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spacerDO not dedicate this treatise about Machiavelli’s intellect to you (which is at the same time an apology for yourselves), right august sirs, but rather its very subject demands this, inasmuch as political matters lay claim on masters of politics, pious matters concern champions of piety, matters of uprightness those of probity, honesty on those of honesty, things in all respects worthy of being protected and cherished by your pinnacle of majesty, if it wishes its majesty to be preserved intact. For that terrible man would diminish and degrade it, so guilty of lèse majesté that he should suffer the punishment, for he claims and proclaims that all of you are and of necessity always must be treacherous perjurers, rapacious, unjust, cruel, greedy, impious, atheistic, ad, in sum, beasts stripped of all human nature, lions, wolves and foxes, wretches (if such be the truth), scarcely princes ruling men, but the world’s dregs and offscourings.
spacer2. And yet this advocate does not lack his adherents, men who do not openly praise his teachings (for this shames even the most shameless), but who condemn these while at the same time praising the man, extolling his wit above that of all other mortals. These things are self-contradictory, and either he himself our his teachings in some respect amount to nothing. Yet why should they praise him if not to insinuate praise for his outrages as well as his wit? I realize they seek to maintain a distinction, banishing him from the realm of theology and setting him up in the citadel of politics, a decision that runs contrary to his own doctrine (nothing more pernicious to the human race or more slanderous to its rulers). I do not suffer this disgrace to be inflicted on you rather by showing the world what manner of man he truly is, lest he deceive anyone I tear the mask off his wit. Others will perhaps accost you more pleasantly and beguile your ears more sweetly, but nobody will advise you in a more useful manner, and also, I might add, more honorably. But let this honor not be mine, but rather yours. I am a puny man who can only refute him with words, you are great and may do so with deeds. And yet, if I do not make the attempt, I sin forever against you, and am a greater criminal than Machiavelli himself, or any one of your parasites.
spacer3. But, although these matters touch all the world’s princes, I have adjudged that by peculiar right they belong to you most of all, great Charles, since from the first beginnings of your realm you have been reputed to have adopted the right way of ruling, namely by means of virtue, with all of Machiavelli’s arts rejected, a thing they say was hated and deemed worthless by your father of most august memory, as I have already said in a brief sketch in my funeral-poem for your brother Henry, blue as a token of my most humble disposition. Those words stand as memorials of their achievements. May God bring it to pass that you express these same things so that, having beheld you, I may seem to have sketched your portrait with these same words, and that some future writer may represent you as the most outstanding of all the kings that have ever lived, especially outstanding in your successes and, with God guiding his upright advice, hold you up as a model to combat all the arguments advanced by all Machiavelli’s devotees. Amen.

Your Majesty’s most humble servant,



spacerONCE read in a work by a writer of no small account “to me Machiavelli is a man.” “To me he is a beast,” I immediately riposted. And then there is what that man humorously observed, “by what hand is that wretch not nowadays thrashed?” But assuredly “he is not thrashed enough, nor by a sufficiently large number of hands,” that bad boy, that plague upon all the school. Nor do I fail to loathe that verdict, “the greatest intellect in human memory.” Quite to the contrary, nobody is more foolish, in which you can perceive nothing great save for his impudence. I believe that this opinion had its origin in the fact that he wrote things which every depraved fellow does but that previously nobody was so shameless as to dare praise them. Therefore, since he wrote things differently than everyone else (albeit these were perversities), he was deemed to be a great man, with many readers taking the one thing into account but heedless of the other.
spacer2. And so, when I undertook to write in memory of Prince Henry, and (as was only reasonable) sought consolation amidst such great grief by choosing as my subject the character of then-Prince Charles (now the king), and (as was only proper) came to mention the art of good government, I could not forbear to indulge in an outburst about the things that had been written concerning Machiavelli. Having read the words I wrote, you be the judge whether I did so with justice. Not to detain you overmuch, these are the things I said after an apostrophe to his deceased brother (in my eyes a great man most truly to be imitated since he set a very great example, all the more to be embraced because it was set entirely within Charles’ own household), I spoke thus about the art of ruling:

“That bold Tuscan who pollutes all this art (impious, unclean, ill-advised, wantonly bold-faced, silly in his shamelessness, inept, whorish in his villainy, the dregs of intelligence and a fomenter of crimes, being Crime himself, and furthermore a man in whom you can discover nothing great, disgusting, witless, a stranger to the Muses, a liar, a bungler, in all respects uncouth, and a dizzard), deserves to be hurled into the black Phlegethon, and banished far from our schools and royal courts, and relegated to his ancestral Avernus, being its kinsman, breathing such foul, dire things, and spewing forth ruination for kingdoms and their affairs. Charles, you must be on your guard and shun this plague on mankind, this enemy and reproach of nature, this heaven-hated monster. Now that you are growing, you must start to hate the things you must always avoid, and to shun them beginning in your tender young years, and believe that you can only govern by goodly arts, this being the single task that is worthy of your rule. You should not wish to be master of the world on any other terms, nor lower your divine mind to such vile servitude and (truly a slave) enter into such a workshop of felonies, surrendering yourself to shameful fraud. Nothing is more servile than fraud, nor more opposite to kingship, and the freer one rules, the less he is to be diminished by fraud. The majesty of consecrated rule is never to be stained by any blot any show of servile fraud, and if a man acquires such a blot, he indeed profanes his scepter and sacred royal crowns. 

spacer 3. But, so that these things may be clearer, I wish to add the things I hoped and foretold for the Prince, so contrary to the doctrines of Machiavelli:

“Oh, may the Parcae come late and draw out my thread! Even if, at a far distance as I keep within my private boundaries, my concerns and my household, I am not permitted to behold this, my mind is nevertheless eager to hear, even if a messenger must relate it to my shade, how Impiety has hidden herself from you, blushing and confessing that you are king without her (having had no need of her, nor having invited to her to have any share in your rule or your counsels), and has abandoned the royal ears and courts, but rather how Piety, and hoary Good Faith, and fair Virtue, content with unbending right and simple truth, yet no less wise and adroit, and quite sufficient and quite ready to perceive schemes and to counter them once they have been recognized, surround your throne, and bless your throne now that it has been confirmed; and how, on this score, you have been raised up above all kings, and how your rule has been extended to the ends of the earth, across the Alps, across the Euxine, across the Caucasus and the Indus, while it surpasses all the prayers and hopes of all men”. 

Let this be the great thing for which we may hope and pray. So, whoever are you are, be favorable and helpful. Farewell.


spacer If you desire to know who I am, I am simply the man my page exhibits, a friend to every man, as long as he is a friend to God. If for this reason I please you, I shall continue to give pleasure. If I am displeasing, I pray that I never please you. If you crave to learn my kind, my nature, my fortune and my manners, I am unashamed, I prefer to say no more.




T has already been sufficiently argued how impiously Machiavelli handled himself in handling his arguments, let us evaluate the man’s intellect. Some revere his acumen no less than others detest his impiety. But nearly all are in agreement on his point, and even his most dogged devotees strive to vindicate him from this blot, nor did he himself shrink from plainly setting forth his opinion in a number of passages. Thus they say that they are not greatly disturbed by his theological errors, since theology lies outside the scope of his argument, but that they hugely admire his canniness and great industry in dealing with political matters, the single thing which he undertook to handle. For it was not his aim to discuss justice and injustice with the nice precision of theologians or philosophers, abut to instruct the prince with those precepts which would be most suitable for protecting his rule over his subjects and his authority in dealing with his neighbors. This was his aim, on this his eyes were wholly fixed, and he was unconcerned about other things and so focused on this that he gave proof of a supreme intellect, unmatched in human memory, and alone understood the profit of studying history for the conduct of everyday life, and so seems to have revealed to others the hidden and altogether secret wellsprings of politics. But we shall soon see the truth of this.
spacer2. Meanwhile, if it is no trouble, I would gladly ask these admirers of Machiavelli whether they think him to have been a god or in any way deserving of human worship, and that any peculiar cult of gratitude is owed to him. If they claim he was a god, why did he not strive to convince others that what he had in mind either was quite nonexistent or, if it did exist, that it had no bearing on civic life, and that men should not think of worshipping it, a condition that must be abundantly satisfied if any man wants to be held up as the object of a cult? Or, if he failed to grasp this but thought that all human affairs were driven along by a kind of chance and blind impulse of Fortune (that old, deluded opinion of Epicurus), since we are dealing with a matter so clear, the most important of them all, and which, to omit men like ourselves, is approved by the unanimous agreement of all philosophers and confirmed by assured and altogether necessary arguments thus implanted, stamped, and quite firmly impressed by Nature herself in men’s minds that he who fails to see it appears undeserving of the name of a human being, being so manifestly blind. Amidst such madness, what can be so great that it warrants admiration? What can more assuredly expect to be accused of bestial stupidity? Rather when, amidst this fair architecture of the universe, with its steady and constant movements of the heavens and their stars, wherever he directs his gaze a man beholds the continual changes experienced by living things and the creatures born of this earth with their birth, growth, maturity, decline, death, their nature and its results, and fails to perceive our wonderful God’s supreme majesty shining forth, will they imagine he possesses eyes, or a mind, unless their minds are dulled by the same stupidity and they are insensitive to such clear evidences of our unutterable God? For there are no few men who are unashamed to consider it his most praiseworthy feature that he so readily scorned these things as superstitions of political men concocted to terrorize the ignorant, and they are motivated by an impiety than which I see nothing that can be called more obtuse.
spacer 3. For it is necessary to believe that there is some boundless, incomprehensible, infinite God Who created all these various things in the beginning and now, so many centuries later, in His wisdom governs and maintains them, and likewise in His unique wisdom guides and governs human counsels, actions, outcomes, not so that might indulge their gluttony and venery in the manner of the beasts, but so that they might acknowledge their Creator, loving and adoring Him, and that according to a fixed means of worship which it was His will to prescribe, which no man had any right to dictate, and which should consist, not of any outward show of pomp but rather of perfecting and beautifying one’s soul with the virtues and imitating (insofar as is possible) the appearance of that Supreme Good, namely by living chastely, justly, and piously. This is the one and only goal of our actions, we should look to this alone, we should steer according to this as by some pole star. He who swerves aside and swerves so greatly from the path, has nothing sure to follow, possesses nothing in which his mind can find rest. Wherefore, since Machiavelli could perceive nothing nothing so clear and obvious, what are we to imagine him capable of discerning? But perhaps the opportunity will be granted me to discuss these things elsewhere, and they have already been quite sufficiently ventilated by others. At present I shall not mention anything which I think is necessary to refute the trifling trash of this most silly man or requiring my eloquence. For God forbid that in this age of the world, so fertile with great minds, that these men. who are neither learned (as all admit) nor particularly gifted of intellect (as will become evident). fail to see what manner of man he was on the basis of his so impious screeds, particularly after the learned and ample refutations of very erudite men, so that they cannot gull any man similar to themselves. Rather, since this business is so obvious, when the man’s intellect has been rendered visible, let the nature of his judgment become manifest, so that on the basis of this one thing can gather how much credit he is to be given in other matters.
spacer4. And assuredly (if you permit me to state my opinion), nothing better known can be imagined, whether you consider his actual pronouncements, or his manner of discourse, or his method of argumentation. Later I shall speak of his pronouncements, each in its proper place. Concerning his manner of discourse, even his commentators have perceived this, for they have attributed to his artfulness what clearly is lacking in intellect, as if he purposely avoided all stylistic artifice and ornamentation, I mean so that he might affect a simple manner of speech (although it is likely that he did not understand this method of verbal ornament). This excuse might perhaps be allowed in the case of Cicero lest he be thought to dazzle his readers’ eyes, a well-known result of his eloquence. Although Machiavelli nowhere provides evidence of his learning, he is not free of suspicion t hat he is concealing his great artifice, and to have seized upon as the starting-point of his art that he should seem to shun and neglect the eloquence he could not achieve. However this is, if no sign of intellect shines forth in the ornamentation of his style, or the subtlety of his argumentation, or of inventiveness in the things he discusses, or their order or method, I do not see where they are able to shine.
spacer 5. But what cannot be ignored is that in every discussion two things in particular are normally aimed at, what should be upright and what should be useful. He purposefully ignored the first of these, taking no account of uprightness throughout his work, and making next to no mention of it, I imagine mostly so that he would not mention in word that which he scorned in fact, and because he thought this was a meaningless word so that he could discourage men’s minds from its pointless use and accustom them to perceiving, feeling and speaking of no distinction between honorable and dishonorable things save for that which arises from expedience, believing it to be the mark of a prudent man to enhance his estate by any means possible, and to think nothing base from which some hope of gain shines forth. And adherents of this opinion, who wish to be masters of wisdom, thoroughly avoid all discussion of honesty as being in vain, and if a man thinks it should be taken into account they mock him as a naive fool. We must guard against provoking their dislike, and so we must not speak anything of honesty save to the degree that it serves our advantage, and on that score they cannot ignore it, since they devote all their counsels to that end.
spacer6. But why should a man take uprightness as his constant companion, if it is not useful for his life (I shall not say for his living well, lest I seem to be playing the philosopher, but for living comfortably or in the Epicureans’ style)? If it has no value for gaining wealth, pleasure, glory, or security? What are we to do about Machiavelli, who so inconsiderately rejected it?. What are we to decide about his intellect and judgment? Surely I do not think he would decline to make this stipulation, that, unless uprightness carries some weight towards achieving the end he has proposed for his counsels, it should seem deserving of our rejection, and no account should be taken of its splendor or majesty. But if it not only should preside as the mistress and governess of all our actions, but, when it has helped him to the pinnacle of rule and summit of dignity, and has served him to his great profit in every employment of his life, then it does not seem to have acted in a manner very consistent with his goal if he has not allowed as his servant what he has rejected as mistress, since, as it could help and serve him in all things, he could use its operations in everything. And if he has imagined this argument that virtue is to be sought for its own sake to be without point, that should not be deemed pointless which affirms we ought to embrace that which provides things we can employ for the gaining of wealth, the achievement of honor, glory and power, the winning over of men’s minds, and which could be most use for for living our lives in security, tranquility and peace. And this has been confirmed not only by the philosopher’s arguments (although philosophical arguments also have their cogency), but also by the experiences of daily life down through all the centuries, and has no great need of any further proof.
spacer 7. Consider the lives of the greatest men who have shone with their deeds, weigh their counsels, their actions and successes, and you will find that they have always garnered glory, honor and praise from their upright deeds, whereas we likewise remember the disgrace and ignominy men have earned by adopting evil counsels. There have been men who, during the lifetimes, enjoyed Fortune as their servant (it is reputed to be virtue’s companion) so that everything went prosperously and well for them as long as they walked in the way of virtue, but when they turned aside from that, thanks either to the frailty of human nature (always prone to the worse), or because they had become puffed-up by their successes and disdain for equity and uprightness, and had reached that level where they began to indulge their personal desires, their anger, hatred and ambition, so that, as it were, Fortune herself had grown weary of their evil arts, as if infatuated with their downfall they gave themselves over to ruin. Let the single case of Cnaeus Pompey (who gained the name of The Great thanks to the of his deeds) bear witness. He enjoyed great influence, authority, and the ardent support of all men, but then suffered a great downfall, as men’s affection and favor grew chill when he began to neglect true virtue and wielded his power by evil arts. The same pattern is visible in many others, all of whom gained the greatest dignities because of their virtue’s commendation, but lost these thanks to the wickedness of their vices. And if t a certain shadow and image of virtue had such power in the case of such men (for they most assuredly did not attain to genuine virtue), what should we expect the results of virtue herself to be? What great influences would she exert over all our affairs?
spacer8. And yet, since a good man sees that sometimes, if he is to follow the strict rule of virtue, expedience often needs to be ignored, and, in appearance, the greatest losses are to be incurred, then, like Phaethon terrified by the false images of beasts, he lets go of the reigns when they needed to be held at their tightest, is unaware that, just as seed cast on the ground for a while seems to be lost, just so advantages he ignores and neglects for uprightness’ sake and the efforts and dangers he incurs are indemnified with handsome interest. Would that he would at least learn wisdom from farmers! Then he would not spurn the most useful of all things, which (as if it were a dead thing) does not bear immediate fruit, but would think that he needed to await his harvest, and not refuse to entrust his seed to the earth for many days, months, or even years. And certainly, it is the nature of uprightness, if of anything at all, that it is most useful when it seems to have no use at all, and never bears richer fruit than when it seems to have been sown most regrettably. Indeed, were they not self-evident, I could cite just as many examples of men whose retrieved both estate and glory with such great profit from a condition in which their estate and glory had been held in contempt as examples of men who sought the same by means of evil arts and never earned them, so that it seems more perilous for them to have eagerly chased after these things than to have high-mindedly held them in scorn.
spacer 9. And so in all my discourse and that which is to follow, I am not aiming at foisting on Machiavelli any theory that uprightness is to be sought for its own sake, but rather that, as he refers everything to advantage, (since this is agreeable to his logic), it is not to be rejected. Meanwhile I would exhort all good men that, since my battle is against him and those who like this author, by their leave I may be permitted to consider virtue not in terms of its own splendor and majesty (lest we “give that which is holy to the dogs” blue for their mockery), but as a handmaid serving life’s employments. This is indeed beneath its dignity, but I shall protest that it is done without prejudice. And after this mask is set aside, restitution can easily be made. Nor, perhaps, will Uprightness herself object to having enemies becoming reconciled even on these terms, who allow themselves to be convinced that friendly relations can be restored on any conditions at all, as they will probably do when they perceive that there is no sufficient reason that could induce them to resume their hostility towards a thing,so very useful for all the usages of life.
spacer10. If they are more stubborn, it will still be helpful for me to do my utmost to ensure that it be shown that tot only the impiety and ignorance of the precepts of uprightness, and the civic cycles that faction’s leader professedly undertook to describe, but also his common and barely average intellect might stand revealed, so that far fewer might wax foolish under his guidance. If I fail to perform this service, the blame perhaps belongs to myself rather than to my subject, and I will easily defend myself before fair judges by pleading my good intention, for, aware of my own feebleness, I do not refuse their censure, as long as somebody possessed of better wit, learning, judgment, and other similar furniture attempts this same task with a more successful effort.
spacer 11. Meanwhile, while engaged in this task, I shall mainly observe the following order, in order to evaluate the arguments he adduces in support of his axioms:

1. the things per se;
2. their ability to achieve what he wants;
3. then we will look into the truthfulness of his opinions;
4. and how appropriately they are stated so as to serve his purpose;
5. in connection with which, we must particularly consider how well they hang together, not just according to the rules of the logicians but also in terms of his own pronouncements and by his own admission, something which is wont to carry the most weight in any judgment.

And so that everything can more readily comprehended in my readers’ minds, I wish to summarize this all in accordance withe the various topics he appears to be handling. In addition to the first of these, already discussed, let these be reckoned as :

2. Concerning the preservation of any kind of principality, the kinds of which he mentions up to Chapter Ten.
3. Concerning some things he considers separately, having to do with calculating the strength of principalities, foreign soldiers, and the usefulness for military experience for a prince, up to Chapter Fifteen.
4. Concerning the use of virtues and vices, both general and particular, with some singled out by name, up to Chapter Twenty.
5. Concerning some measures which princes employ to preserve their principalities, such as the preservation or destruction of castles &c., up to Chapter 21.
6. Concerning a prince’s renown and the things pertinent thereto, such as his secretaries and his avoidance of flatterers, up to Chapter 24.
7. Next concerning Italian principalities that have been lost, Fortune, and the necessity of freeing Italy, up to the end of the book
8. To these things I wad a general refutation of the man, based on rules he laid down elsewhere, which is my eighth and final chapter.



1 1. On the forms of principality
2. On the hereditary principality
2 3, On the mixed principality

4. On the governments of Darius and the successors of Alexander
5. On the principality or state which formerly lived under its own laws
6. On the principality acquired by one’s own arms and ability

4 7. On the principality acquired by the arms of others or by good fortune
5 8. On the principality acquired by crime
9. On the principality acquired by popular support (i. e., the civil principality)


OW, at the very beginning I call on all men and summon them to bear witness, or to sit as judges, learned and unlearned alike, friendly to him or unfriendly, even the most easygoing and ready to conceal his shortcomings, let them seriously say whether anything can be more humdrum than his first chapter, about the forms of principalities? Or his second, about hereditary ones? Or anything more bloodless and feeble, handling stuff “well-known to every blear-eyed fellow and every barber?” blue For “it is earlier to hold on to hereditary states than new ones, and to inspire that affection which is almost second nature to one’s subjects,” and so forth. For these observations possess some truth, but what keen insight do they posses that we should admire?
spacer2. Nor is this to be ignored, that after he bad made this division of principalities into hereditary and new ones in Chapter One, and again when he divided new ones into simple and mixed, and in Chapter Two had proposed to observe this scheme, saying “I will observe the above-indicated order in my discussion,” he nevertheless ignored this method and handled the mixed ones first in Chapter Three, and only afterwards the simple ones, without giving any reason for changing his proposed order. Someone will call this a light thing. Indeed it is, but this is not a weighty author since you can discover that nearly all of his utterances, if weighed in fair scales, are lightweight: even in minute details the man shows no intelligence at which we should stand amazed.
spacer 3. Nor is this true of what follows, when he gives his explanation: “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,” in which one may readily see that he openly posits popular affection as the principal means of preserving governments. And the source of this affection is that princes do no harm, that they alienate nobody by their vice. Hence it is true (either because he indicated this, or because a man can easily gather), hatred is a great cause of the loss of a principality, because it engenders hatred by means of grudges, vices and insults. And I do not mention this so I might refute it (nothing truer can be said.), but rather to warn the reader that he needs to compare these things which Machiavelli is subsequently to say, where he both ignores popular affection and urges immoderate vices (cruelty, treachery, impiety and so forth). For the latter is a sign that he has abandoned his humanity, whereas the other betokens a nature not entirely deadened or freed of sparks of the pangs of truthfulness. As the man says, “Mendacious Crete does not always lie.” We shall evaluate this when we come to it. Now we hasten on to the following things Machiavelli has to say.


N order to prove that there is no better scheme for retaining control over territories which differ in language, customs than to plant colonies there, Machiavelli uses this argument: He says that either colonies must be settled there or you need to support companies consisting of many foot and horses as a military garrison. But a military garrison is useless:

1. Since the crops grown in that province are consumed by feeding these soldiers.
2. And the whole province suffers damage as you shift your camps about, and, since the inconveniences of this affect everybody, it occurs to the indignation of all men. And, since they are on their
3 home soil, have the capability of harming you.

On the contrary, when you plant colonies:

1. The expense is small and negligible.
2. Fewer men take offense.
3. And these are those whose lands you have confiscated.
4. And these are harmless, since they are scattered and impoverished.
5. Whereas the rest are acquiescent, either because they are immune from loss,
6. Or fearful lest they themselves will be despoiled.

spacer 2. From this fine conclusion (as he sees it) he draws the consequence that, unless they are to be to be the cause of evils for these men’s superiors, that:

1. They are to be won over by sweet words, or else utterly exterminated.
2. For although they can avenge small injuries, they cannot do so regarding more serious ones: an injury done a man ought to be of a kind which does not make him fear vengeance.

And he adds other remedies for retaining a providence, for example that the man who has once gained it might prop up his rule his presence and by by making it his home:

1. That het make himself the leader and defender of his more helpless neighbors.
2. That he be on his guard lest anyone more powerful invade it.
3. That those who called such folk in must be put down.

spacer3. In his first argument, he takes this association of his proposition “either troops are to be supported or colonies must be founded as a given, even though nobody, I think, would grant this to him, as if there is no other means of holding on to a province once you have come into possession of it. But we will look into this later. He makes the assumption that a military garrison is useless because the profit one would make from possessing that province is completely spent on maintaining it, so that what had been a profit is transformed into a loss. But it does not therefore follow that a military garrison is not without its use, as long as it has the power to retain that providence, wince by this means glory, power, and even authority among one’s neighbors is most greatly maintained, things of no small consequence, and for discouraging the ambitious hopes and assaults both of one’s neighbors and of one’s own seditious subjects, just as their contempt for you is the most effective way of provoking these things (unless we are to imagine that immunity from such contempt and the inconvenient consequences of that contempt are useless. And what more silly can be imagined than for a prince to think nothing useful which does not enhance his income? But so he maintains, thinking that the revenue from that province must be spent on its soldiers, and therefore a military garrison is useless.
spacer 4. Allow me to make take exception with his idea to that no profit accrues to the prince from that province. Rather, from it some things are acquired and retained: glory is returned, power is retained, authority is retained, which both comfort your friends and keep them faithful, and terrify your enemies and make them slower to undertake anything, create obstacles should they make any attempt. And this single thing, not to mention the rest, is of great weight, that its occupation prevents one’s enemy from being enhanced by its acquisition or hanging over one’s head, at every minute bent on working their transformations, if is near at hand; or, if he is further removed, it may be used to furnish weapons, horses, young men, taxes, and other things helpful in wartime.
spacer5. But what, pray, is the necessity that all the revenue of any given province should expend all its income on the support of military garrisons? Or is as great an army required to control a populace once subdued by your government as it did to subdue it? Or are we speaking only of Thrace, which, being an expansive and infertile territory with a warlike, unconquered population would require many soldiers to retain, while being able to pay exceedingly small taxes because of its poverty? But this is not the case worldwide. For it is quite otherwise in his own Italian homeland, where the fertile land produces a yield more ample than is required for maintaining forces sufficient to overmaster an unwarlike people habituated to the yoke. Machiavelli ought to have made this distinction between those regions, since their situations are quite diverse.
spacer 6. “But,” you say, “a province is damaged by shifting camps around, and this offends everyone so that hatred is incurred.” Really, Machiavelli? Are you concerned about unpopularity and offence, when soon you will be shouting “it does not matter whether they hate you or not, a prince should strive to be feared.” To be sure, your discourse has a certain semblance of humanity, but one that is entirely unbecoming if you wish to be self-consistent, whether you are concerned about justice when you refer everything to expedience, which you wholly distinguish from uprightness, or for the sake of popularity, since you think fear safer than popular favor. Furthermore, what is the meaning of your claim that a province is damaged by shifting camps about? Or why must a garrison always sleep under canvas, to be shunted hither and thither like a regular army in wartime? And I imagine that if we review all antiquity well find few provinces that were retained in this manner. It would therefore require demonstration that, if a ruler were to employ a military garrison, he would have to employ many tens of thousands constantly spending their time in camps, rather than, after a populace has been subdued or reduced to subservience by some other means, it being sufficient to have some small body of men based in picked locations (towns, for example, or castles or even just a couple of these, as circumstances warrant), which would keep motions under observation as if with a telescope. These, no less than colonies and perhaps even more than them, would be suitable for subduing sudden tumults, should some more vehement violence brew up requiring greater attention,. If any greater violence arises which requires a greater response, a garrison, as it were, holds the keys to sending in reinforcement. And it will exist without inflicting any injury, but rather, content with its pay, it lives according to just laws without harming anybody for any reason, so as to incur the hatred of any single man, let alone of everybody.
spacer7. The same logic applies if we grant that an army must be maintained, or for any other forces. For we are not speaking of robbers, but of soldiers accustomed to military discipline. And not of ones acting in enemy territory, disrupting everything by plundering, but like those marching through a pacified land with sealed swords (as the saying goes about the Roman legionaries), and if one or two of these is undisciplined and refuses to refrain from resorting to violence, he pays the proper penalty at the ends of his officers, for it is of interest to them that their soldiers remain on their best behavior, and by inflicting their punishment keep the man’s fellow soldiers orderly and regain their popularity. And thus it comes about that not only will they avoid the hatred of the provincials but even earn their good will when they perceived that the harms they suffer are a matter of concern to the prince. But why should a prince be exercised about good will when he is dreaded for being surrounded by so great an army?
spacer 8. For, he says, the injured parties have the ability to do you damage, since they are on their home grand, and when he gives no further reason, which certain gives the flavor of the man’s keen insight. For by the same logic, prisoners bound by chains and fetters have the capacity to do harm as long as they are enchained at home. For single individuals, scattered and unarmed, have a greater ability to harm you than those sent into exile, and exiles have a greater ability than men who have been put to death. We should therefore conclude that all of them should be killed, so that at length your fearful prince may be secure, he who is surround by as many thousand troopers as you have granted him to harry the entire province, but still he cannot rest, fearing friends as well as foes. blue It is that difficult not to fear the ruler who craves to be feared. But, to cater to this fear, you have adopted the fine policy of planting colonies. Do you not perceive that you are provoking a new contest with your prince, who lately was concerned with keeping his providence, concerning his own person, so it would be a wonder if he considers himself safe within a brass tower? For your assertion is wrong that fewer men are offended in this way than by a military garrison. It has already been said about this policy that its possible that nobody suffers angary whereas those who are dispossessed so as to make way for new colonies take offense. But I maintain that the entire province becomes alienated. For the rest who remain in their homes are not immune to loss, as you want us to believe, since they have been deprived of so many friends, kinsmen and close relations, whose losses sometimes move us no less than our own. And though the harm may seem to pertain only to a few, their example pertains to everybody, and that which you think is a reason for them keeping quiet (the fear lest they suffer the same things) I regard as the greatest reason for them to make trouble, so that, if such can be accomplished, they are freed of this anxiety. For it is human nature that no man wants another to have power over himself, especially when suspects, or even knows full will, his invention, since every man fears for himself the power he sees being wielded against others, and all individuals fear all power as dangerous to themselves and want to see it diminished. Therefore it lis likely that they will not wait until some opportunity for driving everybody from their homes arises from new outrage, but rather that they will promptly launch an assault on the counsels of tyranny, bent on overthrowing it before it grows to such a power that it can no longer be resisted. Unless you imagine that your prince alone has any brains, and the rest all incompetent idiots, so that he can take measures to cement his tyranny while those others are like blind men who neither understand what they should do nor, if they could understand, would take measures to look out for their own security.
spacer 9. And yet assume that such is the canniness of your king that, like Aeneas wrapped in his cloud, blue he could see everybody but nobody could see him, assume the callousness of the rest to be such that they were unmoved by their friends’ calamities, that their stupidity was such that in the face of their great and and manifest danger they through that they should hold their piece until their bear the yoke of harshest servitude, which could never be shaken off, do you fail to see that, with so many men ejected from their ancestral homestead, how many and how bitter hatreds you would be provoking? You certainly seem not to see this when you say that, being dispersed and impoverished they are harmless. So what they wish you think to be beyond doubt, since you are of the opinion that suffering harm has the greatest power to move men to seek revenge, since it can never be erased from men’s memories, inasmuch as poverty always hovers before their eyes, being a constant presence in their minds, provoking them to seek revenge. Therefore you imagine the killing of friends or parents can be forgotten as long as their goods remain untouched, but the plunder of their fortunes is unforgettable. And if this is true, needs must be that, since they always remember the injury, they will always loathe the man by whom they were injured and always wish to see him dead. And they do not just wish this, but at every turn they are watchful to that, if any opportunity for revenge is offered, they may most eagerly take advantage of it. Weariness of life and thirst for revenge makes these men all-daring. Nothing can be more pernicious than this kind of enemy, to whose supreme thirst for revenge is added bold daring and a desperate contempt for life. This is confirmed by the experience of all the centuries, and has been made quite clear in our own time by the recent grievous deaths of the most distinguished men in Belgium, blue in our own republic some years past, and the almost annual conspiracies against the right serene Queen of England
spacer10. Wherefore I am all the more surprised that any person is so worthless in his eyes that he thinks that man can do no harm, particularly since such is the inconstancy of human affairs that no man can be found of so humble and abject a condition that his effort and ill will cannot inflict loss on the loftiest emperors. In the fable a lion was freed from its chains by the work of field mice, the lowliest of beasts, and there’s a common proverb “I’d prefer the dog to lick my hand than bark at me.” The point is that nobody’s friendship should be disdained, or hatred held in contempt. Darius son of Hystaspes gained the throne of Persia thanks to the cleverness of a groom. blue A common foot soldier serving under the king of Egypt put to death that conqueror of the world Pompey the Great. And, if it were not over-long to compile a list, many more examples could be cited of men of moderate or humble estate who created the greatest troubles for the greatest kings and most powerful states, and provoked the greatest upheavals. How often servile wars exercised the Romans, masters of the world, created by slaves who were being treated almost like beasts! What about Spartacus? What about Viriatus? What about Cleon? blue These were slaves born of slaves, nothing lower, nothing more abject. And yet what uprisings, what commotions, what wars they provoked! This is surely stands as a notable warning for men that they should not claim too much because of their power or arrogantly despise the fortune of others, whatever this might be.
spacer 11. And furthermore, I could cite Sertorius, blue born only of the equestrian order, distinguished by no wealth or authority, I could cite Corolianus and Alcibiades, blue both exiles, and the Prince of Orange, who within living memory has been killed, not by the violence of a hostile prince, but by the treachery of a ruffian, and not long ago the Duc de Bourbon, blue the one of whom made great trouble for the King of France and the other for the King of Spain, and almost countless others whose middling estate not only the power of Rome, an object of fear for the whole world, or that of the Athenians, which conquered Greece, but also that of contemporary kings scorned in comparison with itself. Even to those those with an indifferent knowledge of history it is well known what impetus these men gave to popular revolutions, the fires of war, the slaughter of armies, the captivity of kings, and transformations of kingdoms and governments. These were distinguished men, but men on whom nobody imagined such great things would depend. These were men whose virtue had previously been rather obscure but, as if fanned awake while sleeping, finally flexed its muscle the most in a time of exile. I fail to see why the same thing could not befall others, when a man whose virtue languished, idle and ignoble, while he was content with his lot in a time of prosperity, but out of disgust with altered conditions or provoked by anger (which the Peripatetics call courage’s whetstone), blue or inspired by necessity, that inventrix of all the arts, begins to taste of virtue’s fruit, producing as more surprise and profit in exact proportion to the trifle he had been wont to expect.
spacer12. And we read that banishment, which Machiavelli thinks to be a hinderance to any attempt, has often failed to fail at the critical moment, and that those who thought of nothing but concealment while still in their homeland, after being driven from their home, had inspired neighboring peoples to take up arms out of pity, and, by a turning of the worm, drove out the very men by whom they had been driven out themselves a little before. And if single individuals have sometimes been able to do this, what are we to decide about a multitude? And who can agree that among such there is no man, outstanding for his brains and his competence who can attempt something even if the rest shrink back, since there is room for courage even in poverty and it is whetted by nothing more than by necessity. Poverty poses no obstacle to grasping matters, but is useful for inspiring pity, and ridding his fellows of their sloth. The more scattered they are, the more places they will attempt to arouse avengers of their woes.
spacer13. But what need is their to linger over a matter so little in doubt? Let us hear Machiavelli himself, who in another place attests nobody can be made such a pauper “that it does not remain possible for him to take up a knife in revenge,“ and elsewhere, “if you take away his weapons, ‘his wrath will arm him,” blue by which words (if I do not misunderstand him) he wishes to indicate boldness in launching an assault and power to commit the deed persist in any human condition. Nevertheless, not much further along, speaking even more openly about that anger and hatred can achieve, he pretty much says, “It is easy to see to what degree of aggression anger and hatred drive men from that which befell the Romans when they sent the three Fabii to the Gauls as ambassadors...” And then, after recounting the historical facts, he said, “And this should make us reflect, how carefully all princes and commonwealths ought to refrain from committing like wrongs, not only against communities, but also against particular men. For if a man be deeply wronged, either by a private hand or by a public officer, and be not avenged to his satisfaction, if he live in a republic, he will seek to avenge himself, though in doing so he bring ruin on his country; or if he live under a prince, and be of a resolute and haughty spirit, he will never rest until he has wreaked his resentment against the prince, though he knows it may cost him dear. Whereof we have no finer or truer. example than in the death of Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander. For Pausanias, a handsome and high-born youth belonging to Philip's court, having been most foully and cruelly dishonored by Attalus, one of the foremost men of the royal household, repeatedly complained to Philip of the outrage; who for a while put him off with promises of vengeance, but in the end, so far from avenging him, promoted Attalus to be governor of the province of Greece. Whereupon, Pausanias, seeing his enemy honoured and not punished, turned all his resentment from him who had outraged, against him who had not avenged him, and on the morning of the day fixed for the marriage of Philip's daughter to Alexander of Epirus, while Philip walked between the two Alexanders, his son and his son-in-law, towards the temple to celebrate the nuptials, he slew him. This instance nearly resembles that of the Roman envoys; and offers a warning to all rulers never to think so lightly of any man as to suppose, that when wrong upon wrong has been done him, he will not bethink himself of revenge, however great the danger he runs, or the punishment he thereby brings upon himself.”
spacer 14. Thus he wrote, in so many words, from which we can easily decide this controversy. Unless perchance we are to imagine that all desire for revenge died together with Pausanias (which was not his meaning, since he affirms the same thing about insults in general, which, as they say, “have blood-stained claws,” and cites this as an instance to prove his point), or unless there is no insult involved in driving a man from his homeland, his city, and his house, stripping him of all his fortunes and whatever is dear to a man, and driving him into exile.
spacer15. Although his opinion about what I have said above is quite clear from the passage just cited, nevertheless, to make these things yet more obvious I shall not refrain from adding another passage, where in plain words he admits that the confiscation of a man’s goods belongs to that category of damages which men are more most desirous and capable of avenging. For he says this when speaking of conspiracies and listing the reasons which typically drive men to conspire:
spacer16. “After menaces to life, injuries to property and honour stir men more than any others, and of these a Prince has most to beware. For he can never strip a man so bare of his possessions as not to leave him some weapon wherewith to redress his wrongs, nor ever so far dishonor him as to quell the stubborn spirit which prompts revenge.” So we see the attitude of those deprived of both property and honor to make way for new colonies, namely that they are most ill-willed towards the prince and most thirsty for revenge. So how are they unable to do damage when they are thus minded? Because they are exiles? But what is but to heap injury on injury to that they more exasperated than oppressed, which could hardly be done save by the prince’s authority? Or because they are paupers? But he says that they retain the weaponry to gain revenge. Or because there is no access to a king surrounded by bodyguards, since they are poor exiles? Even the single example of Scaevola refutes this, for he was was not just an exile but also an enemy, but nevertheless made his way to Porsenna, who was not saved by his bodyguards but rather by Scaevola’s own mistake. Or because they are single individuals, scattered and unable to conspire? But in this struggle there is no need for a conspiracy or any help. “ it will be between yourself alone and a single enemy at a time,” blue said Scaevola, alone himself. And this conspiracy (or whatever name you wish to call it by) of one man rather than of many all the more dangerous because it is less easy to anticipate.
spacer 17. But I want to hear Machiavelli himself speaking about this entire business, for most surely you can find no witness who gives more ample testimony. For a little below in the same chapter he says, “Great are the dangers which men run in conspiring; for at all times they are in peril, whether in contriving, in executing, or after execution. And since in conspiracies either many are engaged, or one only (for although it cannot properly be said of one man that he conspire, there may exist in him the fixed resolve to put the prince to death, and it is only the solitary plotter who escapes the first of these three stages of danger. For he runs no risk before executing his design, since as he imparts it to none, there is none to bring it to the ear of the prince” (and so it is most perilous, being hard to forestall). And he continues, “A deliberate resolve like this may be conceived by a person in any rank of life, high or low, base or noble, and whether or no he be the familiar of his prince. For every one must, at some time or other, have leave to speak to the prince.” He then confirms this by examples: “Pausanias, of whom we have made mention so often, slew Philip of Macedon as he walked between his son and his son-in-law to the temple, surrounded by a thousand armed guards. Pausanias indeed was noble, and known to the prince, but Ferdinand of Spain was stabbed in the neck by a poor and miserable Spaniard; and though the wound was not mortal, it sufficed
to show that neither courage nor opportunity were wanting to the would-be-assassin. A Dervish, or Turkish priest, drew his scimitar on Bajazet, grandfather of the Sultan now reigning, and if he did not wound him, it was from no lack either of daring or of opportunity.” From which we can see how carefully Machiavelli strives to confirm the very idea he now denies, namely that a conspiracy of one is perilous, since if it can be avoided with difficulty if at all, and, be that man of any condition, poor or rich, noble or baseborn, if he finds the opportunity he wants to do the deed. This being the case, it is superfluous to doubt whether or not he can do harm. Therefore that which I want to convey comes about, that men driven out of their homeland can harm a prince, and poverty is no obstacle to their so doing (as Machiavelli strives to convince us),. Rather, anger and hatred is capable of inflaming their minds to attempt this crime, and to brave any danger in order to gain revenge for their injuries, taken either collectively or (even if they are less capable) as individuals, and for a prince nothing can be more dangerous.
spacer 18. Since these points are so clearly gathered from Machiavelli’s own words and his conclusions are neatly enough drawn, as if, penitent, he is striving to overturn everything with such a lack of self-consistency that it is readily apparent that he did not know what he meant. For when he added a little further on that “nowadays there are plenty of men possessed of the same intention and daring.” blue He immediately appends the reason: “there is no punishment or danger attending on the mere wish.“ Surely a fine boldness, for a man to dare something because he does not fear punishment for his thoughts! He will of course dare to think, but nothing further. This, therefore, is what me meant when he said “there are but few who act.“ Is not this what Machiavelli thought it necessary to be “overturned?” For he openly affirms that many a man lacks the boldness for it to enter his head to do that which everyone who has the courage craves to do if he has the courage, unless the opportunity and ability happen to be missing: “no man can be found who is willing to consign himself to certain death.” Is this the reason why they fail to act, namely that they lack the courage out of their fear of death? This is obvious making fools of us, since he has just said “plenty of men can be found with sufficient daring,” and then associates this boldness with a will that fears no punishment. But if that one is true, then of necessity this most recent statement will necessarily be false or, if this one is true, that one is false. Then he says more openly “not act,” and “not act because they do not dare.” If this is so, assuredly his former argument must collapse, and there are not “many possessed of the same intention and boldness.” Or, if the other is true, this last statement needs must will be false, or, if this one is true, then that one is false. So why all this aforegoing discussion of the one-man conspiracy, if nobody can be found who dares thus to conspire? Why his injunction that not even an individual citizen should be harmed, since anger and thirst for revenge can even be harbored b individuals? Why cite the example of Pausanias, if not to show the prince the similar disposition of other men who have suffered injury? He did not relate these things to prove that such was once human nature, but that from this memorable example princes now in power might learn to be on their guard and earnestly strive to cultivate justice since they also face same danger if they enter into that same path of injustice. And this is why he loudly exclaims and reiterates that “if a man lives under a prince who is+ of a resolute and haughty spirit, he will never rest until he has wreaked his resentment against the prince, though he knows it may cost him dear,” and, later, that Pausanias “offers a warning to all rulers never to think so lightly of any man as not to suppose that, when wrong upon wrong has been done him” and so forth. But these things are obviously being said about present and future times, and we gather from past examples what the situation is now and always will be. Otherwise the logic of his argument would be most silly, “The prince must abstain from wrongdoing, since once they were accustomed to seek revenge, but nowadays they not dare.“ For what once was the case is irrelevant to ourselves, unless we admit that the same also happens now.
spacer 19. But they are no less daring now than what I have said above about bygone days, as is too self-evident to require confirmation. Therefore even on the basis of that sentiment (worthy of a atheistic tyrant, and certainly of Machiavelli) which he appends to his discussion of colonies as a kind of colophon, “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.”
spacer20. There follows a paragraph about the possible Latin translations of certain Italian vocabulary items and what these might reveal about Machiavelli’s thought.
spacer 21. However this may turn out, on the basis of what has been said I think it is obvious that colonies, so greatly praised by Machiavelli as the sovereign remedy for retaining a new prince is not only not advantageous, but even very disadvantageous, and are less convenient than the military garrison with which he compared them, on the grounds that they exasperate more men and alienate the entire providence, and incur the greatest risk for their prince. For what should be said about loyalty, when even by the example of a single Punic War the matter can easily be decided, when so many Roman colonies defected to Hannibal at nearly the same time? For, influenced by the nature of the local weather and soil, the easily degenerated into the foreign manners of the regions where they had come, forgetful of their national ones, and were joined in affinity with the natives and, thanks the children they shared, coalesced into a single body, mindful of where they were living, not where they came from. Soldiers, on the other hand, always living under arms, do not so readily imbibe foreign ways, and are not seduced by the pleasantness of the climate or land so that are not always aware they are foreigners, since they are not linked to the natives by any kinship. One can therefore see that colonists adopt the language and lifestyle of the locals, whereas soldiers do not absorb so much from local folk as locals always do from soldiers. And let what has been said about colonies suffice.
spacer22. And as for the other remedy, about shifting the seat of empire, if this is as great importance for retaining a province as Machiavelli thinks, I am not sure whether a prince can do this without inflicting great damage on his regime. Together with whatever advantages accrue to him from this migration, come all these disadvantages.

1. “If one is on the spot, disorders are seen as they spring up, and one can quickly remedy them.” But far removed from his nation, he cannot see the disorders that spring up there. So how can he apply a remedy?
2. “The country is not pillaged by his officials.” But his nation is.
3. “The subjects are satisfied by prompt recourse to the prince.“ But his own citizens are disgruntled, having no ready access due to his distance.
4. “Wishing to be good, his subjects have more cause to love him, and wishing to be otherwise, to fear him.” But in his own realm good men are willing for the king to govern in asbsentia, whereas bad men take advantage of this opportunity to throw everything into confusion and grow by means of their evil arts.
5. “He who would attack that state from the outside must have the utmost caution.” But if one wishes to invade his paternal realm, would not everything be easier and more open for him?
6. “As long as the prince resides there it can only be wrested from him with the greatest difficulty” But he can very easily be stripped of his realm, by which means his province would easily be lost. But not vice versa, since if his province is lost his ancient realm will remain, so the opportunity for someday regaining the province will remain. And so you must be more concerned with holding on to it, and never placing yourself in the position of risking what is yours for the sake of gaining something belonging to somebody else, something Augustus Caesar used to call “fishing with a hook made out of gold.”

spacer 23. But someone will tell you that your reign will remain loyal to you even in your absence out of a certain natural affection for its prince, and, being accustomed to man, will not readily accept another as long is at can be governed by some legate or viceroy. But even if this is true I would argue the contrary, that a province can be administered by someone else, as long as he a good and competent man (and this depends on the prince’s prudence) is appointed to the task. And, faced with the necessary choice, it is better to run the risk of losing your province than your realm, preferable to endanger something that is like a tributary stream and a kind of addition, than the fountainhead of your authority and security. Therefore, since in any republic there are evil, ambitious citizens who will snatch at suitable opportunities to serve their purposes, you should not rashly hasten off to that other place, but beforehand all circumstances need to be considered, everything must be weighed long and with great prudence, before a prince makes a decision about so great a matter, if he has ever decided a decision must be made. And yet sometimes it can happen that this is not a bad chose, but, since this is a rare occurrence, it should not be regarded as a general axiom.
spacer24. Although his third remedy appears to be possessed of a certain subtlety, nevertheless has no substance, and if we consider it more closely it will seem quite absurd, namely, “taking care that no man weaker than himself shall lead his neighbors.“ For who has ever thought it convenient for his purposes to gain weaker men as friends and more powerful as enemies. Or who would not prefer to be the leader of strong men rather than weak, if he is able? If he is unable to do, he chooses as a manner of necessity rather than judgment to enlist the friends whom chance offers, something any man will do without requiring Machiavelli to be his advisor. And assuredly you do not choose weaker men for the very reason that they are week, but because they are more loyal and because Necessity herself joins them to you and provide them as loyal followers. Now the fallacy is evident and we should call it a piece of “cause for cause” reasoning to say that we should recruit to our side the more loyal and more zealous for ourselves, retain them in our party, and protect them from harm by the more powerful, so that we might employ their help in advancing our interests. But it certainly is a mark of prudence to win over men’s enthusiasm and willingness, to protect them from harm once they have been won over and made your own, and that this is of great interest for your retaining their affection and authority, and also excellently agreeable with justice. This is nevertheless an obstacle to any man, and does not possess much keen insight such as we can admire. When he exclaims, as is his wont, “he should set himself up as the leader of the weaker sort,” as if delivering some great paradox that runs counter to the opinions of other men, in truth he proposes a very commonplace thing using certain verbal dodges wrapped up within a strange manner of discourse, so that now he deserves to be hissed and jeered off the stage as a sophist and an impostor.
spacer 25. But what manner of thing is the fourth remedy he posits? “You must take care lest any foreigner less strong then yourself gains entry into your province.” Indeed, and you must take care lest any foreigner, strong or weak, gets into any part of your empire. Who would deny this? But what reason does he give? “For by this means you can preserve your empire as long as it possible, if you do not cede it or any portion thereof to another man.” You might think that Machiavelli is clowning over such a serious matter, the most serious of them all. He is giving precepts for retaining one’s rule, assuredly a very important thing and most worthy of thought, so I perk up my ears and await something worthy of great anticipation. But what does he say? “You should not yield it to another, you should keep it yourself, you should not hand it over to a more powerful outsider.” A wee mouse born from a mountain! blue Oh the supreme insight, the unmatched wisdom! Who can tolerate such tomfoolery in a humorless men? But this is Machiavelli’s much-admired subtlety, and if you consider this throughout all his work you will discover it is ether

1. sheer nonsense,
2. or triviality,
3. or wrong,
4. or inane,
5. dangerous to the man who heeds it, not to mention
6. impious.

