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Minimal damage to the book cover eg. If this is a hard cover, the dust jacket may be missing. Binding has minimal wear. Machiavelli cites Cesare Borgia as an example of a lucky prince who escaped this pattern. Through cunning political maneuvers, he managed to secure his power base. Cesare was made commander of the papal armies by his father, Pope Alexander VI , but was also heavily dependent on mercenary armies loyal to the Orsini brothers and the support of the French king.

Borgia won over the allegiance of the Orsini brothers' followers with better pay and prestigious government posts. To pacify the Romagna, he sent in his henchman, Remirro de Orco, to commit acts of violence.

Wise Words & Country Ways: Traditional Advice and Whether It Works Today

When Remirro started to become hated for his actions, Borgia responded by ordering him to be "cut in two" to show the people that the cruelty was not from him, although it was. When it looked as though the king of France would abandon him, Borgia sought new alliances. Finally, Machiavelli makes a point that bringing new benefits to a conquered people will not be enough to cancel the memory of old injuries, an idea Allan Gilbert said can be found in Tacitus and Seneca the Younger.

Conquests by "criminal virtue" are ones in which the new prince secures his power through cruel, immoral deeds, such as the elimination of political rivals. Machiavelli's offers two rulers to imitate, Agathocles of Syracuse , and Oliverotto Euffreducci.

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After Agathocles became Praetor of Syracuse, he called a meeting of the city's elite. At his signal, his soldiers killed all the senators and the wealthiest citizens, completely destroying the old oligarchy. He declared himself ruler with no opposition.

So secure was his power that he could afford to absent himself to go off on military campaigns in Africa. Machiavelli then states that the behavior of Agathocles is not simply virtue, as he says, "Yet one cannot call it virtue to kill one's citizens, betray one's friends, to be without faith, without mercy, without religion; these modes can enable one to acquire empire, but not glory.

Thus, one cannot attribute to fortune or virtue what he achieved without either.

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Machiavelli then goes to his next example, Oliverotto de Fermo , an Italian condottiero who recently came to power by killing all his enemies, including his uncle Giovanni Fogliani, at a banquet. After he laid siege to the governing council and terrified the citizenry, he had then set up a government with himself as absolute ruler. However, in an ironic twist, Oliverotto was killed the same way his opponents were, as Cesare Borgia had him strangled after he invited Oliverotto and Vitellozzo Vitelli to a friendly setting.

Machiavelli advises that a prince should carefully calculate all the wicked deeds he needs to do to secure his power, and then execute them all in one stroke. In this way, his subjects will slowly forget his cruel deeds and the prince can better align himself with his subjects. Princes who fail to do this, who hesitate in their ruthlessness, will have to "keep a knife by his side" and protect himself at all costs, as he can never trust himself amoungst his subjects. Gilbert —55 remarks that this chapter is even less traditional than those it follows, not only in its treatment of criminal behavior, but also in the advice to take power from people at a stroke, noting that precisely the opposite had been advised by Aristotle in his Politics 5.

On the other hand, Gilbert shows that another piece of advice in this chapter, to give benefits when it will not appear forced, was traditional. A "civil principality" is one in which a citizen comes to power "not through crime or other intolerable violence", but by the support of his fellow citizens.


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Machiavelli makes an important distinction between two groups that are present in every city, and have very different appetites driving them: the "great" and the "people". The "great" wish to oppress and rule the "people", while the "people" wish not to be ruled or oppressed. A principality is not the only outcome possible from these appetites, because it can also lead to either "liberty" or "license". A principality is put into place either by the "great" or the "people" when they have the opportunity to take power, but find resistance from the other side.

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They assign a leader who can be popular to the people while the great benefit, or a strong authority defending the people against the great. Machiavelli goes on to say that a prince who obtains power through the support of the nobles has a harder time staying in power than someone who is chosen by the common people; since the former finds himself surrounded by people who consider themselves his equals.

He has to resort to malevolent measures to satisfy the nobles.

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One cannot by fair dealing, and without injury to others, satisfy the nobles, but you can satisfy the people, for their object is more righteous than that of the nobles, the latter wishing to oppress, while the former only desire not to be oppressed. Also a prince cannot afford to keep the common people hostile as they are larger in number while the nobles smaller.

Therefore the great should be made and unmade every day. There are two types of great people that might be encountered:. The way to judge the strength of a princedom is to see whether it can defend itself, or whether it needs to depend on allies. This does not just mean that the cities should be prepared and the people trained; a prince who is hated is also exposed.

This type of "princedom" refers for example explicitly to the Catholic church, which is of course not traditionally thought of as a princedom. According to Machiavelli, these are relatively easy to maintain, once founded. They do not need to defend themselves militarily, nor to govern their subjects. Machiavelli discusses the recent history of the Church as if it were a princedom that was in competition to conquer Italy against other princes.