Pope that he would assist him in the enterprise. 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. to which the Venetians would never have consented except to become masters themselves there. then there is folly and blame. but when they cannot do so. The wish to acquire is in truth very natural and common. being powerful. he ought never to have consented to their ruin. Which errors. and men always do so when they can. he did not settle in the country.who was able to drive him. if she could not. He was Georges d'Amboise. meaning that otherwise they would not have allowed the Church to reach such greatness. but much that is reasonable and quite natural. also because the others would not wish to take Lombardy from France in order to give it to the Venetians. in order to retain the Duchy of Brittany for the crown. 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. then she ought not to have divided it. Therefore. he did not send colonies. and on Cardinal Rouen observing to me that the Italians did not understand war. Therefore Louis made these five errors: he destroyed the minor powers. for they. out in turn. because it is not to be avoided. were not enough to injure him had he not made a sixth by taking away their dominions from the Venetians. because. nor brought Spain into Italy. if France could have attacked Naples with her own forces she ought to have done so.

great ease in holding it. the others are his servants. 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. But the King of France is placed in the midst of an ancient body of lords. nor can he hope to be assisted in his designs by the revolt of those whom the lord has around him. because in all the country there is no one who is recognized as superior to him. The examples of these two governments in our time are the Turk and the King of France. I answer that the principalities of which one has record are found to be governed in two different ways. and had to meet no other difficulty than that which arose among themselves from their own ambitions. The entire monarchy of the Turk is governed by one lord. Such barons have states and their own subjects.never or rarely fails: that he who is the cause of another becoming powerful is ruined. being all slaves and bondmen. CHAPTER IV — WHY THE KINGDOM OF DARIUS. who recognize them as lords and hold them in natural affection. for his ministers. he sends there different administrators. Those states that are governed by a prince and his servants hold their prince in more consideration. and both are distrusted by him who has been raised to power. he who considers both of these states will recognize great difficulties in seizing the state of the Turk. because that predominancy has been brought about either by astuteness or else by force. Therefore. either by a prince. and beloved by them. and they do not bear him any particular affection. who assist him to govern the kingdom as ministers by his favour and permission. once it is conquered. and shifts and changes them as he chooses. and if they yield obedience to another they do it as to a minister and official. or by a prince and barons. and died whilst it was scarcely settled (whence it might appear reasonable that the whole empire would have rebelled). seeing that Alexander the Great became the master of Asia in a few years. who hold that dignity by antiquity of blood and not by the grace of the prince. with a body of servants. DID NOT REBEL AGAINST THE SUCCESSORS OF ALEXANDER AT HIS DEATH Considering the difficulties which men have had to hold to a newly acquired state. but. nevertheless his successors maintained themselves. some might wonder how. dividing his kingdom into sanjaks. they have their own prerogatives. acknowledged by their own subjects. This arises from the reasons given above. nor can the king take these away except at his peril. CONQUERED BY ALEXANDER. . and.

can only be corrupted with great difficulty. according to the authority he had assumed there. Now if you will consider what was the nature of the government of Darius. and he will have to rely more on his own strength than on the revolt of others. but. because one can easily enter there by gaining over some baron of the kingdom. but by the want of uniformity in the subject state. Darius being killed. Hence arose those frequent rebellions against the Romans in Spain. and the family of the former lord being exterminated. for one always finds malcontents and such as desire a change. can open the way into the state and render the victory easy. and the Romans then became secure possessors. Hence. and. you will find it similar to the kingdom of the Turk. such as Pyrrhus and many more. and one can expect little advantage from them when they have been corrupted. or at the difficulties which others have had to keep an acquisition. . the state remained secure to Alexander. he who attacks the Turk must bear in mind that he will find him united. France. of which. and as the conqueror did not rely on them before his victory. And if his successors had been united they would have enjoyed it securely and at their ease. the Romans always held an insecure possession. there is nothing to fear but the family of this prince. there remains no one to fear. and routed in the field in such a way that he cannot replace his armies. because the lords that remain make themselves the heads of fresh movements against you. After which victory. that state is lost whenever time brings the opportunity. this is not occasioned by the little or abundance of ability in the conqueror. and then to take the country from him. if once the Turk has been conquered. and Greece. for the above reasons. Nor is it enough for you to have exterminated the family of the prince. this being exterminated. When these things are remembered no one will marvel at the ease with which Alexander held the Empire of Asia. for there were no tumults raised in the kingdom except those they provoked themselves. Such men. for the reasons given. for the reasons assigned. but with the power and long continuance of the empire the memory of them passed away. but if you wish to hold it afterwards. each one was able to attach to himself his own parts of the country. And when fighting afterwards amongst themselves. first to overthrow him in the field. and as you are unable either to satisfy or exterminate them. But it is impossible to hold with such tranquillity states constituted like that of France. as they cannot carry the people with them. so he ought not to fear them after it. you meet with infinite difficulties. The contrary happens in kingdoms governed like that of France. as long as the memory of them endured. both from those who have assisted you and from those you have crushed. and therefore it was only necessary for Alexander. the others having no credit with the people. owing to the many principalities there were in these states. none other than the Romans were acknowledged.

They wished to hold Greece as the Spartans held it. Because such a government. so that the safest way is to destroy them or to reside there. the Spartans and the Romans. but at every chance they immediately rally to them. nevertheless they lost them. For this reason they are very slow to take up arms. being created by the prince. there are three courses for those who wish to hold them: the first is to ruin them. So to hold it they were compelled to dismantle many cities in the country. may expect to be destroyed by it. for example. And he who becomes master of a city accustomed to freedom and does not destroy it. and his family is exterminated. which will never permit them to allow the memory of their former liberty to rest. and they do not know how to govern themselves. they. And whatever you may do or provide against. There are. and did not succeed. for in rebellion it has always the watchword of liberty and its ancient privileges as a rallying point. The Spartans held Athens and Thebes. and does it utmost to support him. Carthage. knows that it cannot stand without his friendship and interest. dismantled them.CHAPTER V — CONCERNING THE WAY TO GOVERN CITIES OR PRINCIPALITIES WHICH LIVED UNDER THEIR OWN LAWS BEFORE THEY WERE ANNEXED Whenever those states which have been acquired as stated have been accustomed to live under their own laws and in freedom. 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. and did not lose them. and more desire for vengeance. But in republics there is more vitality. the third is to permit them to live under their own laws. making it free and permitting its laws. greater hatred. drawing a tribute. being on the one hand accustomed to obey and on the other hand not having the old prince. . establishing there an oligarchy. cannot agree in making one from amongst themselves. But when cities or countries are accustomed to live under a prince. they never forget that name or their privileges unless they are disunited or dispersed. the next is to reside there in person. for in truth there is no safe way to retain them otherwise than by ruining them. in order to hold Capua. and Numantia. The Romans. and a prince can gain them to himself and secure them much more easily. and establishing within it an oligarchy which will keep it friendly to you. which neither time nor benefits will ever cause it to forget. as Pisa after the hundred years she had been held in bondage by the Florentines.

And although one may not discuss Moses. and knowing the limits to which the strength of their bow attains. It was necessary. but to be able with the aid of so high an aim to hit the mark they wish to reach. that in entirely new principalities. if only for that favour which made him worthy to speak with God. designing to hit the mark which yet appears too far distant. I say. by their own ability and not through fortune. walking almost always in paths beaten by others. and following by imitation their deeds. Nevertheless. at least it will savour of it. Romulus. he having been a mere executor of the will of God. yet he ought to be admired. A wise man ought always to follow the paths beaten by great men. where there is a new prince. But in considering Cyrus and others who have acquired or founded kingdoms. Cyrus. therefore. in order that he should become King of Rome and founder of the fatherland. take aim much higher than the mark. not to reach by their strength or arrow to so great a height.CHAPTER VI — CONCERNING NEW PRINCIPALITIES WHICH ARE ACQUIRED BY ONE'S OWN ARMS AND ABILITY Let no one be surprised if. and if their particular deeds and conduct shall be considered. It was necessary that Cyrus should find the Persians . have risen to be princes. which brought them the material to mould into the form which seemed best to them. therefore. in order that they should be disposed to follow him so as to be delivered out of bondage. and that he should be abandoned at his birth. and to imitate those who have been supreme. having no other state. Further. he who has relied least on fortune is established the strongest. and without those powers the opportunity would have come in vain. it facilitates matters when the prince. so that if his ability does not equal theirs. although he had so great a preceptor. they will not be found inferior to those of Moses. to Moses that he should find the people of Israel in Egypt enslaved and oppressed by the Egyptians. all will be found admirable. as the fact of becoming a prince from a private station presupposes either ability or fortune. because men. are yet unable to keep entirely to the ways of others or attain to the power of those they imitate. and such like are the most excellent examples. Now. in speaking of entirely new principalities as I shall do. But to come to those who. it is clear that one or other of these things will mitigate in some degree many difficulties. is compelled to reside there in person. Let him act like the clever archers who. Theseus. It was necessary that Romulus should not remain in Alba. I say that Moses. I adduce the highest examples both of prince and of state. And in examining their actions and lives one cannot see that they owed anything to fortune beyond opportunity. more or less difficulty is found in keeping them. Without that opportunity their powers of mind would have been extinguished. accordingly as there is more or less ability in him who has acquired the state.

and he had no means of keeping steadfast those who believed or of making the unbelievers to believe. have they to use prayers or can they use force? In the first instance they always succeed badly. Therefore such as these have great difficulties in consummating their enterprise. and whilst it is easy to persuade them. Hence it is that all armed prophets have conquered. it may be possible to make them believe by force. and happy. And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand. whether. that one who writes of him says he wanted nothing but a kingdom to be a king. then they are rarely endangered. If Moses. or more uncertain in its success. 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 I wish it to suffice me for all of a like kind: it is Hiero the Syracusan. acquire a principality with difficulty. Thus it happens that whenever those who are hostile have the opportunity to attack they do it like partisans. afterwards he was rewarded by being made their prince. Those who by valorous ways become princes. owe anything to fortune but opportunity. and partly from the incredulity of men. who was ruined with his new order of things immediately the multitude believed in him no longer. And thus it is necessary to take such measures that. in such wise that the prince is endangered along with them. and the Medes soft and effeminate through their long peace. secure. more perilous to conduct. yet with ability they will overcome them. for the Syracusans. to inquire whether these innovators can rely on themselves or have to depend on others: that is to say. but when these are overcome. and the unarmed ones have been destroyed. To these great examples I wish to add a lesser one. to consummate their enterprise. but when they can rely on themselves and use force. who have the laws on their side. nor did he. chose him for their captain. like these men.(*) This man rose from a private station to be Prince of Syracuse. This man . and they will continue afterwards powerful. than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. therefore. Cyrus. it is difficult to fix them in that persuasion. and Romulus had been unarmed they could not have enforced their constitutions for long—as happened in our time to Fra Girolamo Savonarola. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents. honoured. These opportunities. either.discontented with the government of the Medes. being oppressed. and their high ability enabled them to recognize the opportunity whereby their country was ennobled and made famous. still it bears some resemblance to them. therefore. but they keep it with ease. the nature of the people is variable. even as a private citizen. who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them. and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. Theseus. if we desire to discuss this matter thoroughly. It is necessary. because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions. for all their dangers are in the ascent. and never compass anything. made those men fortunate. Besides the reasons mentioned. when they believe no longer. they will begin to be respected. whilst the others defend lukewarmly. Theseus could not have shown his ability had he not found the Athenians dispersed. He was of so great ability. and those who envied them their success are exterminated.

as happened to many in Greece. he had but little in keeping. like all other things in nature which are born and grow rapidly. gave up old alliances.. as is said. because. in order that they might hold the cities both for his security and his glory. cannot leave their foundations and correspondencies(*) fixed in such a way that the first storm will not overthrow them.that one who writes of him says he wanted nothing but a kingdom to be a king. and as he had his own soldiers and allies. besides. unless. made new ones. it is not reasonable to expect that they should know how to command. 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. I wish to adduce two examples within our own recollection. whilst he had endured much trouble in acquiring. but they have many when they reach the summit. where princes were made by Darius. Francesco. as also were those emperors who. States that rise unexpectedly. by proper means and with great ability. from being a private . unless they are men of great worth and ability. CHAPTER VII — CONCERNING NEW PRINCIPALITIES WHICH ARE ACQUIRED EITHER BY THE ARMS OF OTHERS OR BY GOOD FORTUNE Those who solely by good fortune become princes from being private citizens have little trouble in rising. foundations) and correspondencies or relations with other states—a common meaning of "correspondence" and "correspondency" in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. then. Such are those to whom some state is given either for money or by the favour of him who bestows it. and these are Francesco Sforza(*) and Cesare Borgia. because they fly.e. died 216 B. but much in keeping atop. Neither have they the knowledge requisite for the position. they must lay AFTERWARDS." their roots (i. by the corruption of the soldiers. they cannot hold it because they have not forces which they can keep friendly and faithful. from being citizens came to empire. on such foundations he was able to build any edifice: thus.C. which others have laid BEFORE they became princes. (*) Hiero II. Concerning these two methods of rising to be a prince by ability or fortune. and that those foundations. organized the new.C. born about 307 B. having always lived in a private condition. Such stand simply elevated upon the goodwill and the fortune of him who has elevated them— two most inconstant and unstable things. This man abolished the old soldiery. in the cities of Ionia and of the Hellespont. they have not any difficulties on the way up. (*) "Le radici e corrispondenze.

namely. his son. he saw the arms of Italy. Besides this. so as to make himself securely master of part of their states. it will be seen that he laid solid foundations for his future power. died 1466. which he was using. and if he was willing to rob the Church he knew that the Duke of Milan and the Venetians would not consent. inclined to bring back the French into Italy. Machiavelli was the accredited agent of the Florentine Republic to Cesare Borgia (14781507) during the transactions which led up to the assassinations of the Orsini and Vitelli at Sinigalia. It behoved him. but might themselves seize what he had won. the Duke of Milan. and I do not consider it superfluous to discuss them. because Faenza and Rimini were already under the protection of the Venetians. but they will be laid with trouble to the architect and danger to the building. Alexander the Sixth. that was not his fault. If. all the steps taken by the duke be considered. therefore. the other. the Orsini and the Colonnesi and their following. He married Bianca Maria Visconti. in hands that would fear the aggrandizement of the Pope. Cesare Borgia. moved by other reasons. and along with his letters to his chiefs in Florence he has left an account. but the extraordinary and extreme malignity of fortune. He was no sooner in Milan than the Pope had soldiers from him for the attempt on the Romagna. especially those by which he might have been assisted. and on its decline he lost it. in wishing to aggrandize the duke. and if his dispositions were of no avail. that not only might they hinder him from winning more. while wishing to hold that and to advance further. which yielded to him on the reputation of the king. having acquired the Romagna and beaten the Colonnesi. he feared that the forces of the Orsini. therefore. Firstly. but he would render it more easy by dissolving the former marriage of King Louis. The duke. because I do not know what better precepts to give a new prince than the example of his actions. as is stated above. Because. born 1401. On the other hand. the goodwill of France: that is to say. he who has not first laid his foundations may be able with great ability to lay them afterwards. was hindered by two things: the one." etc. on whose death he procured his own elevation to the duchy. because he found the Venetians. therefore. had many immediate and prospective difficulties." of the proceedings of the duke in his "Descritione del modo tenuto dal duca Valentino nello ammazzare Vitellozzo Vitelli. he did not see his way to make him master of any state that was not a state of the Church. and that the king might also do the same. This was easy for him to do. acquired his state during the ascendancy of his father.person rose to be Duke of Milan. he would not only not oppose this. Therefore the king came into Italy with the assistance of the Venetians and the consent of Alexander. called by the people Duke Valentino. and that which he had acquired with a thousand anxieties he kept with little trouble. a natural daughter of Filippo Visconti. his forces did not appear loyal to him. Of the Orsini he had a . a translation of which is appended to the present work. to upset this state of affairs and embroil the powers. written ten years before "The Prince.. would not stand to him. 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.

and he knew so well how to conceal his mind that. so that the country was full of robbery. and the king made him desist from that undertaking. and gain them entirely to himself. to clear himself in the minds of the people. after taking Faenza and attacking Bologna. so he set up a court of judgment in the country. and so. according to their rank.seize what he had won. he saw them go very unwillingly to that attack. so that their simplicity brought them into his power at Sinigalia. 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. Afterwards the duke considered that it was not advisable to confer such excessive authority. giving him money. having scattered the adherents of the Colonna house. And because he knew that the past severity had caused some hatred against himself.(*) a swift and cruel man. having all the Romagna and the Duchy of Urbino. giving them good pay. the duke laid sufficiently good foundations to his power. with endless dangers to the duke. The barbarity of this spectacle caused the people to be at once satisfied and dismayed.(*) Having exterminated the leaders. Of the Orsini he had a warning when. under a most excellent president. attacked Tuscany. after taking the Duchy of Urbino. I am not willing to leave it out. And as this point is worthy of notice. it had not originated with him. apparel. and that the king might also do the same. 31st December 1502. if any cruelty had been practised. After this he awaited an opportunity to crush the Orsini. not to leave it at risk by trusting either to the French or other outside forces. perceiving at length that the aggrandizement of the duke and the Church was ruin to them. by gaining to himself all their adherents who were gentlemen. for he had no doubt but that he would become odious. hence the duke decided to depend no more upon the arms and the luck of others. he considered it necessary to give it a good governor. and turned their partisans into his friends. he desired to show that. he gained them all over to himself. to whom he gave the fullest power. he had recourse to his wiles. This man in a short time restored peace and unity with the greatest success. Under this pretence he took Ramiro. making them his gentlemen. by the mediation of Signor Pagolo—whom the duke did not fail to secure with all kinds of attention. and. for the Orsini. And as to the king. (*) Ramiro d'Orco. he learned his mind when he himself. (*) Sinigalia. Having restored his authority. . When the duke occupied the Romagna he found it under the rule of weak masters. Ramiro de Lorqua. Thereupon he promoted Messer Ramiro d'Orco. quarrels. wishing to bring back peace and obedience to authority. who rather plundered their subjects than ruled them. all of which he overcame with the help of the French. and horses—the Orsini were reconciled. and the people now beginning to appreciate their prosperity. From this sprung the rebellion at Urbino and the tumults in the Romagna. wherein all cities had their advocates. and every kind of violence. and to be imitated by others. called a meeting of the Magione in Perugia. and gave them more cause for disunion than for union. 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. but in the natural sternness of the minister. so. This came to him soon and he used it well. For the first thing he weakened the Orsini and Colonnesi parties in Rome.

Firstly. and having in a great measure crushed those forces in his vicinity that could injure him if he wished to proceed with his conquest. Secondly. he would have overcome all difficulties. In Rome. for he had acquired so much power and reputation that he would have stood by himself. And as he had no longer to study France (for the French were already driven out of the kingdom of Naples by the Spaniards. although but half alive. But as to the future he had to fear. by winning to himself all the gentlemen of Rome.(*) Ramiro d'Orco. and whilst the Baglioni. and he knew so well how men are to be won or lost. 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. would not support him. 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. and this he would have quickly accomplished had Alexander lived. at the death of Alexander. and so firm were the foundations which in so short a time he had laid. And it is seen that his foundations were good. the Vitelli. He left the duke with the state of Romagna alone consolidated. by exterminating the families of those lords whom he had despoiled. and the Orsini might come to Rome. If he could not have made Pope him whom he wished. Lucca and Siena yielded at once. he had accomplished three. as has been observed. as he was prospering the year that Alexander died. so he decided to act in four ways. For he had killed as many of the dispossessed lords as he could lay hands on. who too late was aware of his mistake. Such was his line of action as to present affairs. or if he had been in good health. had next to consider France. and the Florentines would have had no remedy had he continued to prosper. he intended to become master of Tuscany. so as to be able to curb the Pope with their aid. Yet there were in the duke such boldness and ability. for he knew that the king. so as to take away that pretext from the Pope. and in this way both were compelled to buy his goodwill). After this. But if he had . Thirdly. And as to any fresh acquisition. they could not effect anything against him. with the rest in the air. by converting the college more to himself. and he had the most numerous party in the college. he pounced down upon Pisa. but solely on his own power and ability. by acquiring so much power before the Pope should die that he could by his own measures resist the first shock. Ramiro de Lorqua. at least the one whom he did not wish would not have been elected. partly through hatred and partly through fear of the Florentines. But let us return whence we started. and Pisa was under his protection. and no longer have depended on the luck and the forces of others. between two most powerful hostile armies. in the first place. finding himself now sufficiently powerful and partly secured from immediate dangers by having armed himself in his own way. and few had escaped. that if he had not had those armies on his back. he had won over the Roman gentlemen. for he already possessed Perugia and Piombino. Of these four things. Fourthly. for the Romagna awaited him for more than a month. he remained secure. I say that the duke. and sick unto death. It was his intention to secure himself against them. But Alexander died five years after he had first drawn the sword.

having a lofty spirit and far-reaching aims. could not have regulated his conduct otherwise. Ascanio is Ascanio Sforza.(*) The rest. above everything. (*) Alexander VI died of fever. when the death did happen. to exterminate those who have power or reason to hurt him. When all the actions of the duke are recalled. Only can he be blamed for the election of Julius the Second. to be followed and revered by the soldiers. (*) San Giorgio is Raffaello Riario. Therefore. he himself would be on the point to die. magnanimous and liberal. he could have hindered any other from being elected Pope. to make himself beloved and feared by the people. Therefore. and Ascanio. For men injure either from fear or hatred.been in sound health at the death of Alexander. Because he. as is said. (+) Julius II was Giuliano della Rovere. cannot find a more lively example than the actions of this man. were San Pietro ad Vincula. and it was the cause of his ultimate ruin. He who believes that new benefits will cause great personages to forget old injuries is deceived. to win friends. I do not know how to blame him. to change the old order of things for new. to be severe and gracious. born 1443. that I ought to offer him for imitation to all those who. Cardinal of San Pietro ad Vincula. but rather it appears to be. by the fortune or the arms of others. are raised to government. the duke erred in his choice. had to fear him. and had provided a remedy for all. the duke ought to have created a Spaniard Pope. to overcome either by force or fraud. Therefore. amongst others. Colonna. CHAPTER VIII — CONCERNING THOSE WHO . and only the shortness of the life of Alexander and his own sickness frustrated his designs. the kingdom of France having relations with him. he ought to have consented to Rouen and not San Pietro ad Vincula. not being able to elect a Pope to his own mind. in becoming Pope. failing him. died 1513. he told me that he had thought of everything that might occur at the death of his father. 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. and. 18th August 1503.(*) everything would have been different to him. because. the latter from their relationship and obligations. On the day that Julius the Second(+) was elected. the former from his influence. he who considers it necessary to secure himself in his new principality. Rouen and the Spaniards excepted. to maintain friendship with kings and princes in such a way that they must help him with zeal and offend with caution. Those whom he had injured. as I have said. to destroy a disloyal soldiery and to create new. San Giorgio. in whom he made a bad choice. except that he had never anticipated that.