spacer26. His fifth remedy or precaution for hanging on to an empire and strives to affirm by pointing to the dealings of the Romans with the Achaeans and Aetolians is this: “The prince who holds a country...ought to make himself the head and defender of his less powerful neighbors, and to weaken the more powerful amongst them taking care that no foreigner as powerful as himself shall, by any acc9ident, get a footing there.” It is perhaps debatable whether this is useful for retaining a province, but I think nobody will doubt that it is useless for acquiring new ones. Therefore, if Machiavelli is urging his prince that he should rest content with the acquisition of a single province and not concern himself with subduing others, he seems to be an insufficiently high-minded rascal. More properly Alexander, who had in mind not just the rule of this entire world but of others as well, made each conquest a step towards conquering more. And surely that proverb is not without point, “repentance is unbecoming for a thief.” Rather, he must continue along the road he has begin, where happenstance and opportunity invite, and chase after Fortune until he reaches its pinnacle, and must never stop half-way or rest. Machiavelli’s argument is perhaps not inappropriate for protecting conquered regions, but it is most relevant to an authority which, having once been gained in war, is wont to weaken and gradually diminish once arms have been grounded. If a prince has spirits worthy of empire, always aspiring to greater things, is this not the silliest advice, harming his friends and alienating those he has subdued, and, by behaving in an untrustworthy manner towards others, to preclude the possibility of entering into other regions? For what man would ever entrust himself to someone whom he has discovered to be disloyal and treacherous to friend and foe alike? Who will request the aid of a man whom he has learned by the example of his neighbors to be a harm rather than a help? And when Machiavelli has just asserted that for a man to conquer a province, he has need for the help of its inhabitants and should be invited in by them out of hope of faring better, and it will be useful for them to be greatly enticed to do so. So why should he preclude this hope, which ought to have been fostered and which alone could have gained him entry, by such conspicuous and ignoble treachery? Had the Romans (as he is not embarrassed to misrepresent them) held to this course, this was would never attained to their greatness of empire, principally relying on the help of foreign kings whose assistance they very frequently employed, a help they would never have given unless they saw Rome’s allies being enhanced in their power and honors.
27. But there was no increase in the empires of the Achaeans and Aetolians, although they had done so well by the Romans? Let it be so. Perhaps they expected no such increase, we certainly do not read that they asked for any. They did no better by the Romans than the Romans did by them. Both joined arms against their common enemies, and the virtue and strength of the Romans was greater. From that war the Achaeans, so helpful in that war, reaped no fruit save for the honor of having freed Greece, but, save for the liberty they had preserved, they had nothing more which they could rightfully demand. Regarding the Aetolians, however, whatever was done was not done out of public counsel but (as can easily be gathered from Plutarch’s life of him) because of the private ambition of the general Flaminius. He thought it was unworthy for the Aetolians to claim a share in the praises for the victory gained over Philip, began to exclude them from the administration of affairs, and they for their part, sought to diminish his glory by claiming that he had sold peace to Phillip. Hence, when the minds of these allies gradually became provoked by dissent and mutual suspicion, the Romans undertook nothing before, at the instigation of the Spartan tyrant Nabis and King Philip of Macedon, openly defected to Antiochus. From this one can readily gather that, if anything was denied either to them or to the Achaeans, this was not denied for the purpose of weakening Roman allies, or because the Romans wanted them to grow any the less, since (as is clear throughout their histories) they boasted of nothing more than protecting their allies from harm and helping and enhancing them with all their power, and this can be seen from the single example of Massanissa. When he had invited Scipio into Africa, and had often assisted them with his brave and faithful effort in defeating the Carthaginians, and was quit of the war, he was so far from being whittled down by the Romans that he was restored to his ancestral throne, with the addition of a goodly part of Syphax’ kingdom, and enhanced to such a great degree that he alone ruled nearly all of Africa.
spacer 28. What about Eumenes, King of Asia, after the defeat of Antiochus? Did the Romans think that he too needed to be humbled? Were they in any way concerned lest he gain excessive strength and authority? Such arts are certainly worthy of Machiavelli’s ignoble homeland or degenerate Rome, but quite foreign to the mistress of world, as can be seen from Livy’s description blue of that pretty competition between Eumenes and the Roman Senate, at the time when, after touching briefly on his own merits, entrusted everything to it: “What services he himself had rendered he preferred that they should learn from their own commanders rather than from him. His words were listened to with universal approval, and the senators urged him to lay aside all modest reserve and tell them frankly what he considered would be a fitting return from the senate and people of Rome; the senate, he was assured, would be more ready to do what his services merited than he could either ask or expect. To this the king replied that if the choice of rewards were left to him he would, now that he had the privilege of consulting the Roman senate, gladly avail himself of the advice of the highest order in the State, so that his desires might not be thought extravagant or his requests lacking in modesty. As, however, it was they who were to be the givers, he thought it much more fitting that they should themselves determine the extent of their munificence towards his brothers and himself. Notwithstanding this protest the senators continued to press him to state his wishes. This friendly contest lasted some time, the senate ready to grant whatever the king asked for, and the king maintaining a modest reserve, each leaving the decision to the other and animated by a courtesy in which neither party would be outdone.” The senators were that far removed from denying him anything or filching anything from his realm.
spacer 29. Not just Eumenes, but whoever had done the Romans any conspicuous service in that war were granted gifts. They bestowed the island of Drymusa on the citizens of Clazomenae, and also immunity from taxation, and restored the so-called Ager Sacer on the citizens of Miletus., and restored Rhaetaeum and Girgitha to those of the Troad. And furthermore they bestowed new territories on the peoples of Chios, Smyrna and Erithraea in recognition of the loyalty they had demonstrated in the war, and (if Livy is to be believed) held them in especial honor. And indeed, if we believe Justin, blue they divided the cities they had captured among their allies. thinking glory more suitable for Rome’s reputation than delightful possessions, since they should claim the glory for their reputation’s sake and leave luxury to their allies. For it was by such arts that they garnered world domination. And yet Machiavelli has no qualms about abusing their authority in support of his fooleries, not caring what he says as long as he has something to say.
spacer30. And it is a great sign of his naïveté that he commits the same mistake for which he sharply criticizes King Louis of France. For the objects that “that he abandoned those he should have defended, without realizing he was weakening himself.” Meanwhile he himself not only abandons his friends, but also humiliates them, and does not see that, once his former allies have been offended by his seizure of power, he is friendless throughout the providence. I leave it to each individual to judge how useful this is for protecting his authority. Therefore, so that he might offer some excuse for such idiocies (as we should think), he wishes to appear driven to adopt this plan by a certain necessity, “because he can never satisfy the hopes his allies have conceived, he should not retain their friendship.” For by their immoderate hopes he means that he assesses other men after the pattern of his own character as being equally wicked, ambitious, greedy and treacherous. And he thinks one of these principles to be granted to him as being beyond doubt. I for my part do not believe that all men are Machiavelli (since within all these centuries nature has not spewed forth a monster to equal him in his rare impiety and impudence, nor do I expect she is about to produce more), but rather that some men exist endowed with true piety and virtue, who rule their appetites with moderation, men who do not cherish ambitious hopes nor seeking things that should not be sought. Nor (as I acknowledge, not without a sign) do I think that, amidst the supreme corruption of our century (which we owe in no small part to him and his writings), natural goodness is not wholly extinct even in the minds of those who are heedless of true virtue, nor are their cravings so boundless that, if some men who have done well by them are capable of satisfying them, they will not be grateful and repay them in equal measure. And, even if everything does not go entirely according to their wishes, they do not immediately strive to alienate men from their prince. Rather we very frequently see that, even if they do not obtain their heart’s desire and do not gain their wealth, they are assured of their prince’s good will and not refuse to give him their help and perform their duty, moved only by the hope of someday being repaid. And yet it strikes me as most absurd to doubt that the prince, enhanced by the acquisition of a wealthy province, and possessing its honors, dignities, and sources of income, is able to reward his friends abundantly. Otherwise what kind of province will that be? Or why are new possessions to be sought, if it will supply nothing with which you can gratify anybody?
spacer 31. This is true notwithstanding the insatiable avarice of certain men whose greed cannot be slaked by the entire province, nay, not by their king’s very own realm. Once cannot derive a universally valid truth, applicable to one and all, from the guilt of a handful of men. And yet, just as a prince is not bound by their lust, so it is greatly in his interest to take care that he acquire no reputation as an ingrate either among good men or among those less than wholly good. Why should he alienate his friends by grasping after excuses and pretexts? Everybody agrees that there is scarcely any virtue that has more power to gain men’s devotion than gratitude, or any vice more disliked than its opposite.
spacer32. Meanwhile, how greatly Machiavelli esteems his own remedies and precepts is readily apparent from this chapter, in which he enumerates the mistakes of King Louis of France: that he did not plant colonies, and that he did not remove himself from there. blue And he adds “Which errors, had he lived, were not enough to injure him had he not made a sixth.” Therefore Louis’ errors either were not errors at all or very small and trifling ones which could not have harmed him, had he lived. And if these errors were light ones, what is the value of Machiavelli’s precepts against which he offended? What weight should we assign them? Let us indeed not attach any greater importance to them than he himself did. But enough about these matters.
spacer33. A little must now be said about the proposition I postponed discussing until arriving at this point. And I do would not dispute it except that its contrary can be gleaned from Machiavelli himself. For both these remedies (colonies and military garrisons) smack of violence, and so I would not venture to speak more of the need to act with mildness, so as to become a laughingstock of his devotees, unless he himself indicated that this is possible. For when he says “men are either to be beguiled by kindnesses or entirely exterminated,“ does not he not plainly indicate that there are two methods whereby men are to be treated, either by acts of kindness (which I interpret as mercy and generosity) in order to gain their friendship, or as enemies whom the prince must treat so harshly that they can do no harm. He embraces the latter course, but, since he offers no reason for his choice. it is not to be taken seriously. This is an excellent place in which to behold the man’s keen intellect, for, having posited the two parts of a disjunct axiom, he arbitrarily comes down on the side of the one, while wordlessly spurning the other. If he were to adhere to the one, he ought, at least, to have stated some reason for rejecting the other, which he did not do. I could suggest several reasons arguments against its rejection, if it did not seem better to postpone that dispute until we come to its proper place, where the subject will be hatred and and love.
spacer 34. Meanwhile, in order that it may be established that it is not necessarily a simple matter of having colonies or an army in order to retain a province, but that the best way to shore up your rule is to win over men’s minds by exercising justice and equity, relying on reason alone. You should not think these conclusions to be my own, or drawn from theology or philosophy,, nor do they deserve mockery: rather they are ones which this author furnishes to me in this very chapter. For him, the reason for changes in government is that “men change their rulers willingly, hoping to better themselves.” So, since the cause is established, an agreement will easily be made concerning the remedy, namely that entirely, or at least as much as possible this cause be removed after the example of good physicians, who think a malady to be properly cured when its causes have been eliminated. So in what way is this hope for gaining better things, the cause of every alteration, to be removed? By harrying a province with an army? By driving its inhabitants into exile? By thus feeding fuel to mutual suspicions? By giving colonists the inhabitants’ goods, farms, houses? By butchering their friends, their children, their kinsmen? By throwing everything into chaos with massacres, plundering, and ruination? By robbing the very ones who took your side? Or, in sum, by any manner of violence? Rather by these methods disgust with the present state of affairs is enhanced and those who see themselves thus mistreated will always think they can fare better. So I am all the more amazed that Machiavelli is insistent since, when he sees the cause of this evil, he does not just incline towards ambiguous remedies but also to flatliy contradictory onces. Thus, in order to uproot this evil, one single remedy remains, like a most precious and wholesome antidote, that the prince so conducts himself that his subjects can hope for naught better, that he provides them with carefree repose and tranquil peace, permits them the enjoyment of good and honorable pleasures, does nothing by violence or unjustly, comports him with arrogance against no man, puts to death or fines nobody save the guilty, in sum that he acts the father, mindful of his people (as is commonly urged) and not be overly concerned with his own advantages. By to such methods, I say, he adds genuine piety (for feigned piety cannot be maintained for long), good men will adore him as being dear to themselves and pleasing to God, whereas bad men, out of awe and fear of these folk will imitate them in virtue, albeit unwillingly, and will be held to their duty, and everybody will worship him and hope his government endures as long as possible. Men will never wish that state of affairs to be altered since they dare not hope for a better one.
spacer35. These things being the case, although I am quite familiar with the bold-facedness of this Machiavellian sect, I nevertheless fancy nobody will dare reach the height of impudence where he dares deny them. Indeed, he should have said them himself, had he wished to speak self-consistently. In passing, would that his devotees would give them close consideration so that they might give them careful consideration and heed their author (when he is overcome by his innate goodness) when he urges right action but note when they are written in a spirit different from this, so that they would reject them as obviously wrong!
spacerspacer 36. But since I have mentioned nature, I cannot omit to mention that Machiavelli speaks about nature in passing, and I should advise the reader that he carefully note and distinguished what he says contrary to this spirit, so that he might reject it as plainly wrong For thus he says: “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.”
spacer37. But as it happens (said a writer far more learned in the political art than Machiavelli, thanks to his long experience), blue a natural instinct is situated in all living beings, to protect its life, its body and acquire and get everything necessary for life, and for the same reason men strive to acquire the things which supply dress and clothing. And these not just for themselves alone, but for their wives, children, and all the others they hold dear and need to protect. And because of this same natural urge one man must be moved by the force of reason to befriend another, both for the sake of conversation and that of society, and there is nothing more agreeable to nature than this society and, as it were, communality of life been them. He who violates this by depriving another man of something and enhancing his own advantage by inconveniencing another acts unnaturally than if he experiences poverty, death, pain, or the other things which can befall his body or his external possessions. And so every man needs to acquire the things necessary for life, but to do so in a harmless way. For this is what is demand by nature’s law and the very firmly established rules of equity and goodness. This caution must always be exercised, otherwise it can be called contrary to nature and it deserves no praise and most assuredly is not usually extolled, although Machiavelli maintains the contrary. But I am less surprised that he is ignorant of what is natural, since he has not had the opportunity to observe what should be transacted among men, since the great majority do not heed virtue. But virtue is wont to judge these things very carefully, so that Machiavelli is clearly mistaken in imagining that what is done by many is praised by all. For such is the power of virtue that it even customarily earns praise from those who are driven astray by perturbations or are hindered by a certain weakness of their nature or depraved habit and do not know how to obey it, or do not care to do so, as was not undeservedly held against the other Greeks by the Spartan ambassadors who, when a certain old man was being made the object of mockery at Olympus by the rest, themselves made way for him and everybody cheered them for their deed. This is “to know what others ought to do and to praise it, but not to do it themselves.” Pray who is so avaricious that he does not praise and embrace the generosity in Scipio Major, who so intemperate that he does not praise his self-control, who so small-minded that he does not embrace his greatness of heart? Who does not admire the fidelity in Regulus and his steadfastness, proven at such great cost? But you will find few who do anything of the sort. This is because “it is natural to praise the upright,” but the fact that they do not adhere to it is proof of men’s weakness. It is equally in accordance with nature that no man is found, not even the most wicked and depraved, who praises rascality, and often criticize in others what they do not hesitate to do themselves. For the whoremaster berates whoring, the miser greed, and the proud man arrogance. And, just as this is usual regarding other things, so regarding the zeal and the method for acquiring wealth, no age of the world has ever approved it because of its result, whatever that might be. Thus it is should destined that men disapprove of robbery, theft, sale of one’s body, and other crimes of that sort, although their practice is often very profitable. But the more profitable it is, the more disliked and hated whatever is accomplished by evil arts tends to be. And it is no different concerning tyrant even if they pile realms upon realms, as can be seen everywhere in histories both ancient and modern. And that which he adds is proof of this: “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.” But even the attempt at doing praiseworthy things is laudable, even the will is praised, and the desire to cleave to virtue rather than vice is no error, but rather a virtue.
spacer 38. And furthermore, the statement with which he concludes this chapter is is not unworthy of notice, which is (as he says) not misleading: “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.” For thus they reap the well-deserved fruit of their deceits, those who have disregarded justice and turned to evil arts. This cunning cannot help but be held in suspicion, for, although it perversely imitates prudence, it produces very different results. For we trust the one, “to it we imagine we have very properly entrusted our security and our fortunes, harboring no suspicion of fraud or wrongdoing.” But everybody shuns the other, so that no man dares believe cunning men even when they are dealing with good faith. Therefore we must accept the truth of this opinion of his, not given intentionally (which would derive from genuine prudence, which is always conjoined to justice and is most mighty in creating good faith), but spoken about depraved, sly counsels (many of which are purveyed by this book). So we must even more vigilantly be on our guard lest we err in this respect. Not just fraud but even every suspicion of fraud must be avoided, unless even among the very persons that “it is advantageous to lose our good credit.” And if this is never advantageous for anybody, what are we to think of this schemer, who both runs into the rocks himself and strives to attract others to the same place. About this man it is said, knowingly and most deservedly, that “I love treason but hate the traitor.” blue
spacerLet us therefore cling to this: let us test his other precept according to this meassure. Perhaps we require no other guide to help us live according to them, to accompany us across those vast maelstroms of Scylla and Charybdis, where many men have suffered shipwreck.


  4. The reigns of Darius and Alexander’s successors.
Section 3, concerning
5. On the principality and city which lives according to its own laws.
  6. On the principality acquired by prince’s own arms and virtue.

INCE at this point he begins with with a disputation about Darius’ reign, even if he only speaks of the man’s incompetent mistakes we might think he is disputing irrelevantly in such a small book. But he fancied he was doing so advisedly, being conscious of Livy’s habit of indulging in that very free mode of writing, which he ventured to call the “excursus,” in which he felt free to dash to and fro like a lunatic and pour forth whatever came to his mind or lips with no order or method. But here, inasmuch as he had imposed a fixed limit on himself, it was ill-advised of him not to it. For he should either steered clear of this restricted area or, having once entered it, not overleapt its fences. And surely, if we consider this chapter’s title, its conclusion, its method of handling its subject or the thread of its argument, he clearly seems to have slipped back into his excurses, forgetting what he had started to dispute about mixed principalities and writing some things worthy of our considerations about newly-acquired dominions, such as those of Alexander and his successors. And yet these things did not deal with acquisitions made thanks to virtue, so that his prince might learn what is to be shunned and what is to be embraced, but rather with things that are by happenstance inherent in the realities thrust upon him, serving no purpose or use which either he himself or his commentators (mistrusting themselves, I suppose) can reveal or that anybody can gather from his words. But, so that I may deal with him as fairly as possible, let us grant that the method announced in his first chapter (which he never understood) is the best and that and he is adhering to that same division, so that here he is speaking of those who are accustomed to live subject to their prince, and of how our prince ought to comport himself in his dealings with men who have never previously lived under his rule. If this is the principal object of his disputation, I say, why does he make it so complex that one cannot see what he is aiming at? Why does he skip over that which is most important, as if he were doing something else? Is it because he is embarrassed to speak such drivel? (And would that this would embarrass the others who embrace everything he says as if it comes from the oracle of Apollo!) Or rather is this because he is attempting to insinuate something he dares not openly proclaim, as if he were mixing some fool’s gold in with the real thing? But we hiss this droner off the stage and, pulling off the sheep’s clothing and recognizing the fox at least by its tail, we must be on better guard against him.
spacer 2. But if we may come to an assessment of the thing itself, this what he appears to mean, although he enunciates it very obscurely:

“Namely that there two kinds of state in which men are accustomed to live under a prince. Some are administered by lords or optimates who possess their own dominions and whose subjects acknowledge to be their words, and are bound to them by a kind of natural affection. Others are ruled by the agency of servants dependent on the prince, and have no personal authority over the people. Turkey serves as an example of the latter form of administration, and France of the former. The man who conquers the latter easily gains control over it after the blood-line of the prince has been extinguished, but to gain control over the former he is faced with the necessity of destroying not only the royal family but also the nobility and whoever enjoys any authority over his subject. This is affirmed not only by the examples of the kingdom of France, but also of the Spanish and Greeks, whose rebellions Machiavelli attributes to the memory of their lords, and he maintains that the Romans possessed these provinces in security as soon as this memory had been extinguished.”

spacer3. Having posited these things, he nevertheless stands mute about the conclusion. And yet, if it is not posited then all this stuff is silly and his disputation has no bearing on the subject. But insofar as he is ashamed to draw a conclusion he is embarrassed to enunciate because of the unworthiness of the thing (as we may believe), and yet cannot stand mute because of its unworthiness, I shall encounter less trouble in refuting an argument he refutes by his own hesitation. This is all the easier because what has been said above about colonies can be applied here, inasmuch as the same difficulties follow upon a cruelty which is not dissimilar: popular hatred and grudges, dangerous and fatal to the ruler himself. These are things that have been discussed in their proper place and about which more will be said when popularity and unpopularity come up for discussion. In the same way he goes astray by blocking his access to other provinces and in diminishing trust in himself among all foreign nations, so that now nobody will wish to ally with him or call upon his help upon this condition, and so whoever has entered on this[ path will be unable to expand his empire, a thing most absurd for the man who desires to accomplish great things .


HAT have you to say about Chapter 5, reader? Are you sneering or snarling? Even the title which distinguishes it from its predecessor is silly: CONCERNING THE WAY TO GOVERN CITIES OR PRINCIPALITIES WHICH LIVED UNDER THEIR OWN LAWS BEFORE THEY WERE ANNEXED. A fine distinction! For what city or principality does not live under its own laws as long as it remains a city or a principality, when it is not yet occupied by somebody else who gives it new laws? Not the Turk, not the Frenchman, not Spain or Greece, about which see above. They have their own laws, as did Athens, Capua, Carthage, and Numantia, which he mentions here. He who desires to reconcile these statements will have his hands full, for they are the products of a confused and deranged judgment.
spacer2. But what thing is it that he handles here, and of what quality? Certainly nothing less silly or less of the same kind as what he has said above. For he comes to the same conclusion: whatever preface he offers, wherever he strays, whatever divisions and distinctions he makes, all his discourse comes back to the same place, namely to this: that his prince must overthrow, overturn and destroy everything. To him, this alone is prudence, this alone is great acumen. He knows and inculcates this one rule for all situations. If he is dealing with individual men — kill.; if with human societies and republics — destroy. Thus he rules, governs and keeps control of empires and men. To him this is great wisdom, this is the alpha and omega of his doctrine.


spacer3. But it is worth our while to hear the man himself. This his how he issues his preface, this is how he makes his division:

“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 . . .establishing within it an oligarchy which will keep it friendly to you.”

You see the division. But he is not vague enough to conceal the point that in his eyes what is first and foremost is the same as if he had simply uttered the single word “destroy.” But he wishes to sport for a while, as do cats, which in the end devour. Nor is that which he finally proposes as if it were his remedy anything other than a prelude. For when he says “best,” he is saying something other than “best in its condition,” for what he adds, “for t hose who wish to preserve themselves,” “destroy” is what he has in mind. Therefore, with an eye on this, he adds the example of the Spartans, who thus lost Athens and Thebes, although they were bent on retaining them in this manner. But the Romans destroyed Capua, Carthage and Numantia, rather than losing them, he most jestingly adds. Lest you have any doubt, he plainly says “the safest way is to destroy them.” Then what does he append? “Or you may reside there,” but this is said frivolously and is not what he has in mind, as can be seen from what has already been said, which all inclines towards destruction and contains not a syllable about residence.
spacer4. Hence, when I often ask myself how it happens that this author never breathes a word that is not about slaughters, bloodshed, and the destruction of men, cities and nations, the thought occurs to me (as I imagine it will to everybody who is willing to judge it aright), here what is befalling him is the same that does to all fearful men, that they consult their dread by indulging in cruelty, and that no man is more cruel than the very timid one. Thus in Machiavelli’s formula for proper government we find this slipping out, that he who does not know how to rule must destroy, and so he should not have written “how men and principalities ought to be governed” but rather “how they ought to be destroyed.” Be this as it may, this can be seen, that so far there no genius for us to praise, nothing that any man at all could not do, with those who are least intelligent most given to it.


UT In his sixth chapter he does nothing but encourage the new prince to kill men, nor do I respond to anything else. What follies he spouts, and how foolishly! Just consider his preface, where he employs lengthy enough insinuation (unnecessarily), announcing he is going to employ the highest examples. Who could ever blame him? Who would not praise the man who employed them aright? But he employs the trite metaphor — who does not use it? — of an archer aiming a target.
spacer2. Then, entering into his subject (if he ever does so, since he wanders to an fro, so that you cannot easily say what he has in mind), but without any insinuation: “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.” Oh what penetrating genius! Nobody but Machiavelli has had the power to perceive this! Certainly nobody has wanted to proclaim this, or has been so silly as to imagine it warranted the proclamation. But these difficulties do not lie in the principalities (this is said stupidly) but in princes, not in circumstances but in personalities.
spacer3. What follows is similar: “the fact of becoming a prince from a private station presupposes either ability or fortune.” But that which he adds, “it facilitates matters when the prince, having no other state, is compelled to reside there in person,” pray what manner of thing is this? Are not these words gems of patent nonsense which you may refute or ridicule? And that following commonplace, “For there is need of both ability and opportunity to gain a new principality. For, lacking opportunity, ability is useless, as is opportunity in the absence of ability,” this is something “well known to bleary-eyed men and barbers.” blue But he makes his distinction amiss. For he has said “those who have gained a principality have done so either thanks to good fortune or ability” when he should have said “thanks to both fortune and ability.” For he who has otherwise attained to a principality by ability will always be indebted to fortune, since fortune has supplied the opportunity. (although it is perhaps true that factors are always intermingled). Thus he lists the difficuilties involved in establishing a new principality:

1. That the old inhabitants might pose a threat.
2. That the help of other men might be tepid (or, if you will, less than intrepid).
3. That might and main are require..

spacer 4. Who has ever doubted these facts? Who has ever attempted such a thing without having prepared himself (for it is silly to imagine that Savonarola was aiming at political power). Likewise the things he has to a about Moses (profanely, impiously, obviously characteristic of the man, irrelevant to his subject and even more irrelevantly attempting to justify the comparison with Cyrus), speak for themselves. I am not minded to say anything about this, not even about Machiavelli’s impiety. But the man’s impudence! He counts Moses among those who have acquired and established empires by force of arms), although he attempted his deed unarmed and with Aaron as his sole companion, and he was deputed by God to establish his authority but not by using weaponry, and those opponents he destroyed he did not destroy by weapons. But he did not destroy them, rather they were destroyed by the Divine Will on his behalf. Only once did he take up arms to defend holy things against those who would defile them, and those arms were obtained by prayer rather than ones of his own. Indeed, he did not arm himself even to ward off his enemies: the fighting was entrusted to Joshua, while he devoted himself to prayer.
spacer5. But whatever the truth of this may be, who is unaware that in the establishment of every government, and likewise in its maintenance (even of your ancient hereditary one) power is required as well as prudence, to protect yourself against deception and violence, be it external or internal? But sometimes we read of governments retained without the employment of arms, even by those whom Fortune has raised to the summit (a thing he claims to be most difficult), and this without Machiavellian ability (which in his eyes amounts to nothing but deceit and the deceitful killing of men). For, reader, consider this word as you will, and you will almost always find that this is what it means to him, this is what the word includes or concludes. Let Numa Pompilius bear witness: he, without any effort on his part and doing nothing at all, was called to govern Rome, a position he held throughout his life without arms, without violence, without any man being killed, merely thanks to his piety and by being seen to be pious. This by itself shows the futility of this entire disputation. Likewise this uncouth fellow’s insipid sally, “all armed prophets have conquered, and the unarmed ones have been destroyed,” (where the word “prophet” is being abused) is impudently impious and inept.


Section 4, on chapters 7. On the principality acquired by other men’s abilities and Fortune.
  8. On the principality acquired by means of crime.

NOW dip into chapters seven and eight, and what do you find? Crimes, murders, assassinations, and nothing else. What arts? What prudence? Cheatings, betrayals, contempt for divine, natural and civil law. Here he conjures up Borgia, Agathocles, and Oliverotto. blue What monsters!
spacer2. But with what genius and judgment? Oliverotto was an obscure little man, and Borgia was not much more noble, those petty tyrants of a degenerate Italy, and not even deserving to be called petty tyrants, but rather (most unluckily) would-be tyrants who had scarcely gained power when they lost their lives, atoning for their monstrous crimes by suffering monstrous deaths. Indeed, he adds Agathocles, who better celebrated by the historians, but was outstanding for the woes he experienced and suffered the unhappy results of his deceits: the defection of his soldiers, eluding men’s anger only by taking to his heels, suffering the murder of his sons, the poverty of his children and wife, exile, having his kingdom occupied by another man, and breathing forth his last with a heartsick groan. All of these things should be enough to discourage a sane man from imitating them, scarcely enticing them. Indeed, in my eyes a the man is entirely lacking in judgment who chooses such such things when he could do better. Indeed he has no means of concealing his absurdity even in appearance, rather he reveals himself to be a criminal and plays the fool as he vanishes from sight. Therefore I am not embarrassed to quote the very words that fine historian wrote about the uses of history, since they are golden: blue “In my view, every man ought to pay close attention to the manner of life, the morals and the arts by which men have gained power.” And, a little further on, “in the consideration of affairs it is particularly wholesome and profitable to study all the evidence set forth in historical records to learn what is foul in its inception and foul in its outcome, so as to avoid it.” This being the case, is it not supreme folly to set up such men as models for imitation whom one should be ashamed even to mention, Borgia and Oliverotto, “obscure blotches on the world” as he says, “tiny little souls?” Is it not an act of unspeakable stupidity to foist upon a prince their unlucky crimes, “foul in their inception, foul in their outcome,” unhappy and unfortunate, and their ill-gotten principalities? Of these, the one, having enjoyed his ill-gotten gains for barely a year, was wretchedly caught by another employing his own arts, taken prisoner, and died wretchedly and woefully, and the other, after having vainly plotted after that vain Chimaera, making himself King of Italy, never gained his wish. That unhappy whelp of an impious, incestuous necromancer who gained the papacy after having entered into a pact with Satan, and suffered an unhappy death, flourished together with him, but not for long, and then swiftly suffered is downfall. For this familiar fact is known worldwide, how when in accordance with Machiavelli’s arts the men mixed poisons for others they drank them themselves thanks to a cup-bearer’s mistake, the one (I mean the father) killed, the other sore afflicted: the one lost his life, the other his liberty, his fortune, his glory, and that imaginary kingdom of his, and totally lost the principality he had seized in his ill-omened way, taken prisoner at Rome, he was imprisoned in Spain and killed in Sicily. His famous utterance “either Caesar or nothing” was no less true than it was absurd, for he was both: Caesar in name, nothing in fact. If anyone strives to be like him by using these same Machiavellian arts, as far as I am concerned he is free to imitate him.
spacer 3. Our author does not deny these things, nor can he. So what does he have to say about them? Let us see the man’s keen insight. He throws the blame on Fortune:  “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.” Quite right, but what in the world is she: human or a four-foot beast, a fish or a bird? What is this great power of her to carry along and drive all things with such easy momentum? Indeed, if Fortune is nothing, then the plans which she thus frustrates are also nothing. If she is something, why does he not explain her? Why does he not invent some art for his prince by which he might reconcile himself with her, keep her reconciled, and enjoy prosperity? What’s the point of all his prudence, if she is left out of account? What’s the point of that Borgia shrewdness? His crimes? His perfidy? His cruelty? And all Machiavelli’s precepts concerning these things? But who does not know that Fortune is Providence, Gods own hand, which intervenes in human affairs, throws them into confusion, brings things to pass, repairs them, casts them down? That keen-sighted man was unable see, or perversely refused to acknowledge, and preferred to use this name, which appears to denote happenstance, rather then admit the truth, that Borgia had sinned against God, provoked Him by his crimes, and hence things had gone badly for them and for himself. For this simple answer displeased the gentleman, and that which was not impious did not strike him as clever. Be wise, prince, be wise and reject this: instead of his Fortune see God and think upon Him.
spacer4. But let us ascertain what these means were: for nothing here was purely happenstance, everything is common knowledge and in the open. Effects are linked to their causes and are everyday occurrence, and things what Machiavelli himself could not deny were bound to follow after those counsels. So let us see what he himself describes as having been done by Borgia:

1. He invited the King of France into Italy (or at least consented to his invitation).
2. With his help he occupied the Romagna.
3. And first broke the Colonnas with the help of the Orsini.
4. Then he seduced the Orsini by deceit and destroyed them.
5. The French, their power sapped, turned their backs on him.
6. He joined himself to the Spanish.
7. He destroyed all of the men whose families he had dispossessed.
8. He befriended the College of Cardinals.
9. He won over the patricians at Rome.

5. And all these he did most correctly, Machiavelli tells us. And these things too were properly contrived:

10. That he had decided to occupy all of Tuscany, in order to add to his empire. Had he achieved this, he would have augmented his strength to the point that he could have protected himself by means of his own strength, and would not have “acquired so much power 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.”
11. And Machiavelli wonderfully praises him for having placed Ramiro d’ Orco blue in charge of the Romagna, harried by plunderers, a cruel and hard-handed man, who, thanks to that truculence and brutality, quickly restored peace and concord to that province.
12. Soon it occurred to Borgia that it was not working to his advantage to grant such unlimited authority to his deputy, lest he gain unpopularity.
13. So what did he do? First he set up a court of judgment in the province, in which the individual cities had their own advocates and pleaders.
14. Next, since his steward’s severity had stirred up plenty of dislike of himself, he wished to free himself of the blame for this.
15. To this end, he dismembered his steward and set up his head on a pole. He laid out his body in the piazza at Cesena with a bloody sword at its side. This was a savage spectacle, but one that spread satisfaction among the people.
16. And he tells us that this was done aright, but that things went awry for him for the single reason that, while he was doing them, he was overtaken by his father’s unexpected death and his own illness. And yet he keeps quiet about the cause of this death and this disease. Sabellicus, Jovius and others recount that poison was mixed by his father for use against certain cardinals but thanks to a cup-bearer’s mistake (as mentioned above) it was consumed as a toast by the Pope and his son, thanks to which the old man perished and he himself fell sick but escaped thanks to his youthful strength, although just barely.
17. And that, as the upshot of these aforementioned causes, the Romagna had to wait upon him for an entire month, sickened as he was.
18. That at Rome he met the arrival of his enemies the Vitelli, Orsini and Baglioni, in security, since none of these joined forces against him.

spacer 6. Some of these decisions ran against genuine political wisdom and others against Machiavelli’s precepts, but they were all somehow damaging. First and and foremost, the fact that he either invited the King of France into Italy or gave him assistance ran flatly against Machiavelli’s teaching, being contrary to the his above-stated rule, “One must be on his guard lest a stronger man enter into his province,” a mistake that in Chapter Three he has told us the King of France made in allowing the King of Spain a share in the Kingdom of Naples. He also condemns this below in his Chapter Eleven, in these words: “These potentates had two principal anxieties: the one, that no foreigner should enter Italy under arms...“ This, therefore, should not have been permitted for the French king, and so our Monkiavelli is now inconsistent when he praises it. Either here or there he gives bad advice. I say no more.
spacer7. The greater part of the rest he has do say offends against the rule against incurring unpopularity which he has laid down in that same third chapter and discusses at length at Discorsi, namely that he:

2. Invaded the Romagna (a province belonging to another), from which, if Machiavelli himself is to be believed, derived dangers.
3. So with the third, his harrying of the Colonnesi.
4. And fourth, the worst of them all (insofar as everybody most loathes hates treachery and cruelty), his criminal slaughter of the Orsini, not without deceit and perfidy.
5. Fifth (not of a dissimilar stamp), his faithless friendship tending towards perfidy, when he shifted his alliance from the French to the Spanish.
6. And sixth ( a monstrous one), his butchery of sons after having stropped their fathers of their properties.
7, 8. Seventh and eighth, he won over the favor of the cardinals and Roman patricians, a thing which contained nothing of criminality save for that which is common knowledge.
9. The ninth was that vain one (I mean that vain one which he had had in mind, that Chimaera upon which he had brooded), the occupation of Tuscany. For it was injudicious of him to imagine that, once he had done so, he would be no longer have to depend on Fortune, something to which he elsewhere subordinates that greatest of all things, the Roman Empire, to “that governess of affairs, who destines the future events for everything, creating and foreordaining their causations.” blue
spacer 6. In the following five chapters, from Ten through Fourteen (down to the rule of Romero) there is nothing to match the trial and execution of that man for its hatefulness and horror — that this man, more cruel than steadfastly just and clinging to the right could have been unrestrained blue in his use of power and thought the efficacy of cruelty to be greater than that of justice! Nor, as far as that man’s punishment went, was the public so pleased by this spectacle as much as it was led to detest them both, the servant the master, and I imagine it was not pacified and calmed so much as it was it was inspired to hope the same thing would befall Borgia. But, pray tell, are we to imagine that this kind of thing is useful for a prince, putting villains in positions of power? Using them to bleed the people white? To cheat the prosperous, and then kill them? Is this how a prince apologizes? Is this how he satisfies anybody? For he who thinks this must fancy everyone else to be blind, that he alone has eyesight, and that other men are beasts or more foolish than beasts. What are we to think of a man who thus treats servants whose help he has thus misused, and who thus uses or abuses his servants? But I pass on to the results of Borgia’s actions.
spacer7. Meanwhile, Machiavelli cites this as an important thing:

19. That the Romagna had to await him for an entire month, pronouncing that “his foundations were good.”

Was this not a fine thing, a fine foundation which was threatened with collapse a month after it began to be shaken, which made Machiavelli rejoice because it did not crumble immediately? What a small delay this was! But could he discern no other cause than the strength of the foundation? Was this because nobody had yet attacked it? Or was it a great thing because it did not collapse of its own weight?
spacer8. Here’s another of the same kind:

20. Because he was not immediately slain when his enemies returned to the city.

But the fact that they dared come to the city was a sign that his power was lapsing, and that they dared to do so openly was a sign that it was collapsing, overthrown and prostrate, because they were seeking to encompass his death, because they murdered his kinsman, and Fabio Orsini (a son of Paolo Orsini, whom Borgia had deceitfully killed) betrayed him in a bloodthirsty way. blue Borgia owed his life to his imprisonment, for elsewhere he could never be safe thanks to the prevailing hatred directed against him. All that Machiavelli fails to mention is set forth by Sabellicus, Jovius and others, and at this point who can place the blame on Fortune. These are the customary results of criminality, not of Fortune. One thing can possibly be attributed to Fortune, that when he was invited to a banquet by his father they drank poison prepared for others. Having consumed it, the father died and he fell sick at an extremely inconvenient time, when the foundations he had in mind were not yet fully laid. But let this be ascribed to Fortune: this was the act of a vengeful Fortune, not blind but rather extremely clear-sighted, who witnessed his crimes and wreaked her vengeance. Thus is deluded the folly of mankind, who fail to appreciate their need of God’s wisdom, with His providence (if I may call things by their right names) governing all things and setting limits on human successes. Thus we will more rightly make our calculations, Machiavelli’s examples being turned back against himself.
spacer 8. These arts (injustice, fraud, perfidy, cruelty, and other crimes) were the downfall of Borgia, Oliverotto, and Agathocles: one never fully gained his objects, whereas another did, but was not long happy. All of them died miserably, but not more overcome by their woes than — worst of all — broken in spirits: Borgia railing against Fortune, meaning against God Himself; Oliverotto womanishly and with many a tear accusing his friend and instructor in crime Vitellozzo blue in the presence of his sneering enemies, while attempting to throw the blame on him; and Agathocles moaning, groaning and weeping over the death of his wife and children. Therefore the facts concerning these men deserve to be drawn to a prince’s attention, not so that they might be imitated, but, so that he might see they were “foul in their inception and foul in their outcome” and avoid them.
spacer9. These are the things concerning Borgia of which he approves. Let us see what he disapproves. This, indeed: that he arranged for the Cardinal of San Pietro ad Vincula (he who was named Julius II) to be elected pope, or at least allowed this to occur. And he supplies a reason, that “he who believes that new benefits will cause great personages to forget old injuries is deceived.” I shall not argue this explanation, if it is true that no great men have ever sincerely become reconciled with cities with which they quarreled. But since this is established to be patently false, let every man decide for himself how this is to be judged. Yet he fails to explain the thing (the source for this ingrained anger, the nature of the new benefits) on the basis of which a more definite opinion could be formed. But if this was the case, it serves as evidence for us of the nature of Machiavelli’s teachings (which point the way to the pinnacle of rascality), which could not keep Borgia from trusting a reconciled enemy. But at this point I find the truth to be missing, since Sabellicus writes that as the numbers of his enemies was constantly growing he became afraid for is life, so that when he was placed in custody lest he create any disturbance he thought this was advantageous since he could hide himself in safety, a far cry from enjoying any weight in a papal election.
spacer 10. But what he adds, “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,” I should be pleased to ask, so whom should have allowed to be elected Pope. And, within that conclave or outside of it, who (unless we were to imagine that he managed to change is nature at the time of his father’s death, a thing that cannot be believed)? But he “ought to have created a Spaniard Pope, and, failing him, he ought to have consented to Rouen.” blue But by what means could these men have been safe from Borgia, or he from them? “The Spaniards would not have feared him because their relationship (i . e., their blood kingship) and obligations, the former from his influence, the kingdom of France having relations with him. ” Both these observations are futile, since kinship has no strength against criminals, or power against poisons. Let that which he cites serve as an example: the perfidious outrage committed by Oliverotto against Giovanni Fogliani, his maternal uncle, foster-father, and a true friend, whom he invited to a banquet together with others and butchered. Let an example of this be Borgia’s father, so ready to mix his poisons. Nor had Borgia much cause to fear the French, with Italy being divided into factions, with the Venetians on this side and the supporters of Aragon on the other, and he could have thought the latter could be allied to himself by some artifice and would keep him safe from the French once he had committed some outrage, except that that poison was secretly mixed (and he was not eager to discover the man responsible, let alone his distant relatives, if Machiavelli is to be believed). blue Machiavelli has nothing to say about the Spanish besides noting (as I have said) that their royalty were Borgia’s kinsmen, but he says nothing about their degree of kinship — were they any closer than the Duke of Candia? blue And yet according to Jovius he murdered the man. And yet was Alexander sparing towards them, or did they cease to fear him, because of any law of blood-relationship? Could Julius fail to have feared them, or any single one of them, after having ascended the papacy? He possessed the Romagna, he possessed the principality of Urbino, and what pope would not have preferred these to be his own rather than Borgia’s? Who would not have claimed them and invaded them, fearing that Borgia would himself lay claim on them, being a man who measured others according to his own character? Note how Machiavelli violates his own rule, which he claims to be infallible: a man who helps another either by power or industry renders that power, and no less truly that industry, suspect to the man whom he has helped. It this is so, then any man at all he had advanced to the papacy would have mistrusted him. And he would not have been any the less suspicious of that person, aware of this famous rule of thumb, and of mankind’s ambition, criminality and perversity. Poor Borgia!Where should he turn? This single thing remained, to have made himself pope. Even so he would not have been safe from fear and hatred, even had he been locked up in a tower of brass, such great troubles does this brand of wisdom create for a man.
spacer 11. But at this point I cannot pass over the fact that he says that Borgia acquired his empire thanks to fortune, while Agathocles and Oliverotto got theirs by crime. He does not specify the happenstance which gave Borgia his empire, indeed he tells us that he achieved it by shrewdness and counsel, things obviously contrary to happenstance, since what occurs by counsel does not happen by chance. Indeed it is possible to discern that Borgia worked by crime no less than Agathocles, and even more than Oliverotto (whom he had criminally murdered).
spacer12. Nor can I keep silent about what he writes at the end of Chapter Eight concerning the proper use of cruelty (acutely, as he imagined, but most absurdly in the eyes of the careful student), when, while inquiring into the reason why the cruelty of some men goes unpunished while that of others gets its requital. he supplies the answer that “this follows from cruelty being badly or properly used.” What’s this? A person use cruelty properly! Indeed, if it is cruelty, no man can use it properly. If it is justice and he calls it anger, indeed he is turning these words topsy-turvy and perverting them. For who does not know that this is the difference: that cruelty is unlawful but justice always in accordance with the law? Thus he saw the absurdity and attempted to soften it in this way by saying in a parenthesis no less absurd, “a man may use cruelty properly, if it is possible to speak well of evil .” For this is never conceded and could it be conceded without making trouble, with the result that his “if” is without point. Here we appear to have a battle between nature and rascality, which rascality appears to win. prattling things that should not be prattled. But what is this cruelty which a person uses properly, and when does this occur? Cruelty is used, he says, “when it is applied at one blow and is necessary to one's security.” In this formula there are just about as many absurdities as there are words. For what necessity should compel a man to cruelty? This is contrary to the art of politics, which is ruled by justice, and cruelty is banished, or indeed every form of injustice is banished the realm since they are, each in their own way, repugnant to this art. For its goal is the good, and most of all it wants this good to be an instrument shared in common. It allures men by affection, it preserves them by affection, it puts them to work thanks to affection rather than compulsion. This cannot be made enduring by resort to deception, it is necessary that it must be uncertain and dubious. But cruelty and every form of injustice is patently contrary. Its goal is something good in appearance but evil in fact, its own advantage purchased at the disadvantage of others. If it employs a man, it does not entice him by affection, nor can it, being hateful, abominable and detestable to hum an nature. Nor does it seek this or care about it. Rather it relies on might and violence, fraud and craft, compelling, frightening, and deceiving: there is nothing more inimical to affection than all these things.
spacer 13. Next, that “when it is necessary for his security” is a slender excuse for such great evil. Who would ever allow such a dire public calamity for the convenience of a single private citizen? But what security is this? How insecure it must be if it relies on cruelty, how much nature loathes it. Nobody loves it, this is the fuel and the fountainhead of hatred, which he himself exclaims, as I have said. And yet he adds (as if this were a kind of remedy) that cruelty should be employed only once. He speaks of everything else like a fool, here he has become brutish. To be cruel only once! The nature of the thing does not allow it, nor human manners. Once you have loosened the reins you will gallop headlong. With one act of cruelty dragging another behind it, after you have put the father to death you need to kill the son. And if you kill the son and the father, and his brothers, you needs must also kill their relations, and again their relations and kinsmen, and however widely these relationships extend, thus far must your cruelty reach. Cruelty is a thing without limit, nor is it within a man’s control once he has yielded to it. You who continue doubting me ought to refrain, and not begin if you are minded to recover yourself. Never has this saying been more appropriate: “when the chariots pour forth from the starting-gates, the charioteer is carried along by his horses, and his car does not heed his reins ” Such being the nature of vices, it is easier to refrain rather than restrain yourself, and to be careful suppressing an impulse rather than to control it once it has manifested itself. Learn and imbibe this, prince.
spacer14. How uncouth the explanation he adds1 “Injuries ought to be done all at one time, so that, being tasted less, they offend less.” As if a flood of murders is felt less than when they occur one at a time, rather than being witnessed by the citizenry with more horrified minds and making an indelible impression, creating loathing both of themselves and of their perpetrator, whereas individual murders almost deceive minds and pass by while inviting less notice. And yet this cannot be said to have been the reason why Agathocles’ cruelty went unpunished. For he resorted to killing again and again. For, in addition to the beginnings of his rule (which were cruel towards his fellow-citizens). afterwards he employed cruelty also against foreigners, and mixed it with fraud and perfidy against his host and the foster-father of his son (I mean the man who had adopted this son of his own). And this indeed was not done out of necessity, as can be seen from Justin. blue hat man was the African Opheltas, King of Cyrene, whom he had invited to join him in an alliance against the Carthaginians. When he had appeared with a great army and adopted his son, Agathocles would address him with sweet words and humble deference, and, after they had dined together several times, he murdered him unawares. And he did not only murder him with impunity, but rather (a thing at which you may marvel) took command of his army and used it to wage war against the Carthaginians. Thus Justin, who fails to explain how he was able to get control of the army. Whether his son employed it as his own, or if there was some other reason, however the matter may have been, this was a crime not perpetrated at the start of his rule, nor necessary for cementing his rule or providing himself security within his realm, not for this purpose and not just once. Therefore Machiavelli’s excuse fails to apply and the example is inappropriate. And did his cruelty go as unpunished as he asserts here? Not if we adjudge the thing properly. For from this flowed:

1. The desertion of his allies during the siege of Syracuse, as described by Justin. Was he abandoned by these allies because they were offended by his cruelty?
2. His abandonment by 1600 men.
3. The mutiny of his soldiers in Africa.
4. His flight from his own army
5. The deaths of his sons at the hands of his soldiers, which did not befall him because he had failed to give them their pay or because of a lost battle (things that have befallen other rulers, albeit not with such great passion), but rather because hatred they had always been nourishing against him found opportunities to vent itself. For cruelty causes hatred.

The extent of this hatred was renewed when his son Archagathus, put to death by Arcesilaus, asked the man while being killed what he imagined Agathocles would do to his children. Arcesilaus replied that it would suffice for him if he knew that his own children would outlive those of Agathocles.
spacer 15. And so, unless Machiavelli calls it impunity that hands were not laid on Agathocles himself, the tyrant cannot be said to have gone unpunished. He suffered the punishments I have listed: abandonment, desertion , flight, the murder of his sons, and finally death amidst grief and the despoliation of his kingdom, as well as the exile of his wife and other things. Nor would there have been any lack of hands laid on him, had his soldiers been able to overtake him as he fled Africa. For when they wanted to pursue him they were overtaken by Numidians and forced to retreat to their camp, as the same Justin says. And so he was indebted to his enemies for his safety, not to that proper use of cruelty.
spacerBut, if impunity is one motivation, cannot other causes for cruelty be cited? Sometimes virtues come linked to vices and obscure their darkness with their own brilliance, and men love these to the point that they forgive t some things or tolerate them. And yet they do not cease being vices, are not honored or thought deserving of being considered useful, and it should not be attributed to these things if something turns out well thanks to the virtues, as that when a man is endowed with generosity, liberality, and affability (by which men are attracted), with great-heartedness and fortitude (by which they are excited), military and civic prudence (which they admire), they are more sparing towards him, perhaps, than other men would be towards someone who exercised these same vices. And we should say that this is not because of any more proper use of the vices (a silly judgment), but because of the more illustrious admixture of his virtues. Among the causes of this thing there is also the diverse character of men with whom we must deal, according to whether this man or that is equipped with a duller or keener intellect and pays no penalties for his crimes, or is later in so doing. Thus it happens when men are distracted by other thoughts or are involved in foreign wars. There are many other things of this kind which can drive this man or that to employ cruelty. [some words missing] is indeed unwise. What about the fact that sometimes there have been those who did not employ cruelty in accordance with his rule, and have resorted to it more frequently than that what he calls its proper use could not be identified as the reason for their security or success? By which means he forgets that to which he himself has ascribed to much: to use his own words, “Fortune and times that suit his character.” If he is to be believed, these are the principal causes of all success and failures. So why does he fail to acknowledge that here, especially the former which, when he chooses to speak more piously, he calls heaven and, by a yet more fitting name, God. He it indeed is Who governs all things, for the times are open to Him for His governance. It is He who gives each man times fit for his character, or a character fit to them, according to whether He chooses to cast down or elevate this man or that. It is therefore He Who punishes this cruel man and supports or tolerates that yet more cruel one by means of a shrewdness which can penetrate human sin. For in this very place he adits that not everything can be referred to human causation. Finally, it is not right for him to tell us how he thinks that the cruelty of Borgia and Agathocles was practised with impunity, since they frequently resorted to this. Nor was this always committed at the beginning of their reigns or in the other ways he prescribes. I have spoken about Agathocles above. Concerning Borgia, it is agreed that he employed it once in murdering his brother, the Duke of Candia, a second time he killed Astoro Monfredo, and this occurred a third time when he put to death Vitelozzo, Oliverotto, and Paeolo Orsino, and perhaps more frequently. And indeed, we may add to this the murder of Ramiro d’ Orco. For, no matter how much he deserved to die, he was put to death by Borgia not without cruelty, being condemned without any trial, and was treated in a bestial, monstrous way. I could mention more, but let these suffice to reveal Machiavelli’s empty-headedness to anyone for whom these things might seem evidence of his keen insight.


HERE follows a chapter on what he calls the civil principality, where I will briefly run through what he has to say, so that we may perceive its nature and quality.

1. And first, he more or less defines this principality: “where a leading citizen becomes the prince of his country, not by wickedness or any intolerable violence, but by the favor of his fellow citizens,” where it can be seen that he excludes crime and violence.
2. Next, the means of achieving this. He says “nor is it entirely virtue or fortune altogether necessary to attain to it.” Let him explain what he means himself, since no man has ever possessed either the one or the other entirely, but rather a kind of fortunate shrewdness, by which he appears to mean to mingle these words while excluding either by itself, which would have been insightful, had he written instead of “by itself exclusively.”

But why this, and to whom is it not obvious? Without Fortune (i. e. without divine help) , what could genius, or rather human prudence, achieve in such an arduous enterprise (I mean the acquisition of a principality) or in any lesser business? Therefore, although this is correct, what is it other than a commonplace observation? But when he says that fortune alone cannot attain to this, what is he saying other than nonsense.

1. He can arrive there by pure luck.
2. He can, starting from a condition which is subject to fortune.
3. He can, purely thanks to the will of the electorate, which is obviously happenstance and not inspired by his intellectual ability or his industry.

2. For what was:

1. Saul among the Israelites? Was he not chosen by happenstance alone, i. e. thanks to fortune? Here there was no admixture of his astuteness.
2. Darius among the Persians, who gained his kingdom thanks to an agreement and stipulation that the neighing of a horse would confer the throne? blue What was here if not pure fortune? Somebody might say the shrewdness of a groom. But this shrewdness did not belong to Darius, rather this was a fortuitous thing, since a. the groom happened to be his, c. because he shared this business with the fellow, because they had chosen a horse’s neighing as their lot for bestowing the empire, and this neighing was nothing other than a kind of lottery;
3. Now Numa Pompilius was “ sent from the poverty in puny Cures to high command” blue by nothing other than an election that was, from his point of view, a happenstance election. For he neither canvassed for this thing nor dreamt of it, and acquired it by no stroke of shrewdness, fortunate or otherwise.

spacer 3.And what does this word “shrewdness” mean to convey? If it is meant to convey that it is always good, why did he prefer to use the word “shrewdness”, which often has a bad connotation? If it has an element of criminality, can this word signify anything other than that it always has a tendency in that direction? If the great men will pardon me for saying so, I scarcely see why anybody would aim at a principality if he was not born to govern. I am fond of the parable in which both the vine and the olive decline the principality offered to them lest they lose their sweetness. blue For I perceive that the bramble (in which there is no sweetness) is more inclined to seek power, more eager to take it, and more imperious in its use. And yet, if power is to be sought, can genuine prudence accomplish nothing unless it introduces canniness and evil arts? Twisting ways, albeit it is capable of proceeding in a straight path? He (not so much a criminal as a scoundrel) plays the fool, at all times revealing his evil intention, and yet not astute himself.
spacer4. And he posits the efficient causes of this principality ineptly enough when he says “principality is created either by the people or by the optimates,” as if the favor of the optimates and the common people cannot agree about the choice of a prince.

4. Neither does he more fitly explain the causes which move the common people or the nobility, “the latter wishing to oppress, while the former only desire not to be oppressed, as if that many-headed beast is not just as truculent, and (not rarely) just as eager to harm the optimates, as if this were the sole and only reason for someone to grasp at a principality. The single example of the Israelites demanding a king blue suffices to refute this, where it can be seen that they both (I mean the people and the optimates) came to an agreement, not because the one wished to oppress and the other feared oppression, but either because of

a. a certain natural mutability,
b. or because they believed it would go better for them, with reference not to any internal uprising but against an external enemy in the form of other nations, as they expressly stated.

But allow me to doubt whether a man has ever been established in a principality thanks to popular favor alone, as Machiavelli implies. I am aware that some men, abusing this pretext of popular support, have been armed and elevated by it and seized a tyranny, such as Pausanias and others. But I hardly recall having read of anybody who was established in a principality by a witting and willing populace.
 spacer 5. But the silliest of all his idiocies is that he sees and admits that men belonging to the one faction or the other, are invited to govern thanks to their affection, and he sees that his prince’s goal is to fulfil this hope, and that the reason he can entertain this hope, is, again, is the hope they have for a person, their trust, and the faith they place in him,. So he ought to have opened his would-be prince’s eyes his need to win the love of one party or the other, or of both, to gain its faith and its trust. And this can only be achieved by means of the lesser virtues, not their false semblances (which are transitory), I mean that the love of his inferiors is gained by his humanity, kindness, affability, gentleness, mercy, and liberality, and by the greater ones: trustworthiness, fortitude, prudence, and perhaps by greatness of mind, faithfulness, piety, justice, equity, and truthfulness. He omits all these things and only urges cleverness upon his prince. Why? Because he does not explain this cleverness:

a. what it is,
b. in what way it makes its progress,
c. what precepts apply to it.

He should have shown that it is received with fear and loathing, as is often the case, that it is held suspect, that men shun it, that they hate it, and that it is unable to gain sure love, trust, or faithfulness, nor is it a thing to which a man will entrust himself or look to with reliance and trust. He indeed does add that there is need for all-encompassing Fortune. But there are no arts for dealing with it. So at this point he leaves his prince stranded, this fine artisan. Nor does he show the way to a princedom. The path he evidently wishes to point out is a byway, not a highway.
spacer6. Therefore, passing over the question of how he might acquire his principality and what laws he should give it, let us see how our prince might retain it (although these should have been set out first), let us pardon him this, as long as he properly acquits himself of these things, and see how he handles both his divisions of this kind, namely the principality ruled by the nobility and those by the people. Perhaps he could not have done this much better. For he posits certain dispositions for either kind, whereby he paves the way to the rules he is about to formulate, namely:

The principality managed by its leading citizens

Here the prince maintains himself in office with greater difficulty. And he gives the reasons:

1, Because he coexists with many who think themselves his equal. Nobody among the common people makes this claim for himself
2. Because he cannot satisfy them without harming the people, since the optimates wish to oppress the people. But the will of the common folk is more honorable, only desiring not to be oppressed.
3. Because the optimates are more far-seeing and astute, and so they steal a march by obtaining favors from him over whom they expect to prevail. Being less foresightful, the people do not do this.
4. Because nobles not only abandon their prince, but even assail him. A prince has nothing to fear from his people other than that they might abandon him.

All of which presupposes that all optimates resemble each other in being instructed in these Machiavellian arts. But this is not necessarily always the case. But let us grant this too and hear the rest. “But if the people grow averse to him,” he says, “the prince can guarantee himself no safety.” Why, pray tell?

1. Because there are too many of them.
2. Because he will be obliged to live together with this same people.

But if he is opposed by the nobility he can be secure. Why so, any more than when the people oppose him?

1. Because they are fewer.
2. Because they need not always be the same noblemen. For the prince can replace or demote many of them, and confer dignity upon, or strip it from, whomever he wishes.

But if these statements are not contradictory, why would someone say they were?

Because “the worst that a prince may expect from a hostile people is to be abandoned by them,” and yet if they oppose him he enjoys no security.

And likewise:

1. Because he can promise himself security from the optimates, even if they oppose him, and yet they do not just abandon him, as do the people, but launch attacks on him themselves, something the people do not do.
2. In various ways they conspire against him.
3. They look forward to his destruction.
4. They scheme.
5. They curry favor with his enemies.

spacer7. These are the foundations upon which he constructs his rules. This the one for the man who acquires his principality thanks to popular support: that he retain the people’s friendship. This is indeed good, but should it be posited as the only one? And is it quite unimportant to conciliate the nobles? For the man who acquires his principality thanks to the support of the nobility he formulated the same one, to procure the friendship of the common people. But he has first formulated another one, that he should keep an eye on the great men of his principality and make distinctions:

1. That there are some whom pin their lives and all their fortunes on him alone. These should be cultivated and honored as being his sure friends, as long as they are not rapacious (an exception you could say is added only for the sake of show, red for it does not suit him).
2. There are others who refuse to commit themselves.

And, again, there are two kinds of these:

1. Those who, by a fault in their nature, refuse to do so out of a certain cowardice. The prince may employ their help safely, particularly if they offer good counsel.
2. Those who refuse to commit themselves because of their cunning and the ambitions they harbor. These are assured enemies and should be guarded against.

spacer 8. Grant there is something do this: perhaps it is a means of discerning those of dubious loyalty from true friends, and also of employing or suppressing them.

