What can you learn from Machiavelli?
Have enemies you must destroy? In this handbook for despots and tyrants, the Renaissance statesman Machiavelli sets forth how to accomplish this and more, while avoiding the awkwardness of becoming generally hated and despised. Yet, The Prince was the first attempt to write of the world of politics as it is, rather than sanctimoniously of how it should be, and thus The Prince remains as honest and relevant today as when Machiavelli first put quill to parchment, and warned the junior statesman to know how to do wrong, and to make use of it or not according to necessity.
Throughout his life, he was a diplomat, politician, historian, and writer.
Machiavelli - HISTORY
Machiavelli served the Florentine republic as secretary and second chancellor from to while the Medici family was out of power. His most famous work, The Prince , was a written attempt to re-ingratiate himself with the Medicis when they returned to power. Christopher S. Celenza is the author or editor of seven books and more than forty scholarly articles or book chapters in the fields of Italian Renaissance history, post-classical Latin literature, and philosophy.
Hence we see princes being offered horses, arms, vestments of gold, precious stones, and similar accoutrements worthy of their grandeur. Wishing to present myself to Your Magnificence with a token of my deepest respect, I have found among my possessions nothing that I value or esteem higher than my knowledge of the deeds of great men. I have acquired this knowledge through my long experience of modern affairs and a lifelong study of ancient times, all of which I have weighed and examined with great diligence and brought together into this small volume, which I am now offering to Your Magnificence.
Though I deem this work unworthy of being in Your illustrious presence, my confidence in Your benevolence persuades me that it will be accepted, and that Your Magnificence will recognize that I cannot offer You a greater gift than the prospect of Your understanding in the shortest period all that I have experienced and learned over so many years and with so much danger and hardship. I have not filled this volume with pompous rhetoric, with bombast and magnificent words, or with the unnecessary artifice with which so many writers gild their work.
I wanted nothing extraneous to ornament my writing, for it has been my purpose that only the range of material and the gravity of the subject should make it pleasing.
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Nor do I wish it to be thought presumptuous that a man of low and humble condition like myself should presume to map out and direct the government ofprinces. But just as a cartographer will descend into the plains in order to study the nature of the mountains, and will then climb the highest peaks in order to study the low-lying land, so, too, only an exalted prince can grasp the nature of the people, and only a lesser man can perceive the nature of a prince.
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I hope therefore that Your Magnificence will accept this humble gift in the spirit in which it is offered. Should You condescend to read and consider it carefully, You will perceive in its pages my profound desire that Your Magnificence will rise to the greatness that Fortune and Your qualities promise.
Chapter One Of the kinds of principalities that exist, and how they can be acquired All states, all dominions that rule or have ruled over men, are or have been either republics or principalities. Principalities are either hereditary, with a long-established bloodline, or new. And the new principalities are either entirely new, as Milan was to Francesco Sforza2, or are like limbs added to the hereditary state of the prince who acquires them, as the Kingdom of Naples was to the King of Spain3.
States obtained in this way are accustomed either to living under a prince, or to being free. Francesco Sforza —66 was a soldier of fortune who became Duke of Milan in Chapter Two Of hereditary principalities I will not discuss republics, as I have already done so at some length elsewhere. I shall only concentrate on principalities, and shall weave together the threads I have already laid out. I will show how these principalities can be governed and main- tained. First, states that are hereditary and tied to the bloodline of their prince are easier to maintain than new ones.
If such a prince is of at least average ability he can retain his posi- tion of power, so long as no extraordinary or excessive force deprive him of it. If this prince is deprived of his state, he will find he can reacquire it if any misfortune befalls the usurper. In Italy we have the example of the Duke of Ferrara, who resisted the assaults of the Venetians in and of Pope Julius II in , for the simple reason that he had inherited an ancient principality4.
A hereditary prince has less cause to mistreat his subjects, and so is more loved by them. If unusual vices do not make him hated, it is to be expected that he will be loved by his people. The long continuum of the dominion obliterates the memories and issues that make men yearn for innovation, for one change will inevitably forge a link to another. Chapter Three Of mixed principalities It is in the new principality that the difficulties lie.
First, if the principality is not completely new, but is like a limb or extension added to another principality in which case we could almost call the whole state a mixed principality , its volatility stems mainly from a difficulty inherent in all new principalities. This is that men will willingly change their ruler in the hope that they will fare better, a hope that leads them to take up arms against their old ruler.
But in this they are deceived, because, as they invariably discover, their lot under a new ruler is inevitably worse. This is the result of another natural and basic inevitability: that you cannot avoid offending those whose new ruler you are, both with your armed soldiers and with innumerable other provocations that come in the wake of a conquest.
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An eBook version of this title already exists in your shopping cart. If you would like to replace it with a different purchasing option please remove the current eBook option from your cart. Leonardo da Vinci was a painter, architect, inventor, and student of all things scientific. Benito Mussolini was an Italian political leader who became the fascist dictator of Italy from to Originally a revolutionary socialist, he forged the paramilitary fascist movement in and became prime minister in Michelangelo was a sculptor, painter and architect widely considered to be one of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance period—and arguably of all time.
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His work demonstrated a blend of psychological insight, physical realism and intensity never before The Medici family, also known as the House of Medici, first attained wealth and political power in Florence in the 13th century through its success in commerce and banking. Known as the Renaissance, the period immediately following the Middle Ages in Europe saw a great revival of interest in the classical learning and values of ancient Greece and Rome.
Against a backdrop of political stability and growing prosperity, the development of new Generally described as taking place from the 14th century to the 17th century, the Renaissance promoted the rediscovery of classical philosophy, Living in largely independent city-states that they laid out in a grid pattern, the Etruscans excelled at metalworking, seafaring, agriculture and pottery.
Since its original discovery in , archaeologists have uncovered some skeletons in a Longobard medieval necropolis in Veneto, Northern Italy. Each one has a grisly story to tell—the woman with two brooches; two greyhounds; a horse without a head. But one in particular This Day In History. The Prince As leaders rapidly rose and fell, Machiavelli observed traits that, he believed, bolstered power and influence.
Impact of The Prince But Machiavelli would not find an audience for his work before his death and Florence was not restored to its former glory in his lifetime. Leonardo da Vinci.