and ultimately besieged. or little.. the Carthaginian. I consider these two examples will suffice those who may be compelled to follow them. the Sicilian. inasmuch as he attained pre-eminence.CHAPTER VIII — CONCERNING THOSE WHO HAVE OBTAINED A PRINCIPALITY BY WICKEDNESS Although a prince may rise from a private station in two ways. he who considers the actions and the genius of this man will see nothing. either by some wicked or nefarious ways. these dead. and in a short time raised the siege of Syracuse. it will be illustrated by two examples—one ancient. (*) Agathocles the Sicilian. his barbarous cruelty and inhumanity with infinite wickedness do not permit him to be celebrated among the most excellent men. but leaving part of his men for its defence. without religion. the son of a potter. This man. he rose through its ranks to be Praetor of Syracuse. And speaking of the first method. it cannot be seen why he should be esteemed less than the most notable captain. And although he was twice routed by the Carthaginians. that which had been conceded to him by assent. although one could be more copiously treated when I discuss republics. born 361 B. and. the other modern—and without entering further into the subject. Therefore. had to be content with the possession of Africa. having devoted himself to the military profession. if the courage of Agathocles in entering into and extricating himself from dangers be considered. with the others he attacked Africa. died 289 B. with his army. such methods may gain empire. Nevertheless. which steps were gained with a thousand troubles and perils. to deceive friends. through all the changes in his fortunes always led an infamous life. he accompanied his infamies with so much ability of mind and body that. one ascends to the principality. but step by step in the military profession. What he achieved cannot be attributed either to . neither of which can be entirely attributed to fortune or genius.C. together with his greatness of mind in enduring and overcoming hardships. were compelled to come to terms with Agathocles. Still. and having deliberately resolved to make himself prince and to seize by violence. Being established in that position. and at a given signal the soldiers killed all the senators and the richest of the people. yet it is manifest to me that I must not be silent on them. One morning he assembled the people and the senate of Syracuse. Nevertheless. and were afterwards boldly held by him with many hazardous dangers. Yet it cannot be called talent to slay fellow-citizens. who. was fighting in Sicily. The Carthaginians. These methods are when. but not glory. reduced to extreme necessity. without obligation to others. Agathocles. which can be attributed to fortune. or when by the favour of his fellow-citizens a private person becomes the prince of his country. he came to an understanding for this purpose with Amilcar. as if he had to discuss with them things relating to the Republic. leaving Sicily to him. without mercy.C. not by the favour of any one. yet not only was he able to defend his city. he seized and held the princedom of that city without any civil commotion.(*) became King of Syracuse not only from a private but from a low and abject position. as is shown above. to be without faith.

and never be conspired against by his own citizens. rode up and down the town and besieged the chief magistrate in the palace. and in the early days of his youth sent to fight under Pagolo Vitelli. After these murders Oliverotto. and to form a government. Some may wonder how it can happen that Agathocles. and with the help of the Vitelleschi. after infinite treacheries and cruelties. having been left an orphan many years before. Thus one year after he had committed this parricide. who took him with the Orsini and Vitelli at Sinigalia. seeing that many others. Oliverotto gave a solemn banquet to which he invited Giovanni Fogliani and the chiefs of Fermo. to whom the slavery of their country was dearer than its liberty. to which discourse Giovanni and others answered. who had brought him up. in the year during which he held the principality. and strengthened himself with new civil and military ordinances. as was stated above. did not fail in any attentions due to his nephew. and having arranged what was necessary for his wicked designs. to seize Fermo. together with Vitellozzo. and he lodged him in his own house. in order that the citizens should see he had not spent his time in vain. but also to that of Giovanni himself. he fought under his brother Vitellozzo. where. speaking of the greatness of Pope Alexander and his son Cesare. being trained under his discipline. And his destruction would have been as difficult as that of Agathocles if he had not allowed himself to be overreached by Cesare Borgia. he might attain some high position in the military profession. and he betook himself to a chamber. therefore. was brought up by his maternal uncle. not only was he secure in the city of Fermo. should live for long secure in his country. he became the first man in his profession. he desired to come honourably. and defend himself from external enemies. After Pagolo died. he was strangled. he resolved. and he entreated Giovanni to arrange that he should be received honourably by the Fermians. during the rule of Alexander the Sixth. having passed some days. Giovanni Fogliani. He killed all the malcontents who were able to injure him. of which he made himself the prince. having been away from home for many years. yet. No sooner were they seated than soldiers issued from secret places and slaughtered Giovanni and the rest. and in a very short time. Oliverotto da Fermo. in such a way that. mounted on horseback. When the viands and all the other entertainments that are usual in such banquets were finished. whither Giovanni and the rest of the citizens went in after him. but he had become formidable to all his neighbours. and although he had not laboured to acquire anything except honour. his friends and retainers. Oliverotto artfully began certain grave discourses. whom he had made his leader in valour and wickedness. being endowed with wit and a vigorous body and mind. he wished to visit him and his city. with the aid of some citizens of Fermo. and in some measure to look upon his patrimony. and he caused him to be honourably received by the Fermians. In our times. But it appearing a paltry thing to serve under others. and his like. that. and of their enterprises. Giovanni. by . all of which would be not only to his honour. but he rose at once. so that in fear the people were forced to obey him. so would be accompanied by one hundred horsemen. saying that such matters ought to be discussed in a more private place. So he wrote to Giovanni Fogliani that.fortune or genius.

notwithstanding they may be few in the commencement. and that are not persisted in afterwards unless they can be turned to the advantage of the subjects. (*) 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. seeing that many others." Hence it is to be remarked that. by aid of God or man. and no one will be under any obligation to you for them. benefits ought to be given little by little. to mitigate in some degree their rule. so that the flavour of them may last longer. either from timidity or evil advice. in seizing a state. owing to their continued and repeated wrongs. and mild ones will not help you. and thus by not unsettling men he will be able to reassure them. He who does otherwise. if of evil it is possible to speak well. The badly employed are those which. still less in the doubtful times of war. shall make him change. For injuries ought to be done all at one time. And above all things. because if the necessity for this comes in troubled times. the usurper ought to examine closely into all those injuries which it is necessary for him to inflict. so that. a prince ought to live amongst his people in such a way that no unexpected circumstances. multiply with time rather than decrease. and to do them all at one stroke so as not to have to repeat them daily. they offend less. I believe that this follows from severities(*) being badly or properly used. It is impossible for those who follow the other to maintain themselves. for they will be considered as forced from you. you are too late for harsh measures. as Agathocles did. nor can they attach themselves to him. by means of cruelty. neither can he rely on his subjects. being tasted less.enemies. Those may be called properly used. and never be conspired against by his own citizens. that are applied at one blow and are necessary to one's security. have never been able even in peaceful times to hold the state. . is always compelled to keep the knife in his hand. and win them to himself by benefits. whether of good or evil. Those who practise the first system are able.

and without injury to others. for the nobles. and to give or take away authority when it pleases him. 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. being in these affairs more far-seeing and astute.CHAPTER IX — CONCERNING A CIVIL PRINCIPALITY But coming to the other point—where a leading citizen becomes the prince of his country. A principality is created either by the people or by the nobles. accordingly as one or other of them has the opportunity. It is to be added also that a prince can never secure himself against a hostile people. being able to make and unmake them daily. Further. because the former finds himself with many around him who consider themselves his equals. satisfy the nobles. for they. Besides this. as they are few in number. but by the favour of his fellow citizens—this may be called a civil principality: nor is genius or fortune altogether necessary to attain to it. and make him a prince so as to be defended by his authority. one cannot by fair dealing. but you can satisfy the people. But he who reaches sovereignty by popular favour finds himself alone. self-government. I say then that such a principality is obtained either by the favour of the people or by the favour of the nobles. but from hostile nobles he has not only to fear abandonment. and has none around him. whilst from the nobles he can secure himself. finding they cannot resist the nobles. either a principality. The worst that a prince may expect from a hostile people is to be abandoned by them. while the former only desire not to be oppressed. not by wickedness or any intolerable violence. or anarchy. begin to cry up the reputation of one of themselves. always come forward in time to save themselves. so that under his shadow they can give vent to their ambitions. who are not prepared to obey him. and they make him a prince. but also that they will rise against him. and because of this he can neither rule nor manage them to his liking. and from these two opposite desires there arises in cities one of three results. because of their being too many. for their object is more righteous than that of the nobles. also cry up the reputation of one of themselves. Because in all cities these two distinct parties are found. . and to obtain favours from him whom they expect to prevail. the latter wishing to oppress. the prince is compelled to live always with the same people. The people. or few. but rather a happy shrewdness. but he can do well without the same nobles. and the nobles wish to rule and oppress the people. and from this it arises that the people do not wish to be ruled nor oppressed by the nobles. seeing they cannot withstand the people.

one who becomes a prince through the favour of the people ought to keep them friendly. undismayed in adversity. for such princes either rule personally or through magistrates. and is a man of courage.C. and against them he defended his country and his government.him. In the latter case their government is weaker and more insecure. so I omit them. These principalities are liable to danger when they are passing from the civil to the absolute order of government. especially of those who are of good counsel. because in adversity they always help to ruin him. killed 192 B. ought. and of a victorious Roman army. and persuades himself that the people will free him when he is oppressed by his enemies or by the magistrates. But granted a prince who has established himself as above. becomes a prince by the favour of the nobles. and who. and to fear them as if they were open enemies. but this would not have been sufficient had the people been hostile.(*) Prince of the Spartans. and for the overcoming of this peril it was only necessary for him to make himself secure against a few. thus the people quickly become more devoted to him than if he had been raised to the principality by their favours. Therefore. to seek to win the people over to himself.C. (*) Nabis. and a prince ought to guard against such. But one who. wherein he would find himself very often deceived. I say that the nobles ought to be looked at mainly in two ways: that is to say. above everything. as happened to the Gracchi in Rome and to Messer Giorgio Scali(+) in Florence. those who do not bind themselves may be dealt with in two ways. they either shape their course in such a way as binds them entirely to your fortune. builds on the mud. by his resolution and energy. in opposition to the people. who can command. when they receive good from him of whom they were expecting evil. because it rests entirely on the . and the prince can win their affections in many ways. it is a token that they are giving more thought to themselves than to you. Those who so bind themselves. Because men.. but as these vary according to the circumstances one cannot give fixed rules. And do not let any one impugn this statement with the trite proverb that "He who builds on the people." Book III. Therefore. keeps the whole people encouraged—such a one will never find himself deceived in them. but. ought to be honoured and loved. Nabis. and thus. are bound more closely to their benefactor. or they do not. who does not fail in other qualifications. to make this point clearer. in which case you ought to make use of them. they may fail to do this through pusillanimity and a natural want of courage. it is necessary for a prince to have the people friendly. This event is to be found in Machiavelli's "Florentine History. whilst in prosperity you honour them. (+) Messer Giorgio Scali. and this he can easily do seeing they only ask not to be oppressed by him. But when for their own ambitious ends they shun binding themselves. I repeat. and it will be shown that he has laid his foundations well. in adversity you do not have to fear them. and are not rapacious. and this he may easily do if he takes them under his protection." for this is true when a private citizen makes a foundation there. sustained the attack of all Greece. conquered by the Romans under Flamininus in 195 B. tyrant of Sparta. otherwise he has no security in adversity.

In the second case one can say nothing except to encourage such princes to provision and fortify their towns. The first case has been discussed. and the prince has not the chance amid tumults to exercise absolute authority. And whoever shall fortify his town well. and shall have managed the other concerns of his subjects in the way stated above. are not of a mind to obey him amid these confusions. nor do they fear this or any other power . when citizens have need of the state. And so much the more is this experiment dangerous. either by intrigue or open defiance. and who. and is not hated by his people. inasmuch as it can only be tried once. they own but little country around them. and I consider those always to have need of others who cannot show themselves against the enemy in the field. and there will always be in doubtful times a scarcity of men whom he can trust. and then he will always find them faithful. will never be attacked without great caution. And to make this quite clear I say that I consider those who are able to support themselves by their own resources who can. but in troubled times. because the citizens and subjects. for men are always adverse to enterprises where difficulties can be seen. CHAPTER X — CONCERNING THE WAY IN WHICH THE STRENGTH OF ALL PRINCIPALITIES OUGHT TO BE MEASURED It is necessary to consider another point in examining the character of these principalities: that is. because it rests entirely on the goodwill of those citizens who are raised to the magistracy. they all promise. or whether he has always need of the assistance of others. but are forced to defend themselves by sheltering behind walls. For such a prince cannot rely upon what he observes in quiet times. and when death is far distant they all wish to die for him. especially in troubled times. and it will be seen not to be an easy thing to attack one who has his town well fortified. and to be often repeated. accustomed to receive orders from magistrates. he can support himself with his own resources. raise a sufficient army to join battle against any one who comes to attack them. 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. when the state has need of its citizens. then he finds but few. and they yield obedience to the emperor when it suits them. The cities of Germany are absolutely free.latter case their government is weaker and more insecure. either by abundance of men or money. because then every one agrees with him. whether a prince has such power that. and not on any account to defend the country. but we will speak of it again should it recur. can destroy the government with great ease. in case of need.

and they can be held without either. CHAPTER XI — CONCERNING ECCLESIASTICAL PRINCIPALITIES It only remains now to speak of ecclesiastical principalities. or if any one should attack he will only be driven off with disgrace. and see it burnt. will not be attacked. These princes alone have states and do not defend them. touching which all difficulties are prior to getting possession. because that the affairs of this world are so changeable. and. they have sufficient artillery. and had not made himself odious. and firing. which are so all-powerful. if everything is well considered. Therefore. he appearing to be under obligations to them now that their houses have been burnt and their possessions ruined in his defence. seeing they have proper ditches and walls. For it is the nature of men to be bound by the benefits they confer as much as by those they receive. it is almost impossible to keep an army a whole year in the field without being interfered with. it will not be difficult for a wise prince to keep the minds of his citizens steadfast from first to last. because they are fortified in such a way that every one thinks the taking of them by assault would be tedious and difficult. Therefore. a prince who has a strong city. they will not remain patient. then preserving himself adroitly from those subjects who seem to him to be too bold. because after a time. when spirits have cooled.they may have near them. the ills are incurred. drinking. and on the pursuit of which the people are supported. 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 defence. Further. And beyond this. because they are acquired either by capacity or good fortune. so much the less ought the prince to hesitate. the damage is already done. they also hold military exercises in repute. and therefore they are so much the more ready to unite with their prince. and they always keep in public depots enough for one year's eating. And whoever should reply: If the people have property outside the city. and moreover have many ordinances to uphold them. when he does not fail to support and defend them. they always have the means of giving work to the community in those labours that are the life and strength of the city. to keep the people quiet and without loss to the state. again. and there is no longer any remedy. . therefore. 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. and of such a character that the principalities may be held no matter how their princes behave and live. at another time fear of the cruelty of the enemy. for they are sustained by the ancient ordinances of religion.

This was the reason why the temporal powers of the pope were little esteemed in Italy. the Venetians. and it has been able to drive him from Italy. To restrain the Venetians the union of all the others was necessary. though the smallest) have valued the temporal power very slightly—yet now a king of France trembles before it. for in the ten years. who. standing with arms in their hands under the eyes of the Pontiff. through the chastisements of Alexander. although not ruled. he brought about all those things which I have discussed above in the actions of the duke. after his death and the ruin of the duke. and they have neither the desire nor the ability to alienate themselves. although unguarded. the barons of Rome reduced to impotence. passed into Italy. Orsini and Colonnesi. and the states. and the subjects. which is the average life of a pope. kept the pontificate weak and powerless. which. Alexander the Sixth arose afterwards. another would arise hostile to the Orsini. And although his intention was not to aggrandize the Church. yet neither fortune nor wisdom could rid him of these annoyances. that none of themselves should seize more territory. who of all the pontiffs that have ever been showed how a pope with both money and arms was able to prevail. the factions wiped out. because. possessing all the Romagna. the other. and to keep down the Pope they made use of the barons of Rome. Those about whom there was the most anxiety were the Pope and the Venetians. and if. and. Before Charles. And although there might arise sometimes a courageous pope. it does not appear to me superfluous to recall it in some measure to memory. the King of Naples.(*) this country was under the dominion of the Pope. being divided into two factions. that no foreigner should enter Italy under arms. and through the instrumentality of the Duke Valentino. and they have subjects and do not rule them. such as Sixtus. the Duke of Milan. And the short life of a pope is also a cause of weakness. had always a pretext for disorder.how their princes behave and live. but every baron and lord. it would be the act of a presumptuous and rash man to discuss them. and to ruin the Venetians—although this may be very manifest. These potentates had two principal anxieties: the one. as it was for the defence of Ferrara. if any one should ask of me how comes it that the Church has attained such greatness in temporal power. became the heir to all his labours. (*) Charles VIII invaded Italy in 1494. King of France. who would support their opponents. seeing that from Alexander backwards the Italian potentates (not only those who have been called potentates. one people should almost destroy the Colonnesi. Such principalities only are secure and happy. being exalted and maintained by God. but the duke. to which the human mind cannot reach. These princes alone have states and do not defend them. I shall speak no more of them. he can with difficulty lower one of the factions. Nevertheless. and yet would not have time to ruin the Orsini. do not care. But being upheld by powers. what he did contributed to the greatness of the Church. are not taken from them. so to speak. Pope Julius came afterwards and found the Church strong. he also found the way open to accumulate money in a manner such as had . and. nevertheless. and by reason of the entry of the French. and the Florentines.

otherwise it follows of necessity he will go to ruin. and he intended to gain Bologna. Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous. and having considered in some degree the causes of their being good or bad. All of these enterprises prospered with him. CHAPTER XII — HOW MANY KINDS OF SOLDIERY THERE ARE. they have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men. auxiliaries. and it is to be hoped that.never been practised before Alexander's time. and . it now remains for me to discuss generally the means of offence and defence which belong to each of them. nevertheless he held two things firm: the one. and although there was among them some mind to make disturbance. unfaithful. and the other. or they are mercenaries. I shall leave the laws out of the discussion and shall speak of the arms. not allowing them to have their own cardinals. that the arms with which a prince defends his state are either his own. Such things Julius not only followed. it follows that where they are well armed they have good laws. and if one holds his state based on these arms. AND CONCERNING MERCENARIES Having discoursed particularly on the characteristics of such principalities as in the beginning I proposed to discuss. or mixed. he will make it still greater and more venerated by his goodness and infinite other virtues. We have seen above how necessary it is for a prince to have his foundations well laid. to ruin the Venetians. who caused the disorders among them. and so much the more to his credit. but improved upon. because cardinals foster the factions in Rome and out of it. for they are disunited. and having shown the methods by which many have sought to acquire them and to hold them. and as there cannot be good laws where the state is not well armed. with which he terrified them. therefore. and thus from the ambitions of prelates arise disorders and tumults among the barons. he will stand neither firm nor safe. inasmuch as he did everything to strengthen the Church and not any private person. are good laws and good arms. and to drive the French out of Italy. the greatness of the Church. valiant before friends. and without discipline. if others made it great in arms. and the barons are compelled to support them. cowardly before enemies. For whenever these factions have their cardinals they do not remain quiet for long. (*) Pope Leo X was the Cardinal de' Medici. new as well as old or composite. He kept also the Orsini and Colonnesi factions within the bounds in which he found them. For these reasons his Holiness Pope Leo(*) found the pontificate most powerful. ambitious. The chief foundations of all states. I say.

which is not sufficient to make them willing to die for you. and when one is worthy. for in peace one is robbed by them. they have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men. was allowed to seize Italy with chalk in hand. Thus it was that Charles. it ought to recall him.(*) allied himself with them to crush the . and in war by the enemy. for the ruin of Italy has been caused by nothing else than by resting all her hopes for many years on mercenaries. if they are. Rome and Sparta stood for many ages armed and free. you are ruined in the usual way. and it is more difficult to bring a republic. whether mercenary or not." by Lord Bacon: "King Charles had conquered the realm of Naples. because they always aspire to their own greatness. (*) "With chalk in hand. or others contrary to your intentions. having overcome the enemy at Caravaggio. and when one is sent who does not turn out satisfactorily. making the greatest progress. then the prince ought to go in person and perform the duty of a captain. rather than with swords to fight. they have no other attraction or reason for keeping the field than a trifle of stipend. to hold him by the laws so that he does not leave the command." This is one of the bons mots of Alexander VI. the Milanese enlisted Francesco Sforza against the Venetians. either by oppressing you. who are their master.cowardly before enemies. I reply that when arms have to be resorted to." I wish to demonstrate further the infelicity of these arms. 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. although the Carthaginians had their own citizens for captains. and although they formerly made some display and appeared valiant amongst themselves. Duke Filippo being dead. And if it be urged that whoever is armed will act in the same way." "col gesso. but those which I have related. who were oppressed by their mercenary soldiers after the first war with the Romans. The Switzers are completely armed and quite free. and mercenaries doing nothing except damage. single-handed. The mercenary captains are either capable men or they are not. and lost it again. the republic has to send its citizens. to mark up their lodgings. in a kind of a felicity of a dream. "The History of Henry VII. and destruction is deferred only so long as the attack is. and refers to the ease with which Charles VIII seized Italy. which I should have little trouble to prove. And as they were the sins of princes. either by a prince or a republic. After the death of Epaminondas. for example. Of ancient mercenaries. but if war comes they take themselves off or run from the foe. implying that it was only necessary for him to send his quartermasters to chalk up the billets for his soldiers to conquer the country. it is the princes who have also suffered the penalty.(*) and he who told us that our sins were the cause of it told the truth. there are the Carthaginians. you cannot trust them. The fact is. They are ready enough to be your soldiers whilst you do not make war. yet when the foreigners came they showed what they were. under the sway of one of its citizens than it is to bring one armed with foreign arms. but they were not the sins he imagined. And experience has shown princes and republics. Philip of Macedon was made captain of their soldiers by the Thebans. but if the captain is not skilful. armed with its own arms. King of France. and he. Cf. and after victory he took away their liberty.