1. Nonetheless Machiavelli errs in positing these as if they were two extremes: cowardice and ambition, as if these were things with no middle ground, and nothing else could hold men back from cooperating with their prince. But their private aims might also deter men of the highest courage from all public concerns. A genuine contempt for human affairs, and for the emptiness of honors and dignities, a view firmly fixed in their minds, could accomplish this, as could the pursuit of a tranquil life, all things that do not arise from cowardice. Indeed they often do this thanks to a genuine greatness of mind, greater than those things which inspire men to action. They despise these things and think them beneath themselves, not because they shun effort or fear dangers, or because they mistrust themselves, no matter what they have in mind to achieve. If Machiavelli calls such mens cowards, those who despise dignities, honors, and even kingdoms themselves and other such, out of preference for tranquillity of mind, not making this choice out of fear or avoidance of pains and labors, but rather as a considered matter of choice after having weight things in their judicious scales, then verily he does not say things worthy of himself, and this is the height of stupidity and ignorance. If he seriously acknowledges as great-minded those who it would be easy to identify as such in accordance with a proper definition of great-mindedness, he does so maladroitly, if not wickedly, in proposing this distinction between men he offers to his prince, while omitting this part of the definition.

2. And it is somewhat obscure what he means when he says “pin their lives and all their fortunes on him alone.”

3. But this is wrong when he immediately adds “they are giving more thought to themselves than to their prince,” and that for this reason they must be considered enemies, and, that having been said, how can a prince not regard them as his enemies? They who cultivate their prince so that they may be cultivated b him are not to be disdained, who share their common losses and gains with him (although they prefer their own), as is their goal. This is a fine friendship, but not a kind to be sought in Machiavelli’s realm, since its eternal goal and watchword is that is praiseworthy to promotes the prince’s advantage, by whatever means this achieved.

9. A second rule (at least in appearance) is the same as the one he has formulated concerning the other mind of principality, the one gained thanks to popular favor, although in actuality it is flatly contrary, namely that he win over the people. For it is not much different from the one that the people’s friendship must be retained, although to the careful observer it is patently its contrary. For that one was to retain them as his friends, to be grateful to them and repay their favor and show them kindness, but on the other hand this is to be kind to and conciliate one’s enemies. I would not criticize this, for it befits a prudent, good man, if it implied nothing more than it ostensibly does, and could be accomplished without harm to ones friends. But when it insinuates:

1. that the nobles who elevated him to his principality must be neglected,
2. and cheated of their expectations,
3. and not be requited with his gratitude,

then I think it must be disapproved. For this would be unsightly at present and useless in the future, if he would forget his good credit and reveal himself as a faithless ally, and by so revealing himself to cut himself off from all associations. In the second section of my preceding chapter I have already said how useless this would be for a man aspiring to great things, and Machiavelli attests himself in Chapter 21 below, where he particularly recommends to his prince that “above all, he must comport himself as a genuine friend and a genuine enemy. Here he argues the direct opposite, This is to be an anemy to one’s friends and a friend to one’s enemies.
spacer10. And indeed he makes a show of honor when he writes that the desire of the people not to be oppressed is more honorable than that of the nobility, who desire to oppress. But what does Machiavelli have to do with honor, since he refers everything to advantage, which he differentiates from honor? And indeed if he seriously places any weight on honor or equity, why does he not advise his prince not to accept a principality from nobles, since they grant this to him in order to achieve a dishonorable end, that they might oppress the people with his assistance, something to which he tacitly consents when he accepts it. But he is only saying these things in jest. For when he gets down to business, I mean to advantage, he states this: “because in adversity the people provide a prince with his sole refuge.” Is this really the case? Refuge for a prince in a reconciled enemy? Should a prince call it this? Should he put his trust in it? For are is the people other than a reconciled enemy? Were the people not his enemy? Was he not made a prince by the nobles wit this hope? Are the people not aware of this? Do they not hate him because he was promoted for their destruction? But he says the people will be more inclined to him after it has received some benefit from him after they had feared he would be a source of harm. But any enemy can be reconciled in this way. Thus one can trust anybody who has become reconciled, and the rule he has already formulated will be proven false, “and it must be said that one can trust most in a reconciled enemies, for he will be more inclined towards you after he has received a benefit from what he feared would be a source of harm.” But let us grain that this is feature of human nature. No more rare is that feature which makes those who receive harm at the hands of those from whom they expected good become all the more vehement haters, particularly if they have conferred some sort of benefit upon him, and such are those nobles in whom just as much hatred for such a prince blazes forth as does affection among the people. But public hatred brings with itself more hatred than popular affection does refuge in times of peril. And if the one is helpful in times of adversity, amidst otherwise favorable times that of the nobility is fatal. And so, if the one is helpful in adversity, the latter is ruinous even amidst prosperity. Therefore this advice is foolishly given, to reconcile those from whom you have nothing to fear other than abandonment, to provoke those who will lay hands on you, and times of adversity to be troubled concerning where to seek refuge while doing that which joins to you the careless, unwary, feckless, unenterprising, by which I mean the people, while alienating the bold nobility.
spacer 11. But this refuge in the people, what, pray, is it like?

1. Weak.
2. Not assured.
3. Not trustworthy.

1. At least it is weak if compared with the nobles man, as at least obvious to the prince since the nobles made him a prince against the will of the people. And it is credible to think that those who could do this could also depose him against their same will.
2. Not assured. Who does not know this? From this reality comes that epithet “the uncertain multitude.” And then again, by a closely related phenomenon, each man can be divided between diverse impulses, driven hither and thither at a moment’s notice. This is true of the people thanks to their very nature, since they a re composed of men of such diverse character, but also because of the diversity of their leaders (it always possesses some such), and the fact that its loyalty is very frequently for sale.
3. Machiavelli denies that it is not trustworthy, quoting that popular saying, “he who builds on the people, builds on the mud,” singling out Giorgio Scali of Florence and the Gracchi of Rome, blue as he can do. And it is true that “the people will free him when he is oppressed by his enemies or by the magistrates.” But this distinction is pointless. For they abandon private citizens for the same reason that they fail princes, namely that when a storm of their enemies is brewing, they immediately grow deferential if there is available any kind of pretext at all having to do with justice or the laws. And when optimates rise up against their prince such a pretext is usually not wanting. And the people does not defer to laws so much as to force, and is not as concerned about justice as fearful of dangers, which it gladly escapes, eagerly snatching at any opportunity. Add to this that the common folk are always affected by a certain reverence towards powerful men, but when any prospect of danger or effort arises, it is shattered, being weak and craven. I admit is true that, as long as any semblance of a kingdom remains, the commoners will continue to obey the prince’s edict, ready to take up arms, and perhaps draw up in battle formation as long as nobody stands in opposition. But when it encounters genuine danger, nothing is more undependable: its members either betray or desert it, and if dares do nothing else, the people dares to flee, concerned about itself more than about anyone else at all, be he private or princely.

spacer 12. But I would like to assess the qualifications he issues here:

“But granted a prince who has established himself as above,
1. who can command,
2. and is a man of courage,
3. undismayed in adversity, who does not fail in other qualifications,
4. lacking in no resource, 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.”

spacer13. Ridiculous. These qualities do not exist among the common people. Rather, his foundations lie within himself, particularly his second and third requirements, that he be a man of great courage, undismayed.”. The first and the fourth are mockeries. For the abilility to command consists of either compelling the unwilling or employ the willing “and keep the whole people encouraged.” Indeed, “this is the task, this is the hard part.” blue For when a superior force is upon them, then are unwilling to be encouraged. Than, as to the fourth, what is it to be “lacking in no resource?” What is this other than to abound in all things, and therefore to about in power? A man in this condition has no need to take refuge in the people. On the basis of these things it appears that here he is saying nothing other than at a prince with no need of the people has sure refuge in the people. And assuredly these qualifications amount to nothing more than the like number of dodges, so that when his rules fail to turn out well the blame can be thrown on a prince for not knowing how to govern, or being wanting in courage, being ill-equipped, or failing to encourage the people, or by putting up some similar excuse, idle words worthy of Machiavelli.
spacer14. What he adds concerning Nabis blue is not to the point “he 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.” For Nabis was not one of those princes who was elected by optimates but abandon them and go over to the people, with whom we are now dealing. Nor, however it happened, is a general rule to be based upon a single example, since other causes have brought about his successes. And it is one thing to not be able to do this or that without the help of the people, and another to rely entirely on the people, the optimates having been disowned. And this individually applies to both kinds of principality. He posits that this disposition is common to both, because These principalities are liable to danger when they are passing from the civil to the absolute order of government,” where he posits that these things are contrary, I mean the absolute and the civil, as if that which is civil cannot be absolute and, contrariwise, that which is absolute cannot be civil. But at the beginning of his chapter he did not so define it, not, I say, just in terms of its power, but also of the choice of its citizenry. But those making the choice have the ability to place any limit they wish on its power, or none at all, making it pure and absolute, in the manner of the Roman dictatorship. He was chosen by the citizens, and thus, by Machiavelli’s standards, Rome possessed an immense and very absolute authority for the duration of that magistrate’s term of office. And indeed this is silly. But that it is sillier, because he notes this difficulty, which does not only face that principally when it strives to become absolute, but also when it continues to exist within the limits of civil government. For citizens accustomed to receiving orders from magistrates can depose princes from their principalities either by opposing them or by refusing to obey their commands.
spacer15. It is no happier that he proposes no remedy for this evil, unless, perhaps, that one where he very obscurely explains his intentions: “a prince has no magistrates under him as long as he pronounces it useful to exercise all authority by himself,” something that not easy for any prince newly chosen by the citizenry, since it is contrary to their ingrained custom, impossible to put into practise, and dangerous to attempt. But the silliest of all is the axiom with which he ends this chapter, as if it were a cure-all for all ills. “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..” Is this not similar to that advice which one playfully gives to the victim of a toothache, that he should ignore it? Or the monk’s clever remark about destroying enemies, that a huge iron grate should be built, so wide that it covers the entire enemy army, that it should suspended over the battlefield, and when the affray has begun it should be dropped to crush them all. Asked by what machine he could lift such a great mass, he said he had given this no thought. In just the same way Machiavelli , that most playful of men, sports with us, when he recommends that we adopt this policy but fails to tell us how. Just as easily (and no more absurdly) he could say that that a prince should adopt a policy by which he could always enjoy his subjects’ affection, and bind them by love, terror, fear, admiration a veneration thanks to which they believed him to be superhuman, and suchlike, things which are easily affected but not so easily effected. Nevertheless this is the characteristic quality of his professed art, with which any of his precepts can and usually are handed down. But how can this reasoning be adopted, and what’s the need for it? If Machiavelli had been thinking aright, our prince would not have need to ponder this thing so very much. Nothing is more easily understood: that he should comport himself justice. For among citizenries there will always be need for the activities of a just prince, brave and prudent towards foreign peoples (for such is his task in order to counter enemy force and fraud. But this is too simple for this author: something more clever (by which I mean more criminal) must be said, such is his character and his intelligence, and he has nothing important to say that lacks outrageousness.
spacer 16. And so, if I might be permitted to make a conjecture based on his character about what method he wishes his prince to devise to make his subjects always need him, it is scarcely dissimilar to those others, since his power ought to be retained by the same ones whereby it was attained, and that the same causes ought to be manipulated for its retention as obtained when he acquired it. These were the friction between the common people and the optimates, the desire to oppress in the latter and the fear of oppression in the former. These created the conditions under which they needed to have a prince. which were cleverly used by his lucky shrewdness. These are the ones and they will bring it about that they will always seem to need to have a prince. Hence wants his prince to put his mind to encouraging these conditions. Hence he needs to foment mutual discord and ill-will between those parties, mutual fear and loathing, and he must exert himself lest they ever have a meeting of the minds. Behold a precept and an insight worthy of Machiavelli! Hence I am surprised that he has either forgotten his arts or is so embarrassed by them that he has not dared speak them openly. For this chapter would have been very different than what he accomplishes here, had he adhered to his normal standard of handling his material: namely:

1. He should have chosen to explain this cleverness thanks to which he wished his prince to gain power, so that he would be well-versed in this business of fomenting discord: that he should add fuel to the fire and secretly spread it by using suitable agents.
2. He should have mentioned the prince’s employment of these men.
3. He should have explained by what art, by what entreaties, by paying what price the prince should ensure he was designated as such, and this by both parties, by promising everything to both and giving them every hope.

And once he has gained it, this is how he ought to proceed:

spacer 17. Since he has gained power thanks to the optimates he should:

1. Show himself to be their true friend, and openly support their faction in particular, and allow the people to be somewhat vexed, but not entirely oppressed.
2. Meanwhile he should display a show of justice towards the oppressors, partially on the basis of the opportunities are never lacking for he who seeks, and destroy some men by the use of others:
spacera. partially he should accuse some of treason based on false accusations,
b. and use agents to lure them into conspiracies thanks to their fear,
spacerc. and arrest some by means of these same agents, then punish them,
spacerd. and confiscate their goods and fortunes.
3. And with these monies he should hire henchmen and soldiers, and use it to surround himself with a bodyguard upon some honorable pretext.
4. And not hesitate to use poison against those who seem less vulnerable to the laws because of their innocence.
5. He should change the magistrates.
6. He should provide more rapacious judges, who would follow the example of Ramiro de Lorca blue in punishing the people (after he had given it enough) by fining them of some of this and enriching himself [read “themselves?”] by their spoils.
7. On this score, by neglecting or overthrowing or interpreting public trials, and with the bonds of the laws shattered, he should gather all authority until himself.
8. He should enroll new men in the top ranks of the nobility.
9. And make ill use of their help in preventing anything from being stabilized.
10. He should corrupt others by bribes.
11. And terrorize others, in accordance with their individual natures.
12. He should remove the more upright from public affairs by invented pretexts, or so hound them that they would voluntarily resign out of disgust and despair.
13. And thus in any business at all he would contrive the appearance of public consent.
14. So in the end he would mount from civil government to absolute rule unopposed, indeed with the common people cheering him on, whom he had so reconciled by his flattery that their joy that the violence of powerful men was abating.

spacer 18. I would have expected these this from Machiavelli, since this one kind of discourse befits him, and since he is knowledgable about them, and not (as he does) effusively babbling God knows what about equity, going against the grain of his character and quite inconsistent with itself. And yet, if equity is to be pursued, and if this may be done without mockery by him or his devotees, as far as I am concerned the prince needs to follow a quite different path. Namely:

1a . That having attained to his principality thanks to them, he should embrace the optimates with all kindness.
spacerb. As a prince he should so comport himself as not to be too haughty.
spacerc. He should retain his position at the pinnacle, but bear in mind their lofty station and never look down on them spaceror debase them.
2. And furthermore, since he is head of the entire body politic, he should reconcile the people by exercise of the goodly arts, and defend them from all oppression.
3. That he earn the favor of both parties by his equity and justice, reconcile quarrelling minds, fill their ears with his exhortations, and lead by example.
4. That he ingratiate himself with the optimates in all other things, but never by sanctioning injuries to the people, not fearing to cultivate justice, and he should think nothing more popular. He should believe his principality to the very sweet fruit of his high-mindedness, and, lacking this, that being prince would mean being miserable, whereas remaining such would be happiness, and, above all else, glory among all m en, even those whom you would imagine would take offense.
5. He should
spacera. restrain his subjects minds by his authority, but at the same time
spacerb. soothe them with his affability,
spacerc. calm them with his benefits,
spacerd. control them by his pleasant discourse, and do everything to make them aware that his actions have not been spacerdone out of ill-will, but in accordance with the neccessity of justice, in which he stands firm and unbending, albeit spacershowing himself as flexible in everything else.
6. He should particularly
spacera. ensure that both parties are secure from a. each other, and
spacerb. from his own prodigious greed and greedy prodigality,
spacerc. and the taxes, levies and exactions which wouild ensure, so that each man might in peace enjoy his properties, spacerhis immunities, and his liberties,
spacerd. and that they might exist unmolested by their enemies, either by tranquil peace or reliable protections.
spacer19. To this he must direct all his counsels, to this his actions must aspire, he must not hesitate to do this, and focus all his arts and all his prudence upon it. Thus the people will love him, nor, perhaps, will it remember to what end, or in what way he was called to power. Nor will the optimates compete with him over dignity, rather they will acknowledge as first the person whom they made first man, worthy to be the first, and they will rejoice for having elected him. And all citizens will think that after which Machiavelli is seeking here, that at all times, and in any way you choose to mention, under all conditions whatsoever, they stand in need of his government.

7. Particularly if he shows himself to be magnanimous and sometimes magnificent, by choosing appropriate occasions and for suitable things.
8. But before all else, if he shows himself to be a truly pious worshiper of God, so that they believe that he is beloved to God. Nothing makes a deeper impression on the popular mind when it is sincerely done, for when it is feigned, and piety is always an object of dislike, then it it is unwelcome to God and cannot long endure, nor can it remain e kept so concealed that it does not become transparent.

spacerHere are arts which gain him the affection Machiavelli seeks, and even the admiration he wants his prince to aim for, both among his subjects of every station, be it the people or the optimates, and also among foreign peoples, both friends and enemies, so that the one will love him and the others fear him, and so that all men will think it a very difficult thing to drive such a prince out of his principality. And what they see to be hard to do, they will cease to attempt and (as Machiavelli says) fear to undertake. This is the watchword and the way to honor and a genuine polity, and he who fails to see this in broad daylight is an owl of the night, insufficiently attentive to his own welfare to understand or grasp it. And I remark that everyone agrees this is something concerning which it does not require the best or the most penetrating intellect to perform a true evaluation. And allow me briefly to issue the warning that these remarks do not only apply to this form of principality, but to all others as well, both hereditary and acquired by any means whatsoever. All have their special precepts, but they must somehow be accommodated to this one, so that they measured by this yardstick, and nothing must contradict it, no matter what precepts other than it men may urge. And let this suffice to be said about these nine chapters, arranged according to their division and their kinds of principality.



1. On measuring the strength of principalitie (on Chapter 10)
2. Concerning the Popes of Rome and ecclesiastical principalities (on Chapter 11)
3. On foreign and domestic soldiers (on Chapters 12 and 13)
4. Concerning a prince’s use of his armed forces (on Chapter 14)

T follows that I must speak about other things which Machiavelli thought fit to discuss separately after his division of principalities and his treatment of those divisions. I shall briefly run over those things which are common to all these species (and most of them are) and are of no great moment or involve any great risk.
Now in the first place, is there anything more familiar than what follows in this tenth chapter and what follows? Again, he divides principalities into those which the prince can maintain by his own power, and those which require outside help. He defines the former as those in which the prince “is 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 him..” He offers no further explanation of what he means by “a sufficient army.” And yet, if this is his meaning, as his words make it sound, what army is sufficient? What prince is to be deemed such? For sometimes he is confronted by such occasions and such enemies that he is not safe and unable to put up a fight. Furthermore, what considerations lead a prince to believe that he can fight such an enemy? The number of is soldiers. This is stupid, since victory often comes to the man lesser in number. Or his courage? Scarcely wiser. For who can adjudge that. The result is this all empty, and that remark is no better, “he has always need of the assistance of others.” Thus every prince has need of foreign help, since such an enemy and such occasions can always confront him, with the result that this division is without point. What he adds about compelling the prince to remain within his walls, so as to use them as his protection, he adds as if there is no alternative to either sheltering behind walls or being evicted from his realm. But is there no third course? When he is in open country he protects himself by shifting his place or protecting himself by mountains or marches, where, if his enemy should now attack him from front or rear, he may not have the ability to fight a set battle, he nevertheless stifles his enemy’s power to the point that he inflicts no less damage on him, and sometimes defeats him or gets the better of the enemy that he is obliged to retreat, his object unattained. Such did the Albanian prince Skanderbeg, blue fighting against the countless hordes of the Turks. Such did our Wallace and, once upon a time, King Charles VII of France, and why should I not add Fabius among the Romans? I do not think it right to classify their principalities among those which require foreign help, since they defended themselves by their own arms, although not always in open battle. And by what logic or manner of speaking can that prince who is compelled to retreat within his walls, where he is protected by his owns and subjects, said to be defended by foreign help? And those cities of Allemanny and Germany he mentions, “fear no other power they may have near them, because they are fortified in such a way that every one thinks the taking of them by assault would be tedious and difficult, seeing they have proper ditches and walls, they have sufficient artillery, and they always keep in public depots enough for one year's eating, drinking, and firing,” and hence obey no emperor save when they want to, and fear no neighboring prince. And indeed they manage this with no outside help but by their own resources. Call this courage or call it protection, whatever it is, it is theirs alone, not anybody else’s.
spacer 3. The rest of chapter contains nothing untoward. But allow me to offer this admonition: he twice lays down this condition for a prince to able to defend himself: “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 averse 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,“ and “ 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.” To wit, I wish to observe that these things are as deservedly said here as later on he absurdly urges his prince to do things which incur the greatest unpopularity. Nor is that in all respects fine and dandy: “men are always averse to enterprises where difficulties can be seen.” For you may perceive that the more men believe that it is noble to undertake arduous things, the more they court such things, which is so contrary to their nature that they believe refusing to attempt something difficult is the same as refusing to do anything noble. Quite the contrary, Alexander of Macedon and others of his stripe were attracted to difficult undertakings because of their very difficulty. But let us concede this is a characteristic of our age and of a now-degenerate Italy. The statement he adds does not necessarily follow, that a man who can hold a besieged city for an entire year. This age too has witnessed longer sieges, as the recent one at Ostend in Holland goes to show, blue and, as he himself attests, Ottaviano Fregosa, who supervised a siege at Genoa for an entire sixteen months, and took by starvation the fortifications built there by the French. Consistent with this is what he writes in Chapter 20 of this very same book about the uncertainty of fortresses. If this is right, than that must needs be wrong or vice versa, and these two statements are incompatible. And what need is there for him to give advice about overlooking damages incurred in his subjects’ fields, which he offers to a prince who cannot prevent them? His points are:

1. These injuries were received at the beginning of the war.
2. They bind the minds of is subjects to their prince all the more, since they suffer them for his stake, and think him to be bound to themselves.
3. He repeats his argument that men are attached to each other by benefits given and received.

All these remarks are true, but they are superfluous and useless, as is this entire chapter.



UCH is likewise true of the following Chapter 22 concerning the ecclesiastical principality and the Roman papacy, whose temporal greatness, as he calls it, he traces from Alexander VI, seeing that before his time “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. The truth of this can be judged by the reader aware of how long before this time the papacy weighted heavily on emperors, giving them their realms and taking them way, obliging them to kiss the feet of the people, and treading on imperial necks. If anyone should imagine he is speaking only of human armaments, as seems to be implying, let him observe that he speaks of a state and its subjects which exist governed and defended by the ancient customs of the Church with no other help. So either his latter statement is wrong or his former one was said amiss. No better is his statement that they are the papal states and their subjects can be governed and defended without help. For, in addition to those ancient customs and the opinion men have of them, in every realm and in every province of those realms into which they have enticed their inhabitants by reason of the benefits they have to offer, they are defended by human arms and counsels, as is clear from the feudal obligations of their revenues and lands which they have granted to so-called seculars, and for this reason in such obligations it is often expressly stated that “these are granted as a protection for their colleges and monasteries.”
spacer2. And this is furthermore to be observed (as I have noted above in Chapters 7. and 8), here he criticizes that of which he there approved, the introduction of French arms into Italy, and no less the fact that greatness of the papacy was diminished by them. Even Borgia’s strivings, which he praised above and held up to his prince as things to be imitated, proved useless: rather, he admits that all men had yielded to the plundering of the papacy, and so by his own reckoning he condemns himself and that wisdom of his.



spacerI shall not linger any ore over Chapters 12 and 13, the former about mercenaries and the latter about auxiliaries, both of whom are both useless and detrimental. To be honest, I would deny to be insightful, but at this point I have no quarrel with his insight. Nonetheless, there are times when it is necessary to employ them. Thus far, the Dutch blue can be seen to have used them without ill result, blue as did Charles VII of whom he speaks, who rescued France from the English, mostly by hired arms. But Machiavelli’s citation of the example of David, having being offered the loan of Saul’s armor, refusing it and taking up his sling, is no less irrelevant than it is profane.



WHO can tolerate the way he is not only foolish but also insane in his Chapter 14, where he is

a. heedless of wisdom,
b. and of the authority of prudent men,
c. and of examples,
d. and not even self-consistent, when he writes “ the prince ought to have no other aim or thought, nor select anything else for his study, than war and its rules?”

Do not imagine this to be hyperbole, for he repeats it over and over: “he should not select anything else for his study than war and its rules and discipline,” “this is the sole art that belongs to him who rules.” What need is there for a refutation? Reason protests that peace is war’s goal, and the justice of this peace consists of citizens’ good and their happiness, as more significant and important than war as the end is more significant and important than the middle, and it is more to be considered by a prince, whereas what’s the point of war other than to repel the enemy and this alone is part of a king’s duty. Another is to govern his people, and this has its art, so why neglect it? So says reason. If we listen to authors, gather all the philosophers here. If we prefer rulers, why not heed them? Royal majesty is not only adorned by arms, but should also be armed by the laws, as that great Roman says, blue attributing weaponry to the laws, but only an honorable appearance to arms. For which reasons that Roman glories the more, taking on both both the glory of arms and the armaments of war while knowing that barbaric people have only experienced the one thing, I mean the exertions of war, whereas he proclaims (as our prince has perhaps echoed, and wisely so) that the arts of peace and the laws adorn royal majesty are both ornaments of royal majesty. But what does Machiavelli himself affirm in Chapter 12 above? “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.” What could be said more expressly? What more absurdly, or more contradictory, than to ignore one of these two abovementioned things and bundle it away (while professing to leave the laws out of his discussion) when he bids his prince concern himself with arms alone? He is bawling that military science, only military science, military alone and nothing else should be handled by his prince.
spacer 2. But let us have a look at the arguments wherewith he proves it:

1. His first is that thanks to military science many private citizens have become princes. What then? For occasionally men have achieved this without help it, and indeed per contra by means of military science some many princes have been reduced to being private citizens. So Crass and others.
2. Second, because princes who devoted themselves to pleasure-seeking more than arms have lost their principalities. I believe so, but sometimes those who have devoted themselves to arms have lost their lives as well as their kingdoms. And indeed, if two men devote themselves to arms and come into conflict, of necessity one of them must suffer defeat. Nor does this argue anything more than that pleasure-seeking ought to be abandoned, it does not require that warfare must be engaged in immediately and exclusively.
3. His third argument is that “being unarmed causes you to be despised, and this is one of those ignominies against which a prince ought to guard himself, as is shown later on. Because there is nothing proportionate between the armed and the unarmed; and it is not reasonable that he who is armed should yield obedience willingly to him who is unarmed, or that the unarmed man should be secure among armed servants. Because, there being in the one disdain and in the other suspicion.”
4. “Fourth, there is nothing proportionate between the armed and the unarmed.”
5. “Fifth,  it is not reasonable that he who is armed should yield obedience willingly to him who is unarmed.”
6. And sixth, “ or that the unarmed man should be secure among armed servants. Because, there being in the one disdain and in the other suspicion.”

spacer3. All of which arguments go to show that a prince must not be ignorant of the military art, must be warlike, brave, and not afraid of arms. But they scarcely prove that when armor must be donned (as everybody admits), he should attend exclusively to the martial arts, as Machiavelli prattles. To make this clearer, think on this. If a prince deals with nothing other than warfare, either he is always on the defensive or invading the enemy. And if this is never-ending there arises the misery of enemy invasion. This is very unfortunate situation, never to be concluded by a victory, but consists of enduring war after war.
spacer4. Hence (if I may frame my argument by applying his standard), I could say that the military art is even useless for a prince, better not to meddle with it, as he contents at Discorsi II.xxiv: he contends that fortresses are useless — they make a prince more prone to violence, which creates hatred, and nothing is more harmful to prince. Is this not true here too? Let us say that violence is bred by military science, and hatred from violence. This pertains to his subjects. And in his enemies they breed boldness, leading to a zeal for warfare and a restlessness of mind that encourages a restless mind themselves and makes trouble for others, unable to break off and troubling the condition of private individuals and also the state. Hence, if he is victorious, he gains savage insolence, and misery if he is defeated. How better to reject arms in imitation of the best princes, as Numa is said to have been and likewise Solomon himself, who never engaged in wars. And let this island, when ruled by a woman, serve as an example. Let it as it now exists under a man, so that it may be perpetual: thus it has found that our peacemakers have been blessed, and never held in contempt.
spacer 5. Now let us view the precepts he offers for this military art, to ascertain:

1. if they are correct,
2. if he divides them appropriately,
3. if he explains them thoroughly.
4. if what he has to teach here is sufficient.

His first is “in peace he should addict himself more to its exercise than in war.” He wants to speak in paradoxes so as to appear intelligent. Who has ever admitted this? We all say that prince should ponder war during peacetime, he ought to take precautions lest one brew up from some source, he ought to exercise his body, and endure it. But should he do this more than in wartime. When one comes to an actual confrontation and the business requires that he come to grips, who but Machiavelli would say that? Or believe him when he did?
spacer6. He divides exercises for this purposes into two kinds, activities and mental exertion. With greater obscurity, he divides activities of his troops and of himself, passing over these things with scarcely a word to explain himself, beyond this: “to keep himself and his soldiers fit,” a most trite statement. He limits this all to single thing the hunt, and I must admit that is extremely effective, and that historian’s fine statement about Romulus and Remus is most true, “their special delight was roaming through the woods on hunting expeditions, and their strength and courage thus developed.” blue But who does not see that this alone should not be recommended? So that they might accommodate themselves to a semblance of warfare to an equal or greater degree, they should apply themselves to the things that are akin to this art, such a jousting, learning to turn, steer, and vault upon horses, run in armor, practise swordsmanship at a stake, wrestle, throw javelins and (as the manner is nowadays) aim and shoot guns, sleep sometimes under open air or keep vigils, and other things such as this same author wrote about Hannibal: to sit a horse, throw the javelin, compete with one’s companions in foot races, to which I will add a scarcely inappropriate one, to be the same in victory and defeat. What about naval mock-battles, should a prince not consider these and act accordingly? And are these not most necessary and useful for princes so they might grow accustomed to winds and tossing, in order to avoid or tolerate seasickness?
spacer 7. And he lists these benefits of the hunt:

1. that it accustoms his body to hardships,
2. that it teaches him familiarity with the countryside.

But this is quite poverty-stricken, since he is supposed to strengthen his mind too, as I have said, and very amply so, for a little below he again enumerates its uses:

1. to find the enemy,
2. to occupy a place suitable for a camp,
3. and to lead his army,
4. and arrange his forces for battle,
5. and surround cities with a siege.

All of which is more specious than accurate. For the hunt does not teach these things, they are taught by the military art: it equips man to an understanding of topography and a knowledge of what places are most suitable for these things, and it is the military art that teaches a commander what should be done. But the hunt does not directly provide lessons in reading a landscape, it only gives men thus inclined the opportunity, but teaches others nothing, I mean men who are attracted to it more for their pleasure than to train their minds to think along such lines. We are drawn to this conclusion by the example of Philopoemon, blue whom he mentions. He did not indulge in the hunt, but whenever he was traveling with friends he would scrutinize the landscape and discuss it with this friends, posing military questions. Therefore the hunt does not just pertain to physical exercise (where the thread of Machiavelli’s discourse appears to be leading us) but also to mental activity.
spacer 8. Now that we have come to mental activity, he suggests one thing: the reading of histories, and lays down a single rule for that reading: one should “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.” Is nothing further to be done. Should a prince read nothing but histories, and not books on military science. Will nothing by Vegetius blue and the others arouse his interest? And, having had that interest aroused, will he invent nothing himself? Will he be so dependent (our age being so degenerate and effete) that he will always walk in the footsteps of the ancients, learning for himself? Will he listen to nothing and learn nothing so that he can? Learn nothing about machines and of mechanics in its entirety? So too about other subjects: are they all to be ignored? And tell me about the other subjects which should be entirely omitted. Was this the precept of any of the great men whom he proposes the prince should imitate? Is this not better, to imitate the best features in all men, since defect exists even in the most perfect among us, but no complete perfection in anybody? Nor are do examples he sets up for imitation here deal exclusively with imitations of military matters. Scipio is said by Machiavelli himself to have imitated Cyrus not only in his means of waging war, but in his other virtues as well. He enumerates these as

1. chastity,
2. affability,
3. humanity,
4. liberality.



On the use of the virtues, divided into six parts (on Chapter 15)
On liberality and tight-fistedness (on Chapter 16)
On clemency and cruelty (on Chapter 17)
On fidelity and perfidy (on Chapter 18)
On piety and impiety (on the same)
On a. magnitude, b. magnanimity, gravity and their opposites (on Chapter 19)

SECTION 1 On the virtues and on virtues in general, on Machiavelli’s Chapter 15

E have finally arrived at the point where Machiavelli truly admits that he is Machiavelli, completely setting aside his mask and every coloration of virtue, even abandoning its name, which this far he has sometimes usurped with some manner of a show of honor, instead of which he now he writes vice and sets aloft in its high citadel as being far more useful, being a principality’s sole defense against all impending evils.

Concerning which permit me to write this preface

spacer 2. If anybody has ever penned something impudent, unclean, criminal, unspeakable, false, useless, and inappropriate, dangerous for princes, empires, and mankind, it is this which in the following chapters that most foul writer to have existed since the beginning of humanity, and at the same time the most uncouth, at least among those who have not disowned the name of being Christian. The gist of it is this:

1. A prince must embrace all manner of vice,
2. shunning neither the reputation nor the actuality, and should not shrink from being called and actually being stingy, austere or miserly,
3. rapacious,
4. cruel,
5. an oath-breaker and treacherous,
6. effeminate,
7. cowardly
8. lascivious,
9. sly,
10. inhumane,
11. light-minded,
12. dissolute,
13. impious,
14. irreligious, a non-believer or an infidel,
15. and, finally, becoming a beast, a lion and a wolf, when the logic of staying in power so demands.

You want the rationale standing behind this list? “And I know that every one will confess that it would be most praiseworthy in a prince to exhibit all the above qualities that are considered good; but because they can neither be entirely possessed nor observed, for human conditions do not permit it, it is necessary for him to be sufficiently prudent that he may know how to avoid the reproach of those vices which would lose him his state; and also to keep himself, if it be possible, from those which would not lose him it; but this not being possible, he may with less hesitation abandon himself to them. And again, he need not make himself uneasy at incurring a reproach for those vices without which the state can only be saved with difficulty.”
spacer 3. In other words,

1. Virtue should be pursued, or ill-repute for vices should be endured when reasons of state so require, since without these power cannot be retained.

So that you may have no doubt whether reasons of state ever demand this, he says:

2. This is absolutely required by the logic of retaining power. For it often happens that in the absence of these vices, or of some of them, a principality cannot be retained.
3. Acting as a good man is the worst plan for preserving power. Indeed, the man who wants to be a good man and to be said to be so must needs perish, since he exists in the midst of so many bad ones.
4. There is a great difference between the way we live and the way we would wish to live.
5. What others say about one’s government is a vain thing, nothing but an image and a shadow, whereas the advice he is giving is profitable for the intelligent man who follows it.
6. A prince must become habituated to live as a good m an in such a way that he can become a bad one when the situation requires.
7. Virtue is only to be embraced in appearance, so that the prince can abandon it.

spacer 4. These are the points he makes in this Chapter 15 by way of a preface, and on these are based the principal doctrines set forth in the individual chapters that follow:

1. A prince should be tight-fisted or stingy.
2. He should be cruel,
3. He should be treacherous.

Surely it is enough to have compiled a list of these things to prevent any man’s intellect, nor even those with a healthy brain or the least spark of humanity, to like them. Nevertheless we must run through them and examine them a little more closely. For let us concede this to the perversity and stiff-neckedness of this age. Machiavelli entitles his chapter CONCERNING THINGS FOR WHICH MEN, AND ESPECIALLY PRINCES, ARE PRAISED OR BLAMED. You would believe that the thrust of the chapter would be that a prince should do praiseworthy things and shun those which earn criticism. It is nothing of the kind, but rather the opposite. He wants to inspire his prince to do things which earn vituperation, and shun those that are praised. But this philosophy is at odds with the first sentence he supplies, “It remains now to see what ought to be the rules of conduct for a prince towards subject and friends.” This fails to match the rules he is about to lay down. For these apply not just to his subjects and friends, but also to his dealings with foreigners and even with enemies, and according to Machiavelli’s standards the prince is supposed to treat the former no less parsimoniously and shabbily, no less cruelly, no less faithlessly than with the latter. Next. before launching into his subject, he employs the following insinuation: “ 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.”
spacer 5. But he fails to divulge the identity of those men who have conjured up these imaginary principalities. If it is permissible to make a guess, let us antithetically say that they are those who urge on a prince that the path of virtue is the single one onto which he should enter and to which he should cling, while he himself insists that one must no less employ and rely on vices, and indeed should do so all the more, because we live among vicious men. So he speaks of “imaginary republics and principalities which in fact have never been known or seen.” If this is true, indeed in my eyes he would be the most brilliant writer ever to have lived. But if it is not, if there have been good princes who have been seen to be such, who entered on the path of virtue and clung to it, and who have never been branded with the infamy of these vices, such as were Numa, Tullus, Ancus, Nerva, Trajan, Antoninus, and Titus, that so-called “darling of the human race” among the pagans, David, Ezechiel and Josiah among the Jews, and among Christians Theodosius, Justin, Charlemagne, and others whose reigns it would take to long to count, rulers whose number is almost countless, realms not defaced by any stigma of avarice, squalor, cruelty or bad faith, then in my eyes is he is a man of no wit at all, and this is the splendid lie of a witless man. Thus his “a good man lives among so many evil ones needs must die,” since the men I have mentioned lived among evil men but did not perish. And what more obtuse can be said than that he failed to observe that men often approve, or even praise and admire, the virtue they refuse to follow, or are unable to do so, or do not care about it. That action of the Greeks or at least of the Athenians, to which I have already referred, is well known, and I am unembarrassed to repeat , nor is the reader to be excluded with regard to those Spartan ambassadors: “After a certain old men had come into the theater and nobody had given him a place to sit as he went around asking one from each individual, and had become a universal object of mockery, he finally came to the ambassadors. As one man, they all stood up to offer him their seats, thus gaining general applause. When they were applauded by the audience for doing this, the ambassadors remarked that those Athenians knew what was right and liked it in others, but did not do so themselves.”
spacer6. What follows is not unfamiliar. The Roman people were not inclined to religion, and perhaps not to justice or well-advised, being a rabble of shepherds and peasants remaining after the death of Romulus during the earliest days of the republic. But it liked all these things in Numa and so conferred its government on him. I wish to quote the historian about this matter: “There was living, in those days, at Cures, a Sabine city, a man of renowned justice and piety - Numa Pompilius. He was as conversant as any one in that age could be with all divine and human law.” And a little later, “I believe rather that Numa's virtues were the result of his native temperament and self-training, moulded not so much by foreign influences as by the rigorous and austere discipline of the ancient Sabines, which was the purest type of any that existed in the old days/” But was he any the less respected, albeit by this corrupt people. Or this rabble of a people? Or to any member of that rabble? No, “When Numa's name was mentioned, though the Roman senators saw that the balance of power would be on the side of the Sabines if the king were chosen from amongst them, still no one ventured to propose a partisan of his own, or any senator, or citizen in preference to him. Accordingly they all to a man decreed that the crown should be offered to Numa Pompilius.” And why, pray, did they not dare? They feared no force or arms from this man. Rather, virtue is thus armed, this is its power and efficacy. He inspired this reverence in their minds, although they were most unaccustomed to it.
spacer 7. But let us look into this, whether the virtue that created this government also rendered it stable, or whether it was impulsive and retained its impetus after the people gained its wish and came to admire virtue less, therefore heeding it less. But Numa was a completely good man among so many bad ones, but had no need to pass over into their vices or employ cruelty and bad faith to cement his rule. Let us hear the same historian: blue “The deliberations and arrangements which these matters involved diverted the people from all thoughts of war and provided them with ample occupation. The watchful care of the gods, manifesting itself in the providential guidance of human affairs, had kindled in all hearts such a feeling of piety that the sacredness of promises and the sanctity of oaths were a controlling force for the community scarcely less effective than the fear inspired by laws and penalties. And whilst his subjects were moulding their characters upon the unique example of their king...” Go now and proclaim how a good prince is unsafe among bad men. Go, I say, and surround him with cruelty and bad faith, those bulwarks of principalities. What about Marcus Aurelius the philosopher? blue Did he perish, amidst so many villains? Did he pollute himself by indulging in vices after their example? Was it not rather they who modeled themselves after him, so that many of them became philosophers? Have no doubt, you are a prince who genuinely is a prince and you want to truly adhere to virtue. That is the safest way, and is also held in highest honor by all men. Others will reverence and follow you. There is no need for you to surrender both these these things, the summit of power and the summit of virtue, to someone else so that you may imitate somebody in viciousness. You will discover this to be most true, that “all the world is modelled after the king’s example,” blue both by habit and by God’s favor, so there is no need for vices, whatever this writer may prate.
spacer8. At this point I could add much from Scripture, particularly that noble story of Abraham to show the position that virtue and piety occupied among m en, even men themselves scarcely endowed with virtue and pie y, so that that wandering stranger, openly exhibiting piety towards a God unknown to the inhabitants of a most profane nation, lived not only in safety but even held in the highest honor, being called “God’s prince.” I am aware this occurred thanks to God’s special care. But I am aware of this too, that by means of his piety and men’s innate reverence for piety, God brought this to pass. And I know this too, that God does not withdraw His care from those who follow this same path. And, this being Gods care, is it not enough to be an object of His care, so that a man may depend on it and there is no necessity that a good man living amidst bad ones must perish, and therefore that he must lose hope and sink down into vile, abominable, unspeakable vices: no private man must do so, and much less so a prince?
spacer 9. So let me draw these conclusions, in contradistinction to Machiavelli:

1. A good prince has sometimes existed, this no imaginary figment.
2. He has held this position and lived safely among bad men, and it is false to claim that a good man must perish among so many bad ones.

With these fundamental principles overthrown, the tenets based on them immediately collapse“

1. That a prince must show himself adept in the vices, and employ this as a protection of his government.
2.. That infamy acquired by indulging in vices counts for nothing.
3. That virtue should be embraced only in appearance.
4. That Machiavelli imparts nothing useful for an intelligent man to use, but quite the opposite: those have spoken the truth who have said that virtue alone is useful and honorable for a prince.


HESE things having been posited, the other doctrines taught in the following three chapters are easily refuted:

1. In the first place, that first rule of his that discourages liberality and bids a prince be stingy and tight-fisted rather than liberal, so that he may be thought to be liberal,
2. Since liberality breeds hatred, contempt, or both:
3. contempt, since it leads to poverty, a thing that is always contemptible,
4. and to hatred, since it leads to plundering, which is always hateful,
5. or to both, since it leads both to poverty and plundering.
6. first by to poverty, since it squanders its own wealth,
7. and then to plundering, by seizing what belongs to others.
8. both of which are necessary, to support one’s reputation for being liberal:
spacera. to squander, since one must indulge in every manner of luxury, and one must spend ones wealth and resources on luxury,
spacerb. and on plundering, since this wealthy must renewed to subsidize luxury.
spacerspacerspaceraa. Hence every effort must be made to raise money: taxation, exactions and the like.
spacerspacerspacerbb. and many men are offended by these things, since they benefit only a few,
spacerspacerspacercc. and if a prudent man someday wants to recover from these things, he incurs the bad reputation of being a skinflint.

spacer2. He partially sets this conclusion forth at the beginning of this chapter, and partially only implies it, but in such a way that it can easily be gathered. And (at least reasoning by analogy) he openly says something similar concerning good faith and mercy, obscure if correct, but damning if self-evident. Better to avoid a reputation for miserliness.
spacer3. dThere follow two paragraphs about the proper Latin translations of certain Italian vocabulary items and their possible bearings on Machiavelli’s thought.
spacer 4. Are not all these things just as wrong and silly as that one is true, this single sure shortcut to assured glory, that you be such as you wish to be deemed? You want to be thought liberal? Be truly liberal, this is enough. To go through all your money, to pour forth everything that necessity compels? Who ever pronounced such a law for a man seeking to be liberal or gain a reputation for being such? Indeed, this runs contrary to the laws of liberality, nor do you gain a reputation for being such, but rather the ill repute of being a spendthrift. For this is the cardinal rule of liberality, that you limit your expenditures to match the limit of your ability. If you have exceeded this limit, you are not liberal, you are a wastrel, you are a spendthrift, and such you will be thought and said to be, not liberal. All the philosophers have decided thus, nor are the common folk unaware of this. Hence I must wonder what entered this man’s head that he spouted such tomfoolery, unless his fixed purpose was to besmirch the virtues with the blots of the vices and decorate the vices with the ornaments of the virtues, so as either to confound everything without any distinction or to foist the one off on us in place of the other. For here he does nothing else than to sully liberality with the squalor of prodigality, by bestowing on the former everything hateful or suspicious about the latter.
spacer 5. But so that I may rescue it from this aspersion, in a few words I wish to run through the universally agreed laws of liberality, namely:

1. That its purpose in giving is upright, I mean an honest man gives for the honorable reason that he wishes to help his recipient, so as to confer a benefit upon him.
2. And this behooves a. good men, I mean men particularly characterized by these gentler virtues:
spacer a. piety, justice, temperance, charity, and modesty, and it particularly because of these that a man is said to be good;
spacer b. well-wishers, who are moved by their concern for us;
spacer c. those who have deserved well of us, who take advantage of this opportunity to show and display (or, if you prefer, repay) their gratitude by some noble action,
spacer d. the learned, and especially men of letters, but also those distinguished in any art or the inventor of some art or of any good thing;
spacer e. those connected to us, such as our brothers and others;
spacer f. men interested in being of service or decorating our republic.
3. How this should be done:
spacer a. prudently and with discretion, as each man benefited most requires;
spacerspacer b. promptly;
spacer c. cheerfully;
spacer d. freely.
4. When men who are:
spacer a. needy,
spacer b. requiring honorable recognition;
spacer c. in need of reconciliation,
spacer d. or of encouragement.
5. How much. What is given should be proportionate to:
spacera. the dignity of the receiver;
spacer b. and of the giver; and
spacer c. and particularly of his ability.
6. What:
spacer a. what belongs to the giver himself;
spacer b. what can be granted without doing harm to any others.
7. Of what kind:
spacer a. what may help the receiver;
spacer b. and will harm nobody.
8. And the receiver accepts it as he should, preserves and cares for it as his own, so that he might have the wherewithal with which he might practice liberality himself.
9. And sometimes at a certain level can be called magnificent, when, as it were, liberality is doing great things, or the magnitude of the liberality is such that it is possessed of what the philosopher calls greatness, blue for example that exercised by powerful princes, expended on great things. These are public works such as he enumerates:
spacera. votive offerings,
spacerb. public works,
spacerc. sacrifices.
spacerd. dramatic performances,
spacere. public feasts,
spacerf. the erection of temples,
To which you might compare:
spacerg. duties involved in the reception and dismissal of public guests,
spacerh. donatives,
spaceri. remunerations,
spacer j. legations and the like,
Or such private expenditures as:
spacer a. weddings,
spacer b. building f houses, and so forth.
In all of these, the things always to be considered:
spacer a. the honor of the purpose,
spacerb. the goodness of the objects,
spacerc. the expenses, which should be matching.

spacer 6. On the basis of these things the nature of true liberality should be apparent, and who are genuinely liberal and who are falsely given this name, and what these folk should better be called:

1. The giver who has in mind some object other than virtue,and practises liberality in pursuit of some self-interest, namely:
spacera. if he is hunting after popularity, we should not call him illiberal, but rather ambitious;
spacerb. if he does this for the sake of giving himself pleasure, intemperate:
spacerc. if for the sake of showing off his wealth, vain,
spacerd. if rashly and without purpose, a fool &c.
2. Or if he gives to other than good men, as to
spacera. disreputable parasites, flatterers, stage-players, and purveyors of voluptuous pleasures,
spacerb. to those needy vagabonds and beggars (nothing more low-down).
spacerc. for any base or evil purposes,
spacerd. and lastly if they hold in honor and surround themselves, men of no account, distinguished
spacer by no art or virtue, something which is said to be and is the mistake of very many princes,
spacer or men who resemble these, being base, ignorant layabouts who take delight in men of their
spacer own stripe, or if princes who are themselves a little better versed in letters, enough to excite
spacerthe envy and emulation of others, keep such in their households and in places of honor so that
spacer they alone might appear to be wise, since they have no fear rivalry when it comes to prudence,
spacerlearning, and the virtues, and heap wealth on such men alone.
3. Or of they are such to the harm of any man:
spacera. If it is open, such as what the man calls Sulla’s and Caesar’s transfer of money from its rightful
spacer owners to others blue can scarcely be called liberality,
spacerb. or concealed by some pretext, as when a prince squeezes money out of his subjects by means of
spacer taxes and unreasonable tributes,
spacerc. or by a consent extracted by force or by fear
spacerd. or when he has deceived his subjects by offering the pretext of some public necessity<
spacere. or when he has counterfeited a show of public agreement by rigged votes,
spacerf. or by taking advantage of the subtleties and the jots and tittles of his laws and their
spacerinterpretations, imposing on his subject for their mistakes or minor transgressions (rather than being
spacer guided by law and equity) fines that re disproportionate or entirely unfair. All of which are nothing
spacer other than injuries inflicted under a show of law, so much so that whatever money scraped together
spacerin this way is expended on anything (but particularly if it is devoted to unworthy or evil purposes),
spacer can scarcely be dignified by the word “liberality.”.
4. Or if a man spends huge sums on matters of trifling importance:
spacera. as when he entertains everyday guests with an elaborate feast suitable for a wedding banquet,
spacerb. or when he is preparing to subsidize the production of comedies pays to have the whole theater hung
spacerwith purple.
5. In sum, a man who spends more than his resources allow on things or persons, no matter what their consequences or dignities and for whatever purpose, hardly deserves to be called liberal, since he sins against the fifth law posited above by exceeding limit in his resources and wealth. If proportion is not observed in such things, the source of his liberality must needs be drained dry and he who would wish to be a giver is in no way equipped to give as he would wish. Concerning this man, it is fitly aid that there is nothing sillier than to do what you do so freely that you can do no more.

spacer 7. But this unlettered ignoramus has no idea what liberality is and imputes to it features which do not belong to it, but rather to unconsidered prodigality. But, if we are to speak with full accuracy, things does not belong to prodigality but rather to injustice, and prodigality has contributed nothing save the opportunity, it would not have produced this result, were it separate from injustice. But out myopic little man, seeing prodigality and injustice combined in the same man, was not able to discern the results of them both, attributed to the one that which belongs to the other, as do incompetent physicians when confronted with a patient simultaneously suffering from two maladies. For prodigality, albeit it is a vice, does not belong to that category of vices which engender hatreds, being as it is harmful to itself alone, and only seems low-down to others. And it does not per se foster plundering, but when it befalls a mind otherwise unjust, first it creates a sense of need, and then, stimulated by greed, it calls upon injustice for aid. This exacts many taxes, inflicting many unjust ones under a show of law, oppresses the people, and does other things which he incompetently attributes to liberality, things which (as I have said) are not properly to be attributed even to prodigality.
spacer8. Therefore these formulae are wrong: no man has ever been excessively liberal, excessive liberality has never existed. Nor can anything itself adhering to the Golden Mean fall into the category of the excessive. This would be exactly as if he were to say “excessively adhering to the Golden Mean,” a ridiculous thing to say. Thus it comes about that he who calls somebody too liberal is saying that he is not liberal at all, and excessive liberality is not liberality. The same argument applies to that saw that “you should not employ liberality to the point that you are feared,“ if this is what you want to say. This is foolish, since nobody fears liberality. And this is a stupid rule, “you should beware using liberality to the point that people think you liberal,” as the man says. blue And so if you want to be thought liberal you must omit no form of luxury, i. e., if you wish to be deemed liberal, don’t be such. Likewise “you must spend all your wealth“ means “you should not be liberal.” Thus it comes about that through “liberality” a prince burdens his subjects with taxes, tributes and the like. What could be more wrong? Indeed, by means of liberality it comes about that a prince lightens his subjects’ load by remitting taxes and tributes. Thus that saying “liberality begets hatred” is entirely wrong, this is said as a pure sophistry. Liberality, that most innocent and welcome of the virtues, has never begotten hatred. And that saying “he gives to few, and harms many” turns into its opposite, “he gives to many and harms nobody.”
spacer 9. And so by these turns of speech (which are catachrestical, to put it as gently as possible) Machiavelli means nothing more than that his prince should avoid the itch to squander his money. Nor should he chace after the reputation of liberality to the point that he lapses into prodigality, lest he then fall into need, and from that into greed, and eventually arrive at injustice, plundering things which do not belong to himself, burdening his subjects, and creating their hatred, and ultimately their abandonment. What he says is true, but he is saying nothing new, he has not invented anything shrewd. This has been said more explicitly and elegantly bo others. Cicero said it before him, where he set down cautions about liberality: “our beneficence should not exceed our means; for those who wish to be more open-handed than their circumstances permit are guilty of two faults: first they do wrong to their next of kin; for they transfer to strangers property which would more justly be placed at their service or bequeathed to them. And second, such generosity too often engenders a passion for plundering and misappropriating property, in order to supply the means for making large gifts. We may also observe that a great many people do many things that seem to be inspired more by a spirit of ostentation than by heart-felt kindness; for such people are not really generous but are rather influenced by a sort of ambition to make a show of being open-handed.” At the end of Book II of his De Beneficiis blue Seneca offers the same warning: “When men give benefices that exceed their ability, plundering follows upon such largesse. When giving renders them needy, they are obliged lay hands on others’ goods, and reap more hatred from those they have plundered than liking from those to whom they give.” The same is said by Cicero, concerning the forgiving of debts: “he who has been robbed of his property is their enemy; he to whom it has been turned over actually pretends that he had no wish to take it.” And a little further on, “the victim of the wrong remembers it.” And a few pages later: “Those whose office it is to look after the interests of the state will refrain from that form of liberality which robs one man to enrich another.” What does Aristotle have to say in Book IV of the Nicomachean Ethics? blue “Most prodigal people, as has been said, also take from the wrong sources, and are in this respect mean. They become apt to take because they wish to spend and cannot do so with ease; for their possessions soon run short. Thus they are forced to provide means from some other source. At the same time, because they care nothing for honour, they take recklessly and from any source; for they have an appetite for giving, and they do not mind how or from what source. Hence also their giving is not liberal; for it is not noble, nor does it aim at nobility, nor is it done in the right way; sometimes they make rich those who should be poor, and will give nothing to people of respectable character, and much to flatterers or those who provide them with some other pleasure.”
spacer 10. If Machiavelli wanted to say the same thing as them, why did he rely on so much insinuation to impart this differently than had the others? How is it different, if it is the same? How can arrogance seem arrogant if it imitates others. “They all told falsehoods, he is telling the truth.” But they urged that there is such a thing as genuine liberality, but that prodigality is only a sham liberality that deserves rejection. What does he say? It should be the other away around, if we trust him. If he is teaching something novel, namely that he rejects genuine liberality and seizes upon that which they wrote about the false one, prodigality. So he overtly tramples upon what he says in his Chapter 1 about avoiding hatred and contempt, two considerations which could easily inspire him to liberality. This conclusion, an obvious enough one, leads directly to genuine liberality. Nor does he forbid the affectation of liberality (as others do), nor prodigality (as they all do), both of which are vices; rather he is led to the virtue its very own self, albeit he does so by various twists and turns in his discourse, as if he wished it to seem he was doing otherwise, being conscious of its absurdity.
spacer 10. Therefore it is a poor thing that he says that a prince” ought not to fear the reputation of being mean.” The impudent man:

1. to steal the very word “virtue“ from men’s mouths and minds!
2. so that he might defend himself!
3. and escape poverty!
4. and not be reduced to contempt!
5. or to poverty!

