Crucifixion Eclipse The Large Gizāh  Pyramid : Nostradamus’ Birthdate at Central Axis of Giza Pyramid :


  Welcome, Guest                        Michael Report  

[Contact, Search] World History - Yahoo! - Help

 : H O M E :  

 

 

 I N D E XBook of Life  Index  directory B I B L E Apocalypse Book of Revelationsdirectory W E B S> Internets  directory J O U R N A L  > Journal Directory directory G A L L E R Y >photo gallerydirectory W M D  > XLXXII  ARMAGEDON  directory G A M M A > gamma index 

Privacy  [Public]  

Niccolò Machiavelli Italia Renascimento RE3

Italia Renascimento RE3 ( Niccolò Machiavelli )

Copyright © 2008 Michael Johnathan McDonald

“It is perfectly natural and moral to want to acquire new territory.”[1]

While The Prince is dedicated to Lorenzo dei Medici, Machiavelli had not written this work for the Medici or their friends. This work is an actual critique of the Medici. This is a guide book of the likes of a Realpolitik style coming from Greek historian Thucydides.

Statecraft:

Machiavelli confesses to his friend at that time in a letter sent to Rome, to the Florentine ambassador to his Holiness the Pope, and his benefactor, Francesco Vettori, dated 10 December 1513,[2] that it took him fifteen years of studying ‘statecraft’ to produce The Prince. What is more astonishing is the claim that he did this while living in poverty.[3] This letter is more likely proof that he is seeking a job with Roman connections, and not with the Medici, who had imprisoned him with suspicion of supporting a Florentine insurrection. While The Prince is dedicated to a prominent Medici, and historiography tends toward a Medici slant, it is more likely that Machiavelli wrote The Prince as a way of showing to influential figures his ability to manage an office of the state in some capacity – other than influential figures of Florence. While the Medici rose to prominence in Rome, Machiavelli sought opportunity there rather than in Florence where he had lived the life of a poor citizen. He may have wished a opportune job opening if Cesare had lived.  It was more likely of chance that getting a job where others were not quite acquainted with his stories that he likely had the best chances for an important position. Machiavelli did become important. Probably more important than he at that time had thought his impact would make on others.

Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince is about the immorality of men, and reality of men (humans too) in general and not about what men should become.

Niccolò Machiavelli (Plagiarism if we use today’s standards of allowance) Livy.

[prename] dei Medici (Genitive, plural, but we do not pronounce the ‘i’ because of conflict of the sounding; dei pronounced * as a long “a” as in ‘day’.  In the renaissance, the sounding of the plural form which was Medici’s usage will sound with as a plurality of sound as in English’s ‘z’ sound: “Medici-ease;” Medici is a plural form in Italian for ‘medical doctors.’). Written as de’ Medici. This is the correct syntax when one writes the family name.

C commentators and modern commentators still intend that Machiavelli had fashioned his prince around the exploits and life of Lorenzo de’ Medici, and/or the Florentine family defacto rulers de’ Medici themselves. This myth perpetuates today only by effort of non-conscientious reading. The Prince is dedicated to Lorenzo de’ Medici (all dedications are for live people in this period). However, the book is not aimed at promoting a Florentine Medici dynastic rule. “Machiavelli discusses Florentine politics only in passing.”[4]  On the contrary, and as David Wootton intends, the prince is fashioned around a new line of princedoms, that of hopes for Giuliano de’ Medici, whose brother, Giovanni de’ Medici, was elected Pope Leo X. By comparing chapters with a timeline of composure, explanations of letters to Francesco Vettori in Rome, aspirations of employment,  passages on republics and a critical reference to Machiavelli’s own torture by the Medici faction does Wootton persuade the reader to see another view of Machiavelli’s intentions in writing The Prince.

The Prince is not about how an established prince keeps his realm, governs it, and makes it a lasting strong state or principality, but how a prince –who is not yet a prince – can take over a region or land and secure it as his own princedom. This view changes hundreds of years of historiography, and comes about by sophisticated examination of Machiavelli’s biographies, works, and consciousness reading. It also must be stated that Wootton also intends that probably there will remain no consensus on to whom or why Machiavelli wrote The Prince and contrasted it with The Discourses. That is to say that he, like I, do not intend that Machiavelli was writing a sarcastic (or recently as satirical and/or ambitious) commentary on the age he lived in but that he was serious in telling a story of what he saw in human’s lives in regards to political science – if we can use that term. The Prince is not a history book. Machiavelli is not writing in a historical mode. The Prince is an essay on the immortality of men. Something that shocked many who read his work! It could be said that it contained hidden discourse, and explains why it was placed on the papal index, and great figures like Shakespeare denounced it – as well as its negative reception in history. Throughout history, college departments teach how men (and women) what they should be and do not teach what they are to figure out what we can do about it. This book contends the normative teaching structures of history and to investigate and describe how men really are in life.