The Venetians. they had not much to fear from their captains. He fought in the English wars in France. in order to save her kingdom. and. to let him go. on the other hand.(%) and since he did not conquer his fidelity cannot be proved. for. nor were they able.and he. and others have turned their ambitions elsewhere. so they watched each other. through not having much territory.(*) allied himself with them to crush the Milanese. having been engaged by Queen Johanna(+) of Naples. of whom they might have stood in fear. who from a private position had risen to the greatest renown. (+) Johanna II of Naples. they feared they would no longer conquer under him. And if the Venetians and Florentines formerly extended their dominions by these arms.(&) and the like. He married Domnia. if their achievements are considered. afterwards he collected a body of troops and went into Italy. These became the famous "White Company. the count of Pitigliano. and died in Florence in 1394." He took part in many wars. King of Naples. (%) Giovanni Acuto. so that she was forced to throw herself into the arms of the King of Aragon. This was before they turned to enterprises on land. His father. But let us come to that which happened a short while ago. . will be seen to have acted safely and gloriously so long as they sent to war their own men. nobody can deny that it would have been proper for the Florentines to keep in with him. If this man had taken Pisa. as under Carmignuola. and if they held to him they must obey him. had he conquered. a daughter of Bernabo Visconti. long delayed and inconsiderable. and so. Sforza had the Bracceschi always against him. 15th September 1448. to murder him. as happened afterwards at Vaila. but the losses sudden and portentous. having overcome the enemy at Caravaggio. not to lose again that which they had acquired. his masters. An English knight whose name was Sir John Hawkwood. for if he became the soldier of their enemies they had no means of resisting. but every one will acknowledge that. but when they began to fight on land they forsook this virtue and followed the custom of Italy. some have not conquered. and yet their captains did not make themselves princes. knowing how lukewarm he was in the war. They had afterwards for their captains Bartolomeo da Bergamo. I reply that the Florentines in this case have been favoured by chance.(#) they had a taste of this mistake. He was born about 1320 at Sible Hedingham.($) where in one battle they lost that which in eight hundred years they had acquired with so much trouble. in order to secure themselves. they were compelled. having found him a most valiant man (they beat the Duke of Milan under his leadership). Roberto da San Severino. and because of their great reputation. but when they expanded. One who did not conquer was Giovanni Acuto. Francesco turned his ambition to Lombardy. the widow of Ladislao. for of the able captains. Because from such arms conquests come but slowly. Sforza. but have defended them. some have been opposed. and for this reason they were not willing. under whom they had to dread loss and not gain. And in the beginning of their expansion on land. a village in Essex. the Florentines would have stood at his discretion. left her unprotected. The Florentines appointed as their captain Pagolo Vitelli. Braccio against the Church and the kingdom of Naples. and was knighted by Edward III. when with armed gentlemen and plebians they did valiantly. (*) Battle of Caravaggio. a most prudent man.

in order that. You must understand that the empire has recently come to be repudiated in Italy. and that Italy has been divided up into more states. among others. Francesco Bussone. who in their time were the arbiters of Italy. nor did the garrisons of the towns attack encampments at night. executed at Venice. Braccio and Sforza. nor did they campaign in the winter. After these came all the other captains who till now have directed the arms of Italy. All these things were permitted by their military rules. From this it came to pass that Italy fell partly into the hands of the Church and of republics. subsisting on their pay and without territory. I wish to discuss them more seriously. died 1510.Visconti. but taking prisoners and liberating without ransom. Duke of Austria. and a few infantry did not give them any authority. and. and insulted by the Switzers. with a moderate force of which they were maintained and honoured. (*) Alberigo da Conio. 5th May 1432. not killing in the fray. They had. used every art to lessen fatigue and danger to themselves and their soldiers. both commenced to enlist foreigners. The first who gave renown to this soldiery was Alberigo da Conio. they were unable to support many soldiers.(*) the Romagnian. died fighting for Venice against Sigismund. formerly favoured by the emperor. ravaged by Ferdinand. ($) Battle of Vaila in 1509. that the Pope has acquired more temporal power. so they were led to employ cavalry. Nicolo Orsini. born 1442. who. died 1457. And as with these examples I have reached Italy. first. and affairs were brought to such a pass that. having seen their rise and progress. Roberto of San Severino. besides this. they did not surround the camp either with stockade or ditch. and devised by them to avoid. as I have said. Count of Pitigliano. born at Carmagnola about 1390. for the reason that many of the great cities took up arms against their nobles. The principle that has guided them has been. "Primo capitano in Italia. whilst the Church was favouring them so as to gain authority in temporal power: in many others their citizens became princes. (#) Carmignuola. which has been ruled for many years by mercenaries. were oppressing them. there were not to be found two thousand foot soldiers. thus they have brought Italy to slavery and contempt. to lower the credit of infantry so that they might increase their own. (&) Bartolomeo Colleoni of Bergamo. He died in 1409. that she has been overrun by Charles. Count of Cunio in Romagna. and the end of all their valour has been." composed entirely of Italian soldiers. They did this because. one may be better prepared to counteract them. They did not attack towns at night. in an army of twenty thousand soldiers. He was the leader of the famous "Company of St George. both fatigue and dangers. robbed by Louis. Alberico da Barbiano. in 1487. . the Church consisting of priests and the republic of citizens unaccustomed to arms. From the school of this man sprang."— Machiavelli.

has always avoided these arms and turned to his own. F. turned to auxiliaries. let him who has no desire to conquer make use of these arms. being entirely without arms. But his good fortune brought about a third event. These arms may be useful and good in themselves. because. AND ONE'S OWN Auxiliaries. as was done by Pope Julius in the most recent times. they having fled. taking there only French soldiers. I shall never hesitate to cite Cesare Borgia and his actions. The wise prince. surnamed "The Catholic. for they are much more hazardous than mercenaries. died 1516. and stipulated with Ferdinand. for he. King of Spain. but afterwards. and the Switzers having risen and driven out the conquerors (against all expectation. And although ancient histories may be full of examples. but for him who calls them in they are always disadvantageous. because with them the ruin is ready made. which you have made their head. nor to his auxiliaries. they are not all of one community. born 1300. having. he having conquered by other arms than theirs. for he. MIXED SOLDIERY. all yield obedience to others. in the enterprise against Ferrara. in mercenaries dastardy is most dangerous. and has been willing rather to lose with them than to conquer with the others. discerning . having his auxiliaries routed at Ravenna. who. sent ten thousand Turks into Greece. one is undone. are employed when a prince is called in with his forces to aid and defend. one is their captive. not deeming that a real victory which is gained with the arms of others. so that he did not reap the fruit of his rash choice. The Florentines. whereby they ran more danger than at any other time of their troubles. Therefore. and a third party. (*) Joannes Cantacuzenus. I do not wish to leave this recent one of Pope Julius the Second. (*) Ferdinand V (F. and winning. This duke entered the Romagna with auxiliaries. such forces not appearing to him reliable. it so came to pass that he did not become prisoner to his enemies. both his and others). III of Naples). and with them he captured Imola and Forli. died 1383. they are found and paid by you. II of Aragon and Sicily.CHAPTER XIII — CONCERNING AUXILIARIES.(*) for his assistance with men and arms. In conclusion. for losing. they are all united. had poor proof of his mercenaries. were not willing to quit. this was the beginning of the servitude of Greece to the infidels. threw himself entirely into the hands of the foreigner. wishing to get Ferrara. in auxiliaries. but with mercenaries. The Emperor of Constantinople.(*) to oppose his neighbours. more time and better opportunities are needed to injure you. on the war being finished. therefore." born 1542. sent ten thousand Frenchmen to take Pisa. the peril of which cannot fail to be perceived. which are the other useless arm. valour. is not able all at once to assume enough authority to injure you. when they have conquered. he turned to mercenaries.

I wish also to recall to memory an instance from the Old Testament applicable to this subject. Afterwards his son. having raised the reputation of the Switzers. for. he had them all cut to pieces. But the scanty wisdom of man. was of no use. on entering into an affair which looks well at first. on handling and finding them doubtful. born 1423. the arms of others either fall from your back. and his men-at-arms he has subordinated to others. cannot discern the poison that is hidden in it. for the kingdom of France would be unconquerable if the ordinance of Charles had been enlarged or maintained. constituted like our Italian condottieri. which David rejected as soon as he had them on his back. but much inferior to one's own forces. 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. (*) Charles VII of France. Charles the Seventh. made head of the army by the Syracusans. discerning less danger in them. unfaithful. I was not intending to go beyond Italian and recent examples. such forces not appearing to him reliable. when he had the French. both of which arms together are much better than mercenaries alone or auxiliaries alone. which mistake.but afterwards. he was never esteemed more highly than when every one saw that he was complete master of his own forces. for he has destroyed the infantry altogether. and enlisted the Orsini and Vitelli. Saul armed him with his own weapons. he has entirely diminished the value of his own arms. whom presently. partly mercenary and partly national. and this insight is given to few. died 1483. he turned to mercenaries. died 1461. Therefore. when he had the Orsini and Vitelli. is. being as they are so accustomed to fight along with Switzers. the Syracusan. Hence it arises that the French cannot stand against the Switzers. because. he destroyed and turned to his own men. soon found out that a mercenary soldiery. and. as is now seen. (+) Louis XI. but I am unwilling to leave out Hiero. to give him courage. and he established in his kingdom ordinances concerning men-at-arms and infantry. In conclusion. David offered himself to Saul to fight with Goliath. and dangerous. The armies of the French have thus become mixed. and it appearing to him that he could neither keep them not let them go. or they weigh you down. And this example proves it. abolished the infantry and began to enlist the Switzers. surnamed "The Victorious. and when he relied on his own soldiers. This man. and afterwards made war with his own forces and not with aliens. on whose fidelity he could always count and found it ever increasing. and without the Switzers they do not come off well against others." born 1403. if he who rules a principality cannot recognize evils until they are upon him. followed by others.(*) the father of King Louis the Eleventh.(+) having by good fortune and valour liberated France from the English. saying he could make no use of them. recognized the necessity of being armed with forces of his own. he being one of those I have named above. as I have said. as I have said above of hectic fevers. King Louis. and that he wished to meet the enemy with his sling and his knife. he is not truly wise. or they bind you fast. And if the first disaster to the Roman Empire(*) should be . it does not appear that they can now conquer without them. the Philistine champion. son of the above. a source of peril to that kingdom.

and if one will consider how Philip. And if the first disaster to the Roman Empire(*) should be examined. through being martial. I conclude. 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 it is not reasonable that he who is armed should yield obedience willingly to him who is unarmed.' He might well have added that the Roman power was at its zenith when every citizen acknowledged his liability to fight for the State. or dependents. the father of Alexander the Great. he said that this was 'wholly unhistorical. and the sons. (*) "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. than war and its rules and discipline. on the contrary. And the first cause of your losing it is to neglect this art. because from that time the vigour of the Roman Empire began to decline. it causes you to be despised. not having the valour which in adversity would defend it. that no principality is secure without having its own forces. And one's own forces are those which are composed either of subjects. but that it began to decline as soon as this obligation was no longer recognized. .this insight is given to few. Francesco Sforza. 15th May 1906. CHAPTER XIV — THAT WHICH CONCERNS A PRINCE ON THE SUBJECT OF THE ART OF WAR A prince ought to have no other aim or thought. all others are mercenaries or auxiliaries. it is seen that when princes have thought more of ease than of arms they have lost their states. citizens. Because there is nothing proportionate between the armed and the unarmed."—Pall Mall Gazette. as is shown later on. and it is of such force that it not only upholds those who are born princes. When Mr Balfour replied to the allegations that the Roman Empire sank under the weight of its military obligations. 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. For among other evils which being unarmed brings you. and all that valour which had raised it passed away to others. and what enables you to acquire a state is to be master of the art. to which rules I entirely commit myself. for this is the sole art that belongs to him who rules. on the contrary. from dukes became private persons. it is entirely dependent on good fortune. And. it will be found to have commenced only with the enlisting of the Goths. nor select anything else for his study. therefore. but it often enables men to rise from a private station to that rank. and many republics and princes have armed and organized themselves. from a private person became Duke of Milan. and this is one of those ignominies against which a prince ought to guard himself. through avoiding the hardships and troubles of arms.

and whose achievements and deeds he always kept in his mind. he ought above all things to keep his men well organized and drilled. in time of war. any unexpected circumstances that he could not deal with. affability. Scipio Cyrus. afterwards. A wise prince ought to observe . the one by action. and above all do as an illustrious man did. and learns something of the nature of localities. and how in chastity. and gets to find out how the mountains rise. with whom would be the advantage? How should one best advance to meet him. keeping the ranks? If we should wish to retreat. as it is said Alexander the Great imitated Achilles. And therefore a prince who does not understand the art of war. so that by these continual discussions there could never arise. But to exercise the intellect the prince should read histories. nor can he rely on them. all the chances that could befall an army. and liberality Scipio conformed to those things which have been written of Cyrus by Xenophon. "the last of the Greeks. to follow incessantly the chase. and in all this to take the greatest care. how ought we to pursue?" And he would set forth to them.(*) Prince of the Achaeans. to besiege towns to advantage. died 183 B. Because. cannot be respected by his soldiers. Firstly. he learns to know his country. therefore.C. and we should find ourselves here with our army. by which he accustoms his body to hardships. for it teaches him to surprise his enemy. and when he was in the country with friends.not reasonable that he who is armed should yield obedience willingly to him who is unarmed. And the prince that lacks this skill lacks the essential which it is desirable that a captain should possess. the other by study. and plains. Caesar Alexander. to see how they have borne themselves in war. to lead armies. As regards action. Which knowledge is useful in two ways. he often stopped and reasoned with them: "If the enemy should be upon that hill. to examine the causes of their victories and defeat. is commended because in time of peace he never had anything in his mind but the rules of war. to array the battle. or that the unarmed man should be secure among armed servants. humanity.. how the plains lie. and in peace he should addict himself more to its exercise than in war. by means of the knowledge and observation of that locality. to select quarters. there being in the one disdain and in the other suspicion. so as to avoid the latter and imitate the former. He ought never. and is better able to undertake its defence. as he went. And whoever reads the life of Cyrus. in Tuscany. and rivers and marshes that are. he understands with ease any other which it may be necessary for him to study hereafter. (*) Philopoemen. this he can do in two ways. it is not possible for them to work well together. will recognize afterwards in the life of Scipio how that imitation was his glory. have a certain resemblance to those of other countries. and study there the actions of illustrious men. confirming it with reasons. how the valleys open out. written by Xenophon. for instance.C. he would listen to their opinion and state his." born 252 B. Philopoemen. because the hills. so that with a knowledge of the aspect of one country one can easily arrive at a knowledge of others. and to understand the nature of rivers and marshes. valleys. who took as an exemplar one who had been praised and famous before him. to have out of his thoughts this subject of war. among other praises which writers have bestowed on him. over and above the other misfortunes already mentioned.

for human conditions do not permit it. Therefore. AND ESPECIALLY PRINCES. I expect I shall be considered presumptuous in mentioning it again. one sincere. another unbelieving. so that if fortune chances it may find him prepared to resist her blows. 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. one hard. because how one lives is so far distant from how one ought to live. are remarkable for some of those qualities which bring them either blame or praise. A wise prince ought to observe some such rules. Hence it is necessary for a prince wishing to hold his own to know how to do wrong. whilst we call one miserly who deprives himself too much of the use of his own). and the like. one cruel. ARE PRAISED OR BLAMED It remains now to see what ought to be the rules of conduct for a prince towards subject and friends. another cunning. another frivolous. one rapacious. another faithful. one religious. another chaste. for many have pictured republics and principalities which in fact have never been known or seen. 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. sooner effects his ruin than his preservation. CHAPTER XV — CONCERNING THINGS FOR WHICH MEN. another miserly. and thus it is that one is reputed liberal. 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. one lascivious. and to make use of it or not according to necessity. and discussing those which are real. using a Tuscan term (because an avaricious person in our language is still he who desires to possess by robbery. one compassionate. one affable. if it be possible. I say that all men when they are spoken of. it being my intention to write a thing which shall be useful to him who apprehends it. one grave. But. especially as in discussing it I shall depart from the methods of other people. another easy. but because they can neither be entirely possessed nor observed. one effeminate and cowardly. and also to keep himself. one is reputed generous. but increase his resources with industry in such a way that they may be available to him in adversity. and never in peaceful times stand idle. another bold and brave. that he who neglects what is done for what ought to be done. from those which would . And as I know that many have written on this point. and chiefly princes for being more highly placed. it appears to me more appropriate to follow up the real truth of the matter than the imagination of it. another haughty.those things which have been written of Cyrus by Xenophon. putting on one side imaginary things concerning a prince. one faithless.

if it be possible. when he made war on the King of France. for if everything is considered carefully. for he supplied his additional expenses out of his long thriftiness. thus. if he is wise he ought not to fear the reputation of being mean. and will be compelled in the end. he is affected by the very first trouble and imperilled by whatever may be the first danger. he runs at once into the reproach of being miserly. and becoming poor he will be little valued by any one. The present King of Spain would not have undertaken or conquered in so many enterprises if he had been reputed liberal. Therefore. Pope Julius the Second was assisted in reaching the papacy by a reputation for liberality. except to his cost. with his liberality. recognizing this himself. whilst something else. the rest have failed. for in time he will come to be more considered than if liberal.would lose him his state. and do everything he can to get money. and also to keep himself. CHAPTER XVI — CONCERNING LIBERALITY AND MEANNESS Commencing then with the first of the above-named characteristics. I say that it would be well to be reputed liberal. thus it comes to pass that he exercises liberality towards all from whom he does not take. yet followed brings him security and prosperity. would be his ruin. that he can defend himself against all attacks. if he wish to maintain the name of liberal. he need not make himself uneasy at incurring a reproach for those vices without which the state can only be saved with difficulty. therefore. any one wishing to maintain among men the name of liberal is obliged to avoid no attribute of magnificence. and tax them. and he made many wars without imposing any extraordinary tax on his subjects. who are numberless. Therefore. This will soon make him odious to his subjects. if followed. so that a prince thus inclined will consume in such acts all his property. We have not seen great things done in our time except by those who have been considered mean. not being able to exercise this virtue of liberality in such a way that it is recognized. and is able to engage in enterprises without burdening his people. injures you. provided that he has not to rob his subjects. to unduly weigh down his people. and you will not avoid the reproach of its opposite. for if one exercises it honestly and as it should be exercised. who are few. and wishing to draw back from it. And again. and meanness towards those to whom he does not give. liberality exercised in a way that does not bring you the reputation for it. it will be found that something which looks like virtue. that he can defend . seeing that with his economy his revenues are enough. having offended many and rewarded few. a prince. it may not become known. he may with less hesitation abandon himself to them. which looks like vice. but this not being possible. yet he did not strive afterwards to keep it up. A prince. Nevertheless. from those which would not lose him it.