To be sure. Better than this is meanness, a vice shameful in everybody but most shameful in a prince. Is not prudence a batter escape from contempt? Justice? Liberality itself? Anything at all rather than meanness? Contempt is the assured result of meanness. I would say hatred is the result of meanness if Machiavelli will let me speak the truth, although at the end of this chapter he says that meanness “brings contempt without hatred.” This I deny: it brings hatred too, and it is agreed that it is hateful no less than it is infamous. blue Galba blue experienced this hatred. Otherwise a good and prudent prince, he was loathed because of his ill reputation for being tight-fisted and stingy in his treatment of his soldiers, by whom he was murdered. And Pertinax experienced this, otherwise good, prudent and above reproach, a genuine father of his people. But on this score he was loathed by his soldiers and assassinated. Soo to Mauricius and Mauricius’ rival and enemy Phocas. And not without reason. Although each of these emperors can seem not to have harmed any m an, by preserving what was his own he nevertheless did so. For everything that belongs to a political master ought to be put to the service of public utility, and to hide it away so that it is removed from human society is hateful. Then too, this vice has ingratitude as its companion and neglect of others. Then too, cultivating one’s own wealth is a kind of idol worship. Men hate and despise all these things, and so they hope things will turn out amiss for those that do them and rejoice when they do. And as for the second precept he offers, that a prince should be stingy in his giving as a matter of self=protection, how superior is liberality! How much better it is at joining men’s affections to itself! It is the single tool for self-defense, invading your enemy, and achieving anything noble, and (such being either his ignorance or his ill-will) that mankind can achieve nothing without money, and money not invested it is often the downfall of its owner, since it both wins over your enemies and gains you friends who would otherwise eventually turn out to be your enemies. Men suffering from this vice either can or do spend it on self-defense or for any other purpose, when the need arises.
spacer 11. He himself is a credible witnesses against these things (at Discorsi I.x), in a section to which he gave the tie MONEY IS NOT THE SINEW OF WAR (AS IS COMMONLY SAID). About a half-page into this section he he wrote: “money alone, also, will not defend you, but causes you to be plundered more readily.” He employs the remainder of this chapter to confirming this:

1. Otherwise Darius, who abounded in money, would have bested Alexander.
2. Thus, he says, the Greeks would have defeated the Romans,
3. and :Charles Duke of Burgundy would have defeated the Swiss,
4. and the citizens of Florence together with the Roman pope Francesco Maria, blue all of whom were defeated by those who thought that sturdy soldiers rather than money are the sinew of war.
5. Then he points to King Croesus of Lydia, who showed Solon his great treasury and asked his opinion of what he thought to be his great power, to whom Solon responded that he did not think Croesus therefore to be the more powerful: war is waged by steel, not iron, and he who possess the most steel can carry off the gold.
6. He added the example of the Macedonian king who showed the ambassadors sent by the Gauls to treat of peace, his heaps of gold and silver in order to show off his power and discourage them from waging war. They were so attracted by these riches that they broke off the peace they had all but concluded and took away his gold.
7. Not long previously the Venetians, who abounded in gold, lost their dominion.

spacer 12. And lest anyone lodge the objection that good soldiers can be bought with gold (the single excuse that could be made on behalf of his doctrine about a prince’s tight-fistedness), he expressly adds, “I say, therefore, that gold ((as common opinion shouts)) is not the sinew of war, but good soldiers; because gold is not sufficient to find good soldiers, but good soldiers are indeed sufficient to find gold.” And he is not behindhand in adding an affirmation: “. To the Romans ((if they had wanted to make war more with money instead of with iron)) it would not have been enough to have all the treasure of the world, considering the great enterprises that they made and the difficulties that they had to encounter. But making their wars with iron, they never suffered from want of gold, because it was brought, even up to their fields and houses, by those who feared them.” He then responds to the objection leveled at the chapter’s beginning based on a statement by Quintus Curtius: the King of Sparta, forced to engage in battle by a lack of funds and bested by Antipater, emerged victorious a few days thereafter when the news of Alexander’s death arrived in Greece, said that it often happened that a commander was obliged to fight a set battle (such as because of famine or the like), and yet money should not be reckoned to be or called the sinew of war. Therefore he was repeating his conclusion, soldiers rather than money are the sinews of war. “ Repeating again, therefore, the sinew of war is not gold, but good soldiers. Money is indeed necessary in a secondary place, but it is a necessity that good soldiers by themselves will overcome; for it is impossible that good soldiers will lack money, as it is for money by itself to find good soldiers.”
spacer 13. Thus Machiavelli in the passage I have cited. If these fthings are true, a prince should not value so highly that any man should endure a miser’s ill repute for the sake of heaping it up, which might even have the effect of deterring good soldiers from agreeing to fight for him. Relevant here is that noble story about King Perseus of Macedon, who destroyed both his realm and himself by this same stinginess, when by merely disolaying his wealth he first frustrated King Eumenes when he was seeking a peace with the Romans, and then turned away twenty thousand Gauls who had come prepared to aid him, and finally cheated the king of the Illyrians. He paid that king three hundred talents to fight the Romans. But at Pella (I mean in his palace) he gave only ten to the ambassadors of that nation. He indicated the rest would be transported to Illyria, but instructed those bearing it to travel by small stages and then halt at the border of Macedonia, there to await his messengers. When he understood that the Roman ambassadors who had come to him had been placed under arrest, he sent messengers commanding that the money he had sent be fetched back, as if (as Livy puts it) blue “doing nothing other than ensuring that the Romans gained as much booty as possible from their victory.” And so he preferred to ruin his own followers rather than spend a single groat. Thus he became prey for his enemies and an object of contempt to his followers, and so lost both them and his fortune, having kept his money locked away in vain.
spacer 14. And among men who are otherwise good princes you will scarcely find any who exceed the Golden Mean in their largesse. But one finds profusion among bad ones, and their money is usually squandered on bad purposes and worthless men. Such was the case with Caligula, building palaces in the deep sea, leveling mountains, splitting huge rocks, and spending money on even sillier and more disreputable, baths with scented water, banquets prepared at monstrous expense, artfully dissolving and drinking down gems and precious stones, so much so that in a single year he squandered 2.7 million sesterces, a huge treasure bequeathed him by Tiberius. Next this wicked prince turned to plundering and novel taxations, and it is no wonder if he brought mankind’s hatred down upon himself and was assassinated. Nero, his imitator (who was perhaps more disgraceful) had the same pursuits, with his prodigal banquets and conferral of huge sums on the worst of rascals such as stage-players, flatterers and shady types, whom he dressed in sumptuous costumes purchased at enormous expense with them wearing nothing twice. He was devoted to dicing, gluttony, and fishing with a golden hook blue and purple nets. He was wont to travel accompanied by a thousand carriages, at the very lest, to shod his mules with silver and dress his muleteers in very costly clothes, in addition to the boundless display of his consort Poppaea with her gilded carriages, and her fifty donkeys in whose milk she was wont to bathe. Hence his enormous outlays, his pillaging of entire provinces, and harried subjects, all done by a similar vice, brought down a similar ending. Vitellius in his equal lunacy spent 90,000 sesterces It was remembered that he spent 10,000 on a single dish, filled with the tongues, brains and livers of the rarest of birds and fish. And at a single meal his brother served him up 2,000 fish, and 7,000 birds of the most exquisite and costly kind. Thanks to these excesses of avarice and plunder, his end was the same as that of his predecessors. It was not his liberality which ruined him, but rather his profusion, his profligacy. But (as I have said) it was not this, but his injustice.
spacer 15. But how differently the good emperors exercised their generosity? Octavius was quite liberal, so as to be liberal and be thought to be such. Marcus Aurelius the philosopher, who founded pubic schools of all branches of learning at Athens and granted them ample stipends, the stuff of true liberality. was he afraid to be deemed liberal? What about Alexander Severus, who is said often to have chided his retinue for having made no requests of himself (setting a rare example, both for himself and the members of his court), was he afraid his liberality might harm himself? Or Titus Vespasian, who reckoned that his day had wasted if the had not had the ability to indulge anybody. Add to these King François of France, and was called the Father of the Muses. At great expense he recruited learned men from all sides, as well as many others concerning whom he never had cause to regret his liberality. These men, albeit they paid out their own money, used tis as a reason for burdening their people and appropriating other men’s wealth. This is not the way of a good man, who will not tolerate this, preferring to die rather than confiscating things belong to others. Nor does Machiavelli name any good prince who because of his generosity was driven by necessity to do so, nor do we read that this subsidized anybody. Charlemagne exercised supreme generosity towards men of letters and also towards churchman as was then the custom) in excess beyond any just limit, but never taxed his people for tis reason. Not even our own David, blue so celebrated by writers and called the equal of any king you care to name, with whom , they say, you can find no one comparable in any royal records. What liberality he exercised in this kind of giving! How many monasteries in a tumbledown condition because of their old age or damaged in war he restored, how many he built upon fresh foundations! He established four new bishoprics, those of Ross, Brechin, Dunkelden and Dunblain., endowing them so richly that he all but bankrupted his successors. Hence that famous remark of James I, when he heard that David had been gathered up to the saints, that he would weigh heavily on the royal crown of heaven. And in a grave oration John Maior, a man particularly known for his learning in those times, rightfully taxed him for these things, albeit nobody had ever seriously proven them. But did these things ever make him a burden on his people? Is he ever said to have harried them with his levies? Or was he regarded by his optimates with dislike and the suspicion that his liberality compel him to batten upon their wealth? Not in the least. These outlays of public monies and squandering of his patrimony, as profuse as they were, did not breed any of the contempt or hatred of which Machiavelli speaks, or fear either (if such is Machiavelli’s meaning). Indeed, he lived and died enjoying the love and honor of all men at home and abroad, being the man to whom the Empress Mathilda though worthy to send her son Henry (who later reigned with the name Henry II), so that the might be enrolled by, as being the worthiest of kings, into a knightly order, a thing done with the greatest ceremonies in those days, said he.
spacer 16. Hence when I think upon this all, it occurs to me that if claim that largesse never harmed a prince, I would not be asserting no paradox. For it is beyond debate that not inflicting harm is a welcome thing in all men’s opinion, and it is not sufficiently established that liberality is not necessarily a cause for plundering per se. Thus to say it is, since plundering often seizes upon this opportunity, is (as they say in the Schools) to imagine a non-causation to be causative, as if someone were to claim that wealth is a cause for murder just because robbers murder wealthy men, or those “beams of fir cut down on Mt. Ida” blue were the cause of the rape of Helen, because her abductor Paris was borne on ships made out of these when he landed at Sparta. These things are far-fetched and no better than specious, not the truth of the matter. The cause of such plunderings is the injustice by which those distributing their bounty suffer, not the largesse itself, and it fails to produce this effect in minds disposed to justice.
spacer17. Nor is this causational sequence he posits correct:

1. princes wish to seem liberal,
2. hence they squander their wealth,
3. then they plunder that of other men,
4. and impose taxes,
5. from which they reap hatred,
6. and from that their downfall.

And often the goal of wastrels is not that they might appear liberal, nor is it necessity that drives them to injustice and plundering (as can be seen in the cases of the aforementioned Caligula, Nero and Vitellius), but, since they a re unjust and wicked by nature, they have an innate desire to steal, and even cherish a tyrannical opinion that whatever belongs to their subjects is their own personal property. When there is superadded to this a certain stupid greediness, they are dragged headlong and spend and steal by turns, without any end or discrimination, not so that they may seem liberal or anything of the sort, but so they may cater to some personal greed.
spacer 17. Nor would I say that taxes levied by princes are a cause of hatred against them ( for many princes take in taxes to the great gratification of their subjects), but rather it is the purpose and use to which these taxes are put that breeds hatred of them, as when they are put to criminal or useless purposes, or when levies imposed on the public are spent on private and unworthy individuals. King Richard II of England, whose expenditures are thought to have cost him his kingdom, did so not because of his taxes and tributes, but his ill-disposed taxes and badly spent tributes. It was not his levies but rather his outlays which hurt him, but his bad spending, as can be seen in the historians. The same befell Edward II, not because he squandered the national treasury, but because he squandered it upon the Despensers. I think that Elizabeth (that queen who enjoys an honorable memory among all good men) levied no smaller taxations, but she better spent them on the commonwealth and the necessities of the realm, and hence they were not burdensome on her subjects. For it does not oppress them to give, but if the prince abuses what they have given; nor that he bestows largesse, but that he bestows it on the undeserving. This is a common vice among princes, to distribute benefits on less worthy or even entirely unworthy recipients, while more worthy men go neglected (and it rare men whom princes do not batten upon). Yet I am aware that good reasons sometimes lie in the background, not to be divulged to everybody, but I am also aware that this can be done under some pretext which nobody understands, nor I fear, if they were adequately understood, would the people would always approve of their wisdom, nor is it possible for a people unaware of the reason not to feel oppressed. Shun this, you prince who are wise, and do not spend either your wealth or that of the public on anything other than worthy causes and worthy individuals of conspicuous and notable goodness. Your subjects will rally to this of their own free will, and it will not burden your subjects, burdensome though it may be, since they will willingly, freely and eagerly submit, all the more so if the prince is a man of well-known liberality and goodness.
spacer 18. And so Machiavelli strives in vain to cast aspersion on liberality on this score. After piety, it is the queen of the virtues, instilled in the greatest mind. It is the best of those things for which men are called good. In other virtues there is a greatness, such as magnanimity, another is concerned with distributing things belonging to others (I mean justice), or preserving these (such as fortitude). Or there are some which are only good for their possessors, such as temperance and continence. But liberality comprehends and surpasses these all. For contempt of wealth proceeds from a great mind, and this is useful not only for the man who possesses it but for others as well, so that he will keep his hands off other men’s goods or, having gained them, distributes them aright, giving sharing his own property with others as well. This is true to the extant that, although men who are abstinent, continent and just are called good mens, nevertheless those who are liberal by rights deserve to be called the best: although we love them all, we love these above all others. This is the greatest tool for winning men over to oneself, most useful for a prince and pretty much the exclusive preserve of the man who chooses to exhibit it. It is the closest resemblance to God, to Whom befalls neither temperance, fortitude nor continence. For nobody calls God magnanimous, temperate or brave, using these adjectives to represent virtues. But indeed we do call Him liberal, beneficial, and good and we call Him Good Itself (i. e., Goodness). But that this is a virtue peculiar to princes rather than other men is a well known fact to these who understand that princes can exercise it most of all. And their is no fruit of possessing a principality worthier of them or sweeter than benefaction. Indeed, were I were to wish to be a prince, I should do so in order to be beneficial. I fail to see what else exists on that pinnacle worthy of hoping for, and he who does not wish to be such should not wish to be a prince. And, unless he is, he may bear a scepter and crown, but he bears false ones in appearance alone, being a slave with a servile mind. Men can exercise the other virtues, and do so equally well or possibly even better, but are unable to exercise this one too. Indeed, if I were say that a prince were nothing but a provider and dispenser of these goods, I should be speaking no absurdity. These things have been given him by God so that he would provide and dispense them, not that he would gather them and store them up, or if he does store them up he does so in order that he may provide them at their proper time, and for the purposes and the men he should. Just as dispensation is his end, gathering and storing up are the means whereby he may dispense them.
spacer 19. Nor is it true that by his liberality a prince offends more men than he pleases. For, besides the fact that liberality (and you should always understand this as meaning liberality rightly placed) does not exist otherwise than thanks to the exercise of liberality, no man takes offence save for him you can call envious and mean-minded, liberality certainly does please more men, namely:

1. those who are its immediate recipients,
2. and all good men who rejoice in seeing virtue thus rewarded, and understand that what is being done for the benefit of any man endowed with virtue is being done for their own as well,
3. and indeed all good men, for all men wish to be seen as such, since everybody:
spacera. loves beneficence,
spacerb. love a benefit,
spacerc. love its recipient,
spacerd. love the example,
spacere. love and cherish the hope arising within themselves.
4. And so they
spacera. wish the liberal man ell,
spacerb. pray for his benefit,
spacerc. rejoice in his good fortune,
spacerd. support him in their words and in their minds,
spacere. and help him as best they can.

20. On the other hand,

1. Nobody fails to hate the vice of stinginess,
2. and likewise its action,
3. and likewise the stingy man.
4. They recoil from the example,
5. and abandon the hope of gaining anything from him,
6. and so they wish him ill,k
7. and pray it goes ill for him,
8. and laugh when it does,
9. and curse him with their words and in in their minds,
10. and, if given the opportunity, they overthrow him (a welcome sight for all)

so that these monstrosities of Machiavellian doctrine should be avoided, whereby he means to say that a prince should be tight-fisted and called such, rather than liberal.
21. Do not heed him, my prince, but heed this: being liberal is honorable, being thought liberal is an honor, and both of these are useful. In accordance with the rule of philosophy and nature, be sure to be such in accordance with the prescriptions for a genuine commonwealth, and this is truly the way, by:

1. saving,
2. storing,
3. spending,

1. when
2. how much,
3. and on whom and for it is appointed.

Hold fast to this and incline towards no party or pay heed to the talk of the ill-intentioned. This is a virtue beyond question, whether rascals lie that you are tight-fisted (because your benefits do not meet their standards) or slander you as a wastrel (because you give to men they would rather you didn’t). There’s no room for any vice, either seeming tight-fisted if you overspend or a wastrel if you are unreasonably stingy. Liberty’s own rule uffices for itself, and this is a virtue content with itself. Though envy may snarl, it is an acknowledged and honored virtue: it gives as it should, not forgetting what it should give in its own good time and what it should gather and store up.
spacer 22. But I should not fail to mention that Machiavelli often praises liberality and recommends it to princes as a means of garnering popularity, among other places in his Chapter 7 following a summary of the actions of Duke Valentino, blue where, among other things, he commends the prince for being magnanimous and liberal. And yet if he wanted to be consistent with himself, he would never have commended liberality in a straightforward way, but always with this qualification and caution, that his prince should be liberal with other men’s goods. Hence in the one context or the other he is being foolish. But it is worthwhile to see what activities this man cites in objection to his own argument, and what he responds to these objections. His first objection is: “Caesar obtained empire by liberality, and many others have reached the highest positions by having been liberal, and by being considered so” He answers with a distinction: “Either you are a prince in fact, or on the way to become one. In the first case this liberality is dangerous, in the second it is very necessary.” This I accept, but I would substitute “therefore it is necessary for them all.” For,, if Machiavelli is to be believed, all princes strive to gain another principality, and in this very chapter he asserts that all men are greedy, and I fancy he would admit that princes are men. Therefore he would admit they are greedy. And if they are greedy, we must believe they hanker after power rather than something small. And if a prince should be criminal and treacherous, should this not be done for the greatest reward? I mean , if justice is to be violated (in one realm after another) , it should be violated for the sake of power: not with a pirate ship for booty’s sake (such a man is called a thief), but with an army and for the sake of realms. Thus he will be called a king and an emperor. The same applies to the discussion of authority and esteem in Chapter 21, in which he will presently commend it, and to Chapter 19. For Machiavelli is acting and inconsistently with himself if he advises his prince to be content with his realm and not seek more. For if someone is seeking one, then liberality is necessary for him, by that standard. Either, if he has already gained one, liberality is necessary for him since he wants to gain another, or, if he has not gained one, it is necessary for him to that he might do so. Therefore, whether a man possesses or seeks o gain a principality, it is requisite for him to be a liberal prince (if a man can be called a prince who has not ye† gained a principality). Thus this distinction introduced by Machiavelli is absurd and self-contradictory., and I could say the same about his arguments concerning the acquisition and preservation of power: it is acquired by liberality, and so I say it is preserved by the same.
spacer 23. His second objection is: “Many men who are princes nowadays and are regarded as liberals have done great things.” He might have said that all men who have ever become involved with great and noble undertakings were both liberals and regarded as such: Alexander, Caesar, Cyrus, Scipio himslf, Charlemagne, and whoever else you care to name. But how does he counter this? By drawing a similar and equally lame distinction. “A prince can be liberal with his own wealth or with somebody else’s. He ought to sparing of his own, but liberal with somebody else’s.” I hear him. But what kind of liberality is it to be liberal with another man’s property. Is this how these men did it? Were they liberal only with other men’s property, and not their own? Ask Alexander, who was so liberal with his own wealth, to the point that he had nothing remaining for himself. Hence, when asked what he had kept back for himself, he answered “ hope.” “But,” said the friend, “this too is our shared property,” and sent back his gifts. Be, concerning the property Machiavelli identifies as alien, no matter whose they may have been prior to their acquisition, no matter to first acquired them, after having been gained by the prince they are now the prince’s property, with the result that if a prince is liberal with this, he becomes liberal with his own belongings. So what’s the difference? This, he says that, by donating things belong to others he does not pauperize himself, nor falls victim to contempt or rapacity. So, not falling victim, a prince may give from his own property as he wishes, that is, if he does not exceed moderation (as discussed above). But surely this is a pointless precept. For he who is unwilling to give from his own property, is neither going to give from that of others. For he is of the opinion that these riches also belong to himself, and will manufacture the following excuses:

1. Thus he can avoid poverty,.
2. and contempt.
3. Thus he may wage war without exacting tribute, without troubling his subjects and the other things which are never absent from misers, which they keep concealed.

The result is he wishes his prince to become accustomed to extreme austerity in dealing with his subjects, and with others to a bad and fruitless liberality. Hence, if thus he must act after acquiring a principality, and it is not expedient to give from his own property (an Machiavellian evil, which their religion forbids here), is he not obliged to command his men to batten upon other men’s property, always appropriating the wherewithal that allows him to be liberal tow ares his friends and his soldiers, and so retain their loyalty? For Machiavelli this is was a slippery downwards slope, worthy of the man, whereas the other route is quite difficult, unbecoming to him and inconsistent.


HERE is nothing problematic in what remains, which he befouls in the same way: by besmirching mercy with the stain of that vice, which (being a variety of injustice) has not yet been given its own name, when a crime is cheated out of the due punishment it has earned), and licence is sustained by impunity. They call it excessive lenience, and an absence of anger, and a vice (if we believe the Peripatetics) although the Stoics regard anger as blameworthy (as do the Stoics, who call it “the whetstone of courage“ and condemn all anger). So the punishments of justice can be visited on felonies without anger (and likewise without hatred). But since those who inflict punishment appear to be angry and to be doing so at a time they should not, they are commonly said to be free of anger, and the Stoics are held in reproach and called blockheads by some more sophisticated observers, let us concede this to popular opinion and say that this disposition, being directed against criminality, is anger-free. And let us call it gentleness when no punishment is inflicted on a misdemeanor, or when it is overly mild and fails to match the crime regarding the manner in which it was committed or its frequency. Machiavelli very inappropriately calls tis mercy. For this is not to abuse of mercy, it is not to use it at all, but rather represents a neglect of justice, and indeed even an injustice that nourishes vices by granting them impunity, something as far removed from mercy as is vice from virtue. And so this is all the more intolerable since, under the pretext of avoiding this vice, cruelty is substituted in its place and he recommends it to his prince as something not to be shunned either in fact or in reputation, since Borgia, reckoned to be a cruel man, reduced the Romagna to good order by an exercise of cruelty. But this is wring, as I have said above, for he did not achieve this (whatever it was) by cruelty, but rather by French arms and the formidable authority of his father (who was pope at the time). Had these been removed, all his power would have collapsed, and he would immediately have tasted the fruit of cruelty, hatred. And yet, as if inspired by repentance, Machiavelli denies that this so-called cruelty was cruel, and even calls it kindly, being , “much more merciful than the Florentine people, who, to avoid a reputation for cruelty, permitted Pistoia to be destroyed.” blue
spacer 2. He does not explain what this was, and I have neither the time nor the inclination to consider it, nor do I think that its understanding would make much of a difference. But, whatever it was, if this deed of Borgia was mercy, why does he himself call it cruelty? And why does he recommend this to his prince employing this example of Borgia/s. Or if it was cruelty, why call it mercy? Cruelty is mercy and mercy is cruelty? Cesare Borgia was cruel, and yet he was merciful. The people of Florence were merciful, and yet they were cruel. This one was merciful and that one cruel, and yet he, more merciful than the other one, is more merciful, I mean a cruel man more merciful than a cruel one. If this is not crazy, I fail to understand what craziness is. Indeed this is craziness in Machiavelli’s choice of words and in his discourse, and he himself appears to have seen that his nonsense was crazy. For if he only wished to say that the Florentines, under a show of mercy lent their support to criminal license in the city of Pistoia, to the point that the growing audacity and criminality of wicked men brought about the city’s downfall and the mutual killing of its citizens, and that in this affair the city of Florence’s indifference or neglect and its injustice, and perhaps its display of mock-mercy put it in the wrong, and that in truth it was not merciful but rather negligent, unjust, indifferent, and injurious to good men. Machiavelli evaluated this situation correctly, but did it amiss in imputing this to mercy, when the Florentines had only put up a false show of that. And this too was amiss, that he compared Borgia’s genuine cruelty to this false show of mercy, by preferring the one to the other he strove to prefer cruelty to mercy. It does not matter which vice you find preferable since all the vices should be shunned, as long as virtue’s honor remains unsullied. Therefore Machiavelli’s argument that by their failure to punish crimes the Florentines allowed or fostered conditions under which murders, plundering, and an upheaval of all things , he is wrong to blame this on mercy, but injustice, and there was no need for cruelty to put an end to these things, (as he insinuates), but rather of justice.
spacer 3. Wherefore this too is inappropriate, “Therefore a prince, so long as he keeps his subjects united and loyal, ought not to mind the reproach of cruelty.” In this context, if you were to understand him as saying a false reputation for cruelty is to be disregarded as long as a prince in fact relies on justice, then indeed the prince would have a proper understanding: that he should always act with an upright ready mind, despising the emptiness of reputation, steadfastly cleaving to virtue, not valuing rumors above his own safety nor appearance over the right, no matter if the envious or the ignorant called him cruel. But what the man added displayed his malice and total ignorance, when he appends his rationale, that without a prince’s reputation for cruelty his army cannot be kept united and coherent, sufficiently prepared for any undertaking. Who besides Machiavelli ever attained to his height of mindlessness. “without his reputation for cruelty an army cannot be maintained and can never accomplish anything great!” Who besides Machiavelli ever ascended to such a height of lunacy? “Absent a reputation for cruelty an army cannot be maintained! Accomplish nothing great!” Disband you army, Caesar, and you too, Pompey, and do not cross the Bosphorus, Alexander. You have not yet been called cruel, so your soldiers will desert you and you will accomplish nothing. Has any Machiavellian man or any man praised by any writer done such things? Has Borgia? Has Oliverotto? Or any unfamiliar names? They would have been obscure specks on the world. What about Scipio, whom Machiavelli chided for his mercy? Was he unable to hold his army to its duty and accomplish things beyond Machiavelli’s understanding? Did his army ever abandon him? Or did it ever slow his progress towards victory by quarreling within its ranks? As long as he was believed to be alive, did he ever experience a mutiny? Part of his soldiers did desert upon the rumor of his death, but when it was learned he was still alive it easily resumed its dutifulness,finding him at once just and merciful when he punished only a few, but in no wise cruel. Hence I am all the more surprised at Machiavelli’s delirium when he criticized Scipio for his mercifulness, when that amounted to more than a forgiveness of their guilt. But he was unable to forgive them before they went astray, and we do not read that they had strayed in the past. And, had he been a cruel man, that cruelty could not have held his soldiers to their duty after his death: it is a wonderful cruelty which is feared even in a dead man! And if Scipio is to measured in accordance with the words of his enemies, , they did not accuse him of clemency, but rather of lax military discipline, which is something quite different and deserves rather to be called indulgence, a thing which can also be joined to cruelty. Those enemies perceived this and taxed him with both, with indulgence and then (contrary to Machiavelli) with savagery. Thus in Livy Fabius blue says that in an un-Roman and royal manner Scipio both indulged his soldiers’ license and treated them savagely. So in Fabius’ eyes Scipio was not merciful but rather a commander who undermined discipline, and yet behaved savagely. spacer
spacer 4. And yet even these critics’ accusation of lax discipline were without point (as can be seen from the same historian), since he cleared himself of this charge in the eyes of inspectors sent from the senate. “Scipio prepared to justify himself, not by words but by acts. He gave orders for the whole of the army to muster at Syracuse and the fleet to be prepared for action as though he had to engage the Carthaginians that day both by land and sea. When the commission had landed he received them courteously, and the following day he invited them to watch the maneuvers of his land and sea forces, the troops performing their evolutions as in battle, whilst the ships in the harbour engaged in a sham sea-fight. Then the praetor and the commissioners were taken for a tour of inspection round the arsenals and magazines and the other preparations for war, and the impression made by the whole and by each separate detail was such as to convince them that if that general and that army could not conquer Carthage, no one ever could.” So let us absolve this great man of both vices, and oppose the slanders of both his enemies and Machiavelli, who (after the way of men bearing false witness) are mutually contradictory, since they taxed him with savagery, and he with mercy. For both the historian and the ten inspectors sent out to investigate him acquitted him of the charge of maintaining lax discipline.
spacer 5. There remains that single complaint concerning Pleminius, blue that Scipio had neglected his crimes. And this was the case, since his mind was distracted by other matters and wholly fixed on Africa, as the citizens of Locri themselves acknowledged: asked by his enemies whether they had presented their complaints to Scipio, they replied that they had sent ambassadors, but he was preoccupied with his preparations for war and had either already crossed over to Africa or was going to make the crossing within a few days. Is it strange or liable to criticism that while he was engaged in such great planning within such as small space of time he did not have the leisure to attend to this affair? Nevertheless, Livy leaves it uncertain, and it is credible that Scipio did attend to it: “As to Pleminius two stories are current. One is to the effect that when he heard of the decision arrived at in Rome he started to go into exile at Naples, and on his way was met by Quintus Metellus, one of the ten senators, who arrested him and brought him back to Regium. According to the other account Scipio himself sent an officer with thirty men of highest rank amongst his cavalry and threw Pleminius and the prime movers of the outbreak into chains.” I am more inclined to this version, and would absolve that Roman commander, both the greatest and the best, who was stained by no voce, of this accusation too, and cast my vote for acquittal. And although I acknowledge truth of the Locrians said, that Scipio “ either reposed too much confidence in Pleminius or felt too much distrust in themselves,” and did not have the leisure to look into the matter carefully, and also their observation that “some  men are so constituted that, while they would not have crimes committed, they lack the resolution to inflict punishment when they have been committed." But I concede that I see Scipio as having been altogether a mild-mannered, humane, kindly and gentle man, nonetheless I see this too, he was not so faint-hearted as not to know how to punish crimes, nor so imprudent as to be unaware that they should be punished, and that this was in the interest of human society, his republic, and his own ability to carry out his projects, as can be seen in his punishment of the Spanish soldiers. blue
spacer 6. But that he punished them so moderately, “only the authors of the conspiracy,” was a sign of his fine mind. This too is most worthy of note: “the possibility of the army exceeding all measure in its insubordination, or of his inflicting punishments which would be excessive.” blue Then, having considered everything as it then stood, “he decided to go on as he had begun, and handle the matter gently,” and in a speech (after lodging a mild complaint verging on an apology rather than a stern rebuke), he said “the cause and origin of your madness is to be found in your ringleaders, who infected you with their frenzy. Then he apologized for what might seem the harshness of his speech: “I admit that my words have appeared stern and unfeeling to you, but how much more unfeeling, think you, has your conduct been than anything I have said? You imagine that it is right and proper for me to tolerate your actions, and yet you have not patience to hear them mentioned.” What gentleness! “Bad as they are however, I will not reproach you with them any longer; I only wish you may forget them as easily as I shall.” Words from the mouth of Mercy herself! “As for the army as a body, if you sincerely repent of your wrongdoing you give me satisfaction enough and more than enough.” Thus far Mercy. What about Justice? “Albius of Cales and Atrius of Umbria with the other ringleaders in this detestable mutiny will expiate their crime with their blood.” And Prudence is not lacking: “He had hardly finished speaking when, at a preconcerted signal, the eyes and ears of his audience were assailed by everything which could terrify and appall. The army which was on guard all round the assembly clashed their swords against their shields, and the voice of the usher was heard calling over the names of those who had been sentenced in the council or war. These were:

1. stripped to the waist and conducted into the middle of the assembly;
2. all the apparatus of punishment was at once brought out;
3. they were tied to the stake,
4. scourged,
5. and finally beheaded.”

spacer 7. And what effect did this all produce upon the army? “The spectators were so benumbed by terror that no voice was raised against the severity of the punishment, not even a groan was heard.” Go, Impudence, and carp at these things, which provide a fine and very rare example of true mercy and upright severity, of justice guided by consummate prudence. No man ever knew better how to use these to both soothe and terrify fierce men, and at once punish and foster miscreants. Behold this, prince, and consider whether you prefer to resemble this man or Borgia and Oliverotto? Ask yourself whether i s better to imitate him than Hannibal himself (although Machiavelli cites no instance of Hannibal’s cruelty towards his soldier, so why does he attribute their dutifulness to his cruelty?) Is it not rather that he cites martial discipline strictly exercised, which is quite another thing. But he prefers to choose inappropriate examples, as long as he is striving to make admirable pronouncements, so as to seem a great man to the unwary, but ridiculous to the reader who plays closer attention. But it is agreed that no army ever sinned less against its commander than Scipio’s in Africa, and the time it was his (albeit in the name of his brother) in Asia. Since Machiavelli could not deny this, he manufactured a most unconvincing explanation, that he was operating under the senate’s authority and, had he done otherwise, it would have been his downfall. More stupid than Choraebus! blue Was the senate at his side either in Asia or Africa? And did contribute anything to this enterprise other than which it provided all commanders, namely the imperium? But let us let this shuffler off the hook.
spacer 8. But when he says that cruelty ensures that men do not transgress the laws and holds soldiers to their duty, he is either very deceptive or very much deceived. For this is not the result of cruelty, but since cruelty is an excess of legitimate severity, that legitimate severity is contained within it, and that is what brings about the result. And it is a virtue. But cruelty is a superadded vice, and is scarcely requisite for this purpose since severity is by itself sufficiently effective. For cruelty exists when

1. corporal punishment is inflicted contrary to or excess of what the law requires.
2. or when there is a certain monstrosity to the punishment. This occurred, as is told by the historian, in the punishment of Metius Suffetius, blue who was torn apart by chariots. As the poet says, “chariots driven in different directions ripped Metius asunder.” Livy did better to acknowledge that this was monstrous, adding this feeble excuse, “you should stand by your word, Albanus.” And you should abide within the limits of humanity, Roman. Livy frankly acknowledged the foulness and inhumanity in a fine statement, worthy of imitation: “All turned away their eyes from so shocking a spectacle. That was the first and last instance of a punishment among the Romans regardless of the laws of humanity.” That was monstrous, and this is even more so: “Nay, he would even join dead bodies to the living, fitting hands to hands and faces to faces.“ Thus the brazen bull of Phalarus and suchlike. I hear that some things of the sort exist in France, such as the so-called Wheel and other instruments of torture, and likewise among the English. Our Scotsmen employ them most sparingly, except perhaps for one instance in the mass executions of James I. Otherwise, Livy was able to boast of his Romans that no nation was more humane or prudent in its punishments. For punishment must be inflicted with consummate judgment. Punishments of this kind do not deter the minds of the vulgar from wrongdoing by fear so much as they inspire them to committing and suffering anything you care to name, nor do they deter the depraved with their severity (the excuse their advocates offer us) as they diminish the terror of punishment by making the witnessing of it a commonplace sight, particularly when (as happens) the minds of criminals become inured to pain, and their stubborn self-confidence usually wins them praise for their endurance among the ignorant common folk.
3. Or when mass punishments are inflicted on a multitude,
4. Or when they are inflicted indiscriminately without regard to sex, age, or just deserts, when women, old men, children, virgins, the good, the bad, the guilty, the innocent or at least the less guilty are embraced in a single downfall..
5. Add to this the form of the death, as those who kill by hunger, the death suffered by our commander Robert sought to inflict on his fraternal nephew David, the eldest son of James I. blue
6. And those who:
spacera. thrust their victims into a particularly horrible dungeon in the name of custody,
spacerb. or drive them into exile among wild beasts or men as wild as beasts,
spacerc. or into deserts or desert-like regions where there is little or no sustenance.
spacerd. or at inconvenient seasons, such as winter with its cold, snow, and chills,
spaceramidst the perils of mountains or marshes, seas and storms, where they are to
spacerperish by starvation or cold orspacercontract fatal maladies, or are so tormented that they die, no matter how slowly. For this formspacerof custody or banishment is in truth the same as killing.
7. And for a trifling cause, for example because people have somehow stood in the way of a person satisfying his appetite, or interrupted him annoyingly, or had made mistake, like the man who threw someone to his eels to be eaten because the fellow had broken a glass vase of his, or because of neglectful handling of the emperor’s image or keeping it in some indecorous place, or much else of the same kind, such as some people tell of those monstrous Roman emperors.
8. So too in the case of private revenge-killings, when men apply torture, butcher those they have tortured, drink blood, wash their faces and mouths in gore, pull out a still-beating heart and throw it to the dogs for the eating, hurl insults while killing, things in which many ingenious Italians indulge. I do not know if the insults hurled against accused parties, possibly guilty, by sharp-tongued judges, calling them criminals, shady, and redoubling every manner of bad language, are to be included in this category. It is also a kind of cruelty when we take pleasure in the punishment and any form of torture of men and rail against them while they are suffering. How better and more humanely did Joshua say “son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Glory be to God.” blue

All these forms of cruelty and whatever others exist are of no use whatsoever except, perhaps, to satisfy weak minds. Therefore they are mitigated by mercy, how much worthier of Man, how much more decent! Out of necessity, it does justice’s bidding, rejecting all else.

1. For it remits what punishment it can,
2. and when it cannot, it softens it,
3. and restrains it,
4. and extends it to as few men as possible,
5. and shudders at what is monstrous,
6. and pities the pitiable,
7. and indeed weeps at punishments, so far from taking delight in them.

spacer 9. And so in regard to that other question Machiavelli disputes in passing, whether it is better to be feared or loved, permit me to pray that he who entertains any doubt on this score receive the same end as did that man who preferred to be feared, and whose constant slogan was “let them hate me as long as they fear me.” blue This was Caligula, that most dreadful of monsters, who learned at his death how better it would have been to be loved, killed by his followers at a time when fear gave him none of the aid on which he had counted. And indeed, how foolish this question can be seen from this, that, if we were all loved, there would be no need for fear, nobody would conspire against us, nobody would harm us by his evil actions. But if that saying is known to one and all, “men hate the man they fear, and they want to see the man they hate die, and no amount of resources can withstand the hatred of many.” Since this statement is so famous, what shall we think of the hatred of everybody? What power, what counsel can resist it? Whom can a wretch trust? His bodyguards? But these are included in the list of “everybody.” Therefore their love, at least, is necessary. And if this is true, love is always necessary, no matter how much a man may be feared.
spacer10. But I remember what I have just said, he whom many fear must fear many, and Machiavelli’s prince will not be dreaded any more than he lives in dread, so what manner of security can there be? What manner of life’s sweetness in the absence of security? Absent sweetness, this is now death, not life. This was the life of Domitian — but was it a life, when he lived at his home surrounded by arms amidst his henchmen and bodyguards, pacing about, peering at mirrors spotted all about lest someone strike him in the back. What kind of life, when, fearing everybody, he had his girlish daughters cut his hair, and when they had grown to adulthood came to fear them and removed them, frizzing his hair himself with hot coals? When visiting his wife he sent ahead a henchman with drawn sword to rifle the coffers in the women’s quarters lest some weapon lay hidden amidst their garments. What kind of life had Nero, from the time he grew fearful? Or Caligula, who compared his condition to that of Damocles with a naked sword hanging over his head by a thread. Do we call this living, or dying one second at a time? But this is the thing that Machiavelli urges on his prince. And yet he is unashamed to say that “men love according to their own will and fear according to that of the prince.” This flies in the face of the examples of all the centuries, and against all reason. Were these emperors I just named feared as they wished? But they desired to be feared in such a way that nobody would dare conspire against them, scheme anything against, even harbor thoughts against them. Did they achieve this? Did they not achieve the exact opposite. That princes desire to be loved was felt by the one who, advised that a certain man was going about denouncing him, summoned the fellow, spoke to him pleasantly, and sent him away laden down with gifts. The result was that henceforth the man adored him and heaped him with praises on every occasion. Informed of this by his friends, the prince immediately said “you see how I have the power to make men wish me well and speak well of me.”
spacer 11. But says Machiavelli, “this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous,” and this is particularly true of Machiavelli, and his disciples. But not all men are such, nor has nature so abandoned them that, albeit they are scarcely the best of men perfect down to their fingertips, but in some way wild and unruly, they are nevertheless sensible of kindnesses and are capable of softening. They have a lion-like, wolfish character but (like actual lions and wolves) grow tame and lap up affection. Now, whoever you are cease your snarling and acknowledge the truth: love is the trustiest protection, and the true and sure dutifulness. Had Domitian and the others been guarded by this, they would have had no need of the bodyguards whose loyalty they distrusted, no need for the chains of laws and fear. There is no lack of other examples, but there is one I cannot recall without great mental pleasure, nor should I pass it over. With all the talent I possess I shall always publish to posterity how James King of Scots (now of Britain)m who had lived in security and good cheer among his Scots, returned from England blue to very great public rejoicing, and he, aware of their affection, dismissed his bodyguard and strolled about hither and thither comporting himself in the most kindly manner, not disdaining all manner of token of good will from little old ladies from the countryside and pauper women. As best they could the Scots attested the love they had had for him since his childhood and which had not yet died. This was a most welcome sight to observers, and I do not think his very scepter was more welcome to him. For him this royal life was just as delightful as, on the other hand, it is a misery for a hated prince to live among his hate-filled subjects. Let any man who disbelieves learn it by personal observation.
spacer 12. And one can gather how superior love is from this, that fear has certain times and certain limitation. For men fear nobody while he’s asleep, nor when he has no idea where they are and what they are doing. When he knows he’s in this condition he knows he’s safe, and men have no care for the tyrant or obey him as long as they can deceive him. When he his stricken, when he is prostrate, do they now care to lift him up? Or rather do they not want to drive him down further. But love is not impeded by these things and is no less ready to perform its every duty. If he dares some adventure their love helps him in his time of peril. If he does nothing daring, it shields him. If it does not do so, at least it does him no harm. Therefore, albeit he says men shun dangers, one must admit that when the danger abates they help those they love. But fear acts in the opposite way. It harms when it can, it seizes opportunities to work harm and embraces them when they are offered. At the very least it fails to help the prince when he is endangered, even if that can be done without risk. 3Indeed, those who dare nothing else dare to fall back during a battle, they dare desert the ranks and surrender themselves to the enemy. This is more than clear about all human behavior, whether we are considering
everybody’s love or their hatred.
spacer13. If Machiavelli wants his prince to be loved by some and hated by others, of necessary love must become intermixed with fear. But no necessity requires fear to be mixed with love. Love is entirely self-sufficing, if it is genuine and serious. And yet if one wishes these to be mixed, let it be so. Let the prince be feared by evildoers, and loved by good men out of their love for uprightness. For fear is twofold, the one arising from justice and the other from injustice. Men fear bad princes because of the latter, good ones because of the former. Love for that is properly said to be conjoined with reverence. Nor does it engender hatred, just as justice does not exist for hatred’s sake (and admittedly nothing is more commonplace). This is innate in Man, as when boys adore their preceptors and parents, from whom they receive most of their whippings and, if asked why, tell you that the whipping was for their own good. This is that fear and love, which Machiavelli tells us are hard to combine, when he wishes to urge a policy of fear, since “these belong together.” But it is far more easy if a man cleaves to the true path of justice. Machiavelli himself saw this somewhat, when he said further down that it is possible for fear to exist without hatred, but he did not dare say it could exist with love, as he could have done. How myopic he was when he argued what he saw!
spacer 14. He did no more of a happy job in listing the ways in which fear can be achieved without incurring hatred:

1. That a prince must keep his hands off your subjects’ goods and women.
2. If he must punish someone, this should be done when the logic and due cause of the deed is obvious.

If he manifestly indicates justice with these words, the is telling the same thing to us but contradicting himself. For this is not cruelty. If he means that excuses for injustice need to be manufactured (as I would prefer to believe) he is acting in a manner worthy of himself but unworthy of a prince, and this will do him no good. For plenty of Argives suffered, and yet their people were not so short-sighted that they could be completely swindled. And that remark to Basianus, made by the lawyer. bidden to defend him on a charge of having murdered his brother Geta, is true: “it is easier to commit unjust murders than to conceal or defend them.” But before this and again afterwards he offers the advice that a prince should not interfere with his subjects’ property and wives, repeating it as a point of particular importance. But most of all it must be understood that the prince must keep his hands off their fortunes. Is this really the most important point? If so, he cared about more about this than about justice or the semblance of justice, and I have no idea whether this should be called foolish or be affirmed by this more impudent piece of logic, that men forget the murder of their parents sooner than they do the theft of their money. I do not know if this is the case in Italy, but I may legitimately have my doubts. We all know that this is not the case here, and the fact shows it that, while the one is an irreparable loss, the other is easily repaired, at least among great-minded men.
spacer15. Nor is his rationale for this any better:

1. That pretexts for such confiscations are never lacking,
2. once a prince has begun to support himself by theft, he will constantly be on the lookout for pretexts for appropriating other mens’ wealth,
3. whereas pretexts for the shedding of blood are rarer, and fade away more quickly.

This is all most run, for pretexts for both killings and appropriations are bred by other causes, and a man who has once stained himself with murder becomes inured to killing thanks to his fear and restless pursuit of security, which he never achieves. And, as if at first compelled by necessity, soon he commits murders voluntarily and gratuitously. In the end, for the sake of amusement, he enjoys bloodletting as his sport and entertainment. Thus it was with Nero, who attained to his monstrous cruelty, who butchered his mother and his father (I mean his preceptor), and so many others besides. Thus it was with Caligula, who wished that the Roman people all had a single throat so he could cut it, and who at a feast had men dragged off for beheading after being denounced by a bodyguard, feeding his mind on murders just as he fed his body at banquets. I pass over other such examples, just as a prince should pass over all the rest of these inanities of Machiavelli.
spacer 16. But he does conceive these proper rules on this subject:

1. Be mild of disposition, gentle, merciful in your deeds, and altogether humane, as was Titus, that son of Vespasian, who was wont to say he would prefer to die than destroy, or like Nero, when he had to sign some man’s death warrant, used to say “would I had not learned how to write.
2. Cultivate justice no less than you forswear harshness.
3. Take no delight in punishment but rather in correction, and let this be its aim.
4. Approach a punishment unwillingly, as a physician approaches surgery, compelled by necessity, and never if it is not in the interest of the body as a whole.
5. And so draw a distinction between justice and cruelty. Cultivate the one and avoid the other like a snake, keeping a great distance between you and the thing itself and, if it is possible, from the reputation.
6. But have no concern if someone attaches the name of cruelty to your justice, nor if he calls your mercy laxity. Both these virtues act on their own behalf, self-sufficient, caring nothing about what men say.
7. But do not imagine that what the public law requires, as well as that of other nations, is capable of relaxing itself. Rather, be aware that it is an offence against your commonwealth, against God, and against all innocent folk to loosen the reins on license and permit other evils, that which Machiavelli wrongly calls mercy.
8. Be mild in forgiving transgressions against yourself, be a great man in disdaining and ignoring them.
9. Show yourself as easy towards an enemy in victory as you were energetic towards him in battle.

spacer 17. These rules and rules like them are ones for which, if there were any need to strive for examples and witnesses, it would be easy to produce many deeds of princes, many fine sayings and maxims of philosophers and statesmen, of a sort preferable to the obscure, scanty and false ones of Machiavelli, to the extent that my time and my discourse would be run out. Let one stand for them all. Let August Caesar, or even a single one of his deeds, suffice. Pompey’s nephew Cinna plotted against him, and it was related to him where, when, and in what manner this was to be carried out, so that everything was in the open. This was an unworthy deed inasmuch as Caesar had spared him after being discovered in the enemy camp, allowed him to retain his family fortune and honored him with a priesthood. This was the worst way of showing his gratitude, an act of crime, what manner of crime was not involved? Acting in accordance with Machiavelli’s teachings, what would you do? He should die: thus caution would be exercised for the life of the prince and for his rule. You would have no need to worry about being cruel or gaining a reputation for cruelty, this would set an example for others, this would put them in fear. Being feared would mean safety, and mercy would be harmful. Indeed in doing so a prince would be more merciful, consulting for the safety of a prince and the republic which depended on him, and for many other men as well. If you were not to do this you would be more cruel, loosening the bridle on criminality, licence, riots, conspiracies, wars, massacres and all that comes after these things. These are the things Machiavelli would say. But what about Augustus’ loving consort Livia, a moderate, prudent and modest woman? Her reaction was quite different: “Do as the physicians do. When the usual course of action makes no headway, they try its opposite. Nothing has been gained by severity, forgive the man.” Caesar took her advice. He sent for Cinna to join him in a private conversation, he bade a chair be fetched, they sat down. Then Caesar said, “Cinna, this I ask of you, that you do not interrupt me. You will have your chance to speak.” Then he stood up, recounted his kindnesses, how he had spared him when he was taken amongst his enemies, was enhanced by his family fortune, and honored with a priesthood. Then he asked, “what have I done to make you think I require killing?”Cinna was troubled. And Caesar continued, “Once more I grant you your life, Cinna, formerly my enemy and now a would-be assassin and a parricide. Our friendship commences this day, let us contend with each other and find whether it is with the better fidelity that I have granted you your life or you are indebted to me for having received it.” At the same time he bestowed upon him a consulship. Do you want to learn the outcome? Was it in accordance with Machiavelli’s axiom “is their any trust in a reconciled enemy?” Nothing of the kind. Augustus retained Cinna as a constant dearest friend, no longer being the target of conspiracies. This single example serves to refute everything this writer has to say.
spacer 18. I nevertheless want to add this concerning the same Augustus. When Aemelianus Aelianus spoke ill of him, he did nothing more than advise him that he too had a tongue capable of saying more about him. And when the Athenians appeared to be rebelling against him, he did nothing beyond writing to them from Aegina saying “I do not imagine you unaware that I am angry at you, and I am not going to spend my winter at Aegina.” This was the extent of his punishment, that he did not wish to linger in their neighborhood. And when Tiberius had written to him that some people had been slandering him, he made no response other than “it is sufficient, if they do not do any actual harm to me.” Likewise, when Timagenes said many spiteful things against himself, his consort and his entire household, he only advised him to use his tongue more moderately. And when the man persisted he did no thing but forbid him access to his home. The man disowned books he had written about Caesar’s activities, as if wishing to consign his achievements to oblivion. Nevertheless, although he openly and persistently flaunted his hatred, Augustus did not deprive him of his life, his money, nor punish him with imprisonment or exile, so his enemy lived to a ripe old age at Rome, living as a guest of Asinius Pollio. Nor did Caesar complain to his enemy’s host beyond once whispering in his ear “you are harboring a beast.” But when the man was on the verge of apologizing, Augustus interrupted him, saying “enjoy him, Pollio, enjoy him.” And when Pollio, far from sure of himself, replied, “if you command, I will forbid him my house,” his response was “do you I imagine I would do that, when I would prefer to see you reconciled?” acknowledging their mutual ill will yet tolerant of it. For Pollio was furious at Timagenes and had disowned him from the time he grew angry at Caesar. Where’s the cruelty here? Where is the rigor of the laws and that supremely harsh one against published libels slandering princes? Love, my prince, and learn, there is nothing sweeter than awareness of this action, nothing more wholesome in its usefulness. Do not hesitate to imitate Augustus, equal fruit will attend you if you do. As it is said somewhere else, “other living things are led by their necks, but a man by his heart,” particularly he who is truly a man and governed by reason, endowed with great-mindedness. Will you use Machiavelli’s fear to make this man conform? Or drag him about by fear? This would be in vain. The leash is the worst thing to use for such men. His heart is the only thing which binds him, take control of it by love and you can lead him where you will.


AND so, having raged against liberality and mercy, and having established avarice and cruelty as best he could, in his Chapter 18 Machiavelli launches his assault against loyalty designed to banish it from its kingdom and render it suspect to his prince. He would replace it on its throne by treachery as the prince’s single assistant in managing his affairs, in the absence of which he cannot preserve either his realm or his life. And he harbors and urges on us even worse things, if ought can be worse and more monstrous, in a chapter entitled CONCERNING THE WAY IN WHICH PRINCES SHOULD KEEP FAITH, which, reader, you should not trust.
spacer2. I have already declared frequently that within this man I have seen nothing great save his impudence, and I say again and again, nor do I think it can be said sufficiently for this age, this silliness, which makes so much of the fellow, that there is no learning, no insight, no intelligence nor any judgment. Although this is visible throughout his little work, it is very evident in his two preceding chapters, and more than crystal-clear in this one, at least to a man possessed of eyes and a brain. And so I invite you all who wish to be called good, bad, learned, ignorant, political, apolitical, philosophical, common, private citizens, men of all sorts, but particularly you principals, the ones who are principally concerned since it is your business that is under discussion, I invite you to sit as judges, if you have not set aside all human nature and become the brutes he exhorts you to be, tell me seriously whether this fellow can be said to be endowed with any intelligence, judgment or insight, he who feels and says he is struggling

1. against human nature and natural law,
2. against divine law,
3. against the law of nations,
4. against civil law,
5. against philosophy
6. against theology,
7. against genuine political science,
8. and against reason itself,
9. who is self-contradictory,
10. and produces no argument against his predecessors,
11. and produces no argument, illumination or rationale to confirm and explain his opinion.

spacer 3. And is he not conspicuously impudent, who bald-facedly does not hesitate to:

1. snarl at all these things,
2. erase all distinction between vice and virtue, good and evil, the upright and the low-down,
3. openly recommend, praise and urge vices,
4. and blacken, tax, defame, and expressly repudiate virtue?

spacerAll of which he does in this chapter as:

1. he admittedly does away with loyalty and good faith,
2. and also religion and piety in passing, as if in a footnote,
3. and mercy,
4. and humanity,
5. and integrity,
6. and charity, all of these expressly.