A prince. this liberality is necessary. sack. because it does not take away your reputation if you squander that of others. and have done great things with armies. and liberality leads you to both. against being despised and hated. ought to hold of little account a reputation for being mean. that he does not become poor and abject. And to the prince who goes forth with his army. I reply: Either a prince spends that which is his own or his subjects' or else that of others. above all things. And there is nothing wastes so rapidly as liberality. Caesar. and Alexander. In the first case he ought to be sparing. for it is one of those vices which will enable him to govern. or else. I answer: Either you are a prince in fact. in the second it is very necessary to be considered liberal. rapacious and hated. therefore. and many others have reached the highest positions by having been liberal. handling that which belongs to others. as were Cyrus. and had not moderated his expenses. but if he had survived after becoming so. . or in a way to become one. supporting it by pillage. and extortion. in the second he ought not to neglect any opportunity for liberality. that he can defend himself. and Caesar was one of those who wished to become pre-eminent in Rome. than to be compelled through seeking a reputation for liberality to incur a name for rapacity which begets reproach with hatred. that he is not forced to become rapacious. Therefore it is wiser to have a reputation for meanness which brings reproach without hatred. in avoiding poverty. In the first case this liberality is dangerous. And a prince should guard himself. and by being considered so. who have been considered very liberal. for even whilst you exercise it you lose the power to do so. otherwise he would not be followed by soldiers. it is only squandering your own that injures you. And of that which is neither yours nor your subjects' you can be a ready giver. And if any one should say: Caesar obtained empire by liberality. and so become either poor or despised. And if any one should reply: Many have been princes.liberal. he would have destroyed his government. but adds to it. provided that he has not to rob his subjects.

for these are wont to injure the whole people. of the two. and restored it to peace and loyalty. I say that every prince ought to desire to be considered clement and not cruel.CHAPTER XVII — CONCERNING CRUELTY AND CLEMENCY. And if this be rightly considered. et late fines custode tueri. fickle. And of all princes. And guard with these severities my shores. and as long as you succeed they are yours entirely.(*) Therefore a prince. to avoid a reputation for cruelty. his cruelty reconciled the Romagna. et regni novitas me talia cogunt Moliri. as is said above. permitted Pistoia to be destroyed. but proceed in a temperate manner with prudence and humanity. and an infant state. either must be dispensed with. that they are ungrateful. (*) . because with a few examples he will be more merciful than those who. Christopher Pitt. excuses the inhumanity of her reign owing to its being new. 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. it is much safer to be feared than loved. (*) During the rioting between the Cancellieri and Panciatichi factions in 1502 and 1503. from which follow murders or robberies. when the need is far distant. notwithstanding. so long as he keeps his subjects united and loyal. my fate A throne unsettled. false. covetous. but. saying: "Res dura. property. they will offer you their blood. it is impossible for the new prince to avoid the imputation of cruelty. through too much mercy. so that too much confidence may not make him incautious and too much distrust render him intolerable. relying entirely on . when. life. he will be seen to have been much more merciful than the Florentine people. who."(*) Nevertheless he ought to be slow to believe and to act. Nevertheless he ought to take care not to misuse this clemency. owing to new states being full of dangers. And that prince who. through the mouth of Dido. Bid me defend my realms with all my pow'rs. AND WHETHER IT IS BETTER TO BE LOVED THAN FEARED Coming now to the other qualities mentioned above. cowardly. nor should he himself show fear. . but when it approaches they turn against you. Because this is to be asserted in general of men. ought not to mind the reproach of cruelty. against my will. whilst those executions which originate with a prince offend the individual only. because it is difficult to unite them in one person. unified it. Cesare Borgia was considered cruel. . Hence Virgil. and children. allow disorders to arise.

with his boundless valour. This arose from nothing else than his inhuman cruelty. Returning to the question of being feared or loved. for love is preserved by the link of obligation which. a wise prince . owing entirely to his easy nature. which gave his soldiers more license than is consistent with military discipline. has neglected other precautions. and called the corrupter of the Roman soldiery. This disposition. if he had been continued in the command. for without it he would never hold his army united or disposed to its duties. but above all things he must keep his hands off the property of others. this injurious characteristic not only concealed itself. but contributed to his glory. And that prince who. would have destroyed in time the fame and glory of Scipio. is broken at every opportunity for their advantage. wishing to excuse him. said there were many men who knew much better how not to err than to correct the errors of others. Nevertheless a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that. but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails. That it is true his other virtues would not have been sufficient for him may be proved by the case of Scipio. because men more quickly forget the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony. he must do it on proper justification and for manifest cause. he being under the control of the Senate. for he who has once begun to live by robbery will always find pretexts for seizing what belongs to others. owing to the baseness of men. And short-sighted writers admire his deeds from one point of view and from another condemn the principal cause of them. is ruined. and has under control a multitude of soldiers. men loving according to their own will and fearing according to that of the prince. because he can endure very well being feared whilst he is not hated. whether in his bad or in his good fortune. no dissensions arose either among them or against the prince. made him revered and terrible in the sight of his soldiers. But when it is necessary for him to proceed against the life of someone. yet they were not avenged by him. Among the wonderful deeds of Hannibal this one is enumerated: that having led an enormous army. but they are not secured. then it is quite necessary for him to disregard the reputation of cruelty. composed of many various races of men. But when a prince is with his army. relying entirely on their promises. he avoids hatred. but reasons for taking life. because friendships that are obtained by payments. his army rebelled in Spain. I come to the conclusion that. but when it approaches they turn against you. Besides. Insomuch that someone in the Senate. against whom. which will always be as long as he abstains from the property of his citizens and subjects and from their women. that most excellent man. but without that cruelty. which. on the contrary. but. to fight in foreign lands. this arose from nothing but his too great forbearance. nor was the insolence of the legate punished. if he does not win love. nevertheless. may indeed be earned.distant. and not by greatness or nobility of mind. pretexts for taking away the property are never wanting. are more difficult to find and sooner lapse. 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 this he was upbraided in the Senate by Fabius Maximus. his other virtues were not sufficient to produce this effect. not only of his own times but within the memory of man. The Locrians were laid waste by a legate of Scipio.

so it is necessary for a prince to know how to make use of both natures. and he who has known best how to employ the fox has succeeded best. confugiendum est ad ." Mr Burd points out that this passage is imitated directly from Cicero's "De Officiis": "Nam cum sint duo genera decertandi. and will not keep faith with you.e. it is necessary to be a fox to discover the snares and a lion to terrify the wolves. Nevertheless our experience has been that those princes who have done great things have held good faith of little account. "striving for mastery. Therefore. but because they are bad. he must endeavour only to avoid hatred. which means solely that. alterum per vim.(*) the one by the law. CHAPTER XVIII(*) — CONCERNING THE WAY IN WHICH PRINCES SHOULD KEEP FAITH (*) "The present chapter has given greater offence than any other portion of Machiavelli's writings. who describe how Achilles and many other princes of old were given to the Centaur Chiron to nurse. and to live with integrity and not with craft. keep faith when such observance may be turned against him. A prince. and have known how to circumvent the intellect of men by craft. Every one admits how praiseworthy it is in a prince to keep faith. showing how many treaties and engagements have been made void and of no effect through the faithlessness of princes. and that one without the other is not durable. therefore.should establish himself on that which is in his own control and not in that of others. nor ought he to. ought to choose the fox and the lion. and when the reasons that caused him to pledge it exist no longer. Those who rely simply on the lion do not understand what they are about. This has been figuratively taught to princes by ancient writers. Of this endless modern examples could be given." i. and in the end have overcome those who have relied on their word. as is noted. Therefore it is necessary for a prince to understand how to avail himself of the beast and the man. because the lion cannot defend himself against snares and the fox cannot defend himself against wolves. you too are not bound to observe it with them. hoc beluarum." Burd. Therefore a wise lord cannot." p. it is necessary to have recourse to the second. as they had for a teacher one who was half beast and half man. Nor will there ever be wanting to a prince legitimate reasons to excuse this non-observance. who brought them up in his discipline. the second to beasts. being compelled knowingly to adopt the beast. (*) "Contesting. If men were entirely good this precept would not hold. but because the first is frequently not sufficient. "Il Principe. You must know there are two ways of contesting. unum per disceptationem. cumque illud proprium sit hominis. the other by force. 297. the first method is proper to men.

but. and religious. 1843. p. humane. but it is very necessary to appear to have them. "contro alla fede" and "tutto fede. and that to appear to have them is useful. yet would observe it less. that a prince." But it is necessary to know well how to disguise this characteristic. if compelled. humane." i.e. as I have said above. laid down this for a master rule in his political scheme: 'That the show of religion was helpful to the politician. Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated. South in his Sermon IX. And I shall dare to say this also." in the next paragraph. upright. hoc beluarum. then to know how to set about it. (*) "Contrary to fidelity" or "faith. especially a new one. and religion. (*) "Nondimanco sempre gli succederono gli inganni (ad votum). humanity. and men are so simple.'" 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. It is noteworthy that these two phrases. faithful. confugiendum est ad posterius. to act contrary to fidelity. cannot observe all those things for which men are esteemed. but with a mind so framed that should you require not to be so. yet. for there never was a man who had greater power in asserting. that to have them and always to observe them is injurious." and "tutto fede. religious. Nicolo Machiavel. comments on this passage as follows: "That great patron and Coryphaeus of this tribe. 1550." "altogether faithful. which was published with the sanction of the papal authorities. Cesare never said what he did. It may be that the meaning attached to the word "fede" was "the faith. as witness "the religion. and not as rendered here "fidelity" and "faithful. Alexander never did what he said. There is nothing more necessary to appear to have than this last quality. not to diverge from the good if he can avoid doing so. being used to signify indifferently every shade of belief. si uti non licet superiore. and to be so.(*) friendship. Alexander the Sixth did nothing else but deceive men. and to be a great pretender and dissembler. in order to maintain the state. ed." were omitted in the Testina edition. or who with greater oaths would affirm a thing. the Catholic creed. nevertheless his deceits always succeeded according to his wishes." The words "ad votum" are omitted in the Testina addition.proprium sit hominis. upright. to appear merciful." a phrase inevitably employed to designate the Huguenot heresy. nor ever thought of doing otherwise. And you have to understand this. you may be able and know how to change to the opposite. One recent example I cannot pass over in silence. Therefore it is necessary for him to have a mind ready to turn itself accordingly as the winds and variations of fortune force it.(*) because he well understood this side of mankind. that he who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived. faithful." Observe that the word "religione" was suffered to stand in the text of the Testina. 69. that he may appear to him who sees and hears him altogether merciful. and he always found victims." "contro alla fede. but the reality of it hurtful and pernicious. inasmuch as men judge generally more by . being often forced. Italian Proverb. and so subject to present necessities.

because it belongs to everybody to see you. (*) Ferdinand of Aragon. irresolute. as I have said. from all of which a prince should guard himself as from a rock. and those few dare not oppose themselves to the opinion of the many. Every one sees what you appear to be. And when neither their property nor their honor is touched. the others I wish to discuss briefly under this generality. to few to come in touch with you. and in his private dealings with his subjects let him show that his judgments are irrevocable. inasmuch as men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand. never preaches anything else but peace and good faith. and especially of princes. and he has only to contend with the ambition of a few. from both of which he must abstain. that the prince must consider. "When Machiavelli was writing 'The Prince' it would have been clearly impossible to mention Ferdinand's name here without giving offence. mean-spirited. let a prince have the credit of conquering and holding his state. and to both he is most hostile. the majority of men live content. which it is not prudent to challenge. One prince(*) of the present time. frivolous. and as often as he shall have succeeded he will have fulfilled his part. and maintain himself in such reputation that no one can hope either to deceive him or to get round him. because the vulgar are always taken by what a thing seems to be and by what comes of it. and to be a violator of the property and women of his subjects. It makes him contemptible to be considered fickle. and either. and in the actions of all men. effeminate. who have the majesty of the state to defend them. how to avoid those things which will make him hated or contemptible. for the few find a place there only when the many have no ground to rest on. and he will be praised by everybody. one judges by the result. It makes him hated above all things. and he who is highly . to be rapacious. and in the world there are only the vulgar. That prince is highly esteemed who conveys this impression of himself. and he need not fear any danger in other reproaches. For that reason. and fortitude.necessary to appear to have than this last quality. gravity. courage. 308. the means will always be considered honest. few really know what you are. whom he can curb with ease in many ways. concerning the characteristics of which mention is made above. I have spoken of the more important ones. if he had kept it." p. and he should endeavour to show in his actions greatness. would have deprived him of reputation and kingdom many a time. as has been in part said before." Burd's "Il Principe. whom it is not well to name. CHAPTER XIX — THAT ONE SHOULD AVOID BEING DESPISED AND HATED Now.

who had conspired against him. to keep faith with you.(*) who was in childhood: immediately after his assassination the people rose and murdered all the Canneschi. and affairs will always remain quiet within when they are quiet without. for he who conspires against a prince always expects to please them by his removal. as long as he does not despair. for. the laws. prospect of punishment to terrify him. when affairs outside are disturbed he has only to fear that they will conspire secretly. From the latter he is defended by being well armed and having good allies. because on account of it he has the people for an enemy. And one of the most efficacious remedies that a prince can have against conspiracies is not to be hated and despised by the people. as I said Nabis the Spartan did. 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. which it is most necessary for him to accomplish. Endless examples could be given on this subject. the other from without. for the difficulties that confront a conspirator are infinite. seeing the gain from this course to be assured. And as experience shows. brought to pass within the memory of our fathers. And. who was prince in Bologna (grandfather of the present Annibale). and by keeping the people satisfied with him. not one of his family survived but Messer Giovanni. and thus cannot hope for any escape. he will not have the courage to take such a course. in this case he has also to fear the sequel to the crime. but on the side of the prince there is the majesty of the principality. if he has carried out his preparations and has lived as I have said. although none remained there after the death of Annibale . from which a prince can easily secure himself by avoiding being hated and despised. or a thoroughly obstinate enemy of the prince. jealousy. and seeing the other to be doubtful and full of dangers. having been murdered by the Canneschi. but few have been successful. he will resist every attack. For this reason a prince ought to have two fears. for by denouncing you he can look for every advantage. But concerning his subjects. which was so great that. unless they should have been already disturbed by conspiracy. and he who is highly esteemed is not easily conspired against. many have been the conspiracies. it is impossible that any one should be so rash as to conspire. he can only be attacked with difficulty. on the side of the conspirator. but I will be content with one. but when the conspirator can only look forward to offending them. there is nothing but fear. For whereas in general the conspirator has to fear before the execution of his plot. I say that. because he who conspires cannot act alone. one from within. Messer Annibale Bentivogli. so that.That prince is highly esteemed who conveys this impression of himself. This sprung from the popular goodwill which the house of Bentivogli enjoyed in those days in Bologna. so that. and even should affairs outside be disturbed. provided it is well known that he is an excellent man and revered by his people. on account of external powers. to reduce the matter into a small compass. as I said above at length. he must be a very rare friend. the protection of friends and the state to defend him. and if he is well armed he will have good friends. adding to all these things the popular goodwill. on account of his subjects.

against the nobles. nevertheless they have lost their empire or have been killed by subjects who have conspired against them. Among the best ordered and governed kingdoms of our times is France. 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. founded in fear. It may appear. and to keep the people satisfied and contented. and from the people for favouring the nobles. and keep those of grace in their own hands. having information that there was one of the Bentivogli family in Florence. Pertinax. but when it is hostile to him. the Bolognese. And well-ordered states and wise princes have taken every care not to drive the nobles to desperation. to take away the reproach which he would be liable to from the nobles for favouring the people. he wished to protect them. and Maximinus. Severus and his son Antoninus Caracalla. and in it are found many good institutions on which depend the liberty and security of the king. knowing the hatred of the people. Wishing. He ruled Bologna from 1462 to 1506.who was able to rule the state. who should be one who could beat down the great and favour the lesser without reproach to the king. Machiavelli's strong condemnation of conspiracies may get its edge from his own very recent experience (February 1513). whereas in other principalities the ambition of the nobles and the . Macrinus. knowing the ambition of the nobility and their boldness. he ought to fear everything and everybody. because he who founded the kingdom. and bears hatred towards him. that princes ought to leave affairs of reproach to the management of others. therefore. therefore. Alexander. From this one can draw another important conclusion. Heliogabalus. (*) Giovanni Bentivogli. and will show that the causes of their ruin were not different to those alleged by me. but not so as to make himself hated by the people. or a greater source of security to the king and kingdom. on the other side. There is first to note that. to answer these objections. 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. at the same time I will only submit for consideration those things that are noteworthy to him who studies the affairs of those times. and. For this reason I consider that a prince ought to reckon conspiracies of little account when his people hold him in esteem. Neither could you have a better or a more prudent arrangement. I will recall the characters of some of the emperors. considered that a bit to their mouths would be necessary to hold them in. sent to Florence for him and gave him the government of their city. who up to that time had been considered the son of a blacksmith. born in Bologna 1438. and it was ruled by him until Messer Giovanni came in due course to the government. he set up an arbiter. And further. of these the first is the parliament and its authority. I consider that a prince ought to cherish the nobles. for this is one of the most important objects a prince can have. Julian. seeing that some of them lived nobly and showed great qualities of soul. perhaps. when he had been arrested and tortured for his alleged complicity in the Boscoli conspiracy. yet he was not anxious for this to be the particular care of the king. died at Milan 1508.

whilst the soldiers loved the warlike prince who was bold. lovers of justice. had no great authority. those emperors who through inexperience had need of special favour adhered more readily to the soldiers than to the people. caring little about injuring the people. nevertheless. a matter so beset with difficulties that it was the ruin of many. to which hatred there was added contempt for his old age. to satisfy their soldiers. being all men of modest life. so that they could get double pay and give vent to their own greed and cruelty. he was overthrown at the very beginning of his administration. the Roman emperors had a third difficulty in having to put up with the cruelty and avarice of their soldiers. and when they cannot compass this. being considered effeminate and a man who allowed himself to be governed by his mother. therefore. being accustomed to live licentiously under Commodus. cruel. But Pertinax was created emperor against the wishes of the soldiers. who was a man of such great goodness. and owed nothing either to the soldiers or the people. humane. because the people loved peace. being possessed of many virtues which made him respected. whereas in other principalities the ambition of the nobles and the insolence of the people only have to be contended with. were inclined to give satisfaction to the soldiers. because. and murdered him. because he had succeeded to the throne by hereditary title. From these causes it arose that Marcus. who. and benignant. for it was a hard thing to give satisfaction both to soldiers and people. having given cause for hatred. in the first place. Turning now to the opposite characters of Commodus. But let us come to Alexander. they ought. did . Pertinax. and was neither hated nor despised. 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 humours and to gratify them. to avoid being hated by every one. a course which turned out advantageous to them or not.There is first to note that. that in the fourteen years he held the empire no one was ever put to death by him unjudged. Therefore. Hence it arose that those emperors were always overthrown who. the army conspired against him. that among the other praises which are accorded him is this. as princes cannot help being hated by someone. and Maximinus. and for this reason they loved the unaspiring prince. a prince wishing to keep his state is very often forced to do evil. accordingly as the prince knew how to maintain authority over them. he became despised. And here it should be noted that hatred is acquired as much by good works as by bad ones. which qualities they were quite willing he should exercise upon the people. Which course was necessary. came to a sad end except Marcus. recognizing the difficulty of these two opposing humours. enemies to cruelty. he alone lived and died honoured. Antoninus Caracalla. thus. Severus. they ought to endeavour with the utmost diligence to avoid the hatred of the most powerful. and most of them. and afterwards. you will find them all cruel and rapacious-men who. and rapacious. as I said before. and Alexander. and then good works will do you harm. either by birth or training. he always kept both orders in their places whilst he lived. could not endure the honest life to which Pertinax wished to reduce them. especially those who came new to the principality.

and had very excellent qualities. had caused himself to be proclaimed emperor. and reached Italy before it was known that he had started. the Senate. after endless single murders. most enduring of fatigue. which made him admirable in the sight of the people and acceptable to the soldiers. he decided to attack Niger and to deceive Albinus. you will find them all cruel and rapacious-men who. did not hesitate to commit every kind of iniquity against the people. On his arrival at Rome. After this there remained for Severus. little recognizing the benefits that he had received from him. But after Severus had conquered and killed Niger. where Niger. elected him emperor and killed Julian. he was willing to share that dignity with him and sent him the title of Caesar. moreover. cannot be avoided by princes. and. his ferocity and cruelties were so great and so unheard of that. although the people were oppressed by him. he returned to Rome and complained to the Senate that Albinus. he reigned successfully. and took from him his government and life. he has only to be careful not to do any grave injury to those whom he employs or has around . But his son Antoninus was a most eminent man. he persuaded the army in Sclavonia. And here it must be noted that such-like deaths. keeping the soldiers friendly. for his valour 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 as he considered it dangerous to declare himself hostile to both. Afterwards he sought him out in France. as I said above. head of the Asiatic army. to satisfy their soldiers. And because the actions of this man. but in Severus there was so much valour that. of which he was captain. as a new prince. and it need not be wondered at that he. who also aspired to the throne. and all. were great. and for this ingratitude he was compelled to punish him. two difficulties. therefore. to such an extent that he was murdered in the midst of his army by a centurion. which natures. which caused him to be beloved by the armies. it is necessary for a prince to imitate. one in Asia. and also feared by those he had around him. who had been killed by the praetorian soldiers. being elected emperor by the Senate. which things were accepted by Albinus as true. a despiser of all delicate food and other luxuries. a new man. because his supreme renown always protected him from that hatred which the people might have conceived against him for his violence. because any one who does not fear to die can inflict them. carefully examine the actions of this man will find him a most valiant lion and a most cunning fox. He became hated by the whole world. except Severus. came to a bad end. He who will. and not hated by the army. and under this pretext. that it would be right to go to Rome and avenge the death of Pertinax. and settled oriental affairs. for he was a warlike man. who wished to make himself master of the whole empire. Nevertheless. but a prince may fear them the less because they are very rare. Knowing the sloth of the Emperor Julian. he will find him feared and respected by every one. that the Senate had made Albinus his colleague. which are deliberately inflicted with a resolved and desperate courage. through fear. was able to hold the empire so well. had by treachery sought to murder him. I wish to show briefly that he knew well how to counterfeit the fox and the lion.Maximinus. the other in the west where Albinus was. To the latter he wrote that. he moved the army on Rome. he killed a large number of the people of Rome and all those of Alexandria. without appearing to aspire to the throne.

except the Turk and the Soldan. his having kept sheep in Thrace. little worthy of the imperial majesty. But you must note that the state of the Soldan is unlike all other principalities. This he did not possess for long. to satisfy the people rather the soldiers. and the armies.him in the service of the state. he had also gained a reputation for the utmost ferocity by having. and he had only to follow in the footsteps of his father to please his people and soldiers. killed him and elected Maximinus to the throne. but. for. he gave himself up to amusing the soldiers and corrupting them. besieging Aquileia and meeting with difficulties in taking it. then the Senate with all the people of Rome. and whereas it was then more necessary to give satisfaction to the soldiers than to the people. who. as were the armies of the Roman Empire. which. which brought him into contempt (it being well known to all. he was conspired against and was killed. practised many cruelties. yet retained in his bodyguard. was a rash thing to do. and considered a great indignity by every one). none of these princes have armies that are veterans in the governance and administration of provinces. were quickly wiped out. it is now more necessary to all princes. that is soon done. the one. and proved the emperor's ruin. he must keep them his friends. not maintaining his dignity. being disgusted with the effeminacy of Alexander. through his prefects in Rome and elsewhere in the empire. because the people are the more powerful. The kingdom of the Soldan is similar. without regard to the people. were disgusted with his cruelties. so that he might indulge his rapacity upon the people. putting aside every consideration for the people. whom also he daily threatened. being thoroughly contemptible. to whom it should have been very easy to hold the empire. being entirely in the hands of soldiers. being by nature cruel and brutal. He was a very warlike man. or Julian. he fell into contempt with the soldiers. for two things made him hated and despised. But let us come to Commodus. Antoninus had not taken this care. and being hated by one party and despised by the other. for the reason that it is like the Christian pontificate. his having at the accession to his dominions deferred going to Rome and taking possession of the imperial seat. so that the whole world was moved to anger at the meanness of his birth and to fear at his barbarity. 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. he had inherited it. 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. but had contumeliously killed a brother of that centurion. It remains to discuss the character of Maximinus. and the other. he should keep them his friends. and doing other vile things. notwithstanding one has to give them some indulgence. I do not wish to discuss Heliogabalus. to which may be added his own army. and fearing him less when they found so many against him. as it turned out. of whom I have already spoken. this latter. on the other hand. often descending to the theatre to compete with gladiators. Macrinus. being the son of Marcus. it follows again that. From the above I have excepted the Turk. murdered him. First Africa rebelled. and all Italy conspired against him. which cannot be called either an hereditary or a newly formed . because.

they not having sufficient valour to enable them to tread in his footsteps. to imitate Marcus. those arms become yours. those men who were distrusted become faithful. But returning to the subject of our discourse. And this being an ancient custom. and it will be recognized also how it happened that. and it is framed so as to receive him as if he were its hereditary lord. cannot imitate the actions of Marcus. is it necessary to follow those of Severus. nevertheless I will speak as comprehensively as the matter of itself will admit. new to the principality. and those who were faithful are kept so. but he who is elected to that position by those who have authority. and from Marcus those which are proper and glorious to keep a state that may already be stable and firm. who was heir to the principality. and likewise it would have been utterly destructive to Caracalla. so as to hold securely the state. being new princes.is like the Christian pontificate. nor. which cannot be called either an hereditary or a newly formed principality. the constitution of the state is old. others have laid themselves out to gain over those whom they distrusted in the beginning of their governments. because. only one in each way came to a happy end and the rest to unhappy ones. and the sons remain only noblemen. Because it would have been useless and dangerous for Pertinax and Alexander. rather when he has found them disarmed he has always armed them. There never was a new prince who has disarmed his subjects. and Maximinus to have imitated Severus. AND MANY OTHER THINGS TO WHICH PRINCES OFTEN RESORT. a number of them acting in one way and a number in another. yet when those whom you do arm are benefited. Therefore a prince. because the sons of the old prince are not the heirs. by arming them. the others can be handled more freely. again. but he ought to take from Severus those parts which are necessary to found his state. others have fostered enmities against themselves. CHAPTER XX — ARE FORTRESSES. some have overthrown and destroyed them. Commodus. 2. ADVANTAGEOUS OR HURTFUL? 1. And whereas all subjects cannot be armed. and your subjects become your adherents. some have built fortresses. 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. and this . have disarmed their subjects. Some princes. I say that whoever will consider it will acknowledge that either hatred or contempt has been fatal to the above-named emperors. because there are none of those difficulties in it that are met with in new ones. it cannot be called a new principality. others have kept their subject towns distracted by factions. for although the prince is new.

when he has the opportunity. 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. but if war comes this policy proves fallacious. and these again. Such methods argue. And because you cannot remain unarmed. you at once offend them by showing that you distrust them. and those who were reckoned wise. Which. 5. and the latter. distracted by their differences. should not unite against them. who has a greater necessity to earn renown than an hereditary one. because. weakness in the prince. did not afterwards turn out as expected. 4. which he adds as a province to his old one. because the weakest party will always assist the outside forces and the other will not be able to resist. But when a prince acquires a new state. and although they never allowed them to come to bloodshed. rather it is certain that when the enemy comes upon you in divided cities you are quickly lost. and therefore fortune. Therefore. But when you disarm them. which are of the character already shown. excuse you. especially new ones. 3. fostered the Guelph and Ghibelline factions in their tributary cities. because these factions will never be permitted in a vigorous principality. his renown may rise higher. having crushed it. such methods for enabling one the more easily to manage subjects are only useful in times of peace. should be rendered soft and effeminate. yet they nursed these disputes amongst them. and with this idea they fostered quarrels in some of their tributary towns so as to keep possession of them the more easily. as we saw. as I have said. The Venetians. were accustomed to say that it was necessary to hold Pistoia by factions and Pisa by fortresses. because I do not believe that factions can ever be of use. as I believe. in order that he may have the opportunity of overcoming them. Histories are full of examples. with time and opportunity. makes the former your dependents. causes enemies to arise and form designs against him. so that the citizens. so that. but I do not believe that it can be accepted as a precept for to-day. have found more fidelity and assistance in those men who . Without doubt princes become great when they overcome the difficulties and obstacles by which they are confronted. moved. This may have been well enough in those times when Italy was in a way balanced. it follows that you turn to mercenaries. and this difference in their treatment. especially when she desires to make a new prince great. after the rout at Vaila. and by them to mount higher. and either of these opinions breeds hatred against you. therefore. considering it to be necessary that those who have the most danger and service should have the most reward. Princes. either for cowardice or for want of loyalty. ought with craft to foster some animosity against himself. one party at once took courage and seized the state. For this reason many consider that a wise prince. the others can be handled more freely. which they quite understand. even if they should be good they would not be sufficient to defend you against powerful enemies and distrusted subjects.when those whom you do arm are benefited. by the above reasons. Our forefathers. then it is necessary to disarm the men of that state. except those who have been his adherents in acquiring it. a new prince in a new principality has always distributed arms. as by a ladder which his enemies have raised.

has made. And this question can be reasoned thus: the prince who has more to fear from the people than from foreigners ought to build fortresses. and thus the prince always extracts more profit from them than from those who. although you may hold the fortresses. I praise this system because it has been made use of formerly. the Bentivogli returning to Bologna came to a similar decision. inasmuch as they know it to be very necessary for them to cancel by deeds the bad impression which he had formed of them. if they are of a description to need assistance to support themselves. 6. to build fortresses that may serve as a bridle and bit to those who might design to work against them. I must not fail to warn a prince. Duke of Urbino. built by Francesco Sforza. but only discontent with their government. serving him in too much security. for it varies so much with the individual. And weighing well the reasons for this in those examples which can be taken from ancient and modern affairs. The castle of Milan. that those men who at the commencement of a princedom have been hostile. But fortresses were of little value to her afterwards when Cesare Borgia attacked her. and when the people. Notwithstanding that. more trouble for the house of Sforza than any other disorder in the state. and they will be tightly held to serve the prince with fidelity. than of those who. therefore. and are therefore his enemies. Messer Nicolo Vitelli in our times has been seen to demolish two fortresses in Citta di Castello so that he might keep that state. being discontented with it. can always be gained over with the greatest ease. for it will be impossible to satisfy them. for there will never be wanting foreigners to assist a people who have taken arms against you. but he who has more to fear from foreigners than from the people ought to leave them alone. Fortresses. Pandolfo Petrucci. whence he had been driven by Cesare Borgia. were favourable to him and encouraged him to seize it. that he must well consider the reasons which induced those to favour him who did so. and will make. It has been a custom with princes. It has not been seen in our times that such fortresses have been of use to any prince. because. For this reason the best possible fortress is—not to be hated by the people. and if it be not a natural affection towards him. yet they will not save you if the people hate you. Guido Ubaldo. who by means of secret favours has acquired a new state. was killed. then he will only keep them friendly with great trouble and difficulty. if they do you good in one way they injure you in another. and thus recover her state. I will only say this. and the posture of affairs was such at that time that the foreigners could not assist the people. ruled his state more by those who had been distrusted than by others. Prince of Siena. are useful or not according to circumstances. for by that means she was able to withstand the popular attack and wait for assistance from Milan. on returning to his dominion. But on this question one cannot speak generally. razed to the foundations all the fortresses in that province. her consort.in the beginning of their rule were distrusted than among those who in the beginning were trusted. unless to the Countess of Forli. in order to hold their states more securely.(*) when the Count Girolamo. we shall find that it is easier for the prince to make friends of those men who were contented under the former government. and as a place of refuge from a first attack. And since the matter demands it. were . may neglect his affairs. and considered that without them it would be more difficult to lose it. her enemy.

All these things considered then. Under this same cloak he assailed Africa. the present King of Spain. Further." wrote Fortunati. "to learn whom they would send and when. Therefore. He can almost be called a new prince. thus they did not perceive that by these means he was acquiring power and authority over them. it much assists a prince to set unusual examples in internal affairs. 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. And his actions have arisen in such a way. both then and before. A letter from Fortunati to the countess announces the appointment: "I have been with the signori. he has finally attacked France. and have kept the minds of his people in suspense and admiration and occupied with the issue of them. who. translated by P. and if you will consider his deeds you will find them all great and some of them extraordinary. not to have been hated by the people than to have had the fortresses. from being an insignificant king to be the foremost king in Christendom." by Count Pasolini. Sylvester. a learned young Florentine noble. It was to the Countess of Forli that Machiavelli was sent as envy on 1499. CHAPTER XXI — HOW A PRINCE SHOULD CONDUCT HIMSELF SO AS TO GAIN RENOWN Nothing makes a prince so much esteemed as great enterprises and setting a fine example. They tell me that Nicolo Machiavelli. always using religion as a plea. and I shall blame whoever. I shall praise him who builds fortresses as well as him who does not. secretary to my Lords of the Ten. so as to undertake greater schemes. that men have never been given time to work steadily against him. born 1463. because he has risen. (*) Catherine Sforza. nor could there be a more admirable example. is to leave with me at once. In the beginning of his reign he attacked Granada. We have in our time Ferdinand of Aragon. 1898. similar to those which are related of Messer Bernabo da Milano. and thus his achievements and designs have always been great. he came down on Italy. died 1509. he devoted himself with pious cruelty to driving out and clearing his kingdom of the Moors. by fame and glory. one out of the other. her enemy. He did this quietly at first and without any fear of hindrance. a daughter of Galeazzo Sforza and Lucrezia Landriani." Cf. were allied with foreigners. would take some method . and this enterprise was the foundation of his dominions. by any one in civil life doing some extraordinary thing. "Catherine Sforza. and when the people.her afterwards when Cesare Borgia attacked her. cares little about being hated by the people. for he held the minds of the barons of Castile occupied in thinking of the war and not anticipating any innovations. it would have been safer for her. trusting in them. when he had the opportunity. nor one more rare. Again. either good or bad.

when those who fight are of such a character that you have no anxiety as to who may conquer. nor anything to protect or to shelter you. either good or bad. because if two of your powerful neighbours come to blows.one in civil life doing some extraordinary thing. if he had been wise. 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. Antiochus went into Greece. because. A prince is also respected when he is either a true friend or a downright enemy. and men are never so shameless as to become a monument of ingratitude by oppressing you. unless necessity compels him. would take some method of rewarding or punishing him. that is to say. generally follow the neutral path. the guerdon of the conqueror. yet he is indebted to him. which course will always be more advantageous than standing neutral. And irresolute princes. would have saved him. without any reservation. which would be much spoken about. and on the other hand the Romans urged them to take up arms. where the legate of Antiochus urged them to stand neutral. nothing can be more erroneous. . as is said above. especially to justice. To this the Roman legate answered: "As for that which has been said. But when a prince declares himself gallantly in favour of one side. being sent for by the Aetolians to drive out the Romans. sword in hand. if one of them conquers. because you assist at the destruction of one by the aid of another who. and are generally ruined. in the first case. In the second case. so much the more is it greater prudence to be allied. This question came to be discussed in the council of the Achaeans. he remains at your discretion. and there is established a bond of amity. He sent envoys to the Achaeans. to avoid present dangers. they are of such a character that. who were friends of the Romans. and you will have no reasons to offer. because if he conquers you are at his discretion. although the victor may be powerful and may have him at his mercy. and whilst he is able he may aid you. exhorting them to remain neutral. as it is impossible that he should not do with your assistance. and conquering." Thus it will always happen that he who is not your friend will demand your neutrality. And a prince ought. you have either to fear him or not. if the party with whom he allies himself conquers. whilst he who is your friend will entreat you to declare yourself with arms. because by not interfering you will be left. if you do not declare yourself. and princes ought to avoid as much as possible being at the discretion of any one. But if he with whom you ally yourself loses. above all things. court his fate. to the pleasure and satisfaction of him who has been conquered. when. In either case it will always be more advantageous for you to declare yourself and to make war strenuously. always endeavour in every action to gain for himself the reputation of being a great and remarkable man. he declares himself in favour of one party against the other. and he who loses will not harbour you because you did not willingly. and you become companions on a fortune that may rise again. you will invariably fall a prey to the conqueror. that it is better and more advantageous for your state not to interfere in our war. you may be sheltered by him. without favour or consideration. Because he who conquers does not want doubtful friends who will not aid him in the time of trial. Victories after all are never so complete that the victor must not show some regard.

nevertheless. the prince ought to favour one of the parties. A prince ought also to show himself a patron of ability. for the above reasons. At the same time he should encourage his citizens to practise their callings peaceably. and to honour the proficient in every art. he ought to entertain the people with festivals and spectacles at convenient seasons of the year. as happened to the Florentines when the Pope and Spain sent armies to attack Lombardy. Never let any Government imagine that it can choose perfectly safe courses. and for choice to take the lesser evil. which caused their ruin. always maintaining the majesty of his rank. and show himself an example of courtesy and liberality. The Venetians joined with France against the Duke of Milan. and princes ought to avoid as much as possible being at the discretion of any one. But when it cannot be avoided. for this he must never consent to abate in anything. but the prince ought to offer rewards to whoever wishes to do these things and designs in any way to honour his city or state. because it is found in ordinary affairs that one never seeks to avoid one trouble without running into another.discretion. and in every other following. rather let it expect to have to take very doubtful ones. and as every city is divided into guilds or into societies.(*) he ought to hold such bodies in esteem. both in commerce and agriculture. . then in such a case. and associate with them sometimes. 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. and this alliance. could have been avoided. Further. but prudence consists in knowing how to distinguish the character of troubles.

Therefore. for whenever one has judgment to know good and bad when it is said and done.(*) "Guilds or societies. yet he can recognize the good and the bad in his servant." which now signifies a "regimental company. although he himself may not have the initiative. were always during the working season members of an artel. and it is generally admitted to be only another form of "rota. and pecuniarily responsible for the acts of the individual members. "Tribu" were possibly gentile groups. it follows necessarily that. But to enable a prince to form an opinion of his servant there is one test which never fails. and of his understanding. is by observing the men he has around him." "in arti o in tribu. when you see the servant thinking more of his own interests than of yours. . Prince of Siena. he was in the second. another which appreciates what others comprehended. Perhaps our words "sects" or "clans" would be most appropriate. But when they are otherwise one cannot form a good opinion of him. CHAPTER XXII — CONCERNING THE SECRETARIES OF PRINCES The choice of servants is of no little importance to a prince. Institutions of a somewhat similar character. Sir Mackenzie Wallace's "Russia. and the one he can praise and the other correct." In both words the underlying idea is that of a body of men united by an oath. possessing large capital. thus the servant cannot hope to deceive him. . the first is the most excellent. and they are good or not according to the discrimination of the prince. for the prime error which he made was in choosing them." exist in Russia to-day. no connection with "ars" or "arte. Florio: "Arte . and when they are capable and faithful he may always be considered wise. who would not consider Pandolfo to be a very clever man in having Venafro for his servant. There were none who knew Messer Antonio da Venafro as the servant of Pandolfo Petrucci. called "artel. has. because he has known how to recognize the capable and to keep them faithful. 1905: "The sons ." Its root is that of the verb "rotisya." "Arti" were craft or trade guilds. cf. united by common descent. if Pandolfo was not in the first rank." The guilds of Florence are most admirably described by Mr Edgcumbe Staley in his work on the subject (Methuen. Because there are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself. and is kept honest. And the first opinion which one forms of a prince. . In some of the larger towns there are artels of a much more complex kind— permanent associations." ed. Mr Aylmer Maude assures me." to bind oneself by an oath." despite its apparent similarity. the third is useless. cf. a whole company of any trade in any city or corporation town. 1906). and seeking . and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others. the second is good." The word "artel. and included individuals connected by marriage. .

. but he ought to question them upon everything. nor will you ever be able to trust him. servants. He who does otherwise is either overthrown by flatterers. speaking of his majesty. When. and that many cares may make him dread chances. the end will always be disastrous for either one or the other. and of none others. I wish on this subject to adduce a modern example. but when every one may tell you the truth. unless they are very careful and discriminating. such a man will never make a good servant. he should listen to no one. Therefore a wise prince ought to hold a third course by choosing the wise men in his state. and afterwards form his own conclusions. It is that of flatterers. and listen to their opinions. and then only of those things of which he inquires. sharing with him the honours and cares. or is so often changed by varying opinions that he falls into contempt. honouring him. that they are preserved with difficulty from this pest. many riches make him wish for more. 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. and be steadfast in his resolutions. the man of affairs to Maximilian. and in a way so deceived in them. With these councillors. because men are so self-complacent in their own affairs. pursue the thing resolved on. doing him kindnesses. the more he shall be preferred. separately and collectively. he ought to carry himself in such a way that each of them should know that. for it is a danger from which princes are with difficulty preserved. and at the same time let him see that he cannot stand alone. are thus disposed. and never pay any attention to matters in which the prince is not concerned. because he who has the state of another in his hands ought never to think of himself. enriching him. so that many honours may not make him desire more. said: He consulted with no one. but always of his prince. the more freely he shall speak. outside of these. On the other hand. respect for you abates. therefore. and giving to them only the liberty of speaking the truth to him. and if they wish to defend themselves they run the danger of falling into contempt. CHAPTER XXIII — HOW FLATTERERS SHOULD BE AVOIDED I do not wish to leave out an important branch of this subject. but when it is otherwise. Fra Luca. of whom courts are full. and princes towards servants. and seeking inwardly his own profit in everything.(*) the present emperor. to keep his servant honest the prince ought to study him.when you see the servant thinking more of his own interests than of yours. they can trust each other.

CHAPTER XXIV — WHY THE PRINCES OF ITALY HAVE LOST THEIR STATES The previous suggestions. and no one can rely on his resolutions. and no one ever understands what he wishes or intends to do. and afterwards a patient listener concerning the things of which he inquired. But as in carrying them into effect they become revealed and known. died 1519. and not the wisdom of the prince from good counsels. And they are not to found otherwise. born in 1459. on any consideration. Therefore it must be inferred that good counsels. but only when he wishes and not when others wish. said: He consulted with no one. because men will always prove untrue to you unless they are kept honest by constraint. Mary. Each of the counsellors will think of his own interests. and thus became involved in Italian politics. first. he should let his anger be felt. yet never got his own way in anything. and render him at once more secure and fixed in the state than if he had been long . but it would not be for long. because this is an axiom which never fails: that a prince who is not wise himself will never take good advice. also. for the emperor is a secretive man—he does not communicate his designs to any one. therefore. nor does he receive opinions on them. but through the good advisers that he has around him. He married. they are at once obstructed by those men whom he has around him. and he. Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. after her death. are born of the wisdom of the prince. ought always to take counsel. and the prince will not know how to control them or to see through them. A prince. he ought rather to discourage every one from offering advice unless he asks it. carefully observed. is diverted from them. being pliant. Bianca Sforza. unless by chance he has yielded his affairs entirely to one person who happens to be a very prudent man. 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.Maximilian. he ought to be a constant inquirer. on learning that any one. because such a governor would in a short time take away his state from him. speaking of his majesty. will enable a new prince to appear well established. daughter of Charles the Bold. In this case indeed he may be well governed. however. but.(*) the present emperor. beyond doubt they are deceived. This arose because of his following a practice the opposite to the above. whencesoever they come. (*) Maximilian I. has not told him the truth. And if there are some who think that a prince who conveys an impression of his wisdom is not so through his own ability. Hence it follows that those things he does one day he undoes the next.

may be good. This again either does not happen. Thus it will be a double glory for him to have established a new principality. nevertheless he retained the kingdom. Philip of Macedon. some one of them will be seen. firstly. but it is very bad to have neglected all other expedients for that. And if those seigniors are considered who have lost their states in Italy in our times. and others. because men are attracted more by the present than by the past. Therefore. but he who was conquered by Titus Quintius. such as the King of Naples. he has not known how to secure the nobles. yet being a warlike man who knew how to attract the people and secure the nobles. and adorned and strengthened it with good laws. or if he has had the people friendly. so will it be a double disgrace to him who. when others fail. there will be found in them. good allies. In the absence of these defects states that have power enough to keep an army in the field cannot be lost. since you would never wish to fall because you trusted to be able to find someone later on to restore you. disgusted with the insolence of the conquerors. but rather their own sloth. and when they are seen to be able they gain more men and bind far tighter than ancient blood. not the father of Alexander the Great. and when afterwards the bad times came they thought of flight and not of defending themselves. because that deliverance is of no avail which does not depend upon yourself. For the actions of a new prince are more narrowly observed than those of an hereditary one. and when they find the present good they enjoy it and seek no further. the Duke of Milan. born a prince. and they hoped that the people. and render him at once more secure and fixed in the state than if he had been long seated there. either to have had the people hostile. and durable that depend on yourself and your valour. and if in the end he lost the dominion of some cities. certain. if it does. it will not be for your security. he sustained the war against his enemies for many years. and with a good example. one common defect in regard to arms from the causes which have been discussed at length. This course. those only are reliable. 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). CHAPTER XXV — WHAT FORTUNE CAN EFFECT IN HUMAN AFFAIRS AND HOW TO WITHSTAND HER . shall lose his state by want of wisdom. in the next place. had not much territory compared to the greatness of the Romans and of Greece who attacked him. would recall them.established. good arms. do not let our princes accuse fortune for the loss of their principalities after so many years' possession. they will also make the utmost defence of a prince if he fails them not in other things. or.