And (thanks to its relationship with Chapter 15), he does away with the rest of these virtues:

7. liberality,
8. magnanimity,
9. chastity,
10. tractability,
11. and gravity.

spacer 5. All of these, I say, are not only useless but harmful and destined to be fatal to the man who uses them, and hence are to be shunned and disowned by his prince, and their false appearances, only vain shadows, are to be embraced. For these he explicitly substituted their opposing vices, and all of these substitutes must of necessity be adhered to, namely:

1. perfidy, mendacity, injustice, perjury, oath-breaking,
2. lack of religion, impiety, neglect of divine worship, contempt, mocking, incredulity,
3. cruelty, brutality,
4. inhumanity, pride, arrogance,
5. rascality, fraud, trickery,
6. absence of charity and love,
7. stinginess, tight-fistedness, avarice,
8. cowardice, softness, sloth, inertia, timidity,
9. lasciviousness, filthiness, dissolute living,
10. stiff-neckedness, unfriendliness, hardness, sternness,
11. levity.

These are truly and earnestly to be embraced, with only their reputation being avoided, i. e., the prince who in truth suffers from these vices must by means of pretense and dissimulation ensure that nobody, or at least as few as possible, are aware of it.
spacer5. Tell me, reader, can you recall anything ever having been said by anybody more foul, more incompetent, more inhumane, more obtuse? And do I require much rhetoric to demonstrate how contrary to all reason divine human, how contrary to nature and all law everywhere accepted by mankind these things are? Does not it to suffice to set these things before your eyes this way as a table, horrendous and detestable even at a glance. But let me speak a little about them individually.
spacer 6. Principally (because it is his principal subject here) he is concerned with the abolition of good faith, and together with good faith all human society which is at the same time destroyed and discarded, without which no commonwealth, no state, no village, no household and indeed no family can survive. For all of these are nothing other than societies, and good faith is their life and their linkage: take them away and they collapse and are destroyed. Indeed, not even a marriage can survive or that central concern of marriage, children, unless they are bound together by the sacrosanct connection of good faith. This would demote us beneath the beasts, with the solaces of life removed, since we are a holy animal born for social living (the source of our commonwealth and everything praiseworthy we see before our eyes) and drive us into the solitary wilderness, disjoined from ourselves. Nevertheless, I wish to consider these things individually, employing the order and with the logic with which he handles them (for so he announces in his preface). There is nobody who fails to understand how praiseworthy it is for good faith to be maintained in a prince, together with an integrity of life free of any malicious guile.

1. Nobody, that is, except Machiavelli. Nature does not, nature which here and everywhere else proclaims, repeats, and again reiterates that it is a praiseworthy thing, attributing to it both honesty and honor.
2. It adds utility: a pleasure and a glory in every employment of life.
3. Then it piles on necessity, since without that there would be no prince or realm whereof he could be a prince.
4. Nor a household, over which he could preside, or a family for which he could serve as paterfamilias.
5. Nor marriage, in which he could be a husband.

spacer 7. Such is the value of the prince keeping faith and setting an example of doing so lest, if he neglects this, others might neglect their faithfulness towards him, and it be destroyed and cease to exist, or political power be transferred to somebody else. Nothing is clearer in it nature than this divine utterance. Nothing is more divine than faithfulness, nothing more acceptable in the sight of God. There is nothing that places greater demands on men, nor anything that approaches nearer to divinity and resembles it more, because God appropriates it as His own and wishes to be called faithful, loyal, truthful, and Truth its very own self. But I refrain from saying more.
spacer8. I appeal to the voice of the nations, I seem to be hearing them say with a single voice and mind proclaiming this same praise of faithfulness, lauding its same utility, blessing its necessity as the single instrument for entering into, terminating, and forming leagues in both war and peace. Nor do citizens praise it and the civil law any the less for their bargains, compacts, transactions, and every manner of

1. sales,
2. purchases,
3. donations,
4. borrowing,
5. lending &c.,

without which they would be wretched peasants, and there would be no law and (with law removed) no states or families. Now all schools of philosophy, all pronouncements of theologians and likewise of politicians, whose object is the state, the society of the state, and good faith, the binding force of society, as I have said. Permit me to add the evidence of robbers and pirates (no matter how unwillingly). However such men may break the law, they neither dare nor or are able to break faith, for if their superiors and inferiors do not maintain it between themselves, they must either desert or slaughter each other, and their society, of whatever sort it may be, must cease to exist.
spacer 9. Machiavelli is the single man who has dared defile it in his screed, and who has recommended its violation to his prince (who ought to be its most holy guardian), and to bawl it out in the presence of so many and so great witnesses, condemning himself by his very own testimony. What am I to say of this? “Every one admits how praiseworthy it is in a prince to keep faith, and to live with integrity and not with deception” (he himself calls it “craft.”) You would imagine Aridities was talking, or Pericles or Cato. Who would fear anything bad following this start? For, just as nobody is unaware that good faith is praiseworthy, so everybody knows that perfidy merits condemnation, and if it is laudable to keep the faith, it deserves criticism to break faith and do violence to it. Therefore let the reader adjudge how Machiavelli, after having made this concession. speak against fidelity, and how he can speak in favor of perfidy, treachery, fraud and rascality. For what is praiseworthy is honorable, and what is honorable deserves being held in honor. It is likewise useful for living a good life, and even necessary for such purposes. These are opportunities for praise, just as their opposites are for vituperation: dishonesty is useless, and in consequence is hardly necessary: indeed, of necessity it must be shunned. Hence, when he says that this is praiseworthy in a prince, he is calling it honest, honorable, useful and necessary for a prince. And when he says, this he says that a prince must embrace it. And therefore, on the contrary, that fraud, craft and deception are not to be praised, not honorable, not useful, and much less necessary, and hence something a prince should not embrace, but rather shun. But since these things hang together so well, let us nevertheless hear what our clever little man has to say. Thus he continues: “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.” And, at the end of this chapter, “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.” What’s this, pray, and why does he say it? Does he not mean to say that perfidy us useful, that fraud is useful, but good faith useless and pernicious? And is he not driving to the conclusion that, with good faith and integrity disregarded, a prince should depend and rely on perfidy and fraud? Therefore his sense is “therefore a prudent lord cannot and should not keep his faith

1. when this is contrary to his plans or works against him,
2. when the situation which obliged him to give his word has ceased to exist.

spacer 10. When he says this, is there any way in which he can understand what he is saying? Or what he has most recent said and how contrary it is to his previous words? “Good faith is praiseworthy, and yet useless and pernicious. Perfidy and fraud are to be condemned and yet practiced, being most useful, as exclusively being useful and indeed necessary, without which a prince cannot exist, nor preserve his standing and dignity.” This is a novel kind of suasion, and Machiavelli a novel kind of professor of rhetoric or logic, who praises the thing he has denounced, and denounces what he has urged. He also joins “is praiseworthy“ and “should not occur, indeed cannot occur.” Hence it follows that this pair of rules and combination of things is something both to be criticized and put into action, and is something that is necessary to do. For who fails to see that those first words “cannot be” and “should not be” express the impossibility and wrongness of keeping faith, just as on the other hand they imply the necessity and rightness of perfidy and faithlessness? For when he says “a lord cannot keep his word,“ it therefore follows that “he must deceive.” To bring this about, let him see how necessary it will be for him to manufacture rules of justice for our benefit and give things new names, if it is unjust to keep the faith. At least what he said above, that it is worthy of all praise, will be wrong, as will that “nobody is unaware of how praiseworthy it is.” For Machiavelli has no idea how worthy of praise it is, while he values it less than what he imagines to be utility. And yet faithfulness is so praiseworthy that it deserves to be placed ahead of all other considerations of all princes, all other considerations of individual men as being the common bond of all human society — by which I mean the world — and of all individual societies of whatever sort, all states, commonwealths, families, marriages &c., as has been said. The man who thinks it is to violated for the single utility of his very own self does not properly comprehend its dignity3 and has no sufficient understanding of how praiseworthy it is. What of the man who does not rightly calculate his own advantage, if he imagines that this advantage might survive intact when the common bond of humankind has been destroyed? The king does not who believes that, if the foundation of kingdoms, good faith (which unites the subject to his king and the king to his subjects) is destroyed, his own kingdom will remain intact. And furthermore, he fails to see how much hatred he provokes among his subjects (for nothing is more hateful than perfidy and fraud), and how much among foreign peoples, together with a loss of his good name and honor and ill repute for cowardice: for deceit is naturally a part and parcel of cowardice, for which reason it is attributed to that least noble of animals, the fox, and held in scorn. And yet at all points Machiavelli proclaims that nothing is more ruinous for a prince, and more to be avoided, than contempt and hatred. In this he here, very imprudently, disagrees with himself. It therefore comes to no surprise if he opposes himself to the laws of nature and nations, to civil and divine law, and to the consensus of mankind, the philosophers and the theologians, when he is opposed to himself.
spacer 11. I am surprised at this (and I shall not say on whose idleness this should be blamed), that he offers no rationale for such a deep-seated o pinion, explaining why he disagrees so greatly with everyone else. He inserts a word “therefore,” to make it seem that he has stated his reason. But if you scan everything he has already said, you will find nothing to which this refers in all of the Latin translation, nor in his Italian text unless, it is this which he said, “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.” If the means this to be his justification, let the reader see how elegantly he goes about framing his argument. Would I not argue more rightly were I to say “many men of olden times did better who cultivated good faith and got the better of those who employed deceit, therefore faith must be maintained unsullied.” For I do not think Machiavelli meant to say that the nature of things has changed in our age of the world, and that deceit is more profitable than ever it was. And let the reader see whether Machiavelli should have:

1. expressly named those princes he had in mind.,
2. passed judgment on their deeds and accomplishments.
3. described their causes, origins and circumstances,
4. their successes, places, times, and consequences,
5. explained how these were beneficial for the times when they occurred, and what transpired afterwards.

It is needful to know all these things in order to pass judgment on them. For I shall not deny the possibility that some immediate success follows upon fraud, and that a man might be cheated out of nothing save his hope. But if everything is weighed in the balance, I would claim that it would become obvious that those successes, which appeared to be such at first glance, did not turn out for the best. And so, when he keeps these things concealed, he makes an inappropriate assertion, sweeping aside all examination of these things. Nevertheless, make claims as he will, or as any of his devotees might do, I have no doubt that, no matter whatever appearance of usefulness these things might immediately present, they will prove not to be happy in all respects nor in their outcome. And I think I can produce more, nobler, and happier examples of kings, commonwealths, and individual subjects which demonstrate the contrary. Even if his examples be Oliverotto, Borgia, or some father -pope, or the Dukes of Milan, Urbino, Mantua, or the King of Spain (that ruler over so many realms), or any man bearing any title you care to name, let the single example of the Roman republic suffice to stand against these all. For it accomplished more things, and more honorable things, than those gentlemen could even imagine or dream about, many of which showed how highly the Romans valued good faith, I mean their sayings and their deeds, as well has having a temple dedicated to Good Faith. And yet, it seems we ought to be arguing not just on the basis of examples (which are innumerable), but rather on the basis of reason itself.
spacer 12. But who is there who will not mock, or be disgusted by, the limitation he places on the observance of good faith and the conditions and times when he things this should be done? Namely:

1. “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. ”

What am I supposed to say to this? Since this is his wish, let us insert this clause in all our contracts. The ancient formula was “if I break faith, may Jupiter strike me as I am striking this sow, and let him strike me all the more since he is the more powerful.” Add to these words “as long as this is not contrary to my interests.” And, since there are two parties to a contract, let the both of them make this stipulation. Will this kind of bargain not be highly useful, especially when they go to an arbiter or referee who is supposed to calculate the value of a tort? Every man will want to be the judge presiding over his own case. “But” (someone will say) “this is not what he means: contracts are to be set out in express words. But however they are drawn up, this is how they must be observed. I know, but I repeat that it matters nothing whether they are thus understood or thus drawn up. For I know this too: both princes wants to be prudent, both think they are in the right. And whether treaties are thus drawn up or thus understood, or whether they are not understood at all, it is a sure thing that one of them is going to be acting in this manner (I mean breaking faith if he perceives this is in his interest), and so it is sure that the other one will be too. This is particular since this rule is now common knowledge, and this Machiavellian mystery of government has now been made public, with the result that now entering into an agreement means no more than not entering into an agreement, making a promise means no more than not promising, giving your word means no more than not giving it, pledging your faith no more than being deceptive, issuing a guarantee no more than deceiving or paving your way towards a deception. But this indeed is not deception but a mere game. For a man who openly admits he is willing to cheat, if he performs this does not deceive even when he does. Take two kings (the one of France, say, and the other of Spain) — if you imagine them entering into a compact, what games and jokes they would be performing, what foolishness on either side! To be serious, this is nothing more than to destroy every league, every compact, all society and, on the other hand, to nourish constant quarreling, constant warfare and hostilities, not to be concluded by any treaty -- hence no peace can be achieved.
spacer 13. Equal to this is the following qualification:

1. “a wise lord cannot, nor ought he to, keep faith when . . . the reasons that caused him to pledge it exist no longer. . .  ”

He heads in the same direction, dragging behind him the same inconveniences, so that now entering into a pact is nothing else than having the two parties entrap each other, and so I shall not linger over it.

2. “Because they are bad, and will not keep faith with you, you too are not bound to observe it with them.”

He writes as if he was driven to this opinion by necessity, since men have long been disposed to act thus. This is a pretty remedy and one worthy of its author, to enter into a competition over vileness. And yet good men do exist and men who, if not of the best quality, and not always of the worst to the extent that they reject all fidelity, so thing which (as I have said) cannot even occur among pirates or at least practice piracy. If there existed no other remedy, this one would still exist: “enter into no agreement, so that you neither cheat nor be cheated by violating any such.” But he resists this, and his devotees always shall resist it, but can never extricate themselves, because these devotees of advantage thus reject good faith and embrace perfidy, although nothing is more advantageous than good faith for public or private uses, conveniences, honor, glory, and pleasure, for private citizens concerning commerce, for princes about enhancing and increasing their power, when people voluntarily offer themselves and freely invite to mount their thrones men they know to be trusty, just and truthful, as was done to Numa by the Roman people, whom I have already shown to have freely invited him. This is a story commonly told about how kings have gotten their beginnings, for they are commonly chosen for power because they have a great popular reputation for justice. And there is this statement by the same man, blue that justice without prudence enjoys plenty of prestige, but prudence without justice does nothing to create confidence. For the more shrewd and clever a man is, the more unpopular and suspect he becomes once his reputation for probity is destroyed. Hence I do not think any people would ever have summoned Machiavelli’s Oliverotto or Borgia, or anyone else noted for his treachery to become their king. No private citizen would have entrusted himself to him, since his perfidy had ruined his credit. Hence this is the greatest obstacle to achieving things and enhancing one’s power, to the extent that, even if we were grant that perfidy and deception are useful for accomplishing something once, we are obliged to confess that they are useless for sustaining its progress, since it eliminates future credibility.
spacer 14. To counter this objection he adds “he who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived.” This is very silly. For (if all men are to believe Machiavelli and embrace this rule), there will be no man who allows himself to be deceived. For no man will entrust himself to another and nobody can be deceived save a trusting man. Thus he, that artist in deception, obstructs his own deceptive path and the subject-matter of his deception. Nor are Machiavelli’s arguments any the better:

1. because men are so simple-minded.

But they are not such if they are paying attention to this writer, and he has already stated that all men are treacherous

2. because they accommodate themselves to the times.

But this pertains to art and fraud. How can men be called simple-minded if they are so fraudulent, if they are so clever that they accommodate themselves to the times and so act fraudulently?A man who thus defers to the times is not deceived ( since he expects nothing good) but rather is himself striving to deceive. Nor is he possessed of good faith, but with equal slyness is pretending to be so possessed so he may catch the man trying to catch him. But grant that this so, grant that there be men who allow themselves to be deceived, and this out of simple-mindedness. Will there not be men who know how to perceive this. What is there in this Machiavellian prince which cannot exist in anybody else, although the prince imagines he alone is prudent and everyone else is a simpleton? I for my part fail to see why Machiavelli should not believe that somebody else can be equally clear-sighted, so that the foundation on which he erects his rules is a shaky one: that everyone else is simple-minded, thick-skulled, ignorant, and easily deceived. This is said at the end of this chapter: “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.” This is either said most incorrectly or is mostly hyperbole, and so, perhaps, is wrong, since it is designed to deceive and persuade the reader of what he is ostensibly saying (that all men are in truth dunces and insufficiently clear-sighted). For if we interpret him as speaking hyperbolically and only saying that a great deal o9f men are such, there is no logical consequent. For there are still some, indeed there are many (more than it appears to him) who have great intelligence and keen insight whom he is condemning in this way, and it only takes a few to detect and point out fraud. And now the entire Machiavellian art stands revealed, and its perfidy (if devoted to any matter of significance) could not be any more obvious, being exposed to all men’s sight.
spacer 15. Drawn from the same source, and with equal ineptitude, is what he adds: “a prince will never lack for honorable pretexts (or cloaks, if you will) he can offer for violating his faith.” No cloak was ever woven so artfully that its weave is invisible, or which can adequately hide a treacherous man. His speech, his edicts, his decrees and those of his senate, his clever interpretations of his action or of the law, are all in vain. Men can perhaps check their tongues so they do not mutter, but they cannot prevent their eyes and their from seeing, to prevent themselves from quietly mocking and hating the men responsible all the more. These fellows do no other than some little bird or beast which imagines that when its head is hidden it is entirely out of sight. Nor does a people fail to see, just because it stays silent., just as when a man catches sight of a fox he does not immediately, this does not mean he is not going to do anything worthwhile. He stands, silent, waiting for the opportunity to catch it. Then, when he sees it heading for his net, he draws near and scatters scraps meat, as if at random, to lure it. It does not matter that Pope Alexander VI ( a noble example!) devoted himself to fraud, nor if this made him successful (as he claimed), or even if he found many to deceive. As I have said, I do not claim that there is no success at all in fraud, but I stoutly deny that it is the best kind, that it is long-enduring, that it has a happy ending and conclusion to one’s affairs, but it does bear useful fruit for aiding one’s progress. In Alexander’s case, it is agreed that he failed to remain concealed: rather, as they say, everybody recognized the fox by its tail, and that he died caught up in his own snares.
spacer16. Don’t believe otherwise, prince. You will not long remain concealed in the wrappings of your frauds. Be as fine an artist at dissimulation as you would wish, even more learned in all the arts of deception than Alexander himself or that professor of his, blue one can see through your greasepaint, and at the first rainfall or light application of water it will be washed off: even now there are no lack of men with the eyesight of Argus, nor will there be then. The single bond of human society, the s ingle instrument for recruiting men to support you in your affairs, is affection, and that companion of affection, equity, and the companion of them both, good faith and sincerity. Why waste many words? This belongs to all nations, to all mankind. Men are won over, retained and led by equity, sincerity, and kindness. They are alienated, provoked and aroused by inequity, pretense, and sharp dealing. Shun this, you who are wise, shun it, think truly great thoughts and understand that prudence is a different thing than cleverness, intelligence something other than fraudulence. Now let this suffice for the matter per se.
spacer 17. Regarding its form, is there any insight or intelligence we ought to admire? He divides competition into two varieties, competing by laws or by force. He calls the former the way of beasts, and the latter that of men. We must resort to the latter, since very often the former does not suffice “if it is not enough to employ the first of these.“ Nothing here belongs to him, except that he takes things said by others and makes them worse. For Cicero has said this before him: blue “there are two ways of settling a dispute: first, by discussion; second, by physical force; and since the former is characteristic of man, the latter of the brute, we must resort to force only in case we may not avail ourselves of discussion.” This writer does a better job of contrasting disputation and force than Machiavelli does of might and right. Cicero also does a better job of designating the proper time for competing by means of violence (when recourse to discussion is not allowed) than does Machiavelli, quo appears to imply that one should always strive by force, or at least that the former most often does not suffice by itself. And they differ in this, that by “force” Cicero exclusively means war, but in his word forza Machiavelli includes fraud and trickery (which in Cicero’s eyes is hateful and lies without the limits of competition, not being a legitimate form thereof, as is visible in his metaphor of the fox, something contrary to force and which he himself makes contrary. Nor can you easily understand what he includes in the concept of “force.” Had he wished to speak more clearly, he would have subdivided that second form of competition into two kinds, the one featuring the open use of force and the other working furtively by fraud. Nor did he do enough in speaking about competition at law: Cicero more rightly calls this discussion, because it involves not just the laws but also reason, and involves only international law, inasmuch as princes are not bound by civil law.
spacer18. And furthermore I would not approve in all respects the way in which he calls this latter kind, that which works by violence, the something that belongs to a beast. For, although the former kind does belong to men exclusively, the latter does not belong exclusively to beasts. When reason is not heeded, men too resort to force, but in doing so do not cease being men and become beasts, but control their very violence by the use of reason: people do not behave in the manner of beasts, who are swept wherever violence carries them, so that the form of violent competition too belongs only to Man, to the extent that reason governs it, rules it, and determines its manner of operation and its purpose. But to the extent that not only reason but also violence is applied, a thing which is common to both species, Man and beast, it should not be called the exclusive property of a beast. It indeed is true that Cicero speaks this way. But surely for this reason, since violence belongs to the beast too, more than does reason, and this contrast is made, as it were, by way of a comparison, although not accurately and properly. Failing to grasp this, Machiavelli makes it worse, and (worst of all) draws this bestial conclusion, “it is necessary for a prince to understand how to avail himself of the beast.” There is no such necessity, nothing ever drives a prince to acting the beast. It is always enough for him to act the man, and man always consists of a body flourishing with strength, of a body and strength to be employed against those who refuse to heed reason, but in such a way that, being a man, in all respects he obeys reason and does not employ reason save according to reason’s dictates.
spacer 19. And as if either confirming or illustrating this statement he says, “ 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.” Indeed, he is manufacturing a novel mythology for our benefit, one unknown to any of the ancients. They strove,. inasmuch as they could, to convert beasts (i. e. men of a bestial nature and manners) into men by their wholesome verse and prose, as was indicated in the poetry of Orpheus and Linus. But the left it to Machiavelli to transform men into beasts, a fine task he was to perform with the assistance of his witch of a handmaid, Circe. And to those beasts he mentions, the lion and the fox, he adds the inappropriate person of the centaur. What dealings has he with them? Being shaped like a horse himself, he ought to be transforming them into horses, since he “brought them up in his own discipline.” But the belief is likelier that this means he instructed the princes of yore in the art of horsemanship. The mythographers did not attribute to him the inculcation of a lion-like or fox-like character, nor was this a feature of his art. But now Machiavelli chooses to beasts he wants his prince to imitate, the lion and the fox. The former, perhaps, is tolerable, for the lion is a noble animal, and so behaves nobly towards the arrogant but mildly and mercifully towards the humble -- unless Machiavelli did not think that the lion was to be imitated in this respect, being so unfriendly towards mercy. But that fox is the most infamous of animals, hateful, furtive, and base, and it is scarcely prudent for him to be thrust upon men (I mean men who are noble, magnanimous, such as princes most of all should be) as the ensuing example, hardly a commendable thing to do. He explains why he does this: the prince should be a fox in detecting snares, a lion in torrifying wolves, so as to avoid both fraud and violence. If these reasons are true, then they are praiseworthy. But what’s the need to bring beasts into the picture? Do not prudence and bravery exist in men, the one to being on one’s guard, the other to offering resistance? He imagined he was saying nothing new, it being a traditional manner of speech. But this was novel and strange, in which he appears to be concealing some great thing which the naive might admire. This may be one reason for this thing, but another lurks beneath it: he wants the man to be quite discarded and these beasts to be adopted, lest, if the image of the man be retained it entice him to some good, whereas his intention is to guide him to the highest degree of naughtiness and crime. Nor is he doing this which he claims to do with this manner of speech, to teach his prince to avoid snares and terrify wolves, i. e. to be on his guard against fraud and ward off violence. These things are too good and too just. He is aiming at something further, teaching him how to set snares and devour sheep by canniness and cruelty, qualities which exist in those animals to that they might commit acts worthy of themselves, by which I mean actus which are iniquitous, criminal and abominable.
spacer 20. What of the fact that he recommends these things only as extreme remedies for extreme evils, when what is stake is the gain or loss of power, a time when men are more desirous that something be allowed them? And this passage does appear to insinuate that this has to do with guarding against snares and terrifying wolves while having a care for one’s power and his life when they are in the utmost danger. And what he says at the end of this chapter, that a certain prince, had he kept his world, would have been doomed to loss of his power and his life. On the surface, this would be somewhat more pardonable, but in other passages he betrays himself and shows this is not his meaning. For at the beginning, when he is not speaking of the loss or gain of power, but about some other contention and strife, in which he says that oath-breaking princes prevail, and that those who have relied on good faith alone have failed to despoil them of their kingdom and lives. And below, even more openly, he says good faith should by no means be observed, even when life and power are not at stake, but when it is contrary to the prince’s convenience, in which utterance is comprehended even the slightest and most trifling profit is comprehended, so that even recovery from least little reversal is to be purchased by a loss of one’s good credit, so cheap is good faith in his eyes. And this is to be done, not just once or regarding a single matter, but throughout the course of one’s life, as the example of Alexander VI he provides goes to show. For thus he writes: “he did nothing else but deceive men, nor ever thought of doing otherwise, and he always found victims. And he did so, not lightly, but by making assertions and perjuring himself: “here never was a man who had greater power in asserting, or who with greater oaths would affirm a thing, yet would observe it less.” And a line or two later: “his deceits always succeeded according to his wishes, because he well understood this side of mankind (so he put it).” He praises this, that keen-sighted fellow. Do you want to know how steadfast he was? Read the words of the same writer at Discorsi III.xl, which he entitled THAT FRAUD IS FAIR IN WAR,“Let the examples of Hannibal and others show how praiseworthy it is to get the better of your enemy by scheming and other such arts, rather than by open violence, his deceits always succeeded according to his wishes, because he well understood this side of mankind,” in a passage wherein in his first word he says by way of a preface that every kind of fraud other than the one he recommends here is detestable: “although the use of fraud in any form of activity is detestable,” nevertheless in warfare it is praiseworthy. But not even in wartime or in dealing with the enemy does he allow us to break faith.” And after some lines, he says “I only say this: I fail to understand how that fraud can be glorious and praiseworthy which brings it about that you violate your oath and the agreements you have contracted.” Then he gives his reason“ Because this fraud, although it may sometimes gain you a realm and a position, if I may put it thus, never gains you glory.” But here he says that whatever either gains or keeps a kingdom always gains glory. What is self-contradiction if not this?
spacer 21. But I wish to summarize the gist of his doctrine in a few words, and set it before a prince’s eyes. It is:

1. now a prince should not be a man,
2. he should be a beast,
3. he should be a most cruel lion,
4. he should be a most deceptive, most shameful fox,
5. he should not give a fig for good faith,
6. he should violate it to gain even the slightest advantage<
7. throughout his life he should do nothing other than play the imposter,
8. he should deceive, and in order to deceive he should be effective in making asertions and impudent in lying.
9. he should swear boldly and terribly,
10. and on occasion perjure himself, and never keep his word,
11. and thus be skilled in the art of deception and practice that art.
12. This is useful and necessary for preserving his power and his life,
13. and is an excellent source of praise among men.

He says these things expressly. And, in consequence:

14. If he wishes to be called truthful, loyal, a keeper of his promises, and merciful, he must abjure the image and name of God,
15. which is a useless thing,
16. and deserving of criticism.
17. He should act like the Devil and become him,
18. and take on his nature and his name, who is reputed to be and actually is lying, deceitful, cruel, a skilled setter of traps, a lion and a fox.
19. This is useful,
20. and will gain you praise.

spacer 22. What am I to say? What are you to say, my prince? Fine! What an acute fellow! What a rare intellect!. Machiavelli himself may be a prince according to these terms, as far as I am concerned. But you who want to be a man, “may you not be overcome by such a dire craving for power.” blue I have no idea why Satan has claimed world domination for himself. Behold his spokesman and advocate Machiavelli, if we embrace all his devils and his princes, those servants of the Devil. Let them see to this for themselves and value him accordingly.


HESE things being so, he nevertheless adds (if such is possible) even worse corollaries and maxims in which he assaults all the virtues at once, but especially that queen of the virtues, piety. Let us examine them. First comes this:

1. “It is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated.”

The author makes himself clear: a prince ought not to possess these qualities, but he should give the appearance of having them. This is obvious in the second corollary he adds for our edification:

2. “To have them and always to observe them is injurious, and that to appear to have them is useful.”

These are those he says he has already listed (the ones enumerated in his Chapter 15), which I have summarized in a catalogue (in Section 4 of the present chapter together with their opposing vices, which need to be specified with those vices removed, as I have reported in Section 1 in his very own words. It would be reasonable to ask you to review them there, reader, but, lest I detain you overlong, I shall not find it bothersome once more to list them as an absurdity (this can never be stressed sufficiently) for your eyes, and an abomination for your mind. So they are these:

1. liberality
2. mercy
3. fidelity,
4. magnanimity
5. humanity,
6. chastity,
7. integrity,
8. tractability,
9. gravity,
10. piety or religion,

i. e., all the virtues. He lists these together with their opposing vices, and pronounces this rule governing them all: it is sufficient for a prince to avoid the infamy of these vices, which would threaten to deprive him of his power, but he ought to be untroubled by the rest, but if he can observe them, he should do so.
spacer 3. The fool either does not know or forgets that every vice, even that of the lest weighty, can very frequently acquire great weight for the loss of power, either immediately because they create either hatred or contempt (odium, if he is marked by a great vice, contempt if it is trifling, both of which he says can deprive one of his power. This is both because it immediately offers a step towards the loss of his principality, and also because it presents an opportunity for hidden hatred to reveal itself in those seeking a pretext for stealing his power, as he elsewhere says about Tarquin, blue it was not the rape of Lucretia that dethroned, but the opportunity this provided for those who wanted to dethrone him. Hence a prince should be concerned even about more trifling misdemeanors — if they are capable of seeming such — and to beware even of them even if they cannot depose him of his crown per se, even if they sometimes have no capacity even to weigh him down but only to be fun and games and appear to be counterbalanced by some more conspicuous virtue, as sometimes more serious sins, either concealed by the magnitude of other virtues or by men’s neglect or unconcern as they have their hands full with their affairs, or by the grace of the times, favorable to their characters (something Machiavelli sets particular stock on), or (as he also acknowledges) because Fortune does not always dethrone a man. Hence one can see that he was not right to exclude any vice from the list of those which can bring a king down, since sometimes even the least dereliction can achieve this. But if he wished to be consistent with himself he should not have included any vise in the number of those which can take away a kingdom. For what would it be? Not avarice, or (as he wished)

1. stinginess,
2. nor cruelty could accomplish this,
3. not perfidy,
4. not inhumanity,
5. not impiety (the source of them all).

He explicitly calls these useful for retaining power and says that their contrary vices are ruinous. And these are the gravest vices, and if they cannot deprive one of his principality, much less can the trifling ones:

6. lasciviousness,
7. levity,
8. unfriendliness,
9. lack of charity.

And so if no vices can take away a kingdom, a prince has to beware of none. Thus drawing this distinction of the vices into those which can and cannot achieve this is pointless, as he himself says, contrary to this distinction. For he explicitly adds this concerning the major vices: “to have them and always to observe them is injurious, and that to appear to have them is useful.” Let us observes how he corrects his. For he wants his prince to be loyal and religious in such a way that he is neither loyal nor religious. For thus he says:
spacer 4. “. . . 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.” But this can by no means occur if the prince is genuinely endowed with these virtues:

1. He has acquired a habit which is not easily altered, for virtue is habitual.
2. And he has so imbibed the love of them that he would not wish to abandon them if he could, nor could he if he wished.
3. Then he can be deterred from them for any price or because of any peril, since they are precious to him, so precious that they are priceless. Then let him cultivate them for their own sake rather than to gain some advantage.

Virtue is not deterred from doing right by an danger, rather it is driven to act since difficulty is its true arena and it is attracted to arduous things, which constitute the whetstone of glory rather than some discouraging bugaboo. And so when he says a prince should have “a mind so framed that should he require not to be so, he may be able and know how to change to the opposite,” he is saying nothing other than “a prince should be so endowed with virtue that he is not endowed with virtue.” To this is a dictum either said by a man indulging in tomfoolery, or not knowing what he should say, or at least not explaining himself when he wants to say something he dares not utter, or he is saying something he does not want to be believed because he does not believe it himself. Thus he is an astute fellow.
 spacer 5. But he continues by explaining himself, when he says, “ a prince . . . cannot observe all those things for which men are esteemed, being often forced, in order to maintain the state, to act contrary to

1. fidelity,
2. charity,
3. humanity,
4. and religion. 

This is never necessary, nor can a prince be such, not even if power were of great value to such a prince, I mean to a great-minded one. When there was a shortage of grain at Rome Pompey, the supervisor of the grain-supply, was hastening from Egypt with a great amount, was able to say, as the sailors were hesitating because the sea was rough and the winds blowing against them, that the ship “needs to sail, but does not need to survive.” Or, if this is too masculine for an effeminate man, too harmless for a criminal, too honorable for a villain, to great for a coward, to lofty for a low-down sort, and above the man who aims his all at advantage, measuring everything according to his own yardstick, and who fails to cast honor, dignity, praise or glory into the scales, regarding it as useful only survival and retention of power? why does Machiavelli not at least attribute some urgency to this necessity? Why not produce some argument to confirm it. He could have behaved in a manner befitting a legitimate professor of political science, by manufacturing some reasons to which we could either concur or respond? What is he doing now, pray tell? Does he offer any reason? Any example? Any argument? None of these. He makes affirmations, he asserts, he repeats, he utters the phrase “I venture to say.” For him this is logical reasoning, this is the man’s rare genius. Yes indeed, we see him venture, we regret it, we complain about it. But we too venture to say the contrary, and to contrast our genuine confidence in uprightness with his impudent effrontery, at least until he has produced some instances of men who, in the interest of preserving their lives and their power, have been driven to this height of necessity that they were compelled to act contrary to fidelity, charity, humanity and religion, so that we might consider:

1. whether for these reasons, carefully considered, they were compelled by that degree of necessity,
2. whether they did so for this reason alone,
3. whether this helped them and maintained their power intact,
4. for how long it did so.

It is reasonable that we be able to understand and weigh all these things. As long as he keeps them concealed by his silence, he excludes a genuine examination of the facts and, like a light-shunning animal, conceals himself in the lurking-holes of ignorance.
spacer 6. And yet he has no hesitation in drawing this fine conclusion: “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.” You inept, most impudent, most foul beast, even surpassing your recommended fox, for you to day these things! For you to write them and spew forth stuff drawn from Hell itself! Indeed the fox, that hateful, base little creature, has not abandoned its nature. This man discards all human nature, and outstrips all writers who have gone before him in turpitude and insolence, having cast away all semblance of shame. And he adds such great ineptitude that you can scarcely say whether any further exists. For it is base and dishonorable to draw no distinction between honor and dishonor. To profess shameless things, to profess and write them thus, as he does, is the most incompetent form of incompetence, thus attributing the course of a man’s life to the rule of Fortune and the winds for to o blow and whirl it around, taking no account of virtue, and sometimes no account of the honor and glory whereof he so often speaks. He is a fine captain who abandons his helm, virtue, who grows forgetful of the homeland towards which he sails, who does not heed the North Star (the Creator and Father of all things), and the light of reason we are granted by Him. And what’s his message? “Should he not depart from goodness while he has the chance?” No, he should never in any way depart from goodness. This is within his power to choose (or at least within his limited power), and is a reward of great value which should never, in any way, be lost save along with life and its breath, and not even be lost thus, but one should perish along with it. So heaven forbid that he should ever depart from goodness. If he perceives it is being driven away, he must cling to it stubbornly. If it flees, he must pursue it. If the gales threaten shipwreck, he must not despond. If a storm brews up, he should suffer the loss of all his other cargo. If his ship is burst asunder, he should cling to a plank or a rope (holding on to it). If he must perish, he should perish relying on it, if this is perishing rather than living and prevailing.
spacer 7. And what does Machiavelli mean by saying “if he can?” What bits of foolishness he conceals with this word, what an unworthy thing for him to imply that the loss of goodness can be remedied. To him, “if he can” means this: he can adhere to goodness as long as it offers him no danger, no struggle or strife. Then comes the sequel, “but, if compelled, then to know how to set about it, ”by which he means to do evil. What necessity can compel a man to “set about it” and do evil? Nature shrinks from evil, and shuns it because it is evil, and does so because this very thing, doing no evil, is a source of hapiness, just as, on the other hand, it seeks out the good, and never, in any way or for any reason, ceases its seeking. Yet every man should strive to learn how to do evil! Not doing evil is God’s province, and Man’s best condition is to resemble God as much as possible. The end towards which we strive is the good, the reef we steer clear of is evil. Therefore what he says is nothing than if he said “stay on course through your life, if you can. But, if necessity compels you, you should know how to run aground on reefs. Come in to port, if you can. But, if necessity compels, you should know how to wreck your ship.” Then we have his advice that a prince should be ready to steer his ship “as the winds and variations of fortune force it.” Truly? If they are bidding it run onto rocks and carry it in that direction, or towards sandbanks? Must the sailors obey? Rather, do they not battle against the wind, imperious and impetuous though it be? When it blows against them as they are heading to their harbor and goal, namely goodness, if they can do nothing else, they lower their sail and take to their oars, always pursuing the good they seek, and away from which, if they are pursuing it, no force of winds can ever drive them, so that “and he should depart from the good, if he can” is quite in vain. For he can always refuse to depart from the good. For he is possessed of goodness of mind whom nobody governs and against whom nobody commits violence, and possessed of goodness of actions which are impeded only difficulty and, even if they can be impeded, his will to perform them always remains, which is enough. Indeed, even if the action of all other goodness are impeded, those of his magnanimity, patience, fortitude, humility and humanity never are, and are only enhanced b opposing winds, so that, even should the world and its winds be opposed, to the best of his ability he who is willing never retreats from them. Hence we can see that he himself is aware how little he is saying when he speaks of retreating from goodness.
spacer 8. Next, so that we may gain a deeper understanding of the man’s intellect, let us consider the matter more closely and more carefully these words which (unaware of how they sound) he spews forth, “do not retreat from the good.” With these words does he not confess that goodness exist, and admit that the qualities thanks to which he has said “men are called good” actually are good? And when he says “to do evil” he likewise is admitting that evil exist and the opposing qualities he has listed are eil ones. Good! For we have, by his own admission (no matter how unwillingly) a distinction between good and evil. But, since that is good which men seek and evil which they shuns, nobody seeks the evil he shuns, or engages in that which he avoids. Therefore that which he calls evil is not evil if it is something to be chosen and engaged in, or, if it is evil, it is not to be chosen or engaged in, so that he is either giving his prince ill advice if he is supposed to engage in it (if it is evil), or he is wrongly calling it evil if it should be engaged in, and hence he is harmful to his prince in calling something evil which is both evil and which his prince should be doing. And so, whether thing is or is not evil, he is speaking nonsense when he bids him engage in an evil.
spacer 9. But let us continue and hear him dictating the logic whereby his prince should conduct himself: “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

1. wholly merciful,
2. wholly faithful,
3. wholly humane,
4. wholly upright,
5. and wholly religious.” 

In this entire work there is nothing which goes farther in revealing the man’s incompetence than this very thing which most pleases himself and his ilk, and in which all his art is employed. For this is nothing other than a self-contradictory confession that the virtues which he instructs his prince to despise are in fact most useful, most necessary, and the best means at his disposal for retaining power. For why should a prince take the utmost care lest he let anything slip which does not replete with these qualities? Why should he appear to be “wholly composed of these virtues?” or, as he himself puts it, “wholly merciful,“ “wholly faithful,” and so forth? Indeed, the reason is because these virtues are beloved, prized, and held in honor, since their opposing vices are regarded with hatred, ignominy and contempt. This being the case, since he himself throughout his following chapter urges his prince that hatred and contempt are the things most greatly to be avoided, and love and honor (or, if you prefer, esteem) are to be pursued. It follows of necessity that virtues are most to be cultivated by a prince, and their opposing vices are to be avoided. And so:

1. just now he has wrongly said that these virtues destroy a prince’s power and esteem,
2. and was wrongly daring when he said “I venture to say,”
3. and flatly over-bold and impudent because he spoke no more against all
spacera. reason,
spacerb. authority,
spacerc. and experience,
than against himself and his teachings.

Nor does it help his cause that he says that only the appearance of these virtues is helpful, whereas they themselves are harmful, since he is revealing is ignorance all the more For these are contradictory, that appearance helps while realities do harm. For appearances are helpful because of the realities themselves, since nobody loves a prince because he possesses the appearance of virtues, but rather because, seeing the appearance, he thinks the prince possesses the realities. But if he sees the appearance but learns that the prince lacks the virtues themselves, now he loves him no longer, but rather hates him all the more, both because he is endowed with vices and because he feigns the virtues, and because he wants to deceive men and mock God. An so, since it is not the appearance of virtues but rather the virtues themselves that men love and hold in respect but rather the virtues themselves, and since they most greatly loathe empty appearances, the prince must strive with ever precaution lest he be thought to be a mere pretender to the virtues, since there is nothing men detest more. But, then there is no better way to gaining this prestige than to be genuinely endowed with these virtues, it follows that a prince must exert every carte hat he be genuinely, sincerely and wholeheartedly endowed with them. Any other path leading to it whatsoever is silly and foolish. And although this is true of every virtue, it is most true of that queen of all the virtues, religion and piety, concerning which he adds “there is nothing more necessary to appear to have than this last one, religion.”
spacer 10.. But I would more correctly interject that nothing is more necessary fora prince to have than religion, since it does the most to render him revered by both his subjects and foreigners. Nor is anything more greatly to be avoided than that he feign religion,which makes him most hateful to God for mocking them both. Hence in a matter of such great importance his advice is unsafe. Nor is Machiavelli the best of advisors who offers his prince the advice (questionable, at the very least) that he should bypass the thing itself and only act the part, for if he is not the most adroit of actors, he will run the risk of incurring such ardent hatred. This means laying down a rule that he play his part very adroitly: “But it is necessary to know well how to disguise this characteristic, and to be a great pretender and dissembler.” But he only implies the difficulty and very great risk in this business: if someone slips up in acting his part, he runs the risk of gaining the greatest hatred and worst esteem from men. Is it not better to travel a smooth route, where there are no windings of the way, no hidden ruts which might trip you up, no artifice with which you might conceal yourself (and destroy yourself, if you fail to do so). Indeed, I maintain that this not only a difficulty (which, were it such, might be avoided), but an impossibility. This impossibility is created by:

1. the nature of the thing, of which there exists that sage maximum “no pretence can endure forever.”
2. and human nature, not yet grown so deplorable that it does not condemn things that have thus been far done in a straightforward way but now begin to be torturous. This is the first punishment, that nobody it deems to be guilty is receives absolution.
3. Thence (although this goes against the will of every rascal), there are lingering sparks of righteousness and a restraint on his wilfulness, that he refuses to commit all the things which tend to bring this about, and which are needful for enacting this role, as our very author attests when elsewhere he complains “men are not evil enough.”
4. Also ignorance, since he is not all-knowing, and
5. incompetence, since he cannot adapt, control and manage his
spacera. mind,
spacerb. tongue,
spacerc. face,
spacerd. and actions
to this task, as this art requires,
6. and sometimes a slip of the memory, so that he forgets what part he is playing (the worst sin for a pretender), for the most mendacious of men must be the man with the best memory.
7. And finally, the people themselves are not so obtuse as to be unable to see through him, and there are plenty of men like Argos, and no few like Lynceus, blue ever-wakeful and ever-watchful, and who (I have no doubt) can even look even into the inmost recesses of the heart.

Hence the arguments he produces in favor of this thing have no weight. The first of these is:

1. “Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand.”

Let it be so: here the eyes are sufficient, for by their very glance they judge the greatest part of these things well enough, and some vices cannot be dissimulated, or virtues be feigned. This pretty much embraces all of those which are concerned with action, such as liberality (how can you simulate it save by acting liberally?). And humanity, save by acting humanely. Nor if you feign fidelity can that long remain hidden (I have spoken about its excuses, and that suffices). Only piety, being entirely a matter of the mind, is discerned with greater difficulty, and its outward rituals such any man can see appear to permit pretense. But the impious can scarcely conceal itself so that it does not burst forth. Assuredly, you can rarely conceal it in such a way that what conceals it does not grow transparent, and all things pertaining to princes is set so high aloft that they cannot remain obscure.
spacer 12. Therefore what he says, giving the following rationale:

2. “ Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are.”

I certainly have my doubts, and like wise about what follows:

3. “ Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are.”

I believe that they do not do so

1. immediately,
2. nor dare to do so openly,
3. so that they will proclaim this in the market-place to the blare of a trumpet, except when they dare take up arms.

Meanwhile they can see, they can feel, and quietly nurse their indignation, and thus odium grows from this most bitter root, preparing to bear the most bitter of fruit (the removal of power) in the early spring time, by which I mean when the opportunity presents itself. Nor are these few in number, as I have said, but they are the best of men and the optimates, those who stand nearest to the prince and are the most able to see through his misrepresentations. Nor are these wont to be concealed, nor has the majesty of any individual ever been so great that it could suppress the liberty of men’s minds or entirely do away with private discussions, even if the birds of heaven bear that to kings. Virtue, virtue alone is that which begets true majesty, the image of God, and the man who besmirches that with his vices destroys his own majesty and cannot safely depend that of anyone else. Hear me, prince, whoever you are, and do not dream of anything else: for you, all other things are vain, and in vain you boast of your power. In vain you threaten vengeance, you will not suppress the power and the liberty of free speech. These things will always erupt to your great misfortune, the more so the more you strive to suppress it. Wretched the prince who thinks otherwise!
spacer 13. Nevertheless, he draws this conclusion: “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.” Really? No matter what the quality of these means may be, whether foul and felonious or praised by every man? Says Cicero, “For there are some acts either so repulsive or so wicked, that a wise man would not commit them, even to save his country. Posidonius has made a large collection of them; but some of them are so shocking, so indecent, that it seems immoral even to mention them. The wise man, therefore, will not think of doing any such thing for the sake of his country; no more will his country consent to have it done for her.” Shall our prince constantly do these thins for the sake of retaining life and power? And if he does, will these be praised? I nave no idea what they are openly saying is done in Machiavelli’s Italy, and I hope the world would not know, or ever discover, whether a prince would do these things, and do so openly, to p reserve his life and his power, or, if he should do so, whether these things would be praised or accounted praiseworthy for him. Somebody will answer that the occasions can never arise when it will be be in the interest of a prince’s life or power to do such things. But who will he give us as a guarantor of the impossibility of this thing? One’s enemies commit m any absurdities. And what will the vengeful Italian hand not threaten and commit to torment and disgrace the man it loathes? Hence I only mention this to demonstrate that which I already have; in human affairs there is something honorable and praiseworthy per se, and also something dishonorable, not praiseworthy, deserving of denunciation, and base. All over the world, the former is laudable and, even if life or a kingdom is lost for its sake, it remains so. The latter, on the other hand, is worthy of denunciation all over the world and, even if life and a kingdom are preserved by it, it remains base and unpraised. If this be true (as of necessity it is), his assertion will be false, “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.” This is a pernicious pronouncements, leading to the confusion of good things with bad ones, of virtue with vice, honor and dishonor, piety and impiety, fidelity and perfidy and so forth, as if there is no difference save insofar as each appears beneficial for one’s life and kingdom, and so each is indiscriminately to be embraced or rejected. He does not realize that thus he is destroying virtue, which he mentions so often. Among other things, this applies to friendship, which cannot exist save in virtue, and magnanimity, which tramples on kingship and takes away life when honor so commands. For he would never offer this advice if he did not imagine that the preservation of life and kingship by any means whatsoever is an honorable thing. He also destroys praise itself, by making praiseworthiness such an uncertain thing that it depends on results. And here he even pronounces fidelity (which at the chapter’s beginning he called praiseworthy) to be deserving of praise, and the kind of perfidy which saves a kingdom is now praiseworthy.
spacer 14. Had Alexander felt this way, he would never have run such risks for his life (and also his kingdom) so as to be praised by the Athenians. But here it may justly be asked whether Machiavelli is say this (the preservation of their lives and their kingdoms) is only praiseworthy for kings, or for every manner of man, by whatever methods and means they go about it. If he denies this, what reason could he give for this difference? If he agrees with it, he should see to what status he is demoting his prince. Thus for him to turn a profit by abandoning, betraying, and murdering would be praiseworthy and honorable only in the eyes of his henchmen. And, yet more absurd, this would apply to his children his wife, his father in their dealings with him, and to him in his dealings with them. And nothing in the world would be immune from betrayal, killing, and theft. Denying God, choosing whatever gods you will, adoring them with any rites whatsoever, to confound everything with thievery, incest, debauchery, uncleanness, all manner of abomination with the hope, or with the pretext, of self- enrichment, in sum anything at all would be praiseworthy in the eyes of anybody at all. Let us suppose that such was the world’s appearance — what manner of world, pray, would we have? What commonwealths? What cities and principalities? And what secure protection would a principality enjoy when his very own bodyguards threatened the prince’s downfall, when they were not bound to him in respect to their honor, or by any tie of fidelity which would inspire them to imagine they should risk their lives for his sake but rather, exclusively moved by considerations of profit (with a greater hope for this shining forth from some other quarter), led them to imagine that killing him would be honorable and praiseworthy? But when would this situation not exist? And how could it be prevented from occurring? I imagine the prince would offer them more. And yet, the more he offered, the more somebody else would promise. If he consents to offer them all his fortunes and the entire patrimony of his principality, another prince can make them an greater offer out of his resources, he can make this promise and this guarantee, and thus offer them greater security after he has been removed. So why should they fight for him and expose themselves to certain danger. If he gives them everything, they can fight among themselves, so that at least one party to the strife will defect to someone else.
spacer15. So who will hold them to their duty? To their honor? To Machiavelli this counts for nothing? Their fidelity? There is nothing of the kind once honor has been taken away, and he does not permit the prudent to observe even this. Praise? He locates this in the preservation of life and fortune. Religion? He tells us that its appearance is helpful but that the thing itself is harmful. One’s oath? But as far as he’s concerned that’s only a device for deception. Mercy and pity in a prince?
Cruelty is better. Perhaps humanity? But he urges us to act like a beast, and even that most base of beasts, the fox. All that remains is expedience. But that shines forth more brightly from another quarter, and it should therefore be pursued and our prince butchered. This is the fine security a prince enjoys, when he keeps company with men who think thus. Thus he will best preserve life and kingdom, by heeding this Machiavellian teaching. But he enmeshes himself in so many absurdities if he wishes to be self-consistent and measure the laudable only by the yardstick of expedience, that, unless he returns to the proper path and thinks that what is praiseworthy or honorable is such for its own sake, particularly for his prince to pursue and for everybody else as well, acknowledges that good faith must be observed, religion and piety cultivated, cruelty to be abjured, the beast to be set aside and human nature to be resumed, nothing can ever be safe for the preservation of life and power. If he is willing to accept these once again, albeit they are honorable per se, now they will be no less useful, things in the absence of which nothing is of any so, and they are to be accepted also for on the score of their use, so that he should observe them and others should likewise observe them for his sake, being most advantageous for his security, his reputation and his glory.
spacer 16. And let these things be said following in his footsteps, since in his entire disputation he considers nothing other than men and their opinions and how they might be deceived, which he thinks is sufficient and regards as easily done. But will it not be permissible to go a little farther and inquire a little into this: what is he going to do concerning God and his own mind? Does he imagine he deceives these too? Or that pretense and dissimulation will achieve anything with respect to them. For if God exist and governs the university, if a man exists aware of righteousness and crime, than what he has said thus far amounts to nothing. For even if he can deceive, please or cheat men, he needs to take account of God and his mind, which are incapable of being misled. Hence it is obvious even to a blind man that his entire argument is built on these foundations:

1. there is no God,
2. and no providence,
3. and no conscience concerning crimes.

These are empty falsehoods deserving of condemnation.
spacer17. Since he perceives this, what manner of man is he, and of what manner of judgment is he possessed? How great a professor of political science is he, being such a professor of theology. I am aware that it is the habit of his followers not to defend his impiety, but rather to admire his intellect and insight. I am not confronting this impiety, but I do estimate his intellect and insight according to his impiety, and I see that it amounts to nothing. And what do these gentlemen say by way of rebuttal? They admit that this teaching is impious. Therefore, I say, it is wrong. Therefore it is not intelligence, therefore it is obtuse and dense, possessed of no genius. For it is the property of intelligence and genius to hunt for, catch sight of and discover hidden truth. It is the property of stupidity to be deceived, to be go astray, to accept falsehood in place of truth. Hence it seems to me to follow of necessity that nobody can admire or praise the genius of Machiavelli without believing that his postulates are true and correct. And who believes these are true and correct must believe there is no God, no providence. And so let each man see what it is about him that he is praising, and at what price he indulges in this praise. He must be an atheist himself, a scorner of God, devoid of all religion, or I totally fail to see the nature of these things and their consequences.
spacer 18. Partaking of the same stupidity is the fact that he so badly miscalculates advantage in terms of the present time alone, a thing which, were farmers to do it, they would never entrust seeds to their soil. It is from this same source that he rejects fidelity as a useless or harmful thing, since it sometimes gives that appearance. But advantage can be spoken of in two ways, one with respect to the present and the other with regarding the future. The o e might appear on the surface to be utility when it is nothing of the kind and is the greatest form of uselessness, such as selling off one’s seed-corn or using it for present purposes because it appears to have a present usefulness. On the other hand, casting it on one’s field seems to be useless at present and of uncertain prospects for affecting the fertility or barrenness of this year’s harvest But, unless you employ this uncertain thing, so useless at present, you’ll never achieve anything worthwhile. Thus it is regarding the fruit of fidelity, piety, and the other virtues: with present usefulness foregone, this fruit might strike somebody as wasted, and rather as a loss incurred, with no sure hope for the future. Nevertheless this seed must be sown, and if you fail to do so, you deserve to reap flints. Nor is he possessed of any better judgment who measures the whole thing by the success of one or two men, as if a man were to demonstrate the futility of sowing seed in a field because once or twice they have cheated him by their sterility. Although Machiavelli produces no arguments or examples in support of tis thing. But I have already said everything about these matters which can possibly suffice.
spacer19. The reader only needs to be advised that he should add these to Machiavelli’s previous maxims, and behold what a fine catalogue he has compiled, as follows:

1. These virtues are unnecessary for a prince:
spacera. clemency,
spacerb. fidelity,
spacerc. piety,
spacerd. integrity,
spacere. charity,
spacerf. liberality,
spacerg. humanity,
spacerh. chastity,
spaceri. tractability,
spacerj. gravity.
2. The false appearance of these must be assumed. This is sufficient,and also useful.
3. They themselves are harmful and should be discarded.
4. It is impossible for them (i. e., their rules) to be observed by a prince.
5. He should struggle against these. Against:
spacera. fidelity,
spacerb. charity,
spacerc. humanity,
spacerd. religion,
spacere. integrity.
6. He should abandon good.
7. He should do evil.
8. He should be careful not to let any word slip that is not redolent of these five virtues,
9. and most particularly that he should seem religious.
10. It suffices to seem such,
11. since men do not see the truth,
12. and the few that see it do not dare offer opposition.
13. The vices are useful for a prince/
14. These are necessary:
spacera. stinginess,
spacerb. cruelty,
spacerc. fraudulence,
spacerd. absence of charity,
spacere. impiety.
15. He must care about nothing but retaining power.
16. Whatever means are used to achieve this are both praiseworthy and praised.