This follows from what I have said. one by force. two men by different observances are equally successful. I say that a prince may be seen happy to-day and ruined to-morrow without having shown any change of disposition or character. I hold it to be true that Fortune is the arbiter of one-half of our actions.HER It is not unknown to me how many men have had. all this arises from nothing else than whether or not they conform in their methods to the spirit of the times. another by skill. and which has given to them their impulse. the other impetuous. though its nature be such. 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." I compare her to one of those raging rivers. or perhaps a little less. So it happens with fortune. one with caution. it does not follow therefore that men. who shows her power where valour has not prepared to resist her. bearing away the soil from place to place. the other fail. and each one succeeds in reaching the goal by a different method. the one being cautious. but to let chance govern them. that the prince who relies entirely on fortune is lost when it changes. One can also see of two cautious men the one attain his end. And this I consider enough to say concerning resistance to fortune in general. namely. in such a manner that. I believe also that he will be successful who directs his actions according to the spirit of the times. every day. both with defences and barriers. and yet. and their force be neither so unrestrained nor so dangerous. the waters may pass away by canal. and that he whose actions do not accord with the times will not be successful. arises firstly from causes that have already been discussed at length. without being able in any way to withstand it. in affairs that lead to the end which every man has before him. Nevertheless. and France. and thither she turns her forces where she knows that barriers and defences have not been raised to constrain her. to get there by various methods. (*) but that she still leaves us to direct the other half. either this invasion would not have made the great changes it has made or it would not have come at all." Sorel's "Eastern Question. shall not make provision. that two men working . I am in some degree inclined to their opinion. Spain. This opinion has been more credited in our times because of the great changes in affairs which have been seen. another by its opposite. all yield to its violence. namely. I believe. and may still be seen. And if you will consider Italy. which when in flood overflows the plains. everything flies before it. glory and riches. sweeping away trees and buildings. beyond all human conjecture. For if it had been defended by proper valour. one by patience. when the weather becomes fair. and still have. But confining myself more to the particular. another with haste. This. Sometimes pondering over this. and similarly. rising again. you will see it to be an open country without barriers and without any defence. Because men are seen. (*) Frederick the Great was accustomed to say: "The older one gets the more convinced one becomes that his Majesty King Chance does three-quarters of the business of this miserable universe. as are Germany. which is the seat of these changes. and because of this they would have us believe that it is not necessary to labour much in affairs. not to extinguish our free will.

but unsuccessful when they fall out. having observed the movement. The Venetians were not agreeable to it. woman-like. therefore that. he cannot be persuaded that it is well to leave it. he drew after him the King of France. and with more audacity command her. and the others would have raised a thousand fears. Therefore Julius with his impetuous action accomplished what no other pontiff with simple human wisdom could have done. because that king. nor was the King of Spain. does not know how to do it. Because the King of France would have made a thousand excuses. and it is seen that she allows herself to be mastered by the adventurous rather than by those who go to work more coldly. fortune being changeful and mankind steadfast in their ways. his ruin would have followed. for if he had waited in Rome until he could get away. therefore. but if times and affairs change. on the other hand. his fortune is made. when it is time to turn adventurous. a move which made Spain and the Venetians stand irresolute and passive. a lover of young men. Consider his first enterprise against Bologna. . for if. the former from desire to recover the kingdom of Naples. and desiring to make the Pope his friend so as to humble the Venetians. This follows from what I have said. the cautious man. the latter from fear. nevertheless he personally entered upon the expedition with his accustomed boldness and energy. found it impossible to refuse him. to one who governs himself with caution and patience. and. both because he cannot deviate from what nature inclines him to do. Pope Julius the Second went to work impetuously in all his affairs. and he had the enterprise still under discussion with the King of France. hence he is ruined. Messer Giovanni Bentivogli being still alive. as they were all alike. one attains his object and the other does not. and also because. because he would never have deviated from those ways to which nature inclined him. But a man is not often found sufficiently circumspect to know how to accommodate himself to the change. and if you wish to keep her under it is necessary to beat and ill-use her. for the shortness of his life did not let him experience the contrary.methods to the spirit of the times. with his plans arranged and everything fixed. I will leave his other actions alone. and they all succeeded. but if circumstances had arisen which required him to go cautiously. and found the times and circumstances conform so well to that line of action that he always met with success. he is ruined if he does not change his course of action. because they are less cautious. but had he changed his conduct with the times fortune would not have changed. therefore. so long as the two are in agreement men are successful. I conclude. times and affairs converge in such a way that his administration is successful. For my part I consider that it is better to be adventurous than cautious. She is. because fortune is a woman. he would never have succeeded. Changes in estate also issue from this. more violent. having always prospered by acting in one way. and of two working similarly. as any other pontiff would have done. that two men working differently bring about the same effect. always.

and which could be made the head of this redemption. overrun. which made us think he was ordained by God for our redemption. and cleanse those sores that for long have festered. (*) Giuliano de Medici. and arms are hallowed when there is no other hope but in them. despoiled. for their enterprises were neither more just nor easier than this. and that the Athenians should be dispersed to illustrate the capabilities of Theseus: then at the present time. Although lately some spark may have been shown by one. so that Italy. because that war is just which is necessary. and . that the Persians should be oppressed by the Medes so as to discover the greatness of the soul of Cyrus. that she should be more enslaved than the Hebrews. without head. and wondering within myself whether the present times were propitious to a new prince. Nor is there to be seen at present one in whom she can place more hope than in your illustrious house. more oppressed than the Persians. it appears to me that so many things concur to favour a new prince that I never knew a time more fit than the present. waits for him who shall yet heal her wounds and put an end to the ravaging and plundering of Lombardy. as I said. He had just been created a cardinal by Leo X. nor was God more their friend than He is yours. It is seen also that she is ready and willing to follow a banner if only someone will raise it. it was necessary that the people of Israel should be captive so as to make manifest the ability of Moses. favoured by God and by the Church of which it is now the chief. And if. With us there is great justice. 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 honour to him and good to the people of this country. and to have endured every kind of desolation. Here there is the greatest willingness.CHAPTER XXVI — AN EXHORTATION TO LIBERATE ITALY FROM THE BARBARIANS Having carefully considered the subject of the above discourses. nevertheless it was afterwards seen. left as without life. that fortune rejected him. more scattered than the Athenians. yet they were men. it was necessary that Italy should be reduced to the extremity that she is now in. In 1523 Giuliano was elected Pope. and took the title of Clement VII. without order. and each one of them had no more opportunity than the present offers. torn. 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.(*) with its valour and fortune. in the height of his career. It is seen how she entreats God to send someone who shall deliver her from these wrongs and barbarous insolencies. in order to discover the virtue of an Italian spirit. beaten. to the swindling and taxing of the kingdom and of Tuscany.

Vaila. to be provided with your own forces. everything has contributed to your greatness. And although singly they are good. And although Swiss and Spanish infantry may be considered very formidable. 1495. 1513. Mestri. when the Spanish infantry were confronted by German battalions. it has always given a poor account of itself. Vaila. Here there is great valour in the limbs whilst it fails in the head. And nothing honours a man more than to establish new laws and new ordinances when he himself was newly risen. the rock has poured forth water. as has been and may again be seen. and in Italy there are not wanting opportunities to bring such into use in every form. nevertheless there was some evidence of it at the battle of Ravenna. and thus take away our free will and that share of glory which belongs to us. by reason of which a third order would not only be able to oppose them. Capua. or better soldiers. truer. whenever there has been an army wholly Italian. Alessandria. Hence it is that for so long a time. and this springs entirely from the insufficiency of the leaders. 1509. 1507. the first witness to this is Il Taro. and subtlety. your illustrious house wishes to follow these remarkable men who have redeemed their country. and if in so many revolutions in Italy. 1511.(*) (*) The battles of Il Taro. Therefore it is necessary to be prepared with such arms. that others would yield to him. 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. since those who are capable are not obedient. But when it comes to armies they do not bear comparison. it has always appeared as if military virtue were exhausted. a cloud has led the way. who follow the same tactics . 1499. Further than this. 1501. Bologna.hallowed when there is no other hope but in them. it is necessary before all things. altogether they will be much better when they find themselves commanded by their prince. and during so much fighting in the past twenty years. this has happened because the old order of things was not good. Genoa. Such things when they are well founded and dignified will make him revered and admired. 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. Genoa. so that you can be defended against foreigners by Italian valour. how superior the Italians are in strength. afterwards Allesandria. Capua. If. therefore. and maintained at his expense. either by valour or fortune. Look attentively at the duels and the hand-to-hand combats. but might be relied upon to overthrow them. and each one seems to himself to know. nevertheless there is a defect in both. For the Spaniards cannot resist cavalry. how extraordinarily the ways of God have been manifested beyond example: the sea is divided. the Spaniards are unable to resist French cavalry. there having never been any one so distinguished above the rest. it has rained manna. and none of us have known how to find a new one. Bologna. and the Switzers are afraid of infantry whenever they encounter them in close combat. you ought to do the rest. Here there is the greatest willingness. And although a complete proof of this latter cannot be shown. God is not willing to do everything. and the Switzers are overthrown by Spanish infantry. because there can be no more faithful. as a true foundation for every enterprise. honoured by him. and in so many campaigns. Owing to this. Mestri. dexterity.

e fia il combatter corto: Che l'antico valore Negli italici cuor non e ancor morto. OLIVEROTTO DA FERMO. with what thirst for revenge. who follow the same tactics as the Swiss.when the Spanish infantry were confronted by German battalions. Virtue against fury shall advance the fight. your illustrious house take up this charge with that courage and hope with which all just enterprises are undertaken. And these are the kind of improvements which confer reputation and power upon a new prince. This opportunity. therefore. knowing the defects of both these infantries. and. with what tears. which will resist cavalry and not be afraid of infantry. 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. by agility of body and with the aid of their shields. DESCRIPTION OF THE METHODS ADOPTED BY THE DUKE VALENTINO WHEN MURDERING VITELLOZZO VITELLI. so that under its standard our native country may be ennobled. 1640. to invent a new one. therefore. all would have been over with them. therefore. THE SIGNOR PAGOLO. got in under the pikes of the Germans and stood out of danger. Let. AND THE DUKE DI GRAVINA ORSINI BY . It is possible. And it i' th' combat soon shall put to flight: For the old Roman valour is not dead. ought not to be allowed to pass for letting Italy at last see her liberator appear. when the Spaniards. but a variation upon the old. with what stubborn faith. able to attack. with what devotion. if the cavalry had not dashed up. and under its auspices may be verified that saying of Petrarch: Virtu contro al Furore Prendera l'arme. Edward Dacre. this need not create a new order of arms. Nor in th' Italians' brests extinguished. Nor can one express the love with which he would be received in all those provinces which have suffered so much from these foreign scourings. while the Germans stood helpless.

of the Vitelli and Orsini. whence he intended with his army to enter upon the campaign against Giovanni Bentivogli. and had arrived at Imola. it appeared to them that the duke would become too powerful. it was decided by certain men of Urbino to seize the fortress of San Leo. their secretary. showing that the risk was lessened and that they ought not to wait for another opportunity. Pagolo. so the conspirators watched. his soldiers had at once gone over to the enemy and he . they took the opportunity of leaping upon the bridge and thence into the fortress. The castellan was fortifying the rock and causing timber to be taken there. and when certain beams which were being carried to the rock were upon the bridge. Oliverotto da Fermo. But the Florentines. so that it was prevented from being drawn up by those inside. and which they captured by the following means. and they sent again to Florence to beg that republic to join with them in destroying the common firebrand. Upon this a meeting was called at Magione in the district of Perugia. men's minds being thus unsettled. Vitellozzo Vitelli. because. being encouraged in this. from hatred. took hope of effecting a revolution. These matters coming to the knowledge of the Vitelli and Orsini and their following. which might otherwise bring danger to the rest of being ruined. not so much by the capture of the fort. and to make it the head of his Romagnian duchy. he would seek to destroy them in order that he might become supreme in Italy. Gianpagolo Baglioni. and the Duke di Gravina Orsini. and those who were discontented under the duke. The duke was found full of fear at Imola. having seized Bologna. to offer shelter and assistance to the duke against his enemies. Upon this capture being effected. from whom they expected to get assistance. Those who heard of the rebellion at Urbino thought they would not lose the opportunity. the Prince of Siena. but sent Nicolo Machiavelli. promising to one party assistance and to another encouragement to unite with them against the common enemy. Here were discussed the power and courage of the duke and the necessity of curbing his ambitions. should any remain in the hands of the duke in that state. and at once assembled their men so as to take any town. the tyrant of Perugia. the whole state rebelled and recalled the old duke. which was held for the duke. the tyrant of Bologna: for he intended to bring that city under his domination. And they decided not to abandon the Bentivogli. sent by Pandolfo Petrucci. where he had been to clear himself with the King of France from the calumnies which had been raised against him by the Florentines concerning the rebellion of Arezzo and other towns in the Val di Chiana. not only would not ally themselves. and it was feared that. Thus it arose that. against everybody's expectation. and they send their men to one place and another. among whom were the people of Urbino.NICOLO MACHIAVELLI The Duke Valentino had returned from Lombardy. This meeting was at once reported throughout all Italy. and Messer Antonio da Venafro. but to strive to win over the Florentines. to which came the cardinal. for sundry reasons. as by the Diet at Magione.

since by these means a check would be kept upon his friends. they promised to restore to him the duchy of Urbino and other places seized by them. and that such preparations might not be apparent to the others. where they encountered some men of the duke and. having first destroyed all the fortresses in his state. routed them. and dispersed his men throughout the Romagna. the Duke of Urbino. and not to make war against or ally themselves with any one without his permission. by sending to the King of France for men and by enlisting men-at-arms and others whom he turned into cavalry of a sort: to all he gave money. which he did not think he could defend. trusting in the people. and to negotiate for a reconciliation. Notwithstanding this. he decided to temporize before fighting with the few soldiers that remained to him. having completed this convention. and they brought their army to a standstill. and thus become hostile to the Florentines. where he stayed some time to negotiate with the envoys of the Vitelli and Orsini.against everybody's expectation. the duke resolved at once to see if he could not close the trouble with offers of reconciliation. But the duke did not stop his preparations. and moreover he would not force them to come personally into his presence unless it pleased them to do so. his enemies drew near to him. again fled to Venice. On the other hand. But recovering courage from the offers of the Florentines. and for this reason he did not stop the work of reconciliation. with the aid of the Orsini and Vitelli. who had assembled with their men in the duchy of Urbino. This latter he obtained in two ways. and approached Fossombrone. and also to get assistance. should be held by the enemy. and although he found himself sufficiently strong to take vengeance on his enemies in open war. Oliverotto da Fermo was sent to propose that if the duke wished to undertake an expedition against Tuscany they were ready. he considered that it would be safer and more advantageous to outwit them. he gave them four thousand ducats at once. and being a most perfect dissembler he did not fail in any practices to make the insurgents understand that he wished every man who had acquired anything to keep it. if he did not wish it. and took every care to provide himself with cavalry and infantry. he promised not to injure the Bentivogli. as it was enough for him to have the title of prince. as to the enterprise in which they should now take part. But the Duke Valentino. set out for Imola at the end of November together with his French men-at-arms: thence he went to Cesena. To this the duke replied that he did not wish to enter into war with Tuscany. And that this might be effected the duke concluded a peace with them in which he confirmed their former covenants. because. but nothing being concluded. And the duke succeeded so well in this that they sent Signor Pagolo to him to negotiate for a reconciliation. In the meanwhile there came also to him five hundred French lancers. This reconciliation being completed. and he formed an alliance with Giovanni. When this happened. he did not wish that the fortresses. whilst others might have the principality. to serve him in all his expeditions. then they would besiege Sinigalia. Guido Ubaldo. his soldiers had at once gone over to the enemy and he found himself disarmed and war at his door. he sent his troops in separate parties to every part of the Romagna. but that he .

and thus become hostile to the Florentines. not by a straight line. It happened that not long afterwards the town surrendered. who should entertain them until they reached Sinigalia. except the hundred lancers under Mons. his followers in pairs should take them one by one. And the more to reassure them. and he ordered that. where they should be seized. Pagolo Orsini. Upon this the duke. being invited by them. nevertheless. di Candales. and with the utmost cunning and cleverness he persuaded the Vitelli and Orsini to wait for him at Sinigalia. and having sent a cavalcade of about two hundred horsemen before him. Thus he who draws near to Sinigalia comes for a good space by road along the mountains. a river five miles distant from Fano. of which there were more than two thousand cavalry and ten thousand footmen. therefore. and that he was a man who wished to make use of the arms and councils of his friends. but that he was very willing to proceed against Sinigalia. On the side opposite to the city runs a little river which bathes that part of the walls looking towards Fano. among whom were Don Michele and the Monsignor d'Euna. The Vitelli and Orsini having received orders to wait for the duke. he allowed all the French men-at-arms who were with him in Lombardy to depart. he arrives at a bridge which crosses the river. nor should they be permitted to leave until they came to the duke's quarters. If he turns to his left hand along the bank of it. facing the high road. on the last day of December at the Metauro with his men. he then moved forward the infantry. his brother-in-law. he would awaken no suspicions. and not going of his own will. pointing out to them that any lack of compliance would cast a doubt upon the sincerity and permanency of the reconciliation.wish to enter into war with Tuscany. who was afterwards cardinal. as. and await him there. entrusting certain men to certain pairs. whom the duke had corrupted with gifts and promises. Before this gate there stands a collection of houses with a square to which the bank of the river forms one side. which was to be on 30th December 1502. But Vitellozzo remained very stubborn. whom he accompanied with the rest of the men-at-arms. but the fortress would not yield to them because the castellan would not give it up to any one but the duke in person. persuaded by Pagolo Orsini. He found himself. as soon as Vitellozzo. The duke afterwards ordered all his horsemen and infantry. for the death of his brother warned him that he should not offend a prince and afterwards trust him. to assemble by daybreak at the Metauro. the Duke di Gravina. but transversely. he is then almost abreast of the gate that leads into Sinigalia. and went to Fano. the bases of which are touched by the sea in some places. and to honour him in . fifteen miles distant from each other. communicated his designs to eight of his most trusted followers. he agreed to wait. He left Cesena about the middle of December. The city of Sinigalia is distant from the foot of the mountains a little more than a bow-shot and from the shore about a mile. and Oliverotto should arrive. and goes for the distance of a bowshot. before his departure from Fano. Fano and Sinigalia are two cities of La Marca situate on the shore of the Adriatic Sea. so that he who goes towards Sinigalia has the mountains on his right hand. and reaches the river which passes by Sinigalia. This appeared a good opportunity to the duke. therefore they exhorted him to come there.

where the duke made them prisoners. to whom the care of Oliverotto had been committed. they stood together against the hostile forces of the country and saved themselves. telling him that it was not right to keep his men out of their quarters. and issued orders that the men of Oliverotto and the Orsini should be stripped of their arms. as if conscious of his approaching death—a circumstance which. But the duke noticing that Oliverotto. and went with him into a secret chamber. and bearing in mind the valour and discipline of the Orsinian and Vitellian houses. having made his obeisance. which consisted of one thousand infantry and one hundred and fifty horsemen. having taken this advice. called to him. in view of the ability of the man and his former fortune. and to honour him in person. And it is said that when he parted from his men before setting out for Sinigalia to meet the duke he acted as if it were his last parting from them. Those of Oliverotto. and if the duke had not repressed this outrage by killing some of them they would have completely sacked it. Pagolo. was missing—for Oliverotto was waiting in the square before his quarters near the river. unarmed and wearing a cape lined with green. But the duke's soldiers. they were at once placed between those who were commissioned to look after them. Vitellozzo. he led them into a room and caused them to be strangled. the duke prepared to kill Vitellozzo and Oliverotto. being at hand. So the whole party entered Sinigalia. accompanied by a few horsemen. who had remained with his band in Sinigalia. keeping his men in order and drilling them—signalled with his eye to Don Michelle. who. came before the duke and saluted him respectfully. He recommended his house and its fortunes to his captains. sent away their men to several castles distant from Sinigalia about six miles. and they left in Sinigalia only Oliverotto and his band. and the Duke di Gravina on mules.The Vitelli and Orsini having received orders to wait for the duke. that he should take measures that Oliverotto should not escape. he then mounted on horseback. began to sack Sinigalia. Therefore Don Michele rode off and joined Oliverotto. Neither of them used words in keeping with their past lives: Vitellozzo prayed that . and when the leaders of the cavalry reached the bridge they did not pass over. And Oliverotto. but those of the Orsini and Vitelli. who were quartered in the suburb mentioned above. because these might be taken up by the men of the duke. but the virtues of their fathers that should be kept in mind. without stopping. and he advised him to send them at once to their quarters and to come himself to meet the duke. not being content with having pillaged the men of Oliverotto. were quickly settled. so that room could be made for the men of the duke. went towards the duke. Night having come and the tumult being silenced. when he saw him. and a way was left in the middle through which the infantry passed. joined the others. These three. Vitellozo. had time to prepare themselves. the Duke Valentino left for Sinigalia. and Oliverotto. Matters having been thus arranged. appeared very dejected. and having a presentiment of the destruction of their masters. one portion wheeled towards the river and the other towards the country. came before the duke. being at a distance. caused some amazement. therefore. and advised his nephews that it was not the fortune of their house. dismounted at the duke's quarters. but having opened it. into the town. and were received by him with goodwill.

or they have had so mean a parentage that in shame they have given themselves out to be sons of Jove or of some other deity. and. who have performed great deeds in the world. Oliverotto cringed and laid the blame for all injuries against the duke on Vitellozzo. Pagolo and the Duke di Gravina Orsini were kept alive until the duke heard from Rome that the pope had taken the Cardinal Orsino. they also were strangled in the same way. as such tales would not be particularly edifying to those who read them. like many others. They have either been exposed to the mercy of wild beasts. a wonderful thing to those who have considered the matter. if he is measured by the times in which he lived and the city in which he was born. have had their birth and beginning in baseness and obscurity. Neither of them used words in keeping with their past lives: Vitellozzo prayed that he might ask of the pope full pardon for his sins. that all men.strangled. because she begins to show her hand when wisdom can really take no part in their career: thus all success must be attributed to her. but. in the castle of Pieve. on 18th January 1502. and Messer Jacopo da Santa Croce. as the course of this history . After which news. dearest Zanobi and Luigi. It would be wearisome to relate who these persons may have been because they are well known to everybody. Castruccio Castracani of Lucca was one of those men who did great deeds. or the larger number of them. I believe that these lowly beginnings of great men occur because Fortune is desirous of showing to the world that such men owe much to her and little to wisdom. and excelled all others in their day. or have been aggrieved by Fortune in some outrageous way. they are omitted. he was neither fortunate nor distinguished in his birth. THE LIFE OF CASTRUCCIO CASTRACANI OF LUCCA WRITTEN BY NICOLO MACHIAVELLI And sent to his friends ZANOBI BUONDELMONTI And LUIGI ALAMANNI CASTRUCCIO CASTRACANI 1284-1328 It appears. the Archbishop of Florence.

They had a nurse for it. they finally determined to bring it up. and in running. but Antonio discovered that the character of Castruccio was quite unfitted for the priesthood. and hearing a slight rustling among the leaves of a vine she turned her eyes in that direction. he was neither fortunate nor distinguished in his birth. He had often fought under the command of the Visconti of . and wrestling with other boys. Madonna Dianora. When he heard what had happened and saw the child he was not less surprised or compassionate than his sister. and valour excelled all other men in Lucca. He had an only sister. and saw the hands and face of a baby who was lying enveloped in the leaves and who seemed to be crying for its mother. only those pleased him which told of wars and the mighty deeds of men. They baptized it. where she washed it and clothed it with clean linen as is customary. who had been married to Buonaccorso Cenami. any person could have access to it without difficulty. whose profession was arms and who in riches. and gave it the name of Castruccio after their father. leaping. and it was reared and loved as if it were their own child.many others. and turned to playing with arms. I think also that I ought to call your attention to his actions. Messer Antonio intended to make a priest of him. Whereupon she went towards it. There lived in the city of Lucca a gentleman of the Guinigi family. It appeared to be desirable to recall his memory. because I have discerned in him such indications of valour and fortune as should make him a great exemplar to men. They discussed between themselves what should be done. as the course of this history will show. and as it was bounded on all sides by gardens. and gave evidence of wit and discretion. bodily strength. and heard something resembling the cry of an infant. and if at any time he did turn to books. as the sister of Messer Antonio was called. and in time would have inducted him into his canonry and other benefices. and all his instruction was given with this object. as so often happens in this world. Partly wondering and partly fearing. delighting in nothing so much as in learning their uses. she lifted it up and carried it to the house. but Buonaccorso dying she became a widow. Messer Antonio had a vineyard behind the house where he resided. but in the days of which I speak it had somewhat fallen in estate. As the years passed Castruccio grew very handsome. As soon as Castruccio reached the age of fourteen he began to take less notice of the chiding of Messer Antonio and Madonna Dianora and no longer to fear them. who became a priest of the order of San Michele of Lucca. To this family was born a son Antonio. and showed it to Messer Antonio when he returned home. yet full of compassion. In all exercises he far excelled his companions in courage and bodily strength. had occasion to go into the vineyard as usual to gather herbs for seasoning the dinner. Messer Antonio beheld all this with vexation and sorrow. he left off reading ecclesiastical books. and for this reason was honoured with the title of Messer Antonio. because you of all men I know delight most in noble deeds. and not wishing to marry again went to live with her brother. shortly after sunrise. and seeing that he was priest and that she had no children. The family of Castracani was formerly numbered among the noble families of Lucca. One morning. named Messer Francesco. and learnt with a quickness beyond his years those lessons which Messer Antonio imparted to him.

When Castruccio had reached his eighteenth year. was the delightful modesty which enabled him to avoid offence in either act or word to others. and as a Ghibelline was the valued leader of that party in Lucca. This reply delighted Messer Francesco. and Messer Francesco was sent by the Visconti to assist the Ghibellines. not only by all the Guinigi family. nothing would please him more than to give up his priestly studies and take up those of a soldier. In the first place he became an accomplished horseman. and could manage with ease the most fiery charger. and he had often seen Castruccio taking part with other children of the street in those games of which I have spoken. did not omit to use all the means in his power to gain as many friends as he could. Messer Francesco could see that it pleased Castruccio greatly to hear horses and arms spoken of. he answered that. and in all jousts and tournaments. although still a youth. and he excelled in all exercises of strength and dexterity. for he was deferential to the great men. in charge of his forces. neglecting none of those arts which are necessary for that purpose. but being encouraged by Messer Francesco to speak. About this time Messer Francesco died. and to render to the son the gratitude which he had not been able to repay to the father. and that he appeared to exercise a royal authority over them. Upon . but throughout all Lombardy. Therefore he called him one day and asked him whether he would more willingly live in the house of a gentleman. and it was astonishing to find that in a very short time he manifested all that virtue and bearing which we are accustomed to associate with a true gentleman. Thus Castruccio passed from the house of Messer Antonio the priest to the house of Messer Francesco Guinigi the soldier. and his name and fame were known. and that they loved and obeyed him. Messer Francesco became greatly desirous of learning who he was. and in a very short time he obtained the consent of Messer Antonio. where he would learn nothing but masses and the services of the Church. This gentleman resided in Lucca and was accustomed to assemble with others most mornings and evenings under the balcony of the Podesta. and having appointed Castruccio to be his son's tutor and administrator of his estate. Castruccio. acquiring greater reputation than any other captain. Before he died Francesco called Castruccio to him. if his master were agreeable. Castruccio gave ample proof of his prudence and courage in this expedition. who was driven to yield by his knowledge of the nature of the lad. leaving a son thirteen years of age named Pagolo. which is at the top of the square of San Michele. and with him went Castruccio. but by all Lucca. not only in Pavia. where he would learn to ride horses and use arms. or in the house of a priest. even though he stood silent. Being informed of the circumstances of the bringing up of Castruccio he felt a greater desire to have him near to him. and courteous to his inferiors. having returned to Lucca in far higher estimation that he left it. the Ghibellines were driven from Pavia by the Guelphs. and prayed him to show Pagolo that goodwill which he (Francesco) had always shown to HIM. But what enhanced so much the charm of these accomplishments.Milan. and the fear that he would not be able to hold him much longer. he was observed beyond all others. the finest square in Lucca. Noticing that Castruccio far excelled the other boys. These gifts made him beloved. blushing modestly. modest with his equals.

and to render to the son the gratitude which he had not been able to repay to the father. Upon the death of Francesco, Castruccio became the governor and tutor of Pagolo, which increased enormously his power and position, and created a certain amount of envy against him in Lucca in place of the former universal goodwill, for many men suspected him of harbouring tyrannical intentions. Among these the leading man was Giorgio degli Opizi, the head of the Guelph party. This man hoped after the death of Messer Francesco to become the chief man in Lucca, but it seemed to him that Castruccio, with the great abilities which he already showed, and holding the position of governor, deprived him of his opportunity; therefore he began to sow those seeds which should rob Castruccio of his eminence. Castruccio at first treated this with scorn, but afterwards he grew alarmed, thinking that Messer Giorgio might be able to bring him into disgrace with the deputy of King Ruberto of Naples and have him driven out of Lucca. The Lord of Pisa at that time was Uguccione of the Faggiuola of Arezzo, who being in the first place elected their captain afterwards became their lord. There resided in Paris some exiled Ghibellines from Lucca, with whom Castruccio held communications with the object of effecting their restoration by the help of Uguccione. Castruccio also brought into his plans friends from Lucca who would not endure the authority of the Opizi. Having fixed upon a plan to be followed, Castruccio cautiously fortified the tower of the Onesti, filling it with supplies and munitions of war, in order that it might stand a siege for a few days in case of need. When the night came which had been agreed upon with Uguccione, who had occupied the plain between the mountains and Pisa with many men, the signal was given, and without being observed Uguccione approached the gate of San Piero and set fire to the portcullis. Castruccio raised a great uproar within the city, calling the people to arms and forcing open the gate from his side. Uguccione entered with his men, poured through the town, and killed Messer Giorgio with all his family and many of his friends and supporters. The governor was driven out, and the government reformed according to the wishes of Uguccione, to the detriment of the city, because it was found that more than one hundred families were exiled at that time. Of those who fled, part went to Florence and part to Pistoia, which city was the headquarters of the Guelph party, and for this reason it became most hostile to Uguccione and the Lucchese. As it now appeared to the Florentines and others of the Guelph party that the Ghibellines absorbed too much power in Tuscany, they determined to restore the exiled Guelphs to Lucca. They assembled a large army in the Val di Nievole, and seized Montecatini; from thence they marched to Montecarlo, in order to secure the free passage into Lucca. Upon this Uguccione assembled his Pisan and Lucchese forces, and with a number of German cavalry which he drew out of Lombardy, he moved against the quarters of the Florentines, who upon the appearance of the enemy withdrew from Montecarlo, and posted themselves between Montecatini and Pescia. Uguccione now took up a position near to Montecarlo, and within about two miles of the enemy, and slight skirmishes between the horse of both parties were of daily occurrence. Owing to the illness of Uguccione, the Pisans and Lucchese delayed coming

to battle with the enemy. Uguccione, finding himself growing worse, went to Montecarlo to be cured, and left the command of the army in the hands of Castruccio. This change brought about the ruin of the Guelphs, who, thinking that the hostile army having lost its captain had lost its head, grew over-confident. Castruccio observed this, and allowed some days to pass in order to encourage this belief; he also showed signs of fear, and did not allow any of the munitions of the camp to be used. On the other side, the Guelphs grew more insolent the more they saw these evidences of fear, and every day they drew out in the order of battle in front of the army of Castruccio. Presently, deeming that the enemy was sufficiently emboldened, and having mastered their tactics, he decided to join battle with them. First he spoke a few words of encouragement to his soldiers, and pointed out to them the certainty of victory if they would but obey his commands. Castruccio had noticed how the enemy had placed all his best troops in the centre of the line of battle, and his less reliable men on the wings of the army; whereupon he did exactly the opposite, putting his most valiant men on the flanks, while those on whom he could not so strongly rely he moved to the centre. Observing this order of battle, he drew out of his lines and quickly came in sight of the hostile army, who, as usual, had come in their insolence to defy him. He then commanded his centre squadrons to march slowly, whilst he moved rapidly forward those on the wings. Thus, when they came into contact with the enemy, only the wings of the two armies became engaged, whilst the center battalions remained out of action, for these two portions of the line of battle were separated from each other by a long interval and thus unable to reach each other. By this expedient the more valiant part of Castruccio's men were opposed to the weaker part of the enemy's troops, and the most efficient men of the enemy were disengaged; and thus the Florentines were unable to fight with those who were arrayed opposite to them, or to give any assistance to their own flanks. So, without much difficulty, Castruccio put the enemy to flight on both flanks, and the centre battalions took to flight when they found themselves exposed to attack, without having a chance of displaying their valour. The defeat was complete, and the loss in men very heavy, there being more than ten thousand men killed with many officers and knights of the Guelph party in Tuscany, and also many princes who had come to help them, among whom were Piero, the brother of King Ruberto, and Carlo, his nephew, and Filippo, the lord of Taranto. On the part of Castruccio the loss did not amount to more than three hundred men, among whom was Francesco, the son of Uguccione, who, being young and rash, was killed in the first onset. This victory so greatly increased the reputation of Castruccio that Uguccione conceived some jealousy and suspicion of him, because it appeared to Uguccione that this victory had given him no increase of power, but rather than diminished it. Being of this mind, he only waited for an opportunity to give effect to it. This occurred on the death of Pier Agnolo Micheli, a man of great repute and abilities in Lucca, the murderer of whom fled to the house of Castruccio for refuge. On the sergeants of the captain going to arrest the murderer, they were driven off by Castruccio, and the murderer escaped. This affair coming to the knowledge of Uguccione, who was than at Pisa, it appeared to him a proper opportunity to

punish Castruccio. He therefore sent for his son Neri, who was the governor of Lucca, and commissioned him to take Castruccio prisoner at a banquet and put him to death. Castruccio, fearing no evil, went to the governor in a friendly way, was entertained at supper, and then thrown into prison. But Neri, fearing to put him to death lest the people should be incensed, kept him alive, in order to hear further from his father concerning his intentions. Ugucionne cursed the hesitation and cowardice of his son, and at once set out from Pisa to Lucca with four hundred horsemen to finish the business in his own way; but he had not yet reached the baths when the Pisans rebelled and put his deputy to death and created Count Gaddo della Gherardesca their lord. Before Uguccione reached Lucca he heard of the occurrences at Pisa, but it did not appear wise to him to turn back, lest the Lucchese with the example of Pisa before them should close their gates against him. But the Lucchese, having heard of what had happened at Pisa, availed themselves of this opportunity to demand the liberation of Castruccio, notwithstanding that Uguccione had arrived in their city. They first began to speak of it in private circles, afterwards openly in the squares and streets; then they raised a tumult, and with arms in their hands went to Uguccione and demanded that Castruccio should be set at liberty. Uguccione, fearing that worse might happen, released him from prison. Whereupon Castruccio gathered his friends around him, and with the help of the people attacked Uguccione; who, finding he had no resource but in flight, rode away with his friends to Lombardy, to the lords of Scale, where he died in poverty. But Castruccio from being a prisoner became almost a prince in Lucca, and he carried himself so discreetly with his friends and the people that they appointed him captain of their army for one year. Having obtained this, and wishing to gain renown in war, he planned the recovery of the many towns which had rebelled after the departure of Uguccione, and with the help of the Pisans, with whom he had concluded a treaty, he marched to Serezzana. To capture this place he constructed a fort against it, which is called to-day Zerezzanello; in the course of two months Castruccio captured the town. With the reputation gained at that siege, he rapidly seized Massa, Carrara, and Lavenza, and in a short time had overrun the whole of Lunigiana. In order to close the pass which leads from Lombardy to Lunigiana, he besieged Pontremoli and wrested it from the hands of Messer Anastagio Palavicini, who was the lord of it. After this victory he returned to Lucca, and was welcomed by the whole people. And now Castruccio, deeming it imprudent any longer to defer making himself a prince, got himself created the lord of Lucca by the help of Pazzino del Poggio, Puccinello dal Portico, Francesco Boccansacchi, and Cecco Guinigi, all of whom he had corrupted; and he was afterwards solemnly and deliberately elected prince by the people. At this time Frederick of Bavaria, the King of the Romans, came into Italy to assume the Imperial crown, and Castruccio, in order that he might make friends with him, met him at the head of five hundred horsemen. Castruccio had left as his deputy in Lucca, Pagolo Guinigi, who was held in high estimation, because of the people's love for the memory of his father. Castruccio was received in great honour by Frederick, and many privileges were conferred upon him, and he was appointed the emperor's lieutenant in Tuscany. At this time the Pisans were in great fear of

without those whom he could summon to his assistance from Pisa. in dread of the Guelph party. which he supplied with arms. at once put Pagolo Guinigi in command of the army. he sought him out. who followed the imperial lead. so that. and with a troop of cavalry set out for home. he divided his own country districts into five parts. Lapo Uberti. and particularly of the Florentines. Frederick created Castruccio the lord of Pisa. when Castruccio was forced by other necessities to return to Lucca. all exiled Florentines and Ghibellines. They endeavoured to raise the people in revolt. having appointed a governor in Rome to watch his Italian affairs. Whereupon the Florentines recalled their army. All the Tuscan and Lombardian Ghibellines. and the Pisans. for he did not recognize any need for doing so. being attacked at home. he entered into a league with Messer Matteo Visconti. Castruccio. yet he posted his men in the most advantageous places throughout the city. and he offered to be their mediator with Castruccio to obtain from him what they desired. and Piero Buonaccorsi. Contrary to his expectations. who had driven out the Ghibellines with the assistance of a Florentine army and the King Ruberto. and all promised him the governorship of his country. Castruccio had the secret intention of becoming the master of all Tuscany by the aid of these men and of his own forces. their . Castruccio invaded the Valdarno. so that he could quickly bring into the field twenty thousand soldiers. it happened at Messer Matteo Visconti was attacked by the Guelphs of Piacenza. and it appearing to them they had not received such rewards for their services as they deserved. Therefore they laid down their arms with no greater intelligence than they had taken them up. As it appeared to Stefano that Castruccio ought to be very much obliged to him. had recourse to Castruccio for help and counsel. returned to Germany. which had scarcely reached Tuscany. and enrolled the men under captains and ensigns. and arming themselves. Gerozzo Nardi. he found the rebellion at an end.appointed the emperor's lieutenant in Tuscany. and without saying anything on his own behalf. Messer Matteo called upon Castruccio to invade the Florentines in their own territories. Frederick. and seized Fucecchio and San Miniato. they set upon the lieutenant whom Castruccio had left to maintain order and killed him. they incited other families to rebel and to drive Castruccio out of Lucca. were constrained to accept him as their lord. having heard the news of what had happened at Lucca. whom they had driven out of Pisa. he begged Castruccio to pardon the other members of his family by reason of their youth. if enabled to recover it with his assistance. They found their opportunity one morning. There resided in the city of Lucca the Poggio family. intervened and compelled them by his authority to lay down their arms. the Prince of Milan. As Lucca had five gates. a peaceable old man who had taken no hand in the rebellion. While he surrounded himself with these forces and allies. they should be compelled to draw their army out of Lombardy in order to defend themselves. inflicting immense damage upon the country. At this time the Pisans were in great fear of Gaddo della Gherardesca. and they had recourse for assistance to Frederick. but even advance him to the dignity of prince. Among these exiles were Matteo Guidi. Nardo Scolari. but Stefano di Poggio. and organized for him the forces of his city and the country districts. and in order to gain greater weight in affairs. who were so powerful that they could not only elevate Castruccio.

He approached the Florentines with the proposal of a truce. Meanwhile the Florentines had recovered San Miniato. and both took prisoners or killed the partisans of either faction. and begged Stefano to reassure himself. short of open war. Pagolo Guinigi. It appeared to him that if he could get possession of Pistoia. and both were admitted as friends. Upon the word of Stefano and Castruccio they surrendered. and to Jacopo that he would send his pupil. and desirous of getting rid of the expenses of it. he. and at a signal given by Castruccio. by which both parties agreed to keep the conquests they had made. which was his great desire. into the Bianchi and Neri parties. and with Stefano were immediately thrown into prison and put to death. not sparing one of them. but depriving them of country and property. at midnight both of them met outside the city. and those whom he had in his hands of life also. because they believed that Castruccio was far more ready and willing to fight than the Florentines. for they were weary of the war. saying that he thanked God for having given him the opportunity of showing his clemency and liberality. Thus the two leaders entered. declaring that it gave him more pleasure to find the tumult at an end than it had ever caused him anxiety to hear of its inception. and of the Neri. and the obligations which Castruccio was under to their house. He encouraged Stefano to bring his family to him. who. their former friendships. A treaty was concluded with them for two years. as it did not appear to him that he was sufficiently secure at Lucca to leave him. one killed Jacopo da Gia. they came to blows. At the appointed time he sent forward Pagolo by way of Pisa. he would have one foot in Florence. both trusted more in Castruccio than in the Florentines. having forced the Signoria to leave the palace. Jacopo da Gia. Without further opposition Pistoia passed into the hands of Castruccio. he neglected no opportunity. first wiped out all those who by their ambition might aspire to the principality. and worked matters so in Pistoia that both parties confided their secrets to him. in various ways made friends with the mountaineers. He. To this Castruccio graciously responded. Pistoia was divided. Castruccio thus released from this trouble. after many threatenings. Whilst Castruccio made peace with the Florentines. turned his attention to affairs in Lucca. and went himself direct to Pistoia. under various pretences and reasons. and in order that he should not again be subject to the perils from which he had just escaped. He gave promises to both. of increasing his importance elsewhere. Jacopo fortified himself at the Florentine gate. Bastiano at that of the Lucchese side of the city. therefore. making them many promises and remitting their old debts. and. which they readily entertained. compelled the people to yield obedience to him. and they both sent to him for assistance. and each desired to drive the other out of the city. Each of these men held secret communications with Castruccio.he begged Castruccio to pardon the other members of his family by reason of their youth. Then for his further security he raised a fortress in Lucca with the stones of the towers of those whom he had killed or hunted out of the state. the head of the Bianchi was Bastiano di Possente. as it always had been. and strengthened his position in Lucca. saying to Bastiano that he would come in person. and the other Bastiano di Possente. whereupon it seemed advisable to Castruccio to make peace. The countryside flocked to the city . stating that he had found by experience that none of them were to be trusted.

When he had chastised some of the Roman leaders. victory was assured. and killing others. Castruccio set out for Rome with six hundred horsemen. voluntary obedience was rendered to Enrico. On the other hand. whilst he had only twelve thousand. as far as he possibly could. Leaving Pagolo Guinigi in command at Lucca. and taking leave of Enrico. The German governor. yet he hesitated to attack his enemy in the open lest he should be overwhelmed by numbers. the King of Naples. Castruccio considered that he ought not to hesitate to render the emperor this service. Enrico. considered how they could tempt the city to rebel. and admonished others. without his being able to put an end to them. but. This caused Enrico much anxiety lest the Romans should call in Ruberto. This dignity was assumed with the greatest pomp. Castruccio being clothed in a brocaded toga. he sent to him. who were much enraged that Castruccio should have seized Pistoia during the truce. influenced in a great measure by his great valour." During this time the Florentines. where he was received by Enrico with the greatest distinction. Assembling a great army of the supporters of the Guelph cause. and all were filled with hope and quickly settled down. knowing that he would lose no time. which had the following words embroidered on its front: "I am what God wills. nor to await it in the plains of Pescia. he decided not to encounter it in the plains of Pistoia. and bring back the Pope. He believed that if he succeeded in this design. Castruccio received many honours. and was made a Roman senator. and with the aid of the Florentines entered the city by night. Castruccio reached Montecarlo with his army. although he was informed that the Florentines had thirty thousand men. both men of leading and ready to face danger. Serravalle is a castle between Pescia and Pistoia. chiefly by reason of Castruccio having sent by sea from the country round Pisa large quantities of corn. begging him not only to give him assistance. to do which they thought would not be difficult in his absence. These men kept up communications with their friends in Pistoia." Whilst on the back was: "What God desires shall be. but also to come in person to Rome. and thus removed the source of the trouble. he pressed on in great haste to Pistoia. they decided to intercept him with their forces in the Val di Nievole. under the belief that by doing so they would cut off his road to Pistoia. because he believed that he himself would not be safe if at any time the emperor ceased to hold Rome. Although he had every confidence in his own abilities and the valour of his troops. good order was restored. In a short time the presence of Castruccio obtained such respect for the emperor that. situated on a hill . to attack it boldly in the Pass of Serravalle. the Florentines entered the Pistoian territories. Among the exiled Pistoians in Florence were Baldo Cecchi and Jacopo Baldini. and having heard where the Florentines' lay. was much blamed for what happened—murders and tumults following each other daily. without bloodshed or violence. and after driving out some of Castruccio's officials and partisans.to see the new prince. About this time great disturbances arose in Rome. When the Florentines heard of his return. The news of this greatly angered Castruccio. who would drive the Germans out of the city. Having no nearer friend to whom he could apply for help than Castruccio. they restored the city to its freedom. owing to the dearness of living which was caused by the absence of the pontiff at Avignon.