These things he says expressly. These follow in consequence:

17. God does not exist,
18. there is no providence,
19. nor any true worship,
20. no guilt for crimes,
21. and in truth no crime,
22. Nothing truly base or dishonest, foul or felonious.
23. Therefore killing your father, your children, your wife,
24. or butchering any men whatsoever, or as many thousands of men as you choose
25. or anything else is deemed to be foul.
26. Everything of this sort is praiseworthy if they preserve life and power, namely for men to feign piety, good faith &c., while in truth being impious, perjurious, and faithless.
27. Everybody ought to act thus.
28. and protect life and property by any means whatsoever.
29. This will be praiseworthy for them.
30. And therefore for this reason bodyguards ought to desert their prince, betray him, and slaughter them, and likewise sons their father and so forth.


ACHIAVELLI passes from those to the qualities he identifies as being of lesser importance. These are being:

1. vacillating,
2. trifling,
3. soft or effeminate,
4. timid or cowardly,
5. hesitant or doubtful of mind, or shifting in counsels and perhaps unsteady.

Among the virtues, these are the ones which he regards as contrasting:

1. magnitude (I believe he means magnificence, as is reasonable),
2. great-mindedness,
3. gravity,
4. fortitude,
5. steadfastness in his belief and creating this opinion about himself, so that no man fancies he can be swayed or deceived. This is indeed constancy, when it is not downright stubbornness.

He adds “about private matters, with his subjects,” as if this is some sort of qualification, but I do not understand for what purpose. For constancy ought to exist in a good man in all circumstances, whereas in a bad man it is the worst of policies not to heed someone urging better things. Here I shall not inquire into how appropriate his opposition to these things may be, nor carp at its high points. The rule he lays down are:

1. a prince should shun these vices,

And offers this reason, or this means:

2. as if they were so many reefs. For they are reefs, and if a captain runs upon them he suffers shipwreck and (being such) they need to be avoided
3. He display these virtues in his every act.

He states his reasoning :

4. since thus he will be held in the greatest esteem.

And its fruits:

5. since, in opposition to the man held in the greatest esteem.
spacera. a domestic conspiracy against him would be difficult,
spacerb. as would be an invasion from outside.

spacer 2. This is what he has to say about these things, by no means intolerable (although not wonderfully insightful and already handled by others), if he means that these virtues are truly to be embraced and these vices actually to be avoided. But if we believe that these are in agreement with what he has already said above, he is only speaking of their empty appearance. When he says “a prince should strive to make the greatness of his mind shine forth in every enterprise.” And here he is designating something scarcely feigned, but in doing so he contradicts what he has said above, “the appearance of the virtues is useful, whereas they themselves are useless and harmful. Then, because he recommends magnitude to his prince (or whether he is employing the word to indicate magnanimity), this is absurd for a man who has rejected liberality. Or, if he wants his prince to be engaged in great enterprises, this is insufficiently consistent, since he cannot become involved in great things without indulging in a certain kind of magnificence. Better to have steered clear of great enterprises than to be tight-fisted amidst great things.
spacer3. Third, he trips up because he wishes to see magnanimity in his prince, while wanting him to be impious, faithless, a perjurious, fraudulent, pretended, and a hypocrite only concerned about his life and power (all off which are marks of pusillanimity), whereas great-mindedness spurns and tramples on all these things:

1. indignant that somebody is pretending to be other than what he actually is,
2. unafraid of anybody or anything,
3. not valuing life or power so as to purchase it thus,
4. and not doubting he can defend these by other means (namely thanks to virtue).

These are the great things which inspire him, and he thinks nothing great which is not good. He acknowledges God as the only Good, models himself after His image, and thinks nothing else worthy of himself. Cease, whoever you are who is an atheist, to rattle on about magnitude or magnanimity. Whatever you are, you are puny, nor is any of his discourses more unbecoming to Machiavelli.
spacer4. Forth, because he drags in fortitude, he who relates everything to the saving of one’s life and think all things which preserve life are praiseworthy. But fortitude rejoices in facing dangers, and is willing to steel itself for the sake of praise among the common folk, or of justice, among philosophers. For Machiavelli, there is no praise or justice, merely remaining alive. Therefore in his eyes there is no such thing as fortitude.
spacer 5. Fifth, because he urges constancy on the prince whom he wishes to have a character capable of being turned about by every gust of wind. What then, if changing his opinion should have a bearing on the preservation of the prince’s life and power? What should his prince do? He will not change, says Machiavelli. So what of that flexible character? What happened to that praise one derives from any scheme for preserving life and power? He will not change, says Machiavelli. So what happened to that rule, “to will your opinion to remain unchanged.” Either this opinion of the prince is correct and useful, and so he should not change it because it is right an useful, or it is wrong and useless, and then he should change it, either in the philosophers’ sense that one must always adhere to the right, or in Machiavelli’s because advantage is always to be pursued, and whatever creates advantage is praiseworthy. Hence even by Machiavelli’s own standard, this is a dangerous rule, to show yourself so obstinate and stubborn in maintaining an opinion once formed (and perhaps rashly so), that he rejects better advice. But in the eyes of the common sort it is an honorable thing for him to be reckoned as prudent and constant. But among the prudent let him be deemed to be without honor, being stubborn, proud and arrogant. But this is useful for garnering one fame and esteem, things to be highly valued? But it useless for managing one’s affairs properly, which are things to be valued yet more highly, and which always beget fame and praise. Indeed, such successes based on good advice engender solid fame, whether a person has been advised by someone else or by himself.
spacer6. Sixth, Machiavelli can do no more to defend gravity, if he wishes to be self-consistent. For consider the case of a man who has been designated somebody’s heir on condition that he do a dance in the marketplace but refuses to perform (as Cicero says) blue even if his inheritance is to be lost, saying this is a matter that touches on his gravity. What would Machiavelli do here, it his had any bearing on the preservation of life and power? Certainly he who refers everything to advantage. would presumably reject gravity. Now this would be no reef for him, nor even a stumbling-block, but rather a harbor which he would not wish his prince to avoid, but rather to enter with full sails. Hence for a man considering this business carefully it is clear that Machiavelli acted unadvisedly in commending these virtues to his prince. For, since he recommends in everything he writes

1. that he render his prince as much of a criminal as possible,
2. as a rascal,
3. as impious,
4. as a liar,
5. as treacherous,
6. as hypocritical,
7. as stingy,
8. as bending with every breeze,
9. as foxy in his character,
10. as cruel,
11. as concerned only about his life and power.

These virtues make him most unfit for these purposes. For a magnanimous and brave men will prefer to die a thousand deaths, lose a thousand empires, rather than be guilty of of any of these things. Nor could you easily convince him that he could only stay in power by means of fraud. Indeed, it would be hard to convince him to use craft to gain a victory over his enemy in war, where craft is most held to be tolerable. Let Alexander say he refuses to steal a victory, let him say ten talents would be a small price to play, he doesn’t give a groat as long as his life is praised, he wouldn’t want to purchase world domination at the cost of perfidy. It is a fine saying of Sextus Pompey when he took Octavius and Antony aboard his ship and a lieutenant whispered in his ear “do you want me to cut these ropes and have me make you master of the world?” He refused, preferring to keep his good faith unsullied, and stated this was his preference. On the contrary, these vices which he tells us we must shun like so many reefs are of a kind that render a prince most fit for Machiavelli’s arts and most ready to commit any manner of crime,, I mean if he is timid, if he is a poltroon. Hence he would have no interest in praise, being intent only on saving his life. Hence would derive monstrous cruelty and shameful arts for a man never adequately secure about his safety. Hence would derive perfidy, impiety, and there would be no form of crime into which he could not easily be led.
spacer 7. So much for the remedies he offers against contempt. Against hatred, he recommends these two:

1. That he should refrain from plundering men’s goods,
2. and from raping their women.

But he adds honor, as if in an obiter dictum, when he adds “And when neither their property nor their honor is touched...“ and so forth, something he did amiss in not including before, or not very appropriate included under “raping their women.” For the removal of honor (or the addition of ignominy) is one of the causes which beget hatred, and such a broad-based thing (such as honor is) should not be restricted to the single action of raping women. This is something deeply embedded in men’s personalities which causes far more pain when they suffer outrage (as he himself acknowledges in the case of Pausanias (Discorsi III.6) blue

3. I omit the murder of one’s friends, about which whatever he might have had to say ought not to have been omitted.
4. What about haughtiness? Is anything more hateful?

The rest he has to say about the plundering of goods is handled very ineptly. When he named it, he limited it to plundering of goods held in common by the multitude, as if the plundering of individuals does not engender hatred. It would not be enough for you to have asked “why does he speak of goods held in common“ unless he was thus indicating taxes, things, to be sure, that ought to be avoid, but it is no less true that the goods of individual men should not be confiscated, and what are taxes other than thefts from many individuals. I have no doubt that his meaning was a prince should be unconcerned about appropriating the property of a couple of men, for that does not offend everybody or create universal hatred against himself, the one thing that needs to be avoid. Nevertheless this is pernicious advice insofar as it is unjust and sets a bad example which touches everybody, and is therefore contrary to his precepts, for he himself says “if once a prince grows accustomed to enjoying other men’s goods, he will never lack pretexts for plundering, nor will there be no end to it, although no prince is so bloodthirsty.”
spacer8. But if he want to be consistent with his previous statements, he should have no hesitation in plundering either individual men or everybody. For he only had to remember what he said above about being grasping: “it supplies the means for a prince to maintain an army out of his own resources.” The same results from plundering: “it supplies him the wealth and the means for supporting an army, from which he may surround himself with bodyguard. Supported by these he can make himself be feared, and being feared is better than being loved.” For, although he does make mention of maintaining good will, he nevertheless makes a slight enough of it, perfunctory and self-contradicting. What concern does he have about benevolence, when he has no care of justice. Why does he reject liberality? Condemn mercy? Renounce affability and the other gentle virtues which earn good will, being entirely inclined towards force and violence? And yet hear what he has to say: “A prince needs to avoid the things which create

1. contempt, or
2. hatred.”

Nothing is more true. This is inspired by nature’s illumination and goodness, and from the very sources of a genuine polity. But I would ask the fair-minded reader this, whether the vices he lists in this chapter do more to create hatred and contempt than those he has recommended in his previous chapters:

1. impiety,
2. perfidy,
3. fraudulence,
4. stinginess,
5. cruelty and so forth,

so that on the same score that these vices are to be avoided, for the same reason so are they. Indeed, they are all the more to be avoided because they do more to engender hatred and contempt.
spacer 9. For nothing is more contemptible than a niggardly man, nor more hateful than a cruel, fraudulent, or impious one. Nothing is more odious than the pretence of every virtue, nor is their any path that directs one further away from glory. For if anybody imagines he can achieve solid glory by

1. pretence.
2. vain ostentation,
3. false speech,
4. and appearance,

he is vehemently mistaken (as the man said): blue “all fictions fall as quickly as the petals of a flower, nothing feigned can be enduring.” And, a little later, “therefore anyone who wants to gain true glory must be willing to perform the duties required by justice.” For we are easily seen to be what we are, and the same false logic will vainly make a pretense of piety, good faith, and integrity. If you wish to be deemed endowed with these qualities (as Machiavelli wants you to be), you must be endowed with them (which he does not). But this is wrong-headed. There is one short route to achieving these things: must be what you wish to be thought. Here I pass over what he said at the beginning of the chapter, when he promised to speak of “the other qualities.” For he immediate adds that he will do so by subsuming them to hatred and contempt. He scarcely speaks a single word of them themselves. Let this be ascribed to his lack of erudition, which we should condone.
spacer10. But what manner of thing is it when he said “A prince must fear threats both foreign and domestic, and is defended from foreign ones by his arms and his allies? Is he not also defended from domestic seditions and conspiracies by his arms and his friends? And that statement of his, “if he is well armed he will have good friends?” For these very good arms are his friends. And good arms (like any other good condition) create friendship of some kind or other. But are these good friendships, or they good friends, who depend on his good arms and his good condition, and come or go, change or are transformed along with them? But what does the man who thinks it better to be feared than loved have to do with friends? The man who refers everything to his own advantage? When someone removes all good faith between men, what room does he leave for friendship? Surely it is unbecoming to have such a holy word on such unholy lips? And this is wrong: “affairs will always remain quiet within when they are quiet without.” Although up to a point they may be more secure, so, on the contrary, “when affairs are quiet at home, they will be even more so abroad,” and a foreign power will have more difficulty in attacking this prince when all things at home are safe.” And yet these things are not lasting. For oven when peace prevails at home things are assaulted by a foreign war, and when peace reigns abroad domestic affairs grow turbulent. But the qualification he makes is ridiculous: “ unless they should have been already disturbed by conspiracy.” For cannot there be open sedition where furtive conspiracy did not exist? Or if he includes sedition under the title of conspiracy, taken broadly, then this would be the same as if he were to say “domestic matters will remain secure unless they won’t be secure, no disturbance will arise if nothing is disturbed. Nor will this condition remain perpetual,: “ he who conspires against a prince always expects to please the people by his removal.”
spacer 11. Sometimes, having satisfied his mind over some private grudge, the assassin neither seeks nor cares about anything further. And the inference Machiavelli draws quite does away with all conspiracy. He says that

1. A conspirator cannot act alone
2. nor recruit an accomplice not recruited from the category of those he imagines to be unhappy with their condition.
3. But as soon as you divulge your plan to them, they are given the opportunity to satisfy themselves by revealing your intention to the prince.

And yet elsewhere he writes that a one-man conspiracy can exist (albeit it can never be any kind of conspiracy if such it is). Therefore we can have our doubts when he says “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 if we understand “popular” here as meaning only the good will of the common people, with the leading citizens not taken into account, nothing could be more mistaken, as he himself acknowledges below. But if by this word he means to include them too, I admit that any conspiracy would be rare and hard to accomplish, but it would not be so truthful to claim there could be none at all: see what I have just said and what what he himself said about Pausanias acting against Phillip and a certain Turk against Bajazet. blue It would have been unsafe for a prince to rely on this advice, since, rendered secure by it, he would have been careless about not giving private citizens the occasional individual private citizens the occasion to hate himself. which I fear is what Machiavelli was driving at when he teaches that what he called “universal hatred” is something to be avoided, since he was unconcerned about private hatred, a prince must nevertheless attend to this both for justice’s sake and it because it is not free of danger. The affection of all citizens needs to be cultivated, as can be done, to the greatest possible degree.
spacer12. Hence this precept, “a prince must avoid universal hatred.” I would add “he must cultivate universal love.” But this by itself is not enough: he must cultivate the love of individual men, insofar as is possible. I do not imagine anybody is so stupid as to be unaware of the difference. What a distance between an absence of hatred and an abundance of affection! The former brings it about that men do not act contrary to their duty, the latter that they contribute more than their duty requires and dedicated themselves, their all, their estates and their lives, to his service. But the other sort does nothing but not to hate, and so it comes about that they neither hate nor love. What’s the result? They do not seek to harm him? This is true, but they have no concern for helping him. The same applies to his second precept: it is not enough that he avoid incurring contempt. He needs to seek after glory and do great, glorious things to inspire admiration in men’s minds. Machiavelli offers this conclusion: a prince need fear no conspiracy as long as the people are favorable. But this is refuted by the very next thing he says, “wise princes have taken every care not to drive the nobles to desperation.” Why take this care? Is it not because hatred from this quarter is also risky for a prince. Indeed, and it is great, I do not know whether it is more immediate and more dangerous than popular hatred. Above he has said that the nobility are:

1. more prudent,
2. more perceptive,
3. more capable of seizing the opportunity
4. to lay hands on their prince,

whereas the common people can do nothing but abandon him. Such is the reckoning of the peril from both these camps. I say no more.
spacer 13. But that subtlety he introduces concerning the kingdom of France and how its senators were set up as judges ,blue I cannot approve of what he describes as noteworthy in this business, “princes ought to leave affairs of reproach to the management of others, and keep those of grace in their own hands.” I do not think that this account has to do with who was the first to establish that kingdom or that senate, but rather with an avoidance of hard work (as princes are wont to do), or of knowledge and judgment, which the king imagined to be greater among those learned men than in himself. There was no reason he had to fear presiding over suits himself and pronouncing justice (which entailed avoiding doing his own proper duty). Nor would the nobility take it amiss if the king were to do what the senator do not begrudge doing, namely to pass judgment justly and in accordance with the law. Indeed, the king should have very eagerly embraced the opportunity of gaining favor from both orders by his fair judgment, since assuredly there is naught more popular than justice (unless, perhaps, he mistrusted his own learning or was thinking of his leisure, although the condition of his learning is a matter of no great difficulty for a prudent man if he lets himself be guided by nature, which does not grasp after jots and tittles or the subtleties of pettifogging lawyers). Starting in his childhood a prince should become accustomed to passing judgment, as is the custom among the Persians, and, should any unaccustomed problem arise, he can consult with others, hear and weigh their opinion, and thus himself easily determine what is right.
spacer14. But it was far less permissible for the king to gain leisure time by abandoning what was nearly his single proper business, indeed his principal one, practised by the kings of olden times. Thus Philip of Macedon, admonished by a little old lady, acknowledged his duty and performed it. Advised that he should more properly pronounce judgment and bidden to bestir himself, he did so. blue Thus many kings, and even nowadays it is welcome to both most welcome to the people and approved by the nobility when princes choose to do this. Therefore I think all his argument is more subtle than solid, and that there is no great difference whether princes perform this task themselves or by the agency of others, as long as in either case it is sufficiently established that they are responsible for its doing, since they have the power to command, forbid, overrule as they choose, claiming this right for themselves and thought to possess it by most of their subjects. But if someone thinks there is something of weight in this business, let him employ it, I shall not contest it.
spacer 15. But here’s the general conclusion he draws at the end of his entire discussion:  “And further, I consider that a prince ought to cherish the nobles, but not so as to make himself hated by the people,” which he says he is repeating. I scarcely see why he thought this required repetition. But inasmuch as he did, allow me to repeat my own, namely that this is too weak and feeble a precept, that he should “have regard for his nobles and value them. Better had he said:

1. princes should be greatly on their guard against popular hatred,
2. and even more so of that of their nobility,
3. and also of individual subjects.

Yet this is insufficient:

1. Popular love must be courted,
2. and even more so that of the nobility,
3. and also of individuals.

But this is not enough. I add:

7. Their most ardent love is to be courted, to the greatest extent possible.

I mean to the greatest extent to which human nature or reason can attain. There is no risk of excess: the greater it is, the better. Here is the root warmth of kingdoms from whence they derive their vitality and vigor. It grows feeble? Then everything languishes: it is not truly alive, it makes insufficient use of its vital functions. It grows moribund if this heat fades, it is dead if it has grown extinct. For whom does it suffice to have escaped hatred, I mean not to be stabbed in the heart? Is it enough to have taken this precaution? Is this the sum total of political science? Do not believe this, my prince, do not act merely so they won’t conspire against you, but to gain this, that they would pluck out their eyes and give them to you, nor so that they will not deprive you of your realm, but that they would lay down their lives for its sake. This is political prudence, this is the royal art, something a king must learn and practice. You want to learn the way? Learn the virtues, learn the gentler ones, together with justice: mildness, humanity, mercy, liberality. To sum it up: love truly, be a truly good man, so that you may be truly and serious loved.
spacer  16. Machiavelli continues by asking himself a question: how does it happen that some men who have pursued virtue have perished? Just as, on the contrary, of those who have taken the path of vice some have perished but some have prevailed? To solve this, he ties himself up in so many knots and involved himself in so many intricacies:

1. in his preface to this matter,
2. in preparing to discuss it,
3. in his digressions meant to retract this statement,

that it can readily be seen he scarcely understands this himself or knows what to say. But it takes no great amount of effort to reduce the man’s lack of method to something methodical. The general idea is that:

1. in order to find an explanation he considers the actions of ten Roman emperors,
2. of whom three (Julian, Macrinus, Heliogabalus) he prudently passes over with this fine excuse: “being contemptible, they were quickly wiped out.”

But how so “quickly”? Julian was the one to die the quickest, and he reigned for seven and a half months, i. e. an entire month and a half longer than Pertinax who ruled for only six months or, as some would have it , only two, but this was not the reason Machiavelli ignores him. But Macrinus governed for an entire year and two months, and Varius Heliogabalus for two years and eight months, so that anybody can see that this excuse is an empty one. And, however the case may be, Machiavelli should either have discussed their activities or not brought them up for discussion. Yet allow me to use his confession that these emperors were

1. abject and contemptible,
2. quickly wiped out,
3. and wretchedly so.

And yet they were such as Machiavelli wants his princes to be, namely:

1. very criminal,
2. impious,
3. perfidious
4. cruel, who foreswore human nature and assume that of beasts.

Everybody knows this, and perhaps he regarded this as an embarrassment.
spacer 17. Commodus, Caracalla and Maximinus were not much better, nor did they suffer a better end, for a similar reason. They were cruel, savage, infamous, and very great criminals, such as Machiavelli commands. The last of these was a traitor and a parricide, perfidious and perjured. He was responsible for a conspiracy within the army and the unspeakable murder of the best of princes. He himself suffered the lack of discipline with which he had imbued his soldiers, being murdered by those same fellows (whom he had once armed against his master) together with his son thanks to a similar act of perfidy although by better rights, before being able to taste the frit of his crime (whatever that may have been), after an interval of barely three years. Therefore Machiavelli has summoned these emperors as six eloquent witnesses against himself and what he has said in his previous chapters when he endorsed cruelty, perfidy, and the other vices. He rejoices in the seventh (namely Septimus Severus), and is eager to parade him as a fox, a lion, cruel, fraudulent and cruel, who enjoyed the best of success. Other writers do not represent him as such, having been educated by the philosopher Marcus Aurelius Antonius, that best professor of the virtues. They suppose it was not his deceit against Albinus, but rather Albinus’ ingratitude towards him which led him to declare war against the man, for he had attempted to murder him after having been granted a share in the empire. Nor was it an act of cruelty that he executed Letus, but rather one of justice, since that man arranged for the murders of Pertinax, an excellent man, and Commodus (who, whatever manner of man he was, was his emperor). Nor punish the soldiers had murdered Pertinax beyond banishing them from their position of power. blue Nor did his execution of Plautianus, whom he had raised to the pinnacle of authority and to whose son he had betrothed his daughter, for plotting against himself and his son, come under the heading of cruelty. The reason that he exercised such savagery against Christians had to do with the ignorance of the times, something which we see that not even those mildest of princes, Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius were immune, no matter how pious and true they were. I would not altogether excuse him for being more severe in exercising the law against his enemies, but this was a far cry from the savagery of many emperors, who compounded a pretense of perfidy and friendship to ensnare men and then butcher them after they were ensnared, as Machiavelli recommends.
spacer18. And, just as this is a single example to set against the six others he himself has cited, so it is single example that fails to match the countless others which could be adduced from that part of the world and others. Then too, just because as in this man or in any other the vice of cruelty worked less damage because it was covered over by the splendor of his other virtues, this vice is not therefore a virtue, nor an evil a good. This serves to excuse that, not to render it acceptable, and tolerates it like a blemish on a fair body, rather than commending it as something fair that ought to be done, and much less as a necessity. But those emperors who were good, first and foremost Marcus Aurelius, Machiavelli himself admits and histories report that they lived and died most honorably. And he admits the reason: because he was surrounded by such a bevy of virtues that rendered him venerable and august. But what were the virtues that comprised this surrounding bevy? Are they the qualities Machiavelli identifies as those without which neither life nor power can be preserved? Stinginess? Cruelty? Impiety? Deceit and perfidy? (For he attains to such a height of impudence that he calls these virtues, as it sometimes seems and as his words sound.) Not in the least, and assuredly not the pretence and false appearances of the true virtues, something he so praises and calls most useful. What then? The veritable virtues, just as he had the cognomen of Verus, indeed by inheritance but something that fitly agreed with him. I wish to quote a historian’s words, “he was a good man and was possessed of no pretense.” blue
spacer 19. He was a genuinely good man, i. e.,

1. just,
2. faithful,
3. truthful,
4. as good as his word,
5. humane,
6. merciful,
7. liberal,
8. kindly,
9. modest.

And he was a knowledgeable amateur of learning, wise, prudent, brave in battle, skilled at military science. Even when he was an emperor, even at the age of fifty, he haunted the philosophers’ schools, listened, learned, and conformed himself to righteousness as he had absorbed it from that source. Such was he. And yet he lived among men, among men of whatever sort, and (as Machiavelli admits) hung on to power and preserved his life. Therefore Machiavelli testifies against himself regarding all these things and against these ever-so-certain rules of his:

1. a prince can live among bad men and remain good,
2. he can survive,
3. he can rule,
4. he can live and act righteously.
5. he can govern by goodly arts,
6. It unnecessary for him to call upon the evil arts,
spacera. cruelty,
spacerb. treachery,
spacerc. impiety,

and the other vices and “qualities” (as Machiavelli calls them) thanks to which men are called bad, for helping him maintain life and power.
spacer 20. So at least put your trust in Marcus Aurelius, my prince, and make this Roman emperor your model for imitation rather than Cesare Borgia. “But not all good princes have enjoyed the same successes as Marcus Aurelius,” somebody will object.

1. “Not Pertinax,
2. nor Alexander Mamma.” 

The one was assassinated by the praetorian prefect Letus and the other by Maximinus and the soldiers he had corrupted.” I believe this, and not all bad ones have suffered the same outcomes as Severus, if such we think him to have been. But has there ever been a ruler so good that no bad man hated him? Or any prudence so foresightful that it could not be misled? That it could always remain intact? Or any art so sure, or at least any artist so skilled that he encountered no adversity? We are all men, only half-perfect and half-prudent. We make mistakes, we are tossed about, we slip. The hard condition of ruling admits no evil, but requires much art. It must sail a very turbulent sea, though sandbanks and shoals. Winds must be tested and guarded against. Now one must use no sail, now a moderate one, now a full sail, and now must employ only one’s oars. Perhaps you must turn backwards in your course, or it will be enough to pause for a while and stand at anchor. What if sailors make a mistake in any of these things, and do not apply their time and their art to this business? Is that a reason why we should abandon the art or think it is nothing. Will we impute the artisan’s fault to the art? Pertinax was made of harder stuff, as his name proclaims. And if he was tenacious for righteousness, who knows if he was tenacious enough? Did he want to check the praetorians’ license? This was not easily accomplished by him, for although he was indeed the emperor he was an old man, weak and formerly a man of small account, having taught grammar and being the son of a freedman.
spacerspacer 21. What is this political art? Commit no crime, consent to no crime, let this always be sacrosanct. If your money can fail, let it fail: do not let tis trouble you, the time will come when you can recuperate it. And those men can be recovered: they are men, now they are going astray, but they can be corrected or placed under arrest. Or, if that is not possible, grant this for humanity’s sake, for your own, for your commonwealth’s. If a man remains stubborn and fails to heed you, if he has otherwise been a good man (although insufficiently good in this, and straying from goodness’ norm), if he goes to ruin this is not to be imputed to his goodness. And there are some who would prefer him not to be more concerned about being steadfast in his ways than to his money, and to this extent to sin against those ways But if he holds fast in his purpose and prefers to die rather than indulge them to the slightest degree, and if he has become convinced this is more honorable, what evil can befall him when what he preferred comes to pass? There is a situation in which losing one’s life is profitable. Thus it was with that other emperor (otherwise a good man, who deserved to live and reign as long as possible) Alexander Severus, if he sinned in his excessive or untimely severity, as did Pertinax, more pertinacious and sailing with fuller sails than the wind required, and became overwhelmed by the floods or was driven onto rocks or shoals and suffered shipwreck and perished. It was not the art but the artisan that perished, not precisely governing affairs according to the art. Let the be blame be placed on him for being ruled by his mother’s advice and on his mother because in her greed she plundered the provinces and stood in the way of her s on’s liberality. And indeed he was more effeminate in waging war against the challenge of Ardashir and the Persians, with difficulty provoked into leaving the city, looking back and weeping. When it came down to business, two parts of his army he had sent ahead for battle deserted and he lost one of them, while he indolently held on to a third which he had promised to bring up with himself. But be these facts as they may. I am not one to deny that good men and the best of princes can sometimes be overcome by bad ones. But should we think this a reason for abandoning goodness? Yes, says Machiavelli. Goodness is your enemy. For it creates hatred among those on whose help you must rely, their hatred creates plots, and plots being about your death. My response is, let us let this pass and let it be so, what then should we do? You should indulge their humor,” says he. Thus he speaks about indulging the humor of those whose help you must employ, be they soldiers, nobles, or the common people.
spacer 22. But how, pray tell, are these men to be humored? How to satisfy them? In such a way that the prince himself becomes equally corrupted and involved with the same vices as they? In the rape of women, I suppose? In threatening harm to rustics and all sorts of helpless folk, in plundering, administrating beatings, pillaging cities, so that, if they are cruel, faithless perjurers, the prince himself must become a cruel, faithless perjurer? Must the prince humor them by becoming as bad as they are? If this is the case, they would never have put any deep-dyed criminal to death. Not Commodus, Bassianus, Maximinus and the others he lists who humored them or even surpassed them. This is as if a physician who acts to cure a sick man must fall sick himself and suffer the same malady. In the same way the people is sick, as are the army and the nobility. They must be humored, they must be satisfied. So must their prince himself sicken and adopt the same vices? This is silly and foolish, and nobody in his right mind would say so. If he did so would he satisfy them? No more than a physician would satisfy his patient if he suffered from the same disease. If you were treacherous do you imagine you would satisfy a traitor? Not in the world, even a traitor hates treason. Or a greedy man, if you were greedy? Even less so, for thus you would forestall the prospects of his own avarice. An arrogant, inhumane fellow, if you treat him arrogantly and inhumanely? A cruel man, if you are cruel towards him? So it is not goodness which they hate, nor vice that they love, nor could you satisfy them by adopting the same vices. What if you tried to satisfy them by adopting the virtues? Indeed, you would do a fine job of satisfying a greedy man if you were to employ generosity in dealing with him. You’d satisfy an arrogant man if you were kind and humble, and likewise an unreliable one if you kept your promises, and a cruel men if you were to practice clemency No man ever hated these things, nature herself embraces and adores them. Expedience recommends them, they are accepted by all men everywhere, they are welcome to all. No man has ever been murdered because of them.
spacer23. “But,” someone will say, ”a prince should be a criminal up to the point that he tolerates their crimes and plundering, and allows them license. If he does not do so, he is murdered.” My answer is, first, that this is not what Machiavelli says, but rather that the prince himself should be cruel, faithless, and so forth. Next I ask you if, the prince tolerates these things and allows them to such men, will he be safe from them.” If he says this is so, let him demonstrate it by the experiences suffered by all the emperors he cites here, and by his own confessed observations about them. But suppose he admits that it would be unsafe for a prince, whether he allowed crimes or himself became a criminal. For, because of their avarice (which he can never satisfy), or because of the depravity, malice and ambition of one of them who invents some reason for inciting either some or all of the rest against him, what profits a prince in tolerating their crimes, when doing so makes him none the safer? Hence, whether Machiavelli says the one thing or the other, becoming criminal and showing complacency towards criminals is no route to the security he seeks. This either consists of acting aright or certainly there is no way in which a man can discover what it is. Wherefore, if one must die in either case, it is better to die a just m an. Thus crime is always to be hissed off the sage, and one should never become involved in wrongdoing.
spacer 24. But Machiavelli is troubled and asks, “how did it happen that Marcus Aurelius, 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 offers this explanation: because the latter two were new princes, but Marcus alone succeeded to the throne by hereditary title. As soon as I see this I eagerly embrace it: it is permissible, even according to Machiavelli himself, for a hereditary prince to be a good man, as was Marcus. This single fact suffices to refute much that Machiavelli has said, since he has indiscriminately announced, drawing no distinction between princes, that every prince, and indeed every lord, who is prudent, must learn to deceive, change position as the wind happens to be blowing, and so forth. Next I must ask if this is true concerning Alexander. Was he a new prince or, if we are to call him a new one, are we to believe that Marcus succeeded by hereditary right? Marcus was hardly born of prince although he had a family connection with Antoninus Pius, being married to his daughter Faustina. In other respects, he was a newcomer elected emperor by the senate. Alexander was an emperor’s cousin, by him created a Caesar and an adoptive son, and hence deserving to be considered his son who gained the imperial dignity by heredity, all the more so because his adoptive father as Bassianus Heliogabalus, the son of Bassianus Caracalla, himself an emperor, and, recommended for the position by this fact, inherited the empire of Caracalla, the son of Alexander Severus. In result one could identify Alexander as the fourth in line of direct succession. Hence it can be seen that, whatever the cause of this thing was, this was not the reason.
spacer25. And thus concerning Machiavelli’s other question (or the other part of his question): how did it happen that everything turned out well for Severus, rioting with evil arts, whereas not so well, and even fatally, for Caracalla, Commodus and Maximinus? His answer is, “they lacked sufficient virtue to enable them to tread in his footsteps.”I believe that by “his” he meant those of Severus. But, whether he means Severus or is speaking of their very own footsteps, why does he require virtue for walking in these tracks? They were all devotees of vices, not virtue. Why did he attribute all of Severus’ successes to virtue. Above he has credited them to monstrous crimes, to foxy fraudulence and lion-like cruelty. Now see how self-consistently he credits them to virtue. Or if such is the case, why does he tie himself up so? This problem could easily be solved: things went well for Severus because he was endowed with virtue, but not so for them because they were endowed with viciousness. Meanwhile he is unaware that he is thus praising virtue, as if it were now allowed to return to its native soil from exile abroad, whither he had banished it. And to declare it to be useful, although he had ventured to claim it was destructive. And of a certainty it is necessary that these things be such. Or what does he define as a virtue in this context? Fraud? Cruelty? Machiavelli’s virtue is certainly a wonderful thing — why appropriate this name for it when he quite renounces the thing itself? But if these are the virtues he understands by this word, implicit in them are the others which are not lesser.
spacer 26. If thee “virtues” truly did belong to Severus, then he inherited them no less than he did the empire. He was so sly he was a fox for being so shrewd, a lion for being cruel. Indeed, he was crueller by many degrees, more fraudulent, impious even towards his brother and monstrous toward entire people, excellent at pretense and dissimilation, most adroit in feigning piety towards the gods, possessed of a versatile character readily changeable into any forms you care to name, and assume whatever disposition you care to name as required by the popular whim. Among Germans he was Germanic, Macedonian among Macedonians. At Pergamum he worshipped Alexander as a good; at Epidaurus he worshipped Asclepias, dreaming in accordance with the local custom; blue at Ilium, he worshipped Achilles, where, just as Achilles had buried Patrocles, he first poisoned his most beloved freedman, Faustus by name, and then performed funeral rites for him in the style of Achilles. Finally he made his way to Alexandria under the pretext of having a desire to see that city founded by Alexander, and of consulting the Egyptians’ god, whom those fine locals venerated. Feigning these two things (the piety owed a god, and the honor due a hero), he offered up hecatombs and all manner of obsequies, immolating victims, heaping altars with incense, and removing his imperial purple, his belt and his gems and placing atop Alexander’s tomb. Finally, by these arts he assembled the populace at one location, surrounded them with an army and sent in armed men to butcher them all. You want to learn the reason? There was a sacrosanct law that no man was to curse the emperor, a law he sanctified with the blood of those people. For it was said that a saying was making the rounds at Alexander taxing him with the death of Geta: he himself was called Oedipus, his stepmother Julia (Herodianus calls her his mother) whom he married, Iocasta. He was also made the butt of jokes because, being such a tiny man, he emujlated Alexander and Achilles. Not much differently, he sent soldiers into the amphitheater to kill promiscuously, because some people jeered a charioteer he favored. He lured King Artabanus of the Parthians by sending him hopeful letters seeking to seduce him by inventing many fair prospects. He averred that he wished to marry the king’s daughter and unite their kingdoms by that marriage. With his infantry and the Parthians’ cavalry the resulting kingdom would be strong and their two kingdoms would enjoy the common use of all things. Then he entered Parthia, received their honors, and came to the palace as if to wed the royal daughter. There, when the Parthians, garlanded with flowers, unarmed and dressed in parti-colored costumes, were feasting, he slaughtered them, their king barely making his escape. Next he set fire to their cities and villages, driving away men and cattle as his booty Likewise, after his furtive arts failed, by a daring outrage he killed his brother Geta in his bedchamber, clinging in his mother’s arms. By a crafty lie, he dashed out of the bedchamber claiming he was the victim of a murderous conspiracy. He ran about the palace shouting that he had escaped a great danger, and had barely gotten away with his life. He commanded the soldiers on guard duty in palace to take himself away and escort him to the camp, where he would be safer. They obeyed, unaware of what had transpired within, and taking his claims for the truth. When he arrived at the camp he entered the little shrine where the army kept its standards and worshiped idols, he fell to the ground and gave thanks as if prayers for his safety had been granted. Then, lying to the soldiers about the thing, he said he had been treacherously attacked by his brother, that a great fight had ensued, and that he was the sole remaining emperor. Then he promised them a huge amount of money, which he paid.
spacer 27. On the following day he went to the senate with the army at his back, and there he conducted himself in the same way, delivering an artful speech. Afterwards he put all of Geta’s friends to death and did other things, some of which I have related above. For this was the first act and the commencement of the principality he enjoyed by himself, after inheriting from his father his brother as his partner in government. He likewise married his stepmother, the mother of the slain Geta. I do not know whether this was a marriage more criminal or more incestuous for both parties: how could she look at him as her husband, how could he trust himself to her, being the murderer of her son? In any event,

1. behold the fox,
2. behold the lion, truly the beast for which Machiavelli hoped, never matched by Severus,
3. behold him inspiring fear of himself and deriving his power from this fear, overcoming his subjects’ contempt,
4. and a most energetic champion of his own imperial majesty, slaughtering entire peoples for their excessive freedom of speech.
5. setting new examples for inflicting punishment,
6. attempting and managing the greatest enterprises.

In these respects he was by far Severus’ superior in adhering to Machiavelli’s standard. Nor was he his inferior in warfare or any the less ready to lift his hand. Having been instructed in the martial arts by his father, he led armies in Illyria, Asia, Gaul and Britain. He was more fortunate than his father in that he came to the imperial throne by inheritance (if there is any weight in this fact). Now Maximinus, no whit inferior to Severus in his craftiness and cruelty, nor to anyone in martial virtue, although by far his inferior in physical strength, was himself an outstanding warrior. About him it has been written blue that running afoot he could outrace Severus’ horse, and that he was hideous in appearance, being endowed with a huge monstrous body against which none of the most athletic Greeks or most pugnacious barbarians could compete. Likewise, in a certain battle against the Germans, when the Romans were afraid to enter a marsh, the emperor himself took control of the fight and entered the marsh, and even when the water rose above the level of his horse’s belly he made a massacre of the opposing barbarians. Although he trusted in these qualities, these verses were recited in the theater in his presence:

An elephant is huge, yet can be killed,
A lion is brave, yet can be killed,
A tiger is swift, yet can be killed.
Fear the many, even if you fear no individuals.

spacer 28. And although he was a foreigner from Thrace, what was Severus? Was not he a foreigner from Africa? Certainly he was African-born. And, if Maximinus’s birth was humble, Severus’ was not of the highest, just of the equestrian order. This was no obstacle to his gaining the empire, nor would have it hindered him from retaining it, had he been free of cruelty. And so these were not the reasons for their difference that Machiavelli alleges. Nor did they differ so much in virtue, whether they used this word seriously to designate genuine virtue or ironically for vice. As for Machiavelli’s remark that the imitation implicit in their difference harmed them, I do not see why this was so. For why should we believe that Pertinax and Alexander were imitating Marcus, rather than embracing virtue itself, as he had done? Marcus was indeed the earlier in time, but this does not necessarily imply imitation. In the same way, what necessity compels us to believe that Maximus and Caracalla were imitating Severus? Although the one was the other’s son, this constitutes no necessity. But indeed if he did imitate him, he surpassed him in his wickedness. But when he says that Commodus imitated Severus he is plainly talking nonsense, since Severus rather imitated him, who died before Severus and before Pertinax. All things considered, one can see that our author has not properly answered this question, nor do any of the reasons he suggests provide the explanation for the quite different degrees of success enjoyed by these emperors.
spacer29. Many men have sought after the true explanation, but nobody has ever suggested a worse one. And yet if he or one of his devotees should care to learn, I shall tell him, so that he might leave off the blindness in his pronouncements and recognize that there is something other than providence, prudence, and human virtue, which governs the successes of all men, at one moment dispensing successes that match good counsels, and at another ruining everything and inverting everything topsy-turvy, perverting it, and throwing it into confusion. From this he may learn that there is something which transcends human wisdom and revere it for its ability wholly to penetrate human counsels and plans, learn that this surpasses his understanding, and store this in his memory. Meanwhile why exert yourself to instruct men who are so blind, either by nature or by their own doing. Think upon all human teachings concerning genuine political science and all the ways in which any of these princes has sinned against any of the precepts of those professors, and how each of these sins might be corrected (insofar as is perceptible to Man’s wit). Although this would be a useful exercise and most worthwhile to understand, it would be out of place here.
spacer30. But let this much be considered proven: there is no sufficient reason for concluding that a prince should learn those things relevant to the establishment of his government from the actions of Severus, but for stabilizing and strengthening it those things which were fit for this purpose and filled with glory in the case of Marcus Aurelius. For if we consider results (as Machiavelli always does) Severus stabilized his government no less than he founded it, and if his success makes him a model founder, so it makes him a model stabilizer, so there is no need to change models and bring Marcus into the picture. So let these things suffice for the present. Just let me state that I am not saying this so as to compare Severus with Marcus Aurelius, but rather to remark on our man’s ineptitude since, although he names Marcus rather than Severus as the model to be imitated in stabilizing a government, he himself gives precepts for stabilization more appropriate for Severus than Marcus.



N Chapter 20 Machiavelli postulates six ways which he says various princes have adopted to retain their dominion, namely:

1. Either plundering peoples conquered by arms,
2. or keeping them divided into factions,
3. or sowing hostilities among them,
4. or allying himself with former enemies,
5. or building castles,
6. or destroying them.

He goes through these individually. Concerning his first way:

1. He says they are to be robbed at swordpoint, when a new province is joined to an old one.
2. He excepts those which have shown themselves to be supportive of the prince.
3. And yet after the passage of time these too are to be disarmed.
4. The purpose of which is:
spacera. to render them effeminate.
spacerb. to guarantee that all weapons are in the possessio of those who in the prince’s original regime
spacer were his close neighbors.
5. Otherwise they are not to be despoiled (i. e. when a new province is not adjoined to an old one but remains a separate entity by itself. Indeed, they are be do armed:
spacera. because if they armed they will be at your service.
spacerb. because those who have been loyal to you will be strengthened>
spacerc. because those you govern will stand by you.

spacer 2. But rationale does he give for these points? None. What, then, if somebody argues the contrary:

1. That those who were your enemies will retain their power to harm you.
2. That those who were your friends will not remain such?

You will not be able to satisfy their expectations, as he himself says above. Therefore, although you rule them, no ne of them will be your sincere supports, and so these weapons will not be used for you, but rather against you. Therefore then need to be disarmed. This relies on no weaker argument than what he recommends, and are far more consonant with his doctrine. But he appears to man that only some of them should be given arms, but not everybody. For he adds “all subjects cannot be armed.” And then: “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.” This makes it clear that his intention is that some should not be armed. Surely the ones who are the most suspect? But those others will not be rendered loyal just by being given arms, as he has already said.
spacer3. But he gives another reason why they should be armed by making the contrary argument that they should not be robbed at swordpoint,

1. in the first place, because you begin to be injurious to them,
2. and in the second, you reveal your mind’s abjection and fearfulness,
3. or your mistrust of them,
4. and either of these opinions would make them hate you.

spacer 3. I shall say nothing against these points. I shall only ask whether all of this applies in the same way to the former kind of province, which is annexed to one’s original realm. For, in the first place,

1. if you allow them arms, won’t their loyalty to you be just as suspect?
2. Won’t your erstwhile loyalists receive the same confirmation?

But on the other hand, if you disarm them:

1. won’t you be just as injurious?
2. Won’t you do just as much to reveal your mind’s abject and fearful condition,
3. and your mind’s distrustfulness?
4. And won’t both of these opinions make them hate you just as much?

I fancy that no man will deny these points. And so these arguments have equal weight: either the one kind should also be armed, or the other should also be disarmed. Is it not wonderful how such a perceptive fellow should have thought otherwise, or have given any reason for this discrepancy? It certainly smacks of the man’s typical insight that he says that “when a prince acquires a new state, which he annexes as a province to his preexisting one, then it is necessary to disarm the men of that province, except those who have been his adherents in acquiring it; and these again, with time and opportunity, should be rendered soft and effeminate.” To which I could retort that now these men will no longer be at your service, i. e. they will be of no further use to you, so you are losing and ruining your erstwhile supporters. And I would be surprised if this were better and more in accordance with the rules of prudence than retaining the one group and adding the others to your service. Indeed, at tis point not the worst thing one could do is quote that remark of Aristippus to Diogenes, “if Diogenes understood how to manage kings, he would not be eating lentils.” blue If Machiavelli understood how to handle men, he would not destroy their usefulness by rendering them effeminate or disarming them. This therefore should be a princes single thoughts: how he might join men to himself who had previously belonged to various parties, how he might retain those who had previously been his partisans, and how he might employ both kinds to his profit and glory.
spacer 4. And yet this I would point out: there are two very noble examples of these two ways of acquiring provinces. The first is that of the kingdom of France, which added all those provinces to its bodies as, so to speak, acquisitions: Aquitaine, what I might call the Dauphin’s Province, Britanny, and others. The other is that of the King of Spain, who rules the different and geographically separate provinces of Holland, Naples and so forth. Anyone can readily see:

1. what has been done in them,
2. what has been attempted,
3. and what has been successful,

and hence pass judgment on this precept. And then (if you will pardon me for saying so) I can allege the highly successful example of this island of ours, and the most loyal protection of our king and nation always provided by our Scotland’s fighting men, which Britain has never had cause to regret, nor ever shall. Machiavelli thinks that seditions can be avoided if subjects are disarmed. Machiavelli’s idea is unsound: elsewhere he says about offenses committed “anger furnishes them with their arms.“ blue and I fancy that they are not provoked by armed subjects but rather restrained. For in a situation where everyone is armed, this robs those who are armed are planning on some bold deed of both their daring and their ability to do mischief, whereas on the contrary when they see they are the only armed men, this encourages them and they think they alone can accomplish anything. Hence so many seditions erupted in the Roman army, and so many elections, abdications and murders of emperors. Whereas within the majority of citizens the majority always favors their king, so it is easier for him to recruit the most supporters, or divide his opponents and set them to fighting. But somebody will complain that the ki ngdom of Scotland is hereditary. I know. But I know this too, that affection arises from this and is the proximate cause for their affection. So I would draw a conclusion far different from Machiavelli’s. It does not matter whether a kingdom is or is not hereditary, as long as it is united by love. Hence a prince should devote himself to this single thing, that this love be bained, and not to be over-concerned wither a province is inherited or acquired, an annexation or a separate territory, since the rest is empty nonsense, no more than a form of hair-splitting.
spacer 5. Of Machiavelli’s second recommendation, that his prince should split his province up into factions, he himself rejects this: “This may have been well enough in those times when Italy was in a way balanced in its factions, 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.” Then he adds, “Such methods argue, therefore, weakness in the prince, because these factions will never be permitted in a vigorous principality.” All this is quite right. I only add that:

1. it shows the prince’s malice,
2. it also shows his craftiness and fraudulence, things which especially create hatred.

In result, they not only remove themselves from such an unbecoming yoke at the earliest possible opportunity, as I have said, ut in the meantime they comport themselves even more idly and slothfully in the conduct of all his affairs, and, I think, very deservedly so. And anybody who strives to deceive them so they fail to detect his art does so in vain: I believe it opossible that they can dissimulate and pretend to be deceived as if they cannot see, butI do not regard it as possible that they can be deceived by his art and genuinely fail to see. But I do not believe that this difference between us has henceforth been of any utility, if such is his opinon. Although he does not say so, I would not prefer to enter into such a sketchy discussion whether it could have its use: see Discorsi 3.27.
spacer 6. Concerning his third point, “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 suppressed it, his renown may rise higher.” But he himself says nothing pro or con. He neither approves or disapproves (which in itself may be a form of approval). I myself see no usefulness in this precept:

1. For what kinds of animosities are these to be,
2. of what people, and how great. For they should be
spacera. great,
spacerb. or middling,
spacerc. or small.

If they are great, they will also be dangerious, and if middling they will not be without their danger. What use could there be for a prince to manufacture these against himself. But if they are small, the reputation, dignity, and stature he would gain by their suppression would be trifling. For suppressing threatening ones would be risky, ones posing no threat would be with honor (or perhaps even create sympathy). Next, who will be the men among whom such hostilities will be encouraged? The nobility? The people? Or certain private and obscure individuals? We come back to the same question. For there always exists a danger from the nobilty or the people, but obscure reputation is derived from obscure private indivduals, and no glory. And yet it is useful to keep this in mind, no enemy is small. Even if a prince imagines he is gifted with foresight and capable of being all-knowing, will he immediately see and comprehend everything. Men delight in deceiving a deceiver and catching a catcher. Even if all things are otherwise safe, yet the example this sets is perilous, particuarly among freign men if they see hidden grudges being nursed against him. And it is not so profitable to have supppressed such men as it is harmful that men have existed who have thus been supppressed: things they have seen to be suppressed they do not fancy to have been extinguished but only concealed, destined to burst forth anew in their own good time, and this givves the the courage and the daring to make some attempt. Hence it is far better that both foreigners and your own subjects understand that no man harbors hatred against his prince. Rather all men love him with same ardent affection that they do their own eyes and lives. Finally, in what way are these dislikes to be suppress? I do not imagine that Machiavelli’s meaning is that they can be suppressed without bloodshed and the loss of life. But thus hostility and hatred boils up in the friends of those who have been suppressed, something always to be avoided, and the reputation one gains by having put them down is not worth the hatred this would incur. And so (whether this is Machiavelli’s view or somebody else’s), if I may seriously state my opinion, in itg it persieve the sly craft of that little beast the fox and a coloration of subtlety, but nothing of true and solid policy and prudence.
spacer 7. As for his fourth, that former enemies should be turned into friends, there is no better precept than tis, if this is done in such a way that the prince does not turn his back on his old friend. But if he gives them preference over his old friends, there is none worse. For the one way is to make friend out of enemies, while the second is to make enemies out of friends and to be an ingrate, and there’s nothing worse, nothing among mortals that is more hateful. I have spoken of this above in Section 2, in considering Machiavelli’s fifth means of retaining a new principality, which was that he should abase his friends, and have shown how absurd and useless this was for a man aspiring to great things, and how contrary it was to Roman tradition. Read it there. But let us look at the arguments he advances here, by which he strives to demonstrate his idea. His first is this:

1. “Princes, especially new ones, have found more fidelity and assistance in those men who in the beginning of their rule were distrusted than among those who in the beginning were trusted. Pandolfo Petrucci, Prince of Siena, ruled his state more by those who had been distrusted than by others.”

Fine! What about it?

a. Does he tell us us about some obscure little man and the people of Sienna, when examples from
spacerthe Roman republic were clearly to be seen?
b. Then too, who knows if this is true? He cites no historian, and who would demean himself by looking
spacer into it?
c. Finally, might not these be personal explanations, irrelevant to the present subject, for example
spaceropinions borrowed from the Sienese or somesuch? And he himself adds “But on this question one
spacer cannot speak generally, for it varies so much with the individual case.”

2. “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.”

spacer 8.And so it should be. A prince will acquire new friends, but he should not give them preference over his hold ones. This will satisfy the new ones because they may enjoy their property in security, knowing that this is something they do not deserves. Nor will they wax indignant at seeing others give preference over themselves, well aware that those are better deserving, as Machiavelli himself conceded in saying above that those men should be armed whom the prince has found to be friendly to himself, since the others will excuse this, adjudging it proper and just that those who ran the greater risk should gain the greater share of the good. Thus at this point will come about the thing which by itself can undermine this entire little bit of advice. For if it is fair for him to give preference to the deserving, so it is unfair for him not to do so. And when they make his judgement for themselves, the adjudge the prince who acts otherwise to be unfair and, even if he is generous towards them, they condemn him, hating the example he is setting.

3. The rest they know it to be very necessary for them to cancel by deeds the bad impression which he had formed of them”

But those who were already his allies are compelled to serve him all the more, moved by

a. their affections created the benefits they have conferred on each other (a thing which grows day by day)

He who is unaware of the strength of this affection is unaware of the power of the things that arise from human nature, for love is a gentle master and yet a most imperious one, and most effective with a violence that surpasses all violence, and no sense of duty is comparable to the dutifulness it creates. Nevertheless, if the prince has the need to invoke on some other necessity, their need for obedience is not lacking:

b. The reputation and glory they have gained by their obedience compels them to avoid the appearance of being fickle, or of having been rash in giving support to their prince.
c. And also to avoid offending the man whom they have brought to this point.
d. ad to have wasted their effort.
e. And finally, that they give him no reason for turning to their enemies,
f. or for regarding themselves as his enemies and gradually reconciling himself with the others.