he sent one thousand infantrymen round by the castle. When the noise of the fighting reached the Florentine camp below. seeing the large masses of the hostile force before they became engaged.overwhelmed by numbers. it was filled with confusion. Castruccio. Thus the Florentines hurried on until they reached their encampment under Serravalle. he had always been able to maintain his position. When Castruccio saw that his men were unable to strike a decisive blow at the enemy and put them to flight. not in the exact pass. who. although in sheer desperation they had offered a stout resistance. In a short time the cavalry who were engaged with the enemy's infantry were scattered or killed without having made any effective defence because of their unfortunate position. the pass itself is in places narrow and steep. and the castellan put to death. for here his few men would have the advantage. and there was no fear lest. before Castruccio became lord of Pistoia. In the meantime. although some few of them got through. and amid all this tumult no one knew what ought to be done or what could be done. had also moved his army from Montecarlo. intending to cross the hill on the following morning. had reached the foot of Serravalle: thus he and the Florentines commenced the ascent of the hill at the same time in the morning. The cavalry and infantry became inextricably mixed: the captains were unable to get their men either backward or forward. with the mountains on both flanks. situated on a hill which blocks the Val di Nievole. and also because the castle was well fortified. never expecting to find Castruccio in possession of the hill. whilst in general it ascends gently. and unclaimed by either—neither of them wishing to displace Manfred as long as he kept his promise of neutrality. so that twenty men side by side could hold it. and so close were they upon it they had scarcely time to pull down their visors. The lord of Serravalle was Manfred. and marching from thence at midnight in dead silence. and in the rear their friends. For these reasons. whilst in front were their enemies. and came under obligations to no one. owing to the narrowness of the pass. As soon as this trouble with Florence arose. therefore he did not move his army from Montecarlo. Castruccio had seized the castle at night. and they were assailed with such vigour that with difficulty they could hold their own. had been allowed to remain in possession of the castle. it being common to the Lucchese and the Pistoians. a German. It was here that Castruccio had determined to fall upon his enemy. It was a case of unready soldiers being attacked by ready. and a troop of four hundred horsemen by a path on the left towards the castle. Serravalle is a castle between Pescia and Pistoia. and having an intimate friendship with a resident in the castle. Castruccio saw the immense advantage which possession of this castle would give him. had now to encourage the Florentines to persist in their desire to carry the seat of war away from Pistoia into the Val di Nievole. Retreat had been impossible. The Florentines sent forward four hundred cavalry ahead of their army which was following. but about a bowshot beyond. but is still narrow. nor were they aware of his having seized the castle. Thus it happened that the Florentine horsemen mounting the hill were completely taken by surprise when they discovered the infantry of Castruccio. he managed matters so with him that four hundred of his men were to be admitted into the castle the night before the attack on the Florentines. Castruccio sent forward his infantry by the main road. they should not stand. with orders to join the four . having prepared everything. especially at the summit where the waters divide.

and despairing of preserving their liberty. and spread through the plains. He endeavoured to corrupt some of the citizens of Florence. and he. all Florentine noblemen. Here he remained many days. He agreed with the Florentines to receive from them a yearly tribute of two hundred thousand florins. and the participators in it taken and beheaded. who were to open the city gates at night. but marched his army into the plain of Peretola. each man seeking only his own safety. knowing of what immense importance the maintenance of the Guelph cause was to him. accepted it. Francesco Brunelleschi. and he send his son Carlo to Florence with four thousand horsemen. and were soon in full retreat—conquered more by their unfortunate position than by the valour of their enemy. This defeat caused the Florentines great anxiety. they sent envoys to King Ruberto of Naples. offering him the dominion of their city. Many captains were taken prisoners. among whom were Tommaso Lupacci and Lambertuccio Frescobaldi. but the conspiracy was discovered. among whom were Bandini dei Rossi. He was not content with occupying Prato and all the castles on the plains on both sides of the Arno. holding horse races. with many Tuscans and Neapolitans who fought on the Florentine side. he sent one thousand infantrymen round by the castle. . and commanded the whole force to fall upon the flank of the enemy. and celebrating his victory with feasts and games. dividing the spoils. Those in the rear turned towards Pistoia. and foot races for men and women. Immediately the Pistoians heard of this defeat they drove out the friends of the Guelphs. and Giovanni della Tosa. He also struck medals in commemoration of the defeat of the Florentines. about two miles from Florence. with orders to join the four hundred horsemen he had previously dispatched there. having been sent by King Ruberto to assist the Guelphs. These orders they carried out with such fury that the Florentines could not sustain the attack. and surrendered to Castruccio.to flight. The defeat was complete and very sanguinary. but gave way.

It now appeared to Castruccio that both Pisa and Pistoia were thoroughly disaffected. and this gave the Florentines their opportunity to reorganize their army. than at Pisa or Serravalle. In the early part of May 1328. and decided that it would be better to march on the latter—a course. however. In order to tempt the Florentines to take this latter course. nor could they approach it either from the direction of Lucca or Pisa. Fucecchio has a stronger position than any other town in the Pisan district. and in seeking more adherents to his conspiracy Lanfranchi encountered a person who revealed the design to Castruccio. and drive out the garrison. He had formed this conspiracy. leaving a wide expanse of land between them and the river. the son of the King of Naples. one of the first men in Pisa. owing to the recent conspiracy. passing from thence on to San Miniato. owing to his being compelled to leave his positions before Florence and march on Pisa. As. Signa. He assembled twenty thousand foot soldiers and four thousand horsemen. They consulted whether they should attack Pistoia or Pisa first. and to await the coming of Carlo. Thereupon Castruccio seized Benedetto and put him to death. two Florentine exiles who were suffering their banishment in Pisa. This betrayal cannot be passed by without severe reproach to Bonifacio Cerchi and Giovanni Guidi. kill the partisans of Castruccio. the enemy could not hinder its being victualled unless they divided their forces. and in the other case they would have to cross the Arno to get to close quarters with the enemy. who could not endure that his fatherland should be under the dominion of the Lucchese. or attack Castruccio's forces except at a disadvantage. whilst he sent Pagolo Guinigi to Pisa with five thousand infantry. and drove their families into exile. and with this army went to Fucecchio. for he had no reason to think that his enemy would make a better fight. When Carlo arrived they decided to lose no more time. When Castruccio heard of the enormous army which the Florentines were sending against him. and assembled a great army of more than thirty thousand infantry and ten thousand cavalry—having called to their aid every Guelph there was in Italy. held a council of war to decide whether they . nor could they get through to Pisa. Montelupo. because they believed that the surrender of Pistoia would follow the acquisition of Pisa. believing that the time had now arrived when Fortune would deliver the empire of Tuscany into his hands.Shortly after this the Florentines were relieved in some degree of the pressure of Castruccio's army. and of more advantage to them. the one under his own command and the other under Pagolo. and beheaded many other noble citizens. the Florentines put in motion this army and quickly occupied Lastra. owing to its situation between the rivers Arno and Gusciana and its slight elevation above the surrounding plain. so for its execution a few are not sufficient. in a conspiracy paucity of numbers is essential to secrecy. he employed much thought and energy upon securing his position there. or had better prospects of success. Castruccio withdrew his men from the banks of the river and placed them under the walls of Fucecchio. and Empoli. more likely to succeed. in order to suppress a conspiracy that had been raised against him by Benedetto Lanfranchi. having occupied San Miniato. he was in no degree alarmed. an undertaking of great hazard. Moreover. The Florentines. In one case they would find themselves placed between his two armies. intending to seize the citadel.

But when these tired soldiers found themselves at close quarters with Castruccio's reserves they could not stand against them and at once fell back into the river. he then commanded these latter to open their ranks as if they intended to retreat. not allowing them to issue from the river before he charged them. who. they withdrew them and moved higher up the river. The soldiers of Castruccio fought to drive the others back into the river. and who well knew what to do. the Florentines commenced the battle by ordering forward a number of cavalry and ten thousand infantry. and thus gained possession of a portion of the battlefield. At length Castruccio. they decided upon the latter. These men were met at the bank by the forces which Castruccio had already sent forward. seeing how long the battle had lasted. The infantry of the Florentines were so much impeded by their arms and the water that they were not able to mount the banks of the river.The Florentines. The horses. and this being deep with mud. being light armed with bucklers and javelins in their hands. and in this obstinate conflict they were urged on by their captains. whilst the Florentines strove to get a footing on land in order to make room for the others pressing forward. by reason of the few who had crossed having broken up the bed of the river. Castruccio shouted to his men that these were the same enemies whom they had before conquered at Serravalle. On the morning of 10 June 1328. This fell out as he had hoped. at once attacked the Florentines with five thousand infantry and three thousand horsemen. had commanded his leaders only to stand on the defensive against the attacks of their adversaries. held a council of war to decide whether they should attack Pisa or the army of Castruccio. let fly with tremendous shouts into the faces and bodies of the cavalry. having weighed the difficulties of both courses. The fight between the men of Castruccio and those of the enemy who succeeded in crossing was sharp and terrible. and. whose plan of action was fixed. This cleared a space of which the Florentines at once took advantage. because Castruccio. When the Florentine captains saw the difficulties their men were meeting. pushed forward another body of infantry to take up a position at the rear of those who were fighting. both sides fought with the utmost desperation and neither would yield. as he hoped that when he had overcome the infantry he would be able to make short work of the cavalry. knowing his inferiority in this arm. having occupied San Miniato. Castruccio. many of the horses rolled over with their riders and many of them had stuck so fast that they could not move. he also sent one thousand light infantry up the river bank. whilst the cavalry had made the passage of the river more difficult for the others. for when he saw the Florentine army driven back across the river he ordered the remainder of his infantry to attack . hoping to find the river bed less treacherous and the banks more adapted for landing. and trampled each other in great confusion. The cavalry of either side had not as yet gained any decisive advantage over the other. alarmed by the noise and the wounds. The river Arno was at that time low enough to be fordable. whilst the Florentines reproached each other that the many should be overcome by the few. and that both his men and the enemy were utterly exhausted. who if they could but get out of the water would be able to fight. yet the water reached to the shoulders of the infantrymen and to the saddles of the horsemen. and one part of them to turn to the right and another to the left. and that both sides had many killed and wounded. and the same number down the Arno. would not move forward.

But here. fled to Empoli. but it was the cause of his death. I should neither have subjugated the Pistoians. having seen the difficulty their cavalry had met with in crossing the river. and which is often very unhealthy. and when the end of it came. If the spoils were great. But Fortune. the Florentine commissioners. and this movement was quite useless. from this he took a chill. Castruccio. called Pagolo Guinigi to him. nor outraged the Florentines with so many injuries.Florentine army driven back across the river he ordered the remainder of his infantry to attack the cavalry of the enemy. therefore. fell upon the enemy with the greatest fury and soon put him to flight. for many have told thee. I should have laboured less. and I have never concealed it. as he was accustomed to such troubles. The Florentine captains. at least with fewer enemies and perils. if a smaller state. how under his governance I learned to be valiant and . Many captains were taken prisoners. also. Thus the Florentines were so completely defeated at all points that scarcely a third of them escaped. because I should have been content with the governorships of Lucca and Pisa. Thou hast heard. Castruccio was in the thick of the battle the whole of the day. But Fortune growing envious of the glory of Castruccio took away his life just at the time when she should have preserved it. of which he thought nothing. the son of King Ruberto. and thus ruined all those plans which for so long a time he had worked to carry into effect. He was also on the watch for any attempt of the enemy to retrieve the fortunes of the day. This they did with lance and javelin. how I entered the house of thy father whilst yet a boy—a stranger to all those ambitions which every generous soul should feel—and how I was brought up by him. whilst Castruccio lost one thousand five hundred and seventy men. joined by their own cavalry. the banks were steep and already lined by the men of Castruccio. and. Here Castruccio stood exposed to a wind which often rises at midday on the banks of the Arno. But I would have made both these peoples my friends. had attempted to make their infantry cross lower down the river. as might be expected in such a battle. and loved as though I had been born of his blood. and Castruccio was again covered with glory. and have left you a state without a doubt smaller. and Carlo. who insists upon having the arbitrament of human affairs. in order to attack the flanks of Castruccio's army. although fatigued and overheated. Of the Florentines there fell twenty thousand two hundred and thirty-one men. but one more secure and established on a surer foundation. which increased so rapidly that the doctors saw it must prove fatal. at least more peacefully. did not endow me with sufficient judgment to recognize this from the first. the slaughter was infinitely greater. and addressed him as follows: "If I could have believed that Fortune would have cut me off in the midst of the career which was leading to that glory which all my successes promised. On the following night he was attacked with high fever. with Michelagnolo Falconi and Taddeo degli Albizzi. and I should have left thee. and I should have lived. he stood at the gate of Fucecchio to welcome his men on their return from victory and personally thank them. and in the successful prosecution of which nothing but death could have stopped him. nor the time to surmount it. if no longer. he being of the opinion that it was the duty of a good general to be the first man in the saddle and the last out of it.

Pagolo lost Pisa. which. and whilst recommending Pagolo to them. It is of the greatest important in this world that a man should know himself. will assist thee to come to terms with the Florentines. he committed thee and all his possessions to my care. thou hast no hope in anything but in thine own abilities. And thou wilt be doubly indebted to me. Thou hast for neighbours the offended Florentines. Thou hast also Pisa. who will hail the news of my death with more delight than they would the acquisition of all Tuscany. And in order that thou shouldst not only possess the estate which thy father left. and I have brought thee up with that love. From what has been related here it will be seen that Castruccio was a man of exceptional . as thou knowest how to use it with prudence. in that I have left thee this realm and have taught thee how to keep it. although they may be sometimes held in subjection. This latter city continued in the family of Guinigi until the time of the great-grandson of Pagolo. yet they will ever disdain to serve under a Lucchese. of which thou hast been witness. In the Emperor and in the princes of Milan thou canst place no reliance. inasmuch as I leave it thee unsettled and insecure. Fortune was not so friendly to Pagolo Guinigi as she had been to Castruccio. Pistoia is also disloyal to thee. and only with difficulty held on to Lucca. who had been fighting at his side. and he who knows that he has not a genius for fighting must learn how to govern by the arts of peace. slow. for they are far distant. but I am deeply concerned. I have never married. but not utterly destroyed. He left a happy memory to those who had known him. where the men are of nature changeable and unreliable. for he had not the abilities. which will never rest contented under they government. and he was buried in San Francesco at Lucca. and increased thy estate with that care. Therefore. and the measure of his own strength and means. and in this thou wilt easily succeed when thou hast learnt to believe that what I have told thee is true. His obsequies were celebrated with every sign of mourning. and making them swear obedience to him as his successor. who. he died. and no prince of those times was ever loved with such devotion as he was. injured by us in a thousand ways. should be inclined to listen to thee. and to learn in this way to enjoy what my life-work and dangers have gained. And it will be well for thee to rule they conduct by my counsel.capable of availing myself of all that fortune. she being eaten up with factions and deeply incensed against thy family by reason of the wrongs recently inflicted upon them. and in the memory of my valour. because their alliance will bring thee advantages and security. When thy good father came to die. and in the prestige which this latest victory has brought thee. because I believed that war with them would conduce to my power and glory. and their help is very long in coming. and then Pistoia. but also that which my fortune and abilities have gained. thou hast every inducement to make friends of them. Pistoia. who." After this there came to Castruccio those citizens of Pisa. and Lucca. which I was bound to show. as they are suffering under this great defeat. so that the love of children should never deflect my mind from that gratitude which I owed to the children of thy father. And whereas I have sought to make them my enemies. of which I am well content. Not long after the death of Castruccio. Thus I leave thee a vast estate. Thou hast the city of Lucca on thy hands.

Being asked by one what he ought to do to gain estimation." A friend gave him a very curiously tied knot to undo and was told: "Fool. whether it rained or snowed." answered the friend. Castruccio said: "If that be a vice than you should not fare so splendidly at the feasts of our saints. Castruccio answered that he did not wonder at that." Going by water from Pisa to Leghorn. and he wore it cut short above the ears. who said that he did not fear anything. It has often happened that he has listened quietly when others have spoken sharply to him. but also by those of an earlier date. When told by a priest that it was wicked for him to live so sumptuously." Having about him a flatterer on whom he had spat to show that he scorned him. and being blamed by a friend who told him that it was undignified for him to be taken in by a . and. Castruccio was much disturbed by a dangerous storm that sprang up. that God is a lover of strong men. Castruccio said: "He knows better than to boast of remembering many things. as on the following occasions." Castruccio was acquainted with a girl with whom he had intimate relations. but when thou goest into such places. so he was not angered with others did not show it to him. and was taken to task for doing so by a friend. and was reproached for cowardice by one of those with him. since every man valued his soul for what is was worth. and perfectly proportioned. he said: "When thou goest to a banquet take care that thou dost not seat one piece of wood upon another. none more prudent in extricating himself. do you think that I wish to untie a thing which gave so much trouble to fasten. and I allow myself to be wetted by spittle that I may catch a whale"." Passing through a street he saw a young man as he came out of a house of ill fame blush at being seen by Castruccio." and was answered: "We are rather like the doctors who go to the houses of those who have the greatest need of them. and as he did not look for any indulgence in this way of speaking from others." To a person who was boasting that he had read many things. His hair was inclined to be red. He had caused a ducat to be given for a partridge. to whom Castruccio had said: "You would not have given more than a penny. ready to play false with the unfaithful. just to his subjects. He was delightful among friends. He was also wonderfully sharp or biting though courteous in his answers. and this was not only heard by Castruccio with patience but rewarded. In stature he was above the ordinary height. and willing to overcome by fraud those whom he desired to subdue. He was accustomed to say that men ought to attempt everything and fear nothing. the flatterer said to him: "Fisherman are willing to let the waters of the sea saturate them in order that they make take a few little fishes. he always went without a hat. and he welcomed men with such urbanity that those who spoke with him rarely left him displeased.From what has been related here it will be seen that Castruccio was a man of exceptional abilities. Then said Castruccio to him: "A ducat is much less to me. because he was wont to say that it was the victory that brought the glory. not only measured by men of his own time." Someone bragged that he could drink much without becoming intoxicated. but terrible to his enemies. Castruccio replied: "An ox does the same." Castruccio said to one who professed to be a philosopher: "You are like the dogs who always run after those who will give them the best to eat. not the methods of achieving it. and said to him: "Thou shouldst not be ashamed when thou comest out." "That is true. because one always sees that the weak are chastised by the strong. No one was bolder in facing danger. He was of a gracious presence.

he had only killed a new enemy. he said: "Do you laugh because you are successful or because another is unfortunate?" Whilst he was still in the charge of Messer Francesco Guinigi. for I know when I am gone this country will be turned upside down. he said: "She has not taken me in. because he first took the husbands from the wives and now he took the wives from their husbands." Castruccio said: "You have not. one of his companions said to him: "What shall I give you if you will let me give you a blow on the nose?" Castruccio answered: "A helmet. Being asked a favour by one who used many superfluous words. he continued: "Then thou art more avaricious than I am gluttonous. To an envious man who laughed. and thinking he was not listening to his plea threw himself on his knees to the ground. He was once asked in what manner he would wish to be buried when he died. to supper. and then refused when the time came." whereupon he obtained double the favour he had asked. then when . Castruccio praised greatly those men who intended to take a wife and then did not do so. seeing that it was in a downward direction and you travelled blindfolded. He was once asked when should a man eat to preserve his health. he answered: "Thou dost not spend as much as I do?" and being told that it was true.and being blamed by a friend who told him that it was undignified for him to be taken in by a woman. and replied: "If the man be rich let him eat when he is hungry." Being also blamed for eating very dainty foods. said to him: "I knew not where to spit in order to offend thee less. Castruccio gathered some saliva in his mouth and spat it out upon Taddeo. saying that they were like men who said they would go to sea. because I have not listened to a word you said. he said to him: "When you have another request to make." On being asked if it had ever occurred to him to become a friar in order to save his soul." He used to say of one who had been a beautiful child and who afterwards became a fine man. he was reproved by one of his friends for dancing and amusing himself with them more than was usual in one of his station. and seeing him much disturbed by this. he answered that it had not. a very rich and splendid citizen of Luca. that he was dangerous. and being sharply reproved by Castruccio. Castruccio used to say that the way to hell was an easy one. said: "Thou art the reason of my acting thus for thou hast thy ears in thy feet. because it appeared strange to him that Fra Lazerone should go to Paradise and Uguccione della Faggiuola to the Inferno." Having put to death a citizen of Lucca who had been instrumental in raising him to power. and being told that he had done wrong to kill one of his old friends." Having been wearied by a similar man with a long oration who wound up by saying: "Perhaps I have fatigued you by speaking so long." Being one night in the house of one of his gentlemen where many ladies were assembled. he answered that people deceived themselves." A person came to demand a favour of Castruccio. so he said: "He who is considered wise by day will not be considered a fool at night. and answered: "With the face turned downwards. if he be poor." Being asked how Caesar died he said: "God willing I will die as he did. He said that it always struck him with surprise that whilst men in buying an earthen or glass vase would sound it first to learn if it were good. send someone else to make it." Being invited by Taddeo Bernardi. he went to the house and was shown by Taddeo into a chamber hung with silk and paved with fine stones representing flowers and foliage of the most beautiful colouring. I have taken her. yet in choosing a wife they were content with only looking at her.

and the ambassador asked him if he had no fear of the king. You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose . Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no one owns a United States copyright in these works. and replied: "If the man be rich let him eat when he is hungry. therefore the manacles with which he was chained in prison are to be seen to this day fixed up in the tower of his residence. apply to copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark." Seeing that someone had written upon his house in Latin the words: "May God preserve this house from the wicked. And as he was surrounded by many evidences of his good fortune. and remarked: "That house will fly through the door. so the Foundation (and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without permission and without paying copyright royalties. complying with the rules is very easy. then when he can. whereupon he said. the father of Alexander." Passing through one of the streets he saw a small house with a very large door. Project Gutenberg is a registered trademark. End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Prince.health. and may not be used if you charge for the eBooks. "Is this king of yours a bad man or a good one?" asked Castruccio. and he would doubtless have excelled both of them had Fortune decreed that he should be born. nor to Scipio of Rome. by Nicolo Machiavelli *** END OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE PRINCE *** ***** This file should be named 1232-h. not in Lucca." He was having a discussion with the ambassador of the King of Naples concerning the property of some banished nobles." Seeing on of his gentlemen make a member of his family lace him up.htm or 1232-h. set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license. so he also desired to have near him some memorials of his bad fortune." he said. Special rules. He lived forty-four years. so he died in the same year of his age as they did. David Widger and Others Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions will be renamed. "The owner must never go in. when a dispute arose between them. where they were placed by him to testify for ever to his days of adversity. unless you receive specific permission. and was in every way a prince. but I think that the above will be sufficient testimony to his high qualities. if he be poor. If you do not charge anything for copies of this eBook.zip ***** This and all associated files of various formats will be found in: http://www.gutenberg. he said to him: "I pray God that you will let him feed you also. As in his life he was inferior neither to Philip of Macedon.org/1/2/3/1232/ Produced by John Bickers. "Why should you suggest that I should be afraid of a good man?" I could recount many other stories of his sayings both witty and weighty. and was told that he was a good one. but in Macedonia or Rome.

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