The result is that nothing is more foolish than what he adds, “and thus the prince always extracts more profit from them than from those who, serving him in too much security, may neglect his affairs.” But these erstwhile enemies, how can Machiavelli be self-consistent in admitting them to the prince’s firm friendship when at the same time he denies that “a reconciled enemy should ever be trusted? And how can he deny thie possibility that they are always harboring a hostility against him, which they will reveal at a suitable time? And if they act punctually and diligently, what other reason for this can their be for this action other than create confidence in themselves, so that they may create an opening for their perfidy and the prince’s downfall? And what of the fact that the prince himself is setting an example of perfidy and ingratitude for them by turning his back on his friends? And when they perceive his insincerity towards those who have been so well deserving, what are they themselves to expect of him?
spacer 9. But here we have that rule he lays down concerning this thing, that the prince “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.” Although this is a consideration, I do not consider it is a matter of any especial importance For men who want a political revolution can and often do so out of mixed motives:

1. They call upon the prince o ut of of discontent with the present state of affairs,
2. and out of affection for him,
3. or so they may complete this transaction with greater ease,
4. or out of a concern for better advancing their affairs,
5. and perhaps for better serving their commonwealth.

Whatever the case may be, the prince can never avoid seeming indebted to those who have helped him, nor can he satisfy anybody if he shows himself to be an ingrate by raising any objection, either by grumbling that this has not been done out of any love for himself, or for any other reason. Then too, I do not know if it has ever occurred in any province that men satisfied with their present condition have ever invited in a foreign prince exclusively out of love for him. Rather, there is always some admixture of discontent, so that, if we were to insist on exclusive love as a reason for rewarding them, thanks would never be given to those who have been our greatest supporters. For this is most often the way it happens and can always be claimed to be such. Nowadays Pylades and Orestes are rarities. blue Sufficient that they have done you a service, even if they have done so out of self-love (I mean out of the hope of receiving some benefit): although it is in this respect that they have helped you, very fair reason, and also your own honor and the very utility of setting this example, require that you treat them well, without seeking any means of avoidance. Therefore what he says is possibly true, “it is easier for the prince to make friends of those men who were contented under the former government, and are therefore his enemies, than of those who, being discontented with it, were favorable to him and encouraged him to seize it.” In the selfsame way that, asked by King Philip of Macedon if there were anything further he could to do oblige them, with good reason the Athenian ambassadors replied, “if you would hang yourself,” blue so, I think a newly-minted prince would do the most to satisfy the old enemies against whose will and best efforts he gained power. This is a job that would not require much equipment: there are an abundance of trees and ropes, all that is missing is his inclination to do the deed. But he would have no lack of helpers. Not that they would rejoice in seeing their hard work and hope thus perish. Of such men it has been said “there’s no way of pleasing them.”
spacer 10. Either a prince is reduced to maliciously carping or remaining as blind a bat, unless he is to say that they have been nourishing great hopes of seizing power. For it is impossible to satisfy them, unless there are to be two principalities. But there can be only a few men of this stripe. Everything else is kept within limits, within the limits of a private citizen, as discussed above. And yet I will not deny that there are degrees here: there can exist men not completely good, doing something for a not entirely good purpose. There can be better men, there can be men of the best quality, and likewise the ends they pursue, either for their own benefit or with respect to yourself too, or exclusively for the good of the commonwealth, or for a mixture of these reasons. Likewise, those who are opposed to you can be inspired by a concern for their commonwealth or their previous prince, or by some sense of duty, or dislike of you, or some private consideration, or other causes not unlike these, just or unjust. It is reasonable for a prudent prince to weigh all of these and, according to their reason thus well considered, be more or less indulgent towards them, and make yourself easier or more difficult for them to deal with. In such a balance (rather than as Machiavelli would have it), can discern who has supported or opposed you, who liked or disliked the previous condition of your province. But you must determine who has been the best disposed, and who has most properly conducted himself in accordance with his duty, by which I mean who has been the best man, who has been the most just man. For you must assign more weight to this than to all other considerations, I admit, and it is mostly in accordance with this standard that a prince should form his friendships. But this must be done with sincerity and no pretense, and it must be obvious to one and all that this is being done. Nor can a prince ever show himself ungrateful or forgetful towards his friends, or create reasons for them to break off their friendship. For, however iniquitous and unjust they may otherwise be, you must be the most deferential towards them, as much as equity and justice permits.
spacer11. Of his fifth and sixth points, concerning the construction and demolition of fortified places, what he argues matters very little. He concludes both this and that, saying he approves and disapproves of both. Only he accuses them who trust in fortifications to the point that they are under the allusion that they be immune from any attack motivated by popular hatred, where he says something worth more than its weight in gold, “the best possible fortress is not to be hated by the people.” And yet, good though he is here, there are two ways in which he appears to be wrong. The first is that he values the absence of hatred so high, and is not more earnest in teaching the need of acquiring love. The other is that he implies it is sufficient just to avoid popular hatred, while being quite unconcerned about the hatred of individuals, although this too is to be avoided as much as possible: great pains must be taken that even every puppy fauns on you rather than barking. But these things have no bearing on the solution to this question, which is not how a prince might abuse the possession of fortified places by feeding his arrogance and ferocity (by which argument I have rejected also henchmen, bodyguards, and indeed armies and all the equipment for war), but rather what they accomplish per se for the retention of one’s principality. Therefore, what he says either her or at Discorsi II.24 about the fortress built by Francesco Sforza Duke of Milan, that his descendents took advantage it to oppress their subjects with security, is beside the point. This only occurred accidentally, having nothing to do with the thing itself, but rather with its abuse. Likewise I have no idea of the truth of what he wrote both here and in the Discorsi about Guidobaldo da Montefeltro Duke of Urbino, that “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.” I know full well that he wrote this against Jovius, blue who wrote that when he was on the point of departure (for he lost his principality once more, after having been freed by the Orsini) he pulled down his fortifications lest they become a stronghold for his enemies, thinking this would facilitate his return to his principality.
spacer 12. However that may be, although he finally concludes (as I have said) he approves of both policies, both the castle-builders and those who are not greatly concerned with them, as well as the chapter’s beginning, since among princes it has become customary to build castles to defend their principalities. He posits two purposes for this practice:

1. they employ them, as it were, as bridles against those who are making some attempt at themselves,
2. that they may have a safe refuge against sudden attacks.

He adds that he does not disapprove of this scheme, which by now is time-honored and commonplace. Nevertheless he qualifies his view by drawing a distinction, when he claims that castles are to be built by princes who fear their own subjects more than foreign enemies. On the other hand, those who have more to fear from foreigners ought not to build them. But what he says at this point is either obscure or self-contradictory. And in the Discorsi he says “fortifications are built as defences either against enemies or one’s own subjects. In the former case they are necessary, in the later harmful. ” And, consuming many words, he discusses:

1. how his trust in them emboldens a prince to restrain his people, whence arises a hatred against which castles cannot protect him;
2. how experience has shown that they cannot long be defended in the absence of an army. And since a province can be defended by an army in the absence of castles, or be recovered once it has been lost, “I conclude that fortifications are harmful for maintaining control over one’s own nation. They are useless for retaining an acquired province or city.”

And then at the end he says “castles built along the shoreline have some usefulness for a prince, namely for holding back the enemy until your army can be mustered. But they are by no means necessary.”
spacer13. For when he repeats that a prince who lacks a good army is harmed by possessing fortifications in his principality or placed at his borders, since they are easily stormed and, once taken, can be used to launch attacks against himself. As was done by Franceso Maria, who during his attack on the principality of Urbino left ten walled cities in his rear but safely bypassed them. But he adds that a prince “ought indeed to fortify the city where he lives, and keep it fortified, and keep the citizens of that city well disposed, in order to be able to sustain an enemy attack , so that he can keep it free by an accord or by external aid.” With these words he appears to be turning everything he has previously said upside-down. And if Maria was able to bypass those cities in security, why could he not have bypassed this one too, directing his route of march elsewhere? Bit why does he inquire about what should be done about this whole business, when he says that nothing in general can be pronounced? It is proper to say that he should not have handled it as a general question. It is enough that that he is in doubt. And anybody can entertain doubts, that requires no great genius.



How a prince should conduct himself so as to gain renown (on Chapter 21)
Concerning the secretaries of princes (on Chapter 22)
How flatterers should be avoided (on Chapter 23)


F it is permissible to require method in our man, I should think that that, having handled the ways of retaining ones power (whether correct or wrongly appropriated), all of which fall under the category of usefulness, since even the glory worthy of a prince falls within the boundaries of its definition, that he would now address this subject and show his prince the path to this too. Or at least, if he regarded glory as a means of retaining power, having dealt with everything else, here he would deal with this too under the same heading. But whatever the case may be, whether the took up glory as his subject because he thought it to be a means of retaining power, or for some other reason or for none at all, and thought that a prince should seek after glory for its own sake, or as something pleasant, or decorous, or useful, at least it is certain that in this chapter he is discoursing about glory. And indeed he does so briefly and with such a light touch that he seems not to have worked very hard on this subject. Following in his footsteps, let us continue onward in the same way.
spacer2. As nearly as I can understand him, he posits eight ways of obtaining it:

1. “Creating the grand impression,” i. e. he must undertake great and difficult enterprises.
2. At home in his civic administration he must set rare examples in handing out punishments and rewards, examples whereof men can speak.
3. Everywhere he must foster his reputation as a great and excellent man.
4. He must be a true friend and a true enemy.
5. He must show himself to be a lover of the virtues.
6. He must give his subjects hope that each man may be free to go about his work in safety, whether this be some craft, some enterprise, or agriculture. He must give them encouragement that every man should perform his service ornamentally. Indeed he should establish rewards for those who do so industriously, and increase their authority.
7. He should entertain the people with games and spectacles at fixed times of the year.
8. He should take care that assemblies of citizens receiving honors should be held in his presence.
9. He adds the caution, “always saving the majesty of his rank.”

In these, there is not much to sweep one of his feet with admiration.
spacer 3. The first of these is not peculiar to Machiavelli, but is shared by all men. For his “men are considered great for doing great things” is a commonplace, if we grant that this is what he means. But a man is not deemed to be great just for undertaking great things, indeed he is considered a weakling unless he finishes what he has started, and indeed as a rash man. But his expression is unclear: le grande imprese fano stimare un principe, which certainly sounds as if it denotes the great daring involved in great undertakings. But he should at least have spoken more clearly. And his examples of King Ferdinand of Spain lead one to think that he means that only the attempt at doing some great thing gains esteem for a prince. For Ferdinand did not achieve very much in fighting France, and nothing at all in Africa Nor did he derive his great reputation from that source. It is true, I admit, that men are customarily praised for having attempted great things. And if these things are good ones, this is on everyone’s lips (because“ if he did not achieve it, he still excelled in his great attempts.”) But if he failed in enhancing his wealth, in extending his kingdom, and particularly if these things were undertaken unjustly,“ are we to believe Machiavelli when he writes (in Chapter 3) that the zeal for extending one’s possession is derived from our nature and very widespread. And when men attempt this (at least if they are capable), this is credited to their praise, or at least they are not blamed. But when they are incapable and yet make the attempt, this is a failing, this is a mistake. Wherefore this is either a popular fancy or is wrong, not a thing anybody should recommend to a prince as a means of enhancing his esteem

1. by incurring risks,
2. and losses,
3. and frustration,
4. and ridicule.

spacer 4. Second, by setting rare examples whereof men may speak. For if this is a good thing if that of which men may speak, let it be rare, let it be something extraordinary (i. e., excellent), in the highest grade of goodness he desires. But if that something great whereof men may speak is a rarity yet at the same time a bad thing, and extraordinary in the highest degree, or belongs to some novel form of badness, see how worthwhile it would be to court a a great bad reputation. Third, by fostering his reputation as an excellent man everywhere. He gives no further explanation and appears to light on the first thing to enter his head. Fourth, to be true friend and a true enemy. This is indeed correct, but it was unbecoming of him to speak against friendship accompanied by good faith, as already discussed. But what he adds, that a prince should not remain neutral when two neighboring kings are at war with each other, is not always relevant to this rule, but only when some pact or alliance exists with one of them. And this should also be observed for utility’s sake, since duty always has utility as its adjunct. For the same reason private citizens are also indebted to their friends, and should not abandon them out of any fear of somebody more powerful, or envy, or the desire to please someone. Nor should they be unfair to them (as happens in the case of some private lawsuits), whether to ingratiate themselves with other parties or out of a desire to please somebody, nor to appear unduly biased towards them. But let a prince be even more careful (since he stands in a more illustrious position) to embrace the just cause of a friend — an ally, and perhaps a neighbor —  and indeed, should the need arise, to go to war on his behalf. Nevertheless what he lets slip in the course of his discussion, “if your friend conquers you are at his discretion, and princes ought to avoid as much as possible being at the discretion of anyone,” is a quite honorable thing for others to say, but is no means becoming for him, who posits this among the fundamental tenets of his doctrine that all men are treacherous, criminal ingrates who will by no means keep faith with you. Therefore you should not keep it with them. Wherefore this and what follows scarcely befits him: “men are never as dishonest as when they mark you with such a brand for ingratitude.”
spacer5. No, Machiavelli, here no infamy for ingratitude marks men, as you tell, it for ingratitude is of little importance to you and does not destroy one’s power. Indeed, if power is enhanced thanks to it, you tell us it will even be praiseworthy, and no infamy will be attached to it. For you are the man who strives to prod all men into being as criminal as possible. The same goes for that second dictum of yours, “Victories after all are never so complete that the victor must not show other things some regard, especially justice.” I imagine that Machiavelli either wrote this in the dark of night or was blushing as he wrote, it so ill befitted him to write thus about justice. But when I think upon what he adds, namely his fifth point, that the prince must show himself to be a lover of the virtues. A virtue-loving prince, who thinks that the virtues are destined to destroy his life as well as his princely estate, for they are advantageous only when they are feigned, but which are ruinous to observe! He harps on the same theme in his sixth, that his citizens should be aware that every man go about his business in security. How can they be aware of this, if they know that their prince is an initiate in these Machiavellian mysteries? How can they ever exist without fear? His seventh: that he should pacify the people by games and sports. This is a trifling thing, of trifling importance. Even if this has any power to give them pleasure and create affection for him, what bearing does this have on his esteem and authority? I have no idea. Does it not rather diminish it, like the one that follows: eighth, he should be present at public assemblies and set an example of humanity? Had he said “Titus, that darling of the human race,” he would have spoken to applause, since this is a saying that befits the man’s image. But who has ever sought or cared about his subjects’ affection? But what business has Machiavelli (who thinks it not so worthwhile to be loved as to be feared and thinks this better) with humanity, since the end it seeks and the most usual effect it strives to produce is affection? But esteem (or, as he prefers to call it, reputation) is not the child of this, but rather of something quite different, virtue. Rather it seems to be the product of severity, so that in this matter too I find his judgment wanting.
spacer 6. But he himself corrects this somewhat, and I believes he does so to carp at and corrupt his remark about virtue, when he adds this ninth point (as a caveat about this humanity?): he must constantly maintain a grip on the majesty of his rank, with an added explanation, that this is something that cannot be ignored or neglected in any matter, nor for any purpose. Well done1 Neither for the sake of humanity nor in visiting these assemblies. But, in the first place, this very thing (attending these assemblies) diminishes his majesty somewhat, just as his retirement and seclusion enhances it. Next, what’s the point in attending these assemblies if he so strictly insists on his majesty and does not display some degree of affability and friendliness, a greater degree than I expect the advocates of his majesty would allow? For if he does attend and stands on his majesty, he will not strike them as so humane and welcome as unwelcomely having retained his majesty, which will strike most men as arrogant and inhumane, since their vision or stupidity draws no distinction. And I hardly know whether Machiavelli himself has properly distinguished these things in his own mind, since they are so similar, and are different things among different peoples, and what to one looks like arrogance looks like majesty to another, just as, to the contrary, among this people affability and friendliness might seem sufficiently majestic might strike that one as abjection and a diminishing of majesty in a man, perhaps to a fatal extent. Nor is majesty to be measured by the rules of the philosophers, for whom it is a the veneration inspired in other men’s minds by the greatness of one’s virtues. By this definition, I do not know if the very Kings of Persia have possessed majesty, or how many princes throughout the world have managed to inspire reverence in the minds of others. So, with this the sole remaining true source of majesty, virtue, together with that inner reverence in men’s minds which can arise from no source other than virtue, these devolve to the outward majesty of many a political man. And in

1. their appearance,
2. their carriage,
3. their dress,
4. their pomp,
5. their retinue,
6. their solitude,
7. their retirement,
8. their titles,
9. their speech,
10. their adoration

they exert themselves to acquire it and think it necessary for a prince, and fight for these things as for hearth and home.
spacer 7. Some, indeed, have thought that to this also pertain the divine honors, altars, titles such as “our lords and gods,” and regard it show of contempt for a prince and an act of lesé majestie if any of these things is omitted in any degree, considering those who do the omitting to be proud, arrogant, rebels or superstitious, being things which most greatly touch on his majesty: majesty creates obedience, and all these things to security, if a certain opinion and image of divinity is imprinted on men’s minds by means of these things. blue This was the majesty affected by Alexander of Macedon, who required that he be spoken of as the son of Jove and be worshiped with veneration. This was the majesty of Domitian, who wanted to be called “our lord god.” Neither Alexander nor Domitian were unaware that they were men or seriously denied that, as when Alexander said (jokingly, and for no other reason) that the blood that flowed from a wound he had received was similar that which flowed from the bodies of the gods. Rather, they imagined that thus they could procure majesty: so much were they so disposed and angry at those who refused to comply, as if such men were denying their majesty. Hence the weight of Alexander’s wrath came down on Calisthenes and certain others, as can be read in the historian. Being devoted and attentive to their rulers, Orientals, and Persians in particular, readily fall in with this. Among them, the personality of the sovereign is completely covered over by this show of majesty, to the point that magi who were not kings managed to govern as if they were, and it is established fact that they sometimes got away with this deception under the cover of their majesty. Some demand that men prostrate themselves on the ground, others that they kneel, or keep their heads uncovered as long as they remain in the royal presence,, or that they abase themselves in the presence of the throne or in certain other places, indeed even in their tents, even in the royal absence or when the king’s name is mentioned, as among the Ethiopians and the man they call Prester John, it was a capital offense to sit in their chairs. Alexander poked fun at this custom when he sat a soldier freezing with cold down in his chair before a hearth, remarking that he was better off than if he was serving among the Persians, where sitting in a royal chair earned you death, whereas he himself wished good health to a soldier sitting in his own.
spacer8. There are rulers (\who include the kissing of feet (such as the Khan of the Tartars and the Pope of Rome — and why do they not claim that God receives this honor, since the Apostle Peter cannot get enough of it?). There are are some rulers who do not want to have the face of the ruler looked upon, and convince their subjects that this is a crime. Thus too emperors want to be called khans, sultans, and Caesar Augustuses. Nor is this enough. They are eager to hear themselves called Lordships, Highnesses and Majesties, and others, of which Latin adulation has transferred to lesser ranks. And they enhance these with epithets: “holy,” “sacrosanct,” and the like. In the abstract, they attribute these to the Bishop of Rome, saying over and over “holiness“ and “blessedness.” And thus they

1. are surrounded by a retinue
2. and keep those who would approach them at a far distance,
3. end decorate themselves with precious ornaments,
4. and not to go abroad without pomp,
5. and give their responses and commands by means of a spokesman,
6. put off men who would meet them,
7. stretch out whatever they do and keep those awaiting a result in suspense.

thinking these things pertain to their greatness and majesty. But others loathe all of this: they interpret them as arrogance and think that princes habitually demand the politeness of their people greater than is decent for a man and for anything mortal. All men should carry themselves with modesty, and rulers most of all, inasmuch as it is in their interest to avoid arrogance, which men point to as a reef upon which the virtues may come aground, all the more so because princes have more opportunities or reasons for haughtiness:

1. Already being corrupt, their nature calls them in this direction.
2. The wind of fortune fills their sails.
3. Their upbringing makes them headstrong, being soft, indulgent and splendid.
4. The obsequiousness and submissiveness of all men,
5. and flattery, that plague upon royal courts,
6. and a specious show of majesty,
7. and custom, as I have just said —

it is a wonder if these things do not drive them out of their minds.
spacer 9. Therefore even some of the truly greatest princes and emperors have thought they should assume an air of modesty rather than majesty, being more concerned with the former than the latter. One of this number was Augustus, of whom the historian blue wrote: “The simplicity of his furniture and household goods may be seen from couches and tables still in existence, many of which are scarcely fine enough for a private citizen. They say that he always slept on a low and plainly furnished bed. Except on special occasions he wore common clothes for the house, made by his sister, wife, daughter or granddaughters.” In his conversations he did not suffer himself to be greeted as “master” by his domestics or children. This is how he regarded majesty. Alexander Severus left jewelry and gold to the women, saying that majesty exists in virtue, not in outward show. Ageselaus, that noble Spartan king, called to Egypt to bring aid to Tathus the king, thought he should not employ his dress, ornament, retinue, or any other means to show off his majesty and greatness. He wore a cheap cloak, not giving a fig that he was disdained by onlookers. Philopoemon, king of the Achaeans, is relevant here, so devoid of this kind of majesty that when he arrived at the home of his hostess, a commoner,, alone and unexpected, the woman mistook him for a forerunner and commanded him to help her split wood. He obeyed. But both nevertheless managed to create an inner impression of genuine majesty in men’s minds, the former subsequently for the Egyptians, the later always for his own Achaeans and the orther peoples of Greece.
spacer10. This same idea was shared by Rudolf of Austria (some call him Rudolf von Malisburg). It is told of him that when he was at Mainz he went out by himself one morning wearing nothing but the clothes of a commoner, and when he felt the breeze blowing cold he entered into a baker’s house, sat down by the earth, and warmed himself at its still-glowing coals. He was chided by the baker’s wife because he had entered the household of strangers. When he said he was one of Rudolf’s soldiers, he was informed that the baker was living in reduced circumstances, having been ill handled by the king, and was informed that he was a reef upon which the poor folk had run aground and had brought them to run: with justice this would happen to his followers and supporters as well, and she hoped that even worse evils would befall them. At length, when he asked her how he had hurt her, the woman replied “isn’t he the man who ruined all the bakers of this town, although we were well enough off before now, and we won’t recover with ease. But you, good sir, cease your talk and cause us no more trouble.” Having said this, she poured a bucket of water over the burning coals and threw him out of the house, covered with ash, steam and smoke. But this did nothing to diminish his majesty, nor did he think that it did or that he was so regarded. Likewise, after he had defeated King Ottkar of Bohemia and was about to receive his homage in a public ceremony, he was advised to wear his imperial raiment or dress more formally, he refused, saying he was content with his erstwhile dress, which Ottkar had often mocked as being unbecoming to his majesty (men described it as being as grey as ashes), and thus behaved, poking fun at the Bohemian’s pompous majesty. Nor did Charles V think he should do any different. About to make his entry into Milan, he was received with all magnificence at his first arrival, but he himself was dressed in black wool traveling-cloak and a cheap cap, preferring that to embroidered garments gleaming with gold and glittering gems on his collar.
spacer 11.These things fail to conform to Machiavelli’s rule. Majesty is a thing that cannot be removed in any situation or set aside for any reason, unless we are to think that majesty can sometimes take off its majesty, and unless this is his meaning, he destroys this rule for morals he has laid down with the caveat that majesty must always be maintained. At least, unless we understand majesty differently, it is not showy pomposity that is inherent in or relies upon outward appearances, a thing that the greatest princes themselves have disdained, but settled manners and gravity and constancy in kings’ actions, such as Plutarch blue described in Pericles: “a composure of countenance that never relaxed into laughter, a gentleness of carriage and cast of attire that suffered no emotion to disturb it while he was speaking, a modulation of voice that was far from boisterous,” and also Livy, who wrote of Scipio, “ his veneration increased his appearance, naturally majestic...and by his becoming dress, not decorated with ornaments, but in a style truly manly and military.” Perhaps we might better understand this by considering its opposites, by the absence of levity, childish playfulness, talkativeness, or laughter when it is

1. inappropriate,
2. constant,
3. or provoked by a trifling thing,
4. or effusive,

pointless or indecorous speech, drunkenness, or drinking not to the point of intoxication but motivated by a desire for drink for its own sake, or wishing to be said to be attracted by fondness for companionship — for thus they pretend — and similar ways of behavior upon which many princes fasten themselves out of a a pretense of affability. This majesty where I speak is never something that can be set aside, nor is there any need to. For it stands in the way of no virtue. But that kind of pomp which can be set aside sometimes burdens even those who adopt it with the weight of its ceremonies. And in its place should be adopted and more freely exercised friendliness, affability, and kindness (which the other kind often destroys, or obscures, or in some way obstructs). But we can fitly boil down all of those precepts of Machiavelli to the acquisition of these things:

1. admiration,
2. faithfulness,
3. affection,
4. the book omits points 4 through 9.

The first three points pertain to exciting admiration, and 9, perhaps, 4, 5, and 6 to loyalty, and 7 and 8 to affection. Concerning these, it has most accurately said by others, “true glory consists of these things,

1. if the multitude adores us,
2. if it trusts us,
3. if it deems us worthy of a certain honor, together with admiration.”

And so this is a better, shorter, and surer rule for gaining authority, or glory, or esteem (as Machiavelli calls it), so that a prince should always have these three before his eyes, and so that he should be entirely devoted to them.
spacer 12. Now if we seek the path to these things, it goes by way of the virtues: magnanimity procures great admiration, as does magnanimity, fortitude, wisdom and erudition about many things; affection is gained by mildness, humanity, affability, liberality, good faith, justice, prudence, and piety. Of these, the great ones and the gentle ones are intermingled out of necessity: justice cannot exist without them, nor they without justice. Nor can a man observe justice unless with a brave mind he scorns perils, and despises mortal affairs with a great one. The same logic applies to prudence, which prescribes for each one of these things its means, its proper time and circumstances, as it weighs its results and outcomes. And piety, the mistress and queen of them all is the ones who elevates kings above kings, and joins, conforms and unites them to the King of Kings in their minds. Therefore these three virtues supply the three things whereof we seek (admiration, love and trust), and are all them more to be embraced, although two of them (good faith and piety) are things which Machiavelli has forbidden to his prince, and has introduced a bogus replica of the third, prudence, in the form of cleverness. So what dealings can he have with glory or esteem? And what is his discourse about these things if not pointless? And it suffices to have said these things about these virtues considered in general. If someone seeks a special discourse about them, he is asking more than what this little work can supply. Nor did they satisfy Machiavelli, if we grant him permission to speak of them. For his first precept is quite unclear: “Nothing makes a prince so much esteemed as great enterprises and setting a fine example. We have in our time Ferdinand of Aragon,” with the implication that for a man desiring to imitate him has need of the same circumstances, which do not occur for every individual. And his second point, “it is related of Messer Barnabò da Milano, blue who, when he had the opportunity, by any one in civil life doing some extraordinary thing, either good or bad, would take some method of rewarding or punishing him, which would be much spoken about,” is obscure. Nor does he himself explain what this matter was about, and why it is worthwhile for a man to study it. Possibly he is recommending the bull of Phalalris to us. If his third point, concerning the maintenance of a reputation for excellency, is extended into a generality, like his first one, it means that he should demonstrate his excellence in every virtue, such as prudence, fortitude, piety and the rest.
spacer13. But if this dictum is to be applied to any one thing in particular, since the arts of war and peace are the special property of a prince, and that he should inspire admiration in both of these ,what this mean other than rare, noteworthy virtue in both? So war’s exertions must be shouldered, its risks must be run, everything must be foreseen, undertaken with prudence, and managed with bravery. New schemes and novel stratagems must be devised. The prince must be everywhere,, showing himself to be at the forefront, and the readiest. If you look for examples, there are a sufficiency of names both old and new. Among both these, you will find none more distinguished than that of Henri IV of France. You seek an honorable model for managing your affairs? There’s no need for that bogus piety employed, according to Machiavelli, by Ferdinand. Throughout the world true piety lies prostrate, holding up her suppliant hands in search of so great and worthy a hero can be found who can both lift her up and (a wonderful thing!) be uplifted by her, all the man requires are eyes and a little bit of a mind. In peacetime, what can this mean but carefully administering justice? But since one makes its way to justice by going through so-called processes (and which of his subjects does that monstrous Hydra not devour?), what greater field exists wherein a prince can garner rare praise, praise that would make him Hercules’ equal, than the slaying of this monstrosity? What more worthy of a prince? What more welcome to his people? What more agreeable to Machiavelli’s precept about the prince encouraging his subjects? Thus your citizen will not be bled white by taxes, or exposing his property and his standing in society to men bent on feeding off the nuances of the law and the formulae of litigations, gnawing him to pieces with expenses, despairing of his sanity, bound to drag out his life in a workhouse of most wretched servitude under masters who are at once the most arrogant and the low-down of men. Such work is even more deplorable for the ill repute it gains you than for the effort it costs you. A prince only has to attend to this, if he has the will and does not lack even a modest amount of shrewdness. I do not demand that this shrewdness be that of a Trebonius, blue only that which comes from the illumination supplied by nature.
spacer 14. On the other hand, no small part of justice consists of sagely detecting hidden truth, and nothing will be conducive to greater honor. Thus in the case of the women competing for possession of the babe Solomon discovered the true mother from her display of emotion. Galba identified a donkey’s owner because, when the animal was led to water blindfolded and then the blindfold was removed, of its own free will returned to its master and its usual stall. And thus the aforementioned Rudolf detected the theft of a deposit. When a man was haled before him denied having stolen or refused to return a bag containing some silver marks deposited at his house by a merchant, he amiably smiled and said, “hey, you have a nice cap, let’s swap.” Regarding this as an honor to himself, the man immediately made the trade. Having gained the man’s cap, Rudolf went off as if summoned by some public business. Then he sent a citizen of the town to the man’s wife bearing a command that she send such-and-such a bag to him (and he described it, having been informed by the merchant), since produced the cap as a token of his good faith. The woman unhesitatingly handed it over, and it was brought to the emperor. He first showed it to the merchant, who identified it, then he summoned the man’s host and said, “This man here is complaining about you and accuses you of treachery.” The man boldly claimed the merchant was either lying or crazy, he had no dealings with the man or ever had done so. But the bag was produced and the man was confounded and condemned. Rudolf is still praised, and always will be. This anecdote is fine grist for conversation and better than the one Machiavelli tells here or the one Alicibiades told his fellow citizens to divert them from greater and more serious concerns when he docked the tail of a very handsome dog he owned and allowed to wander all over the town. It is an excellent story, I say because thus Rudolf managed to find out the truth in the absence of a witness, and did not rely on the clever dodges of pettifogging lawyers: how often does the truth not fall victim to these? Here it certainly would have fallen victim, had the burden of proof fallen on the merchant. This is a noble example for a prince to imitate.
spacer15. A prudent prince, careful for his commonwealth, will devise many things of this kind, which will reveal him to his subjects as being admirable, lovable, and trustworthy. It would take too long to dwell one these and run through them all or even list them. A prince can devise things useful, pleasant, and honorable for his people, but above all others they are useful and honorable for himself. At this time I am providing only a few instances of this thing, merely exempli gratia.



T would seem that the subject of Machiavelli’s twenty-second chapter makes the same the point: “the first opinion which one forms of a prince, and of his understanding, is by observing the men he has around him.,” and he entitles this chapter CONCERNING THE SECRETARIES OF PRINCES. He begins by writing of “the men he has around him,” but these consist both of those at his court and those in the service of his realm and his officeholders. It touches upon a prince’s reputation, for if they are skilled at managing affairs and men endowed with good faith, he is reckoned to be a prudent prince:

1. who delights in suitable men,
2. and knows how to choose them,
3. and keep them loyal.

If not, he is deemed less prudent, and this is always the first mistake in choosing servants. This is clear in the case of Messer Antonio da Venafro, the minister of Pandolfo Petrucci, the prince of Siena. Nobody who knew the man regarded him as anything but prudent. There are three kinds of men:

1. Those who are themselves wise.
2. Those who act wisely on other men’s advice.
3. Those who are neither wise nor willing to listen to advisors.

The first kind are the best, the second are tolerable, and the third useless. All of this was well known and discussed in Aristotle’s day and considerably earlier: in his Nicomachean Ethics he mentions this as something formulated in days of old. He adds some lines of Greek verse: blue

Far best is he who knows all things himself;  
Good, he that hearkens when men counsel right;  
But he who neither knows, nor lays to heart  
Another's wisdom, is a useless wight.

And what was said about manners is fitly applied to politics and every kind of art and science.
spacer 2. “To enable a prince to form an opinion of his servant there is one test which never fails,” namely that he is honest when he looks out for his prince’s interests more than his own. Although what he says about this rule being infallible is true, I fear that this amounts to the pot calling the kettle black, so that it is a useless one. For when he says that honesty consists of being concerned particularly for the prince’s interests, these things are hard to ascertain. And the man who knows how to dissimulate well will pretend that his concern for his prince is greater whereas in fact it is less. And the words he uses, “to think more about you than about himself,” describe a mental state, but who can pass judgment on thought? All assessment must be based on actions, and this is not easily done. For he acts in his own interest too and it is fair for him to do so, so in what scales do you weigh his intentions? Rare is the occasion when this balance is plainly visible , perhaps only when it is beyond correction. And Machiavelli recommends the method whereby a prince may ensure his servant’s honesty: “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 expect more.” Really? And what is this enrichment? What honors and rewards will these be? Is the prince to spend everything his realm supplies on this m an? But this will not satisfy his greed and ambition. And will this be proper and prudent, to heap everything on a single man? Perhaps so, if there is no other prudent man in all your realm, a matter for politicians to decide. Let them consider Tiberius’ Sejanus, Severus’ Plautianus, and other men. I do not think it fair that everything be lavished on a single man as long as others exist who are equally deserving or more. And I know that it is a highly invidious thing when others are thus excluded from handling matters of state, men whose assistance would be no less useful. And it is not a safe thing to promote anybody to such a height that there remains nothing for him to do than aspire to become prince himself.
spacer3. Nor does he consult with his prince in such a manner as to render himself safe for him. Rather, he acts so as to cast about for reasons which will allow him to keep his standing without his prince and in his prince’s stead wherever possible, so to protect what he has acquired. But his desires are not thus satisfied. For, if they are the products of a depraved mind, these are boundless and you can never satisfy them Or if your servants act with reason, in the manner of a good man, he is content with the Golden Mean and you can satisfy him with lesser things, so that it will be pointless and a vain effort to heap him with everything in this way, and this seems like nothing else than putting him on an equal footing with his prince. When the prince is no less concerned about enhancing him than he is about enhancing his prince, so that the prince is serving him no less than he is serving his prince, the only distinction remaining between them is their titles. If a prince ought to serve, he should be serving his commonwealth. Regarding other men (and especially his ministers), it is more fitting that he jealously preserve the pinnacle of royalty, maintaining an adequate distance between himself and others.
spacer 4. This too is wrong: that a minister is is so enhanced by wealth and honors that he fears change, understanding that, in the absence of his prince’s favor, he cannot enjoy these things. A fraudulent, dishonest man will never understand this, since he will always imagine that by some means he can look out for himself, even if his prince suffers a downfall. He will not feel gratitude to his prince for this, nor love him any the more, but will attribute all his success to his own industry and prudence. Indeed, he will disdain his prince as if he is less prudent on both these scores, first that he has allowed himself to be deceived to the point that he has entrusted everything to him, and given him all these things. Therefore, as long as he perceives such to be useful, he will be willing to stand against his prince or for him. When he sees that his prince’s affairs are failing or tottering, he will have no hesitate to consult for his own interests by whatever scheme he best can contrive, having no care for his prince. Let this stand as a fixed proposition, graven on brass tablets: he does not adhere to the upright and honorable for their own sake is never bound, and can never be held, by any chains of necessity, not to shift his loyalty as Fortune changes. And the more “prudent” he is according to Machiavelli’s formula, by which I mean the more sly and wicked he is, the more will he exert himself and nurse the hope of incurring only a slight loss, which he will regard as a trifling thing, in swimming away from the shipwreck of his prince.



KIN to this is what Machiavelli says in his twenty-third chapter, no less alien to the truth than to his chapter’s title. The title is HOW FLATTERERS SHOULD BE AVOIDED. By way of preface, he says.

1. this is a matter of the greatest importance,
2. and a common mistake,
3. and is avoided with difficulty, unless one has consummate judgement and prudence
4. even though the maps are studded with warning signs.

And he gives the reason for the difficulty:

1. Because men are so pleased with themselves,
2. and incur contempt if they do not allow it.

So let his see how explains this matter, so momentous and necessary, handled by so many others. Concerning it, he sets forth his rules:

1. The prince must take care not to allow just anybody to tell him the truth.

But why? “When every one may tell you the truth, respect for you abates.” Truly? If a man speaks to you, does this diminish your reverence? What then?

2. “ A wise prince ought to choose the wise men in his state, giving to them only the liberty of speaking the truth to himself.”

What about the rest? Will they be permitted to speak falsehood? I know this is not his meaning, but what then?? They should not speak at all, it should be forbidden them to speak either truth or falsehood. Excellent! A fine prince he gives us, to whom one cannot speak save about certain specified matters.
spacer 2. But what he adds is worse: “...and then only of those things of which he inquires, and of none others.” Pray what’s this? Is this a mark of majesty, or some kind of divinity? Or is it the mark of an insolent tyranny, such as I scarce know if the world has ever seen, wherein he imagines such a monstrous tyrant that it is forbidden by law for any man to address him unless spoken to himself. Even if the tyrant spends his life surrounded by domestic servants, is this a law dictating how domestics must speak? Are they always in the habit of waiting until their master begins to talk? Or must a subject having some business with him wait until his prince first addresses him about the matter? He who thus conducts himself with his subjects must be a god, able to read men’s minds. But I would ask our author where he as heard a precedent for this teaching? Since the world’s beginning, what king or tyrant has ever been in the habit of acting thus? Or perhaps he does not mean to say that nobody should address his prince unbidden, but rather that he should only speak about matters relevant to the principality or commonwealth. But this is not what Machiavelli says, but expressly of “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.” He does not limit his injunction to this thing or that, and so must be understood as meaning every matter, public or private. And when he seeks to gain reverence by this means, the reverence would be all the greater if it were impermissible to speak to him unbidden about anything at all. If you should say this is not majesty and reverence, but rather arrogance and haughtiness, let him see whether the same thing could be said about other such things as well. In the second place, let us accept this distinction, “let it be impermissible to speak unbidden about matters concerning the realm and the commonwealth, but let it be allowed to speak about other matters. Now, if it is permissible, it will be permissible to flatter him unbidden. For men do not only engage in flattery when they speak of matters of state, but also (and indeed far more) in discussing other subjects: about private matters in informal conversation, sportively and jokingly, so that the flattery being offered can in no wise be avoided by this rule. On the other hand, if it is not allowed to address the prince about public or private matters unbidden, cannot somebody manage to flatter the prince when bidden and asked to speak to him?
spacer3. But Machiavelli adds a remedy for this evil, namely:

1. that the prince should bid his advisors to speak the truth, and exercise freedom in answering his questions,
2. that he should be well-disposed towards those that do speak freely, and
3. that he should be annoyed if he sees somebody not speaking freely.

If these are sufficient remedies, he can likewise command:

1. that they may enjoy freedom of speech even when unbidden,
2. that he can be well-disposed towards those that do speak freely under these conditions, and
3. that he can be annoyed at those indulging in excessive freedom of speech.

But if these rules prove unhelpful concerning unbidden speakers, they will likewise be of no help concerning the ones who have been bidden. Indeed, they will be all the less helpful because such a prince will appear to have such a high opinion of himself, so puffed up that he fancies he has no need of other men’s advice on any matter whatsoever, a thing which provides very fertile scope and subject matter for flattery. Therefore let it be concluded that this is a bad remedy against flattery, a vain and silly rule to be posted, a thing containing no insight or intelligence for which we might admire or praise Machiavelli.
spacer 4. But let us see for what else this precept is useful. He says it creates reverence. How he deceives us, turning words upside-down1 No, it creates hatred, since smacks of monstrous pride, something always hated. For what can be more proud than to forbid anyone to speak unbidden? Or at least to mention only matters of state? What is more foolish than to expect a man to think of all the things he needs to be informed and to ask about? What mind suffices for these things? What mortal genius ever sufficed for this, or how could a prince ask about things which have never entered his head? What recollection either concerning private and domestic matters, led alone in public ones or those touching on great affair of state? In his realm there must of necessity be many such concerning which he should be informed by others or even have others bring to his attention, many things outside his realm among foreign princes and commonwealths about which it is in his interest to learn. Furthermore, there are many things which require his immediate attention and cannot safely be put off until the prince chances to touch upon them in his conversation. Therefore this precept is as dangerous as it is silly.
spacer5. Nor is his next precept any better, that he wishes only a few to be allowed to address their prince, with everybody else excluded. Is this anything other than having him gouge his eyes out and cut off his ears, seeing and hearing nothing save by means of those few? Diocletian was so disturbed by this that he quit his imperial throne and retired to private life. “Six or seven surround the prince,” he says, “and form a counsel. They bring to his attention what they wish, and he makes his decisions based on what they tell him. A prince who remains at home does not know the truth, and is compelled to learn what they want him to. Thus a good, excellent, wise emperor becomes deceived.” blue But this what he, that master of deceptions, means when he says that a good and excellent prince is deceived by those few men, and learns and sees nothing but what they choose. This is what I mean by cutting away his eyes and nears. And, if this is so, what does it matter whether he asks them or not, if when asked they answer as they will and he has no other means of telling whether they are telling the truth or no? Thus they deceive him no less than if they offer unbidden advice, so that it is pointless that here he relates the mistake of the Emperor Maximilian, of whom he writes: “Maximian consulted with no one, yet never got his own way in anything.” And he gives the reason thus: “This arose because of his following a practice the opposite to the above.” Then he relates what happened: “for the emperor was a secretive man — he did not communicate his designs to any one, nor did he receive opinions on them. But as in carrying them into effect they became revealed and known, they were at once obstructed by those men whom he had around him, and he, being pliant, was diverted from them. Hence it followed that those things he did one day he undid the next, and no one ever understood what he wished or intended to do.”
spacer 6. How can Machiavelli’s inquisitive prince remain fixed in his opinion any more than Maximilian, when he has neither interrogated them or heard their opinion, and cannot either come to a decision by himself or in accordance with their advice, but should do everything in accordance with their view? He himself is ignorant of the things they are doing,or in what condition each of these things may be. The result is that when Machiavelli gives two pieces of advice,

1. the prince should consult only a few,
2. but nevertheless come to decisions by himself,

he is advising contrary things. For a prince who learns the truth from nobody but them, can come to no decision save in accordance with their opinion. Therefore when he says that it touches on a prince’s esteem that he forms decisions on his own, he does so most ineptly, since he shuts his prince’s eyes and ears to everything so that he can see nothing, hear nothing, and allows no truth to be told him by anybody else. So what is he driving at? “he ought to question them upon everything, and listen to their opinions, and afterwards form his own conclusions.” This is not how the so-called Philosopher Emperor Marcus Aurelius did it, who, when he perceived that his friends disagreed with him, had no hesitation in abandoning his own view, saying “it is more reasonable that I, a single man, be guided by your opinion than that you, being more than one, be guided my mine alone/” And this did not lead to him being held in contempt or diminish his authority or esteem in anybody’s eyes, rather than being regarded as a very prudent man, as he was. It never detracts from his reputation for prudence if a genuinely prudent man changes his mind and embraces the advice of those who urge something better, just as, contrariwise, someone genuinely heedless who grasps after the fame and reputation for prudence but clings to his own ideas and rejects the advice of others, snatches in vain for a reputation he will never gain. He will always be transparent in some way or other, and how prudent he really is will become obvious to one and all. Indeed, he will be most obvious because it is the height of imprudence arrogantly to offer a struggle and refuse to heed a man urging better. Then too, he thus disheartens his friends and advisors, so they are unwilling to tell the truth to a prince they perceive to be thus disposed. Rather, they flatter this man when they see him flattering himself. And so, if their prince is prudent, their advice is in vain, if he is imprudent it is dangerous, and in both cases it is useless. Furthermore this encourages them to dare anything under any circumstances, well aware that their prince will never find out, since he neither wishes to take their advice or hear the truth from anybody else. Thus they are free to run rampage against the commonwealth. If they see has an inclination towards something, they either vigorously praise and admire it as a fine thing, or at least carefully pretend to do so. For the rest, they run riot stealing and plundering everything both public and private with impunity as their whim dictates, while their prince is unaware because nobody dares speak to him or complain, rendering himself unwelcome to his prince for the future and destined to be badly handled by his councilors. How better for all princes to keep his ear open for all men, ask about and consider all things. And I am unsure whether it is sometimes better to for somebody who speaks over-boldly to go unpunished, rather than spurn all the truth that can come from any possible source.
spacer 7. For as often is the truth is thus concealed by the power of councillors and is bereft of witnesses, so that, though it be obvious to all the realm, it nevertheless cannot be proven without extreme difficulty in accordance with the most exacting standards of proof, since men are either unwilling or afraid to speak the truth out of fear of or indebtedness to a few, many things must be discovered by the prince’s prudence which cannot otherwise be revealed by direct proof in accordance with the forms dictated by the legalists. Jean Bodin blue praises the custom observed by the Scots in their judicial assemblies, which is called the indictment. They call this the indictment: there is no prosecutor, either whatever any man either knows or rumor reports. The task of determining the truth or falsity of that thing is a task relegated to fifteen men . What of a prince should act according to this model? He should gather reports from all quarters concerning the business at hand, its time, its circumstances, and men who are able bear witness, and collect other forms of evidence himself, with nobody functioning as a prosecutor. Could he by himself arrive at the truth from this procedure? Or what if he were secretly to have at disposal good men, uncorrrupted by any reward or financial interest in the outcome, tasked with informing him about all the affairs of state, and about the actions and morals of his judges and counsellors, the dispositions of his subjects, and other such matters, not in order that he should believe their mere assertions, no matter how free from corruption they might be, but so that from others he might ascertain the facts and circumstances and then, relying on them, seek the truth about the respects in which his magistrates and his commonwealth either stands firm or totters. Nor would be inconvenient for him to modestly submit his verdict to them, so that everything could as best as possible bel corrected in accordance with region, and so that, all things considered, he could decide what was best. For in every commonwealth their exist men who sit on no councils or judicial panels, who hold no office, but rather lead a private life far removed from public affairs, and, perhaps, are eager to live that way. These men of no mean intellect and who have no lack of political prudence, whose assistance in this matter would not be ineffectual. I fail to see why anybody should dislike men such as this, even if they perhaps have not been put to this purpose. But this much is established: there have been kings who have mingled in gatherings and assemblies incognito, so as to listen to men’s unguarded speech. It was not without point for them to hear much that was not silly and was worthwhile and useful for them to hear, such as they would never heard from their courtiers or those few men of Machiavelli, even if they were asked.
spacer 8. Machiavelli adds his judgment, when he condemns them: “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.” But why, pray, is this general rule always valid and never wrong? “A prince who is not wise himself will never take good .” This is most foolish — for to whom cannot good and upright counsel not be given? Possibly he can refuse to accept or, what’s worse, reject it. He can if he wants, I do not deny this, but fthis is what Machiavelli ought to have said. He states his reason for this opinion by presenting us with the following dilemma:

1. for if the prince relies on a single advisor, that man will take away his kingdom,
2. or if on more than, then he will be torn apart by the variety of their poisons.

But neither of these is necessary. For, concerning the first,

1. that one single man upon whom the prince relies can be such a good man and sincere and well-turned that he has no desire to deprive him of his power,
2. he can be so disdainful that he has no interest,
3. he happens to be in such a condition that he cannot.

Not everyone who can administer a realm in the name of another man is capable of suddenly taking it as his own, especially if we are speaking of hereditary kingdoms in which any old man cannot subvert its subjects’ love with ease, nor of kingdoms which, as was the case with Rome during its decline, depend on the will of their soldiery.
spacer9. As for the second part of Machiavelli’s dilemma,who doubts that it is possible that advisors’ opinions may not be at variance, but rather, after matters have been duly aired, they might come to an agreement? This is what happens in every aristocracy. Therefore when he says that each councilor is intent on his personal advantage, he is measuring them according to the yardstick of his own character. Then too, just as they might each have a care for their private advantage, so too when they meet together in council they might have a care for their common advantage, being well that what is in their prince’s best interest is also in theirs. And why cannot a prince reconcile differing opinions, or take what’s best from each of them? Because he’s not prudent, Machiavelli tells us. Grant that he does not partake of that supreme kind of prudence, being his own master and being all-seeing and all-knowng. But Machiavelli himself admits there is a second class, which heeds men giving proper advice and has sufficient prudence to choose between ideas devised by others and implement them. A prince can belong to this class, and it is necessary for him to be such unless he is a member of that third class about which Machiavelli teaches us, which neither devises this nor heeds nor requests the devices of others, wgi is quite useless and worthless. But even such princes (like men, for example, of disturbed minds or children living under the guardianship of others) have often possessed realms most prudently administered by others, whether by a single person who has not appropriate their thrones, or by many who were not to bent on improving their individual fortunes that the could not take common counsel. What prevents our prince from acquiring such advisors?
spacer 10. Nor can I omit to mention that it reveals the dearth of Machiavelli’s learning and intellect, that instead of what he should have said, “the prince ought to grant his advisors the freedom of speaking truthfully, ”he says “he ought to allow them to exercise their free will in choosing what to say” Unless I am misunderstanding him, he is granting them the permission to speak falsehoods as well as truths, as if he is saying “let it be permitted for them to speak falsely.” I could be led to believe that he picked up this phrase “free will” in the philosophical schools but did not comprehend its meaning, and employed it here as an incompetent affectation. @@@@@



Why the princes of Italy have lost their states (on Chapter 24)
What Fortune can effect in human affairs and how to withstand her (on Chapter 25)
An exhortation to liberate Italy from the barbarians (on Chapter 26)


ACHIAVELLI offers these reason why Italian princes (the King of Naples, for instance, and the Duke of Milan) have lost their principalities:

1. failure to arm themselves,
2. popular dislike,
3. or that of the nobility,
4. or their own carelessness, when in peacetime they devoted no thought to adversities,
5. and their sloth, when evils began to brew up and they devote no thought to anything other than flight, in the hope that they might preserve themselves for better times, when their people, wearied of a foreign yoke, would recall them.

This summarizes the things handled in this chapter.

1. I shall not labor over it, al though much could useful said and demonstrated to the effect that he says nothing remarkable or worthy of consideration.
2. He touches on only a few causes out of the many he could have mentioned and,
3. lets opportunities for discussion pass.

This even includes the most important, which he is about to stress, which he calls Fortune. Here he rejects it and passes over it in silence, although she is the mediating cause of their sloth and the other failings he mentions, has granted them the opportunities to exert themselves, and has governed them.



N this twenty-fifth chapter, where discusses the powers of Fortune, Machiavelli seizes on ever opportunity to display himself as a fine fellow. I say no more. Let us hear him:

1. He says that he is not unaware that many men are of the opinion that the things of this world are managed either by Fortune or by God, and that tis opinion has come to the fore in our age particularly, since people have seen so many transformation, that surpass all human foresight or conjecture.
2. Therefore they conclude that human affairs cannot be guided or corrected by prudence,
3. so that they should not greatly exert themselves, but follow where these influences lead them.
4. And that sometimes he shares this opinion.

Here we first need to observe that he confesses that God and Fortune amount to the same thing, so that whenever he mentions fortune he is referring to God. Next, that he refers to men’s opinion about God’s governance of the world in at least three places:

1. “men have had, and still have, the opinion...”
2. “this opinion has been more credited in our times...”
3. “I am in some degree inclined to their opinion...”

From this it is readily seen how greatly he values this thing he merely calls “opinion.” But let us see to what he now inclines, and what opinion he has always held. For he never held that belief that the world is governed by God, only that he has inclined and leaned towards it.
spacer 2. Now he believes that Fortune or God, 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. Excellent, as befits a keen-sighted gentleman! I have no doubt that, when he wrote this, he was pleased with himself for this insight, and that even today it pleases some inattentive readers. For what’s this “possibly this is true?” Why doesn’t he say whether he thinks it is true or not? This indeed is the statement of a man in great doubt or at least wavering, or of a man afraid to say what he thinks. When he would like to deny that God plays any part in human affairs, he is hindered by a sense of shame and a fear of saying something contrary to men’s feeling. Therefore, since he refuses to grant that God governs the world and openly deny Him this, he calls God a “manager” and himself does some managing, so that in some degree he might please himself and not displease men. He makes a division in human activities and bestows half of them on God, but leaves half for them, being an entirely prudent and fair manager. But he leaves ample scope for litigation in leaving the boundaries of this division an open question for the litigants. For although he tells us that half of these actions pertain to Man and half to God, he fails to tell us what this “half” might be. Do you want to distinguish activities into two categories, one ours and one belonging wholly to God? What are those that belong wholly to God? Can you identify them and give us an explanation why God has appropriated these for Himself, and left those for us? Or do you mean that half of any activity is ours and the other half God’s?
spacer 3. And, if so, how do you cut individual activities into two halves? This is established, that thought and action belong to every activity, the one belonging to the mind and the other two the body, in accordance with the two parts of Mankind. Which of these belongs to God, thought or operation? Which belongs to Man. Or both of these can be bisected once again. For cogitation is invention, judgment of the thing invented, and choice act upon judgment. Which of these derives from Man, and which from God? Does Man invent and God judge? Or the other way around? And to which of these does choice belong? And it is the same concerning operation: it has its parts, the beginning, the progression, and the ending, and various circumstances rightly or wrongly understood, which have considerable weight. Neither speech or vocalization can exist without these parts. And in gesture and action there is this same plurality. A man kills somebody, and to do so he draws his sword, then he strikes. Here are two parts of his action, which one belongs to God. Ant the act of striking likewise has its parts: to direct his eyesight, to brandish his weapon in this direction or that, to make sure that that part of his enemy is most open for him to strike with his edge or, if he chooses to pierce with his swordpoint., and other things of this kind which are achieved by swift mental cogitation and ready dexterity of hand, since they admit either very swift deliberation or none at all. In these things what belongs exclusively to Man? I should very much like to know in what parts God intervenes? If Man is granted speech for persuasion, does God supply the words? The grammar and syntax of his words? The pitch and sweetness of his voice? Or none of these things? All of these come from Man, because they happen in accordance with art. Does God only supply the circumstances, the time and the place? But these are more or less appropriate, being things which depend on human prudence and should be chosen by Man and fall within his power. Or do not even these things belong to God, but only their success, so that, even if Man has done everything properly, the success still belongs to God? But success seems to depend on these things being correctly done by men?
spacer4. I maintain that this just judge of ours needs to consider these things and others of the same kind, and provide us with an explanation. If they are inexplicable (as indeed they are), let him acknowledge that either everything depends on God or nothing at all. And, since all men see that everything depends on God and he himself admits that many things occur which are ungoverned by any human reason, he must confess that everything depends on God. This is true to the extent that the very things which seem to have been transacted by human prudence have not depended on that human prudence or derived their success from it, but that both them and that prudence with its cogitations, deliberations, resolutions, consultations, cogitations, acts and choices, have derived their beginning, progress, mid-point and ending from God: He is the one Who governs all things according to His will alone, from Whom derive the cogitations of the mind and the responses of the mouth, Who grants and takes away prudence from the wisest of men to achieve the end destined by Himself. He grants us the means as He wishes, and (to use Machiavelli’s words, the most eloquent witness against himself), ”He blinds the minds of men when He does not want them to oppose His designs,” blue so that I am caused to wonder all the more at the man’s mental laziness in this passage, or should I say his foolishness?
spacer 5. But let us hear the man himself. Thus he continues in the same context: “If we consider well how human affairs proceed, many times many events will be seen to arise and accidents happen against which the heavens have not entirely desired that they should be provided.” So Man is granted no intervention in these actions. And we must not imagine this only pertains to imprudent men and perverse commonwealth (as Machiavelli chatters). “Wise men,” the saying goes, “are mastered boy the stars,” which is to say nothing other than “exercise power over God” (saving the blasphemy). He goes on: “And if this of which I speak happened at Rome where there was so much virtu, so much religion, and so much order, it is no wonder that it should happen much more often in a city or a province which lacks the above mentioned attributes.” Then he adds “And as this case in point is most remarkable in demonstrating the power of Fortune over human affairs, Livy relates it at length and in the most effective language, saying that Heaven, wanting some means to have the Romans know its power,

1, first made those Fabii err who had gone as ambassadors to the Gauls, and through whose deeds excited them to make war against Rome,
2. and afterward it ordained that, to reprimand them for that war, nothing should be done in Rome worthy of the Roman people.

Then he enumerates the things they failed to do properly:

spacera. having first ordained that Camillus, who alone could be the remedy for so much evil, was sent into exile...
spacerb. those people who had many times before created a dictator...did not create one when the Gauls came...
spacerc. they were slow and without extraordinary diligence in making their selection of soldiers,
spacerd. and were so slow in taking up arms, that only with great effort were they in time to meet the Gauls on the river Allia, ten miles distant from Rome.”
spacere. Here the tribunes established their camp without any of the customary diligence.
spacerf. Not circumscribing it with ditches and palisades, and n
spacerg. Not using any human or divine remedy.
spacerh. And in the order of battle, they made the ranks open and weak.
spaceri. Neither the soldiers nor the captains did anything worthy of the Roman discipline.
spacerj. They fought them without any bloodshed, for at the first clash.
spacerk. They fled, the greater part went off to Veii, and the rest to Rome.
spacerl. There they entered the Capitoline without entering even their own home.
spacerm. There the senate withdrew, with no thought of defending the city.

spacer 6. These were all means provided by God for having the city be taken. But, since He was not minded to destroy the city, he provided these remedies for its preservation and recuperation:

1. Preserving Camillus alive at Ardea.
2. Sparing the Capitoline so it could not be captures.
3. Planting all of this in the Roman’s minds so they would so act.
4. Bringing it about that the greater part of those who had been routed by the Allia retired to Veii.

Thus far Machiavelli. He could have added:

5. Bringing it about that the Gauls were unreasonable in their demand for gold, when the sword was added to the scales.
6. And that at the very moment of the quarrel Camillus came up with the army.
7. And that the same soldiers who cravenly fled by the Allia behaved manfully.

If you add all these things up, you will see that not half these actions, or one kind of them, but rather all the actions associated with Rome’s capture and recovery clearly and entirely derived from God (as Machiavelli himself admits), even to the extant that someone can criticize Man’s contribution, it was of no consequence save to the extent that its took its origin, or motivation, or success from God, given and foreordained by Him to achieve His predetermined end. This is not only visible in this single incident and its outcome, but rather in all things everywhere. For thus Machiavelli says in the same passage, “men who ordinarily live in great adversity or prosperity merit less praise or less blame, for most of the time it will be seen that they have been brought to ruin or to greatness by some great expedient which Heaven (i. e., God) has caused, giving them the opportunity or depriving them of the ability to work with virtue.”
spacer 7. What, I ask you, could be said more eloquently? All things depend on God, nothing at all on human virtue, prudence, or counsel. when he tells us that it was God’s doing rather than men’s that

1. The ambassadors
2. in not holding a levy,
3. in not creating a dictator,
4. in not preparing the army,
5. in their choice of a camp,
6. or applying remedies, divine or human,
7. or arranging their batter-order properly,
8. and in failing to act with energy,
9. and fighting in a cowardly manner,
10. and fleeing to this place rather than that,
11. to Veii rather than Rome,
12. and retiring to the Capitoline.

And when it was the doing of our same God that:

1. Camillus survived as an exile rather than being executed,
2. the Capitoline was spared.

and other things of the same kind. Hence it strikes me as strange (unless this is to be attributed to his dense stupidity, or malice, or whatever we prefer to call it), that elsewhere he subtracts half from God’s prudence (just as elsewhere he takes it all way), and says that half depends on Man’s prudence and virtue (just as elsewhere he tells us that it all does), and yet in this passage he flatly says the opposite, taking all power and efficacy away from Man and placing it all in God’s hands. He explains himself more fully: a man does not determine his destiny by his own prudence. Rather Fortune (you should always understand this to mean God), wanting to accomplish great things, chooses a man for it who knows how to select and make good use of the opportunities which she herself provides. But who is the man who knows this? If we are to believe him, no man is so prudent by himself, when God can blind even the most prudent, as were the Romans? For God is he only one who,

1. when He provides the opportunities,
2. grants a man the ability to recognize them,
3. when He allows him to embrace them,
4. rendering him neither blind nor cowardly, by taking away his power to act in accordance with virtue.

spacer 8. So we see that Machiavelli is obliged to admit that the greatest things, the least things, opportunities, choice and operation depend on God. But these are all that exists. Therefore he is obliged to admit that everything depends on God, and hence not just a half. Therefore that which a man might fancy to be a penetrating observation is both wrong and silly. And this is when God lifts up a man. What about when He casts him down. In the same way he says that God manages all these things, for thus he speaks: “ So too in the same way, when she wants to bring some great ruin, she promotes men who can do such ruin.” And this is not enough: “And if anyone should be able to resist her, she either kills him or deprives him of all the faculties of being able to do any good.” Quite right. But, therefore, in the case of a catastrophe God does not govern just one half of the actions, and Man the other, but God governs everything and Man nothing, He is nothing other than a tool in God’s hand whom He has predestined to employ as a means of accomplishing what He wishes, now sharpening the tool, now rendering it blunt, now making him fit, and now unfit, for any use. Hence it follows that this this view does not fit with his opinion about taking this half away from God, or to this simile he calls his customary one: “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 valor 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.
spacer9. How foolish this all is! First, because this analogy between a river (something limited and finite), which, even when it overflows its bank does not pass over every boundary, but always remains limited, and God, infinite by His essence, is unlimited in His power or ever constrained— in what channel could you place Him? When He flows peacefully, He still rules and all things freely take His course rather than merely being swept along, as they float towards their destined end, no less than when He appears to rouse Himself and make a rare display of His might. But when He does this, what dams or levies will you place in His way? Thus it is about a river, no matter how vast it may be: its might is defined and can be constrained, whereas God’s is boundless and nothing can oppose it. Then too, a river cannot prevent a m an from building levees,, whereas God forbids this when He is bent on destruction and takes care lest the man can doing such construction, as Machiavelli himself has just said. Finally, as Machiavelli asserts, “When Fortune shows her power where valor 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.”
spacer 10. Nor does he fare any better in supplying a reason why this prince is more successful than that one, ascribing this to “whether or not they conform in their methods to the spirit of the times.” Is this the reason for their success, I ask you, or is their success not rather what determines the spirit of the times? But why does he attribute the one being more prosperous than the other to the times, ignoring God? Has he not jus said that when God wishes to advance a man, He sends him suitable opportunities? In seeking the reason, this is where he ought to have cast his vote. blue Indeed if it were exclusively the fitness of the times as they are consonant with men’s character or nature that provided prosperous successes, then all men who were possessed of the sane nature or character at the same time would equally enjoy happy outcomes. But this is not the case. During the time of Julius II (who was possessed of an ardent temperament and thanks to that nature enjoyed prosperous success), did all the other men in the world who were of an equally ardent character enjoy equally prosperous successes? No argument could persuade me that this was the case. Indeed it refutes it, since nothing of the sort can happen. If two men of the same temperament were to go to war against each other, of necessary only one can enjoy prosperous successes, and the other less so. So the time is not the cause of this thing, but rather something else, namely the opportunity offered, or the opposing enemies, or other circumstances. For it would be a boundless, pointless task to inquire deeply for causation in human actions and their successes. Here I could call to mind the examples of Marcellus and Fabius Maximus, who managed their wars in very different ways at the same time, the one by pursuing a policy of aggressive action and the other a policy of delay. Yet for a long time they were equally successful. I could mention Scipio Africanus, whom we read never shirked a battle, but at one and the same time (or not much different) was quite various in his means of waging war. But this is sufficient about a matter sufficiently obvious.spacer
spacer 11. But what an elegant ending Machiavelli gives his chapter! “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.” About these words what am I to say? Perhaps this woman is a virago and will knock your teeth out of you try to beat her, unless you temper your violence with respect and prudence. I know the proverbial “Fortune favors the bold,“ but because something is proverbial does not make it perpetually true, and perhaps we would not to amiss in modifying it to say “Fortune favors the prudent.” For I think she was not more friendly and complaisant towards the young and daring Sempronius, nor Flamnius, Terentius or Minucius Rufus, blue than towards the elderly Fabius. All of those, being less cautious, more violent, and more audacious, found her to be a virago and an Amazon, who herself knew how to land a blow, so much so that in the case of two of them (Semplonius alongside the Trebia, Flaminius at Lake Trasimene) she knocked out not only their teeth but also their brains. She routed Terentius at Cannae, his great army scattered, who was rescued from equal danger only by her intervention. She taught Minucius how to be more sensible and abandon his youthful disposition towards herself and defer to the elderly dictator Fabius, and hence forth not to beat herself but rather to caress her.
spacer12. Do you want to learn the truth, no beating about the bush? Among the causes or instrumentalities of doing things with excellence are:

1. fortitude,
2. vigor of mind and body,
3. swiftness and promptitude.

These are fine virtues indeed, but they are ones which rashness imitates, usually not more ill-advisedly than unluckily if we consider everything. But since rashness resembles these great virtues in its appearance, it deceives us on that score and imposes on mankind. On the other hand, there also exists prudence (no white inferor to those virtues), and it is possible that idleness and sloth assume its appearance, and likewise timidity and indolence. Therefore they usurp its name and sully its honor, and so for that reason it has a bad reputation in the eyes of the less attentive, such as is Machiavelli is here. But if we seek a Golden Mean in the management of affairs, it is to be found by marrying those things in equal proportion, prudence and fortitude, for, separate from either, neither can achieve anything, and indeed both fortitude and prudence cease to exist. Machiavelli is correct to say that first good counsel must be applied to undertakings (this is the province of prudence), then, when you have taken consultation, there is a need for swift action (which pertains to fortitude and vigor). And thus happy outcomes can be this sequence of human causes. But if you undertake matters rashly and ill-advisedly, or ruin things properly provided for by cowardice, or delay them by sloth, you destroy both causes of success, nor can anything fortunate be hoped for.
spacer 13.But the fault does not lie in your prudence, but rather in your negligence and idleness masquerading as prudence, so that this too is not the fault of fortitude, but rather of rashness disguised as fortitude. These are the true means, not to subjugating Fortune (for in any event she commands and rules), but for heeding Fortune and (if she has decided anything tending in that respect) bringing her to fruition. And yet these are not the kind of means by which one can constrain her. Rather, in accordance with her whim, now she ruins things prudently devised and bravely done, robbing them of success, and now she sets ignorance and cowardice aloft on a throne enhancing and honoring them with success. But, so that someone may clearly perceive the force of this elegant discourse and hence the genius of the man, exchange Fortune’s name for its synonym (in accordance with his understanding of Fortune), by which I mean God, and then who wishes to be called a man can read that He is this woman who deserves to be whipped and beaten without a felling horror. Suffice it to have noted this.
spacer 14. Meanwhile, when this man was speaking about divine providence while playing the mocker and openly deriding God, Truth herself has forced him to make the following admissions:

1. That God exists,
2. and governs the half of human actions, and in consequence all actions entirely,
3. He can raise up the man He choose,
4. and offer him opportunities,
5. and grant him the prudence to see and embrace hem,
6. and provide all the means,
7. and likewise bring down the man He desires to ruin,
8. and take away his prudence and rob him of his intelligence,
9. and deprive him of his ability to act in accordance with virtue.
10. and restore a m an cast down to his former station,
11. and when He does this, He can dispense and preserve the means.
12. When he employs His powers upon mankind , He can lift up, cast down, and restore,
13. and is irresistible.
14. He can deprive the prudent of their prudence and foresight, and the courageous of their spirit.
15. Men must strive to make Him their friend.

What do all these things amount to other than that princes rule thanks to God, are granted their realms by Him, and that He can lift up, cast down, give honor or inflict contempt? He can infatuate the prudence of the prudent and grant it to the simple-minded. It would amount to “riding a hobbyhorse into battle“ to think otherwise, blue i. e., all means are in vain without His aid. We must rely on God alone.
spacer 15. These premises being posited, everything Machiavelli has written about impiety and religion being practised only for show must be cast aside. But what is to be done then? Are we to agree with those who Machiavelli tells us, “believe that it is not necessary to labour much in affairs, but to let chance govern them?” The entire tenor and conclusion of his chapter appears to reveal his intent on answering this objection: the half of of human action is governed by men, so we should not turn our backs on them. The other half belongs to Fortune, who must be whipped like a woman, and thus force should be used to make her side with us. Let these things which have been said in response to this acute advice and elegant turn of phrase suffice. But I would add that what he says in the Discorsi: “They ought never to abandon themselves; because not knowing Fortune’s aims, and the devious and unknown ways she takes, they always have hope; and in hoping, not to abandon themselves no matter in what ill fortune or trouble they find themselves.” But, just as these words are liable to no mean interpretation, judged both in terms of the prescriptions of ancient philosophy and the yardstick of piety (that a man should be brave of heart, and that he should do what his duty and prudence tells him ought to be done, leaving the rest to God), so they are at odds with what he writes in the present chapter.
spacer15. But what he so earnestly fears about the elimination of free will, that if he were to say that all human actions entirely derive from God, this idea would collapse and free will would not exist. In a sense, he is playing the fool inasmuch as he fails to see that the same occurs if he grants half of human actions to God. Thus he at least takes away one half of free will. Nay, in truth he takes away the whole, for will, if it is at best free in only a half part, is not free. It is necessary that the half he assigns to God must preponderate, so as to carry along the other half with itself, and all things depend on it, and neither human success or things done by action or course do not lie within Man’s power. And I shall not pass over the question of what scales, what system of weights and measures he employed when he discovered their just division into halves, and likewise this: why involve God in such a division? And why assign him a half rather than a third or a quarters? Why not a double, triple or quadruple share, or even one and a half times as much How does he know how to assign this to God rather than that? Led by what logic did he prefer this choice to the rest? Either I am mistaken or these things are inexplicable, no matter how great a genius he may be called, since he spews forth best wire all this stuff rashly and without any reason (as he is thus accused of doing) — and how could someone determine the quality or quantity of that “a little less?” But any man at all could draw this inference: half of Man’s will or a little less is not free.



spacerHAVE no interest in that Chapter 36, concerning the liberation of Machiavelli’s homeland from the barbarians, by which designation he means the French and Spanish (but he ought to say why he employs this designation). If he is thinking of language, Italy is no less barbaric; if he means in comparison with the political organization of antiquity, the current Latin one is no less degenerate. If the means manners, your Italian is no less uncouth. If we are speaking of elegance, take care lest he dignify softness and luxury with the word “elegance,” thus being accustomed to conceal his vice. But is urging Lorenzo Medici to free Italy, employing various argument s in which is this (of whatever quality): he compares Medici with Moses, Cyrus and Theseus, not only in having an opportunity that matches theirs, and accomplishing this task with deeds like theirs, but also, he asserts, in having God on their side. Although they were rare and admirable, they nevertheless were mortals, and the opportunity at their disposal was lesser. Likewise the fine deeds they undertook were no more just nor any easier, and God showed Himself to be no friendlier to them than to him. Then. after speaking of the justice and ease of the things because of the disposition of their minds), he stated his wish, adding, “ Further than this, how extraordinarily the ways of God have been manifested beyond example:

1. the sea is divided,
2. a cloud has led the way,
3. the rock has poured forth water,
4 it has rained manna,

everything has contributed to your greatness; you ought to do the rest &c.,” which can readily be seen to be extreme hyperbole or marvelous metaphor, or written with notable criminality, mendacity, and impudence. Nor is what he adds fitting: “God is not willing to do everything, and thus take away our free will and that share of glory which belongs to us.”
spacer 2. God sets this in motion, and to Him belongs all glory in toto,, even the glory of those things we do aright, not of course under compulsion, but with His guidance. I have spoken of this above, insofar as it pertains to this context, and what I have said suffices. For this is a theological question, not a political one. Concerning which, as often as something must be said, he speaks uncouthly, more appropriately for a scoffer than a teacher: nothing seems to issue from him that travels farther than his lips, painful for pious ears. Such is that which he says above: “It is seen how Italy entreats God to send someone who shall deliver her from these wrongs and barbarous insolencies.” It is permissible for me to believe this is said as a literary personification and more of a figure of speech than something having any force of a prayer, and the what he teaches may serve to teach us about the teacher.
spacer 3. Here are the means whereby he wants Lorenzo to proceed:

1. By establishing new laws and ordinances.

If he had added “good,” this could have been tolerable. But, if he fails to add it, what could be worse? But for whom is Lorenzo to establish these? For Italy? But she is not yet liberated and, being free, capable of living under her own laws. Legislation is the prerogative of a man already in power, not of him who is doing nothing beyond striving for it.

2. By taking up domestic arms.

Excellent, of course! But in this there exists a difficulty: how can a Florentine muster an army from his fellow townsman, or persuade soldiers drawn from the other jurisdictions throughout Italy to submit to unaccustomed forms of military service or enter into his service? And, even if at about these tomes where existed member of that Florentine family, the Roman pontiffs Leo X and Clement VII, men who themselves laid claim on the keys of Peter, and some of them on the sword of Paul, they nevertheless did not possess the keys to all Italy nor all its swords, but rather some keys and swords belonged others, and the consensus of all such men would have had to be obtained as a first step. I have no idea whether they would place sufficient trust in him if he claimed to be Italy’s champion, or even fear he was acting so as to pave the way for his entry into power, and would oppose him as if he were headed in that other direction (one they would least like to see). So I would not think that, no matter how much he might boast of his prayers to God, all Italy would be so well-disposed towards this project or that they would flock to a Florentine or anybody else setting up his standard (as Machiavelli urges). The actual fact of the matter shows this, since Lorenzo attempted nothing of the kind, although (as is reasonable to believe) he would scarcely have ignored it, were it as easy as Machiavelli promises.
spacer 4. And it is a mark of hasty judgment that on the basis of the success of a single battle (or if not the success, at least the near-success) which was enjoyed by the Spanish infantry in their fight against the Germans at Ravenna: “the Spaniards, by agility of body/ 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.” But how did he know this, or that it will always occur thus as it did on this occasion? It is well known how firm stood that Macedonian phalanx, or the Scottish one (no whit inferior) at Middenburgh, blue Lord Grey, the commander of the English cavalry, charged it and was driven back, his most eager troopers cut down. Bidden launch a second attack, he is said to have replied it would be just as easy for him to attack the walls of Boulogne as that battle line and break through, since it was bristling with so many pikes. And so it cam to pass. The fight did not cease until the Spaniard Pedro de Gamboa and his company of so-called arquebusiers, operating from a hill on their flank, broke up their phalanx. Nor did such a phalanx stand any less firm against men on foot: with what risk did they approach the pikes of our men in the front ranks, which were so handy both against horsemen and foot that the could very easily be wielded in any direction, right, left, upwards and downwards! The enemy could not dodge beneath them, nor did anybody have the necessary agility fall flat on the ground without the pikemen having sufficient agility to run through anyone who tried that. Nor, perhaps, could an entire format n use its agility to avoid pikemen in the way that an single one can in order to dodge an individual foeman, to prevent being driven back by the avalanche-like assault of the massed pikemen Even if a man is steel-clad, he is run through. If he is unprotected there can be no recourse for footmen save to use their swords to lop the ironwork off the ends of the pikes, a thing which is impeded by the tightness of the space and the dense array of the pikes. This is particularly true for Spaniards, who stab with their swordpoints more then they slash with their blades’ edges. And even if they do manage to lop those off, nevertheless they are shoved backward by having their shield bosses or bodies shoved by the wooden remnants, or even stunned by blows to the head. And then, even if I were to concede that they could dodge beneath the pikes of the men in the forefront, or lop their pikes, they would tangle with the pikes of the men in the second line which out even over the bodies of the men in the first. And then, if they could lop or dodge those too and come to the hand-to-had fighting, they would now encounter men clad in steel and armed with swords. And even if they were their match i n other respects, in this they would be at a disadvantage, that is necessary that, even if they had not shattered their swords in cutting off pikes, of necessity they would have rendered them dull and blunt.



Based on his discussions at III.5.
Based on the same at I.10


S for the rest, whether Machiavelli proposed ending his book by inciting Lorenzo to free Italy from the Spanish, or whether he added this as a kind of appendix after he had handled all the rest, or because he wished Lorenzo to set himself up as a tyrant under the pretext of this liberation, which he might henceforth retain and administer, by means of the arts prescribed in this volume (which seems most likely), or for some other reason, whatever it might have been, so that he might set before the eyes of his reader the value of these arts, at least as adjudged and recommended by himself, and at the same time his own constancy, judgment and insightfulness, it would scarcely be beside the point to devote a few words what he says elsewhere blue about preserving one’s power. I shall reduce these to categories:

1. true prudence,
2. true glory.

The rest he has to say are subsumed to these.
spacer 2. He deals with the first of his discussions in III.5, which he entitles THAT WHICH MAKES A KING LOSE THE KINGDOM THAT HE INHERITED: “Princes should understand, therefore, that they begin to lose the State from that hour when they begin to break the laws and ancient institutions under which men have lived for a long time.” And a little later:

1. Principalities are most easily kept by those who are counselled wisely,
2. Those who have been deprived of these would regret their loss much more, and would condemn themselves to greater punishment than that to which others have condemned them:
For it is much more easy
spacera. to be loved by the good than the bad,
spacerb. and to obey the laws then to enforce them.
4. And in wanting to learn the course that they should have to hold to do this, they do not have to endure any other hardship than to mirror for themselves the lives of good Princes, such as Timoleon the Corinthian, Aratus the Sicyonian, and similar ones,
5. in the lives of whom they would find as much security and satisfaction to him who ruled as to he who is ruled; so that they ought to want to imitate him, being able to do so for the reasons mentioned:
6. For men when they are well governed, do not seek or desire any other liberty; as happened to the people governed by the above named (Princes), whom they constrained to be Princes as long as they lived, even though they often had been tempted to return to private life.”

spacer 3. He starts this chapter by citing the example of Tarquin the Proud and his loss of power, stating its causes:

1. his violation of the laws and customs of the kingdom,
2. his tyrannical government.

Which he analyzes in detail:

1. That he stripped the senate of its traditional power, and appropriated to himself the things which the senate had been accustomed to manage in public, and did this privately by himself within his palace walls, exciting great disgust and envy.
2. That he deprived Rome of the liberty which it had enjoyed under other kings.
3, That he compelled the people to do work unworthy of free men.
4. By doing these things he prepared their minds for rebellion, so that they would seize the first opportunity to rise up against him.
5. These manifestations of cruelty and arrogance set the examples for his ejection from his realm, not Sex us’ rape of Lucretia.
6. She only provided them with their first opportunity. Had this not happened, they would have seized on some opportunity to use.

spacer 4. Thus Machiavelli. On the basis of this it is clear that, by his own confession, the reasons for loss of power or at least the single true and proximate cause is to become hated by good men. Again, the causes for this were:

1. violation of the laws,
2. abasement of the nobility,
3. oppression of the people,
4. the diminution of liberty,
5. the appropriation of power over all the things by a single man, which I believe they call unfettered or absolute,
6. cruelty,
7. arrogance (and I do not know whether this is more hateful than cruelty).
8. imitation of examples set by bad princes.

Likewise it can be gathered that the cause of the preservation of power is also single: to be liked by good men. This can be accomplished by:

1. preserving the laws and customs of the principality,
2. obeying the laws,
3. honoring and enhancing the nobility,
4. not burdening the people,
5. maintaining liberty for all, undamaged,
6. taking care not to gather all power to a single man,
7. employing mercy and mildness,
8. behaving amiably rather than arrogantly,
9. imitating the examples of the best princes,
10. keeping the examples of bad ones as far away as possible.
11. He concludes that all these things are most easily accomplished.

These things being the case, what, I ask, has happened to all of the precepts Machiavelli has thus far given us?

1. Where’s that deception?
2. And the cruelty?
3. And the wickedness?
4. And the impiety?
5. And the need to be bad since one lives among bad men?
6. What about imitating Borgia and Oliverotto?

What more is needed by way of refutation?
spacer 5. But someone might observe that he is only saying these things about hereditary principalities, for which these precepts are sufficient. But he said the other things for benefit of those who have gained new realms. And I’m aware that he gave his title that chapter. But first I ask where’s the logic in this difference? For if it is sufficient for hereditary princes to be loved, why not for others as well? And if the observance of the laws is the highway to this love for them, why not for the rest? So too for the other points made here. Honoring noblemen? Not burdening the people? Not damaging liberty? Mercy? Employing affability and the rest? Thus too for their contraries: if the hatred of good men paves the way for the downfall of hereditary princes, why does it not overthrow the rest as well? And if violation of the laws is the way for hereditary princes to earn their hatred, how does not happen that it creates hatred for the others too? And if breaking the laws paves the way to hatred for hereditary princes, how does it not happen that it paves this way for others? And we should feel the same way about the rest: The debasement of noblemen? The oppression of the people? Liberty damaged and diminished? One-man power? Cruelty? Pride? Imitation of bad princes? And if this is right and rightly considered for the one and easily done, why is it not done easily for them too?
spacer6. In the second place, he himself advances this rule: men who are well governed neither seek nor desire more liberty. And he posits this as a general rule, making no distinction or limitation between inherited and uninerited governments, and it thus applies to both kinds:? For the one and for the other being well governed satisfies men and is the path to securing one’s power. And indeed this is a matter of such importance that in both kinds of principality men are satisfied by good government, and this is the highway to enjoying consolidated power. Indeed, it is of such great importance that men love a good governor, albeit a new prince, more than an old one established in his rule who governs badly. They are more his well-wishers, they obey him better. This is visible in a number of instance, they liked Trajan more than Caracalla, Marcus Aurelius better than his own son Commodus. I could say that this is true enough that, even if power has been gained by arts which were less than the best, nevertheless, when his subjects understand the advantage of proper government, they are even more ready to tolerate everything than Machiavelli himself indicated at the beginning of this chapter.
spacer 7. But this is not to excuse Machiavelli. No matter what the truth may be about what he says in its title about hereditary principalities, when it comes to explaining the matter he accommodates this insight to other principalities, taking some of his examples from ones which were not hereditary. For Timoleon (to whom he points as a model for imitation) was not born a prince of Sicily. He was Corinth-born and sent by the Corinthians to pout an end to tyrants. After he had accomplished this deed, the Sicilians liked him and he became their prince. Neither did Aratus succeed to his principality. Neither was his father Cleinias the prince of the Sicyonians, nor was his principality in that state, but he was born of the Dorian aristocracy, as Plutarch says, blue which was thrown into confusion by riots and a number of changes of government experienced by a succession of tyrants. Finally, after the murder of Cleon, it recovered from this turmoil and, returning to its former estate, chose Timocleides and Cleinias to preside over affairs as in an aristocracy. The former died and the latter was killed by Abantidas, who seized the tyranny. Likewise, after the killing of Abantidas, his father Pausanias succeeded him, and Nicocles murdered him and took over the tyranny. Aratus drove him out, but did not succeed him as if by hereditary right, but rather managed to attach Sicyon to the Achaean League. Whether he deserves to be called a prince or something else, he attained his position by election rather than succession., He was not prince of the Sicyonians (as somebody could claim his father to have been), but of the Achaeans.
spacer8. And what manner of example is it that he makes of Tarquin here? One of hereditary rule? Not in the slightest, but rather of a new one or indeed of one gained by crime, in fact a very great crime committed against a legitimate king, against his father-in-law Servius Tullius. Machiavelli expressly acknowledges this when he says “ the manner of his occupying the kingdom was irregular and odious.” It was irregular? Therefore it was not hereditary rule. “Nonetheless had he observed the ancient institutions of the other kings, he would have been tolerated, and the senate and plebs would never have arisen against him and taken the state away from him.” Let the judicious reader consider this and observe the truth and efficacy of these precepts and the insight of their preceptor and the genius for which he is celebrated. Meanwhile, let him appreciate this, that scarcely any other king can be found who did a better job of conforming himself to Machiavelli’s rules (which are purely Machiavellian, unmitigated by any goodness of nature). Tarquin was most fraudulent, most crafty, a very cruel lion and (if you care to add this) a wolf criminal in every respect. For his craft was apparent in his entry into a conspiracy, blue and in the way he took advantage of a division of land to the people as an opportunity to denounce King Servius in the senate,

1. as if he favored the most degraded classes,
2. and shifted all the burdens which were formerly common onto the leading men.
3. and had instituted a census so that the estates of the wealthy would be exposed to envy, and parcelled out to the neediest.
4. That Tarquin had readied arms, a sign of his boldness in attempting this crime.
5. and immediately dashed into the Forum,
6. and unhesitatingly appropriated the throne set up before the senate-house and sat on it,
7. and by means of a herald summoned the senate to King Tarquin, although Servius was still alive,
8. and that, after Servius had come, he took him by the middle and cast him down the steps,
9. and when Servius was departing he sent a henchman to murder him.

spacer 9. Is this not what Machiavelli means when he bids a prince not to deal respectfully with Fortune but rather beat, whip, and command here? Thus Tarquin gained his kingship. But what he do now he has gained it? He will put these same so-called “qualities” to work, in which he sets the following examples:

1. For his protection he surrounds himself with foreign bodyguards,
2. he associates himself with the Latins by kinship,
3. and strikes a treaty with them that improves his condition,
4. and when Herdonius accuses him of arrogance he arranges him to be killed by a scheme,
5. by smuggling arms into his house,
6. and then accusing him of conspiring against himself,
7. and then, thanks to the discovery of the arms he himself had arranged to be placed in Herdoniusl house without his knowledge, convicts and condemns the man.
8. and thanks to his wonderful adroitness places the Gabii under his control , “banishing” his son by a false feud,
9. and the son goes to Gabii
10. and speaks ill of his father, saying he is rightly called The Proud,
11. and says this is something that not even sons can endure,
12. and tells the Gabii that he will be Tarquin’s enemy if they take him in,
13. but if they do not, he will go anywhere at all to stir up hatred against his father,
14. and swears an oath, convinces them, and gains admission,
15. and having been admitted, joins them in taking up arms against his father and goes to war,
16. and often gains victories over his father by prearrangement,
17. and, having gained the Gabii’ confidence, becomes their general,
18. and becomes all-powerful,
19. and the scheme progresses and he consults his father.
20. That sly man, not trusting a messenger, lops the heads of poppies and offers no further reply.
21. The son, being prudent and worthy of his father, did as he had indicated by his pantomime and lopped the heads off leading men one after another for their supposed crimes.
22. And so, now free to act and free of all restraint, delivered himself and his city to his father.

spacer 10. Behold a wolf such as one rarely sees. Nor did he play the lion any the less:

1. He wages war against the Volsci,
2. from them takes Suessa Pometia.

Turning to the works of peacetime:

1. He feigns piety, just as Machiavelli commands.
2. He founds that magnificent work, the Capitoline.
3. He builds gods’ temples.
4. He places benches in the circuses.
5. He creates the Cloaca Maxima as a receptacle for the city sewage.
6. By these tasks of war and peace he kept the plebeians occupied, and (as if these developments were arising one after the other, kept their minds in suspense, not giving them time to attack him or think about so doing.
7. But he did all of these thing as if at the will of others in order to keep bad repute at arm’s length, although he did them by his own devising.

Behold a true disciple of Machiavelli:

1. Behold the fox,
2. behold the lion,
3. and the young man employing force to beat and scourge Fortune,
4. and being full of majesty, reserving it for himself at every turn,
5. and avoiding contempt,
6. and creating fame for himself both domestically and in war,
7. and preoccupies men’s minds by keeping them busy,
8. and (insofar as we can gather) did not offend against the wealth of his subjects,
10. nor did he himself offend against their women, the only two things of any significance against which Machiavelli warns us.

spacer 11. Although by doing these things Tarquin was in such conformity with his own teachings, in this context Machiavelli is obliged to condemn him and those features of his which he so greatly recommends to princes in the present book:

1. cruelty,
2. arrogance (which he preaches under the name of majesty),
3. injustice and all the arts of tyranny.

And in their stead to preach genuine, unfeigned virtue, as being:

1. useful.
2. and self-sufficient,

After the example Aratus, Timoleon, and other good men.



OW, albeit these could satisfy any reader, I wish to add the things which he himself, most openly of all writers, has to say against all

1. tyranny,
2. false glory,
3. empty praise,
4. unsure security
5. the need to intimidate men,
6. the usefulness of the virtues
7. the avoidance of the vices.

All of which things are recommended to a prince in Il Principe, whereas in Discorsi I.10 Machiavelli urges adoption of the former:

1. for the sake of unsullied glory,
2. and true praise,
3. certain and tranquil security<
4. sincere affection,
5. unfeigned virtue,
6. the renunciation of vice.

spacer 2. I shall very faithfully render this as best I can, although investigating this essence of his thought stripped of the elegancies of his printed Latin texts, analyzing them into small portions so to make everything clearer: “Among all men who have been praised,

1. the most lauded are those who are heads or establishers of religions,
2. next after those who have founded republics or kingdoms,
3. and after these are celebrated those who have commanded armies, and who have enlarged the territory of their kingdom or those of their country,
4. to these should be added men of letters, and because these are of many fields, they are celebrated according to their degree of excellence.
5. To other men, the number of whom is infinite, some degree of praise is given to them as pertain to their art and profession.

On the other hand, those men are infamous:

1. destroyers of religion,
2. squanderers of kingdoms and republics,
3. enemies of the virtues,
4. and letters,
5. and of every other art which brings usefulness and honor to mankind, such as are:
spacera. the impious
spacerb. and violent,
spacerc. the ignorant,
spacerd. the idle,
spacere. the vile and degraded.

spacer 3. “And no one will ever be so mad or so wise, so wicked or so good, that selecting between these two kinds of men, does not laud what is laudable, and censure what is censurable.” And concerning those who give the praise, and at what prices, he thus offers his opinion: “None the less, however, nearly all men deceived by a false good or a false glory allow themselves to drift either voluntarily or ignorantly into the ranks of those who merit more censure that praise. And being able to establish either a kingdom or a republic with eternal honor to themselves, they turn to Tyranny, nor do they see because of this action

1. how much fame,
2. and glory,
3. and honor,
4, and security,
5. and peace,
6. and tranquil satisfaction of the mind they lose,

and how much

1, infamy,
2. disgrace,
3. censure,
4. danger,
5. and disquiet they incur.”

spacer 4. What they ought to do: “And it is impossible that those who live as private individuals in a Republic, or who by fortune or virtue become princes, if they read the history and the records of ancient events, would do well living as private citizens in their country to live rather as a Scipio than a Caesar; and those who are princes, rather as Agesilaus, Timoleon, and Dion, than as Nabis, Phalaris, and Dionysius, because they will see these latter to be thoroughly disgraced and those former most highly praised. They will also see that Timoleon and the others had no less authority in their country than had Dionysius and Phalaris, but they will see that they had had greater security for a longer time. ” And he gives the reason:

1. “They will see these latter to be thoroughly disgraced and those former most highly praised.”
2. “They will also see that Timoleon and the others had no less authority in their country than had Dionysius and Phalaris, but they will see that they had greater security for a longer time.”

Then he raises an objection by pointing to the praise and glory accorded Caesar by historians. His rejoinder is that “ Nor is there anyone who deceives himself by the glory of Caesar, he being especially celebrated by writers, for those who praised him were corrupted by his fortune and frightened by the long duration of the empire which, ruling under his name did not permit that writers should talk of him freely. But whoever wants to know what the writers would have said of him freely, let him observe what they say of Catiline. And so much more is Caesar to be detested, as how much more is he to be censured for that which he did, than he who just intends to do evil. He will also see how Brutus was extolled with so many praises; so that not being able to censure Caesar because of his power they extolled his enemy. Let he who has become a prince in a republic also consider how much more praise those emperors merited who, after Rome became an empire, lived under the laws as good princes, than those who lived an in a contrary manner.
spacer 5. “And he will also see that it was not necessary for the praetorian soldiers or the multitudes of the legions to defend

1. Titus,
2. Nerva,
3. Trajan,
4. Hadrian,
5. Antoninus,
6. and Marcus Aurelius,

because their customs, the good will of the people, and the love of the senate would defend them. He will also see that the Eastern and Western armies were not sufficient to save Caligula, Nero, Vitellius, and so many other wicked emperors, from those enemies which their bad customs and evil lives had raised up against them. And if the history of those men should be well considered, it would be very instructive to any Prince in pointing out to him the way to glory or censure, to security or fear. For of the twenty-six who were Emperors from Caesar to Maximinius, sixteen were murdered. Ten died in a natural way; and if among those who were murdered there may have been some good men, such as Galba and Pertinax, they were killed by that corruption that his predecessors had left among the soldiers.”
spacer6. Afterwards, in speaking about how the empire was put on a sound basis by adoption rather than succession, as if in passing he observes: “The reder will also learn from this lesson of history how a good kingdom can be organized, for all, except Titus, were bad: twenty-three, and those who succeeded by adoption were all good, such as were those five from Nero to Marcus Aurelius. And when the Empire became hereditary, it came to ruin..” At this point he adds his conclusion: it is an easy choice to decide that a well-ordered government is not to be achieved by hereditary succession but by selection, namely by means of an adoption by the old prince, which is nothing other than the selection of a prince and a transfer of power to the best man. I have no quarrel with the quality of this observation, although few princes have made this transfer to their heirs, if they had them. But, be this as it m ay, this is a great proof against himself in showing that it is of no great importance (at least to the degree he says it is) whether a man comes to power by inheritance, nor is it as conducive to a prince’s security as is good government.
spacer 7. Next, returning to the subject of the condition of good princes and urging their imitation, he writes: “ Let a Prince therefore place himself in the times of Nero and Marcus, and let him compare them with those which preceded and followed (that period) and afterward let him select in which (of the two) he would want to be born and in which he would want to reign. For in those times governed by good (Emperors), he will see:

1. a prince secure in thy midst of secure citizens,
2. he will see the world full of peace and justice,
3. he will see the senate with its authority,
4. the magistrates with their honor,
5. rich citizens enjoying their wealth,
6. the nobility and their virtue exalted,
7. he will see every quiet and good; and on the other hand he will see
spacera. every rancor,
spacerb. every corruptor,
spacerc. and ambition extinct
8. He will see that golden era where everyone can hold and defend whatever opinion he wishes.
9. In the end, he will see the triumph of the world,
10. the prince flourishing with reverence and glory,
11. the people full of love and security.”

spacer 8. Then, gradually shifting his attention to the times of the bad emperors: “Then if he will consider the sorrowful times of the other Emperors, he will see

1. in war, discords from
2. in peace, seditions,
3. in peace and war, cruelty and brutality,
4. so many princes slain by the sword,
5. so many civil wars,
6. so many foreign wars,
7. Italy afflicted and full of new misfortunes,
8. her cities ruined and sacked.
9. He will see Rome burned,
10. the Capitol of its citizens destroyed,
11. the ancient temples desolate,
12. ceremonies corrupted,
13. the city full of adulterers/
14. He will see the sea full of exiles,
15. the shores full of blood.
16. He will see innumerable cruelties take place in Rome,
17. and nobility, riches, honors, and above all virtue, accounted capital crimes.
18. He will see
spacera. informers rewarded,
spacerb. servants corrupted against the masters,
spacerc. freemen against their patrons,
spacerd. and those who lack enemies, oppressed by friends.

And he will also recognize very well what obligations Rome, Italy, and the world owed to Caesar. And without doubt (if he was born of man), he would be dismayed at every imitation of those evil times, and burning with an immense desire to follow the good.”
spacer 9. Where, I ask, are the Borgia and Oliverotto one is supposed to imitate? But he continues: “And truly, a prince seeking the glory of the world ought to desire to possess a corrupt city, not to spoil it entirely like Caesar, but to reorganize it like Romulus. And truly the heavens cannot give man a greater opportunity for glory, nor could man desire a better one. And if to want to organize a city well, it should be necessary to abolish the principate, he who had failed to give her good laws should merit some excuse. But he does not merit any excuse who can hold the principate and organize it.” Then he concludes: “And in sum, let he to whom the heavens gives the opportunity consider that there are two ways

1. the one which will make him live securely and render him glorious after his death,
2. the other which will make him
spacera. live in continual anxiety
b. and after death leave of himself an eternal infamy.”

This is his conclusion, with which agrees with his chapter heading AS MUCH AS THE FOUNDERS OF REPUBLICS AND KINGDOMS (understand that he means a legitimate one, otherwise it would not be a kingdom) ARE LAUDABLE, SO MUCH ARE THOSE OF A TYRANNY SHAMEFUL (I would add “the managers of republics” out of necessity, since the logic that applies to them is similar and often the same).
spacer10. And with this it is proper for me to come to an end. I have nothing else with which I can oppose his entire volume and the vices he foists on us, or say on behalf of the virtues he attacks.



UT I want to conclude this disputation by collecting as mottoes some particularly significant mottoes which, scattered through his book, Machiavelli either expressly sets forth or are necessary logical consequences. Others of these are the foundations he himself has laid whereupon to construct his book, or upon which it must be constructed out of necessity. Then I shall add statements antithetical to these, the ones he expressly acknowledges or are likewise consequences (as I have shown) of the ones he does acknowledge, or at least ones is human reason universally approves, and cannot seriously be denied by any sane man, and traditionally are not.


spacer I have shown above that these are especially necessary for his proposals:

1. God does not exist.
2. His providence (which is the same thing) is nothing.
3. He does not govern human affairs, hence any man can achieve what He has not (a monstrosity!)
4. For Fortune impels them.
5. She is a woman.
6. Being a woman, she requires beating and forcible treatment
7. She will be favorable to those who treat her thus.
8. She is more favorable to the youthful.
9. She can only exert her influence in things where there is no order or power to resist.
10. It is possible to resist her where order is present.
11. Or at least she can be resisted to some degree and her power can be greatly broken.
12. In tranquil times it is possible to oppose her with banks and levees to make her flow within her streambeds, or at least not sweep everything along with herself.
13. Men can make their own fortune.
14. Any worship you care to name is to be offered to God, in appearance..
15. Nothing actually belongs to Him.
16. No concern is to be taken for His worship.
17. Nothing is honorable per se.
18. No concern is to be taken for honor.
19. In politics their is no difference between virtue and vice in politics.
20. Virtue is no more praiseworthy than vice.
21. Virtue is useless for a ruler, or even dangerous.
22. Vice is necessary for a ruler, indeed it is necessary.
23. A government is placed on a sound footing by vices.
24. One must sometimes employ vices, nay, often.
25. It is necessary to do evil.
26. A prince should become habituated to vices, so that he may be evil.
27. The sole aim of a prince should be to protect his government and his life.
28. He should have no concern for his people or his commonwealth,
29. and none for his honor and praise.
30. It should always suffice him to be praised.
31. All the means he employs, of whatever character, in order to preserve his life and his government are praiseworthy.
32. To preserve them, it is sufficient for him to avoid universal hatred.
33. Individual hatreds are harmless.
34. They can sufficiently be avoided by refraining from interfering with people’s wealth and their women.
35. One should be unconcerned about murdering one’s friends, or indeed one’s parents.
36. Power is better retained by fear than affection.
37. No good prince has ever existed.
39. This is only an imaginary thing.
39. A prince cannot be a good man.
40.A good man cannot preserve his life and his government.
41. To preserve these, one must be evil.
42. Men are captivated by false appearance.
43. They see nothing but externals.
44.They are all blind.
45. All men constitute a rabble.
46. All men are evil and wicked.
47. They are deceitful, they will not keep faith with you.
48. Liberality breeds hatred and contempt.
49. So also mercy.
50. Cruelty and stinginess (or squalor) does more to engender honor and affection.
51. A prince should not and cannot keep his word.
52. He needs to break his word, be an oath-breaker and a perjurer.
53. He needs to be such
54. It is a necessary, just and honorable thing so to do.


1. Do not fear a vengeful God.
2. Do not honor Him when he is propitious, or attempt to make Him such.
3. Do not offer up any prayer or plea for mercy.
4. Do not worship Him earnestly.
5. Do not give a groat for religion.
6. Nevertheless accept it.
7.Do a fine job of feigning piety.
8. But mock it when you are serious.
9. In actual fact be impious.
10. In lieu of God, rely on yourself and your cunning.
11. Employ it to cheat and deceive men.
12.Do not hesitate thus to create your own good fortune.
13. Beat her and treat her forcefully.
14. Kill whomever you want whenever you want, without hesitation..
15. Butcher entire nations for the sake of your advantage.
16. Just put up some fair-seeming excuse.
17. Be cruel, and do not shrink from being thought and said to be such.
18. Be an oath-breaker. Keep your word when it serves your purpose, otherwise break it.
19. Do not be merciful.
20. Avoid being thought to be such.
21. Do not be liberal, and avoid being thought to be such.
22. Chose the most criminal of men to be your models for imitation.
23. Regard only them as intelligent.
24. Above all others, keep Borgia before your e yes.
25. Do not shrink from committing any crime.
26. Abandon or murder your own father for the sake of maintaining power.
17. For the sake of that, renounce Christ.
28. Blaspheme God, if need be.
29. Be extremely evil in the highest degree.
30. Abandon all humanity.
31. Discard your human nature.
32. Act bestially, be a beast.
33. Be a lion, monstrous and brutal.
34. Be a fox, sly, shifty and low-down.
35. Think only of warfare,
36. Let it be your sole art and concern.
37. Do not pursue the arts of peace.
38. Waste no time or effort upon justice.
39. Be a true ingrate.
40. And do not give a groat if you are called such.
41, Demote the man who helped you gain power.
42. And give preference and promotion to your former enemies.

spacer4. I omit other things of no small importance, since I have neither the time nor any especial need to retrace my steps. These suffice to show what manner of man he is, whose insight, prudence and genius is so vaunted. If these exist in these points, I have no idea where they do not exist. Nevertheless, in order to make these all the more obvious, and to show how little he understood himself, or, if he did, how unconcerned he was about self-contradiction, or was unconscious of such great absurdity. I shall list the things I have said, gathered from my reading of him, which are flatly contrary.


spacerThese are the principal points I posited, in the face of which all the preceding collapse:

1. God exists.
2. His providence exists
3. He governs them and steers them according to His will.
4. This is what men call by the misnomer of Fortune.
5. They are not steered by another kind of fortune, which is happenstance.
6. Fortune is not a woman but rather a man. Or, if you want to keep her sex, she is a virgin.
7. A woman who will smash you in the face and knock out your teeth if you try to beat her.
8. She favors moderate old men more than violent young ones.
9. She is capable of assaulting the best ordered of things.
10. You cannot break her power or obstruct her in the least of things.
11. No banks or levees can ever be built to withstand her.
12. No man can command her or make his own fortune.
13. God has His own form of worship, and it is owed to him by mankind.
14. Care must be taken to worship Him properly.
15. Nor is any man to indulge in worship merely in show.
16. Honesty per se is something.
17. Care must be taken for it.
18. There is a difference between virtue and vice.
19. Virtue is more praiseworthy than vice.
20. Virtue is not dangerous for a ruler, indeed it is useful.
21. Vice is not necessary for a ruler.
22. Nor is it useful
23. A realm cannot be preserved by it,
24. Nor confirmed or placed on a firm footing.
25. A prince must never resort to it.
26. Evil is not to be done out of necessity.
27. A prince is not to become habituated to it so that he can be evil.
28. Rather, insofar as is possible, he must become habituated to being unable to be evil.
29. This is the image of God and the sum total of happiness.
30. It is not a prince’s sole aim to preserve his life and government.
31. He must care for his subjects and his commonwealth.
32. And this his most important aim.
33. He must strive to gain praise, glory and honor.
34. But not always to be praised to as to preserve his life and his government.
35. Not all the means by which he might achieve this are praiseworthy.
36. The avoidance of universal hatred is insufficient to preserve these things.
37. Individual hatred is harmful,
38. and should be avoided.
39. Keeping one’s hands off other men’s property and women does not suffice to avoid it.
40. One must refrain from insulting their honor,
41. and casting opprobrium on them,
42. and the murder of anyone’s friends.
43. This must be taken seriously.
44. Governments are better preserved by affection than by fear.
45. A good prince can exist.
46. This is not imaginary.
47. They have sometimes existed.
.48. A man who is a prince can be a good man.
49. He can preserve his life and his government
50. without becoming evil to do so.
51. All men are not blind.
52. They are not a rabble.
53. Nor are they captivated by false appearances of things.
54. They see something beyond appearance.
55. They are not evil.
56. They are not oath-breakers.
57. They are not deceivers,
58. or break their word.
59. Liberality does not breed hatred,
60. nor engender contempt.
61. Mercy does not create hatred,
62. Nor contempt.
63. Cruelty does not create affection,
64. Nor honor.
65. It engenders hatred,
66. And opprobrium..
67. Stinginess (or avarice, or squalor) does not engender honor and affection, but rather
spacera. hatred,
spacerb. contempt and
spacerc. opprobrium.
68. A prince can keep his word.
69. This ought to be useful.
70. Deception is
spacera. not just,
spacerb. not necessary,
spacerc. not useful.


1. Fear a vengeful God.
2. Take care to make Him propitious towards yourself.
3. Pray and plead for mercy regarding all things..
4. Worship Him earnestly.
5. Worship Him duly..
6. Take religion (i. e., worship) seriously.
7. Accept this as His received truth.
8. Embrace no other..
9. Do not pretend at any cost.
10. Do not flaunt false piety. .
11. Do not conceal your piety out of embarrassment.
12. Conduct and display yourself with modesty. .
13. Earnestly despise impiety.
14 Do not rely on your own prudence.
15. Ask it from God.
16. Look forward to success.
17. Do not presume you can make your own so-called fortune..
18. Regard it as sinful to cheat any man by fraud..
19. Realize this is useless and unworthy of yourself..
20. Refrain from killing any man unjustly.
21. And abhor even more the killing of peoples and nations..
22. Do not think it sufficient to offer some specious excuse..
23. Avoid being cruel.
24. Avoid being regarded or spoken of as if you were such.
25. Be tenacious in keeping your word.
26. Do not hesitate because this might seem to entail a loss.
27. Take care to be merciful.
28. Do not disdain be regarded as such.
29. And likewise to be liberal,
30. and regarded as such.
31. Do not imitate bad princes.
32. Imitate good ones..
33. Avoid committing any crime, abominate it.
34. Do nothing against charity,
35. or against piety.
36. Let no fear of avoiding evil provoke you to evil action.
37. Do not plead the desire for acquiring some good as your excuse.
38. Do not consider this the mark of a man, the mark of greatness, or honorable..
39. Do not be criminal and a bad man to any degree.
40. Remember you were born a man.
41. Never discard your human nature.
42. Never assume that of a beast,
43. inspired by your prudence and fortitude.
44 Employ human nature, leave bestiality to the beasts, the lion-like and the fox-like to lions and foxes.
45. Be brave in war, be careful to learn the art of war, but do not learn just that.
46. Pursue the arts of peace as well.
47. Devote your time and energy to justice, learning, and governing.
48. In particular show yourself to be grateful.
49. If someone helped you come to power, help him.
50. Remember to help him as best you can.
51. Do not be an ingrate and diminish him.
52. Nor rest idle and neglect him, or be evil and overthrow them.
53. Reconcile with your former enemies.
54. Join them to yourself as friends.
55. But do not prefer them to your old ones.
56. Be affable towards all men,.
57. and amiable,
58. and approachable and easy in conversation. s.
59. Shun pride like a shoal, banish whatever smacks of it. As often as you think of yourself as a prince, think of yourself as a man, know you are moral.
60. Finally, maintain the laws and the customs of the realm.
61. Obey the laws.
62. Honor and enhance your nobles.
63. Do not burden your people, treat them kindly.
64. Preserve liberty for all men, unimpaired.
65. Do not concentrate all power in one man.
66. Believe that all glory arises from these things.
67. From them arise your secure survival, not from bodyguards,
68. and honor for you in life and in death.

spacer 7. There is much similar stuff, which, when I was pondering them, struck me as so self-contradictory, incompetent and absurd that I said to myself “this man does not believe what he writes, but he writes to describe things as they are done, not that men might do the same, but so that they might shun these evils. He acts the part of a man who approves of them so that he might insinuate his way into similar minds, and with greater security publicize crimes, plain and unvarnished, to that with their base and monstrous appearance he might terrify them and instill a sense of shame.” But I perceive few if any traces of this intention. I must alter my opinion and believe that he is as criminal has he pretends to be, and all men should believe this as long as they also believe he is such a fool. If any man persists in thinking otherwise and adheres to the former view, I shall not contest him. For my quarrel is not with the man but with his teachings, or if it is with the man, this is because of his teachings. Men flatter these teachings and thrust them upon us, but his genius should have been kept concealed, as so should they. So let me be allowed to end with this. If a man should think that Machiavelli believed what he wrote, let him realize it was written without any genius. If he thinks he did not believe it, then let him explain himself and free men from their errors and such certain danger, and GIVE THE RIGHT ITS DUE, AND ALL GLORY TO GOD.