Some of it I intend is psychologically revealing. In chapter three, Machiavelli address that people in general want change for change’s sake and wind up usually with something more worse. This is the preverbal “it seems greener on the other side of the fence.” Like the fickle French, wanting the Germans to kick out Napoleon, then once Napoleon was gone, the French wanting him back in power. Machiavelli was addressing that humans in general were not satisfied creatures at their base instincts. They seek change for change’s sake. This is a problem that he accepts, and can explain why strong personalities embodied in a prince can hopefully change this normative historicism.

There are some generality statements by Machiavelli which diminish the more competent observations. Good armies equal good laws, as an example.[5] This concept is too broad to ascertain a scientific observation. This probably explains why he “omits” the discussion on laws. However, a dominant army is a pre requisite to a strong state. Anti-military states, as proposed by pacifist ideologies remains one reason his work was banned as forbidden discourse. No one admires death and destruction from armies and exploitation – although strong states always contain these elements. This is why myth is vital function of peace of mind for the statesperson. It is more comfortable to live within fantasy than reality.

Machiavelli worked in the interdisciplinary perspective of political science. He describes different eras in relations to empirical observation from the sources available to him. However, these claims remain broad. For example, he intends,   “Rome and Sparta were armed and free for many centuries. The Swiss are armed to the teeth and do not have to take orders from anyone.” [6] He is trying to draw a comparison to military importance as the most important idea for a state, whereas in other places Machiavelli intends it is just as importance for a prince to maintain an intelligence of diplomacy which is just as viable to pertaining a strong state through military prowess.

“It was essential for Romulus to have no future in Alba, it was appropriate he should have been exposed at birth, otherwise he would not have formed the ambition of becoming King of Rome […]” (p. 19)

  • Princes need ambition: If they have a principality (Ch. 2-3), they lack a strong ambition.

Princes need a new land to govern. Already established ruling families, is not the purpose of Machiavelli’s The Prince.

The Prince: What they need to do.

Opening chapters:

  1. establish a militia
  2. Treat the militia well to contain loyalty.

Machiavelli’s Friends:

  1. Francesco Vettori, Florence’s ambassador in Rome.
  2. “wrote a poem to Giuliano de’ Medici, who had once been a friend, asking, with what dignity he could muster, for him to arrange his release [ from prison].”[7]

Construction of his ideas?

  1. Imitating the ancients was very important.
  2. Tacitus’ Annals was published in 1515. “The Theories of Polybius to which Machiavelli refers in the Discourse of the First Decade of Titus Livius were normally available only to a few scholars who knew Greek. Since Machiavelli did not [know Greek], he must have laid his hands on a manuscript translation or listened to Greek scholars describe Polybius’s views. ”[8]
  3. “Between 1494 and 1512 Florence’s government was controlled by a Great Council of three thousand citizens (perhaps twenty percent of the adult males) who held office for life and could expect to pass it on to their children. The wealthy and influential resented the broad social basis of this regime, dismissing the majority of the Council’s members as popolani, but, despite this hostility, the middling and poorer citizens gained increasing control after 1499, when appointments to the key committees that ran the city’s day-to-day business began to be made by a process that gave an important role to selection by lot.” [9]
  4. “Soderini believed in a policy of alliance with France, but in 1512 France proved unable to protect Florence from attack by the papacy and the Spanish (who possessed the Kingdom of Naples).” [10]
  5. The Italian states were progressive in Politics, but they could not compete with the military states of France or Spain. Instead of counter their militaries, Italians understood the best course of action was to align themselves with one of these powerhouses. It was not a contradiction. Spain finally defeated France. Machiavelli understood that alliances were a part of Italian politics. “In 1494 Ludovico Sforza, ruler of Milan, had invited the French, as his allies, to invade Italy. The French troops had swept all before them (Machiavelli himself quotes the famous aphorism that they had conquered Italy with a piece of chalk:[11] the piece of chalk that the quartermaster carried to mark the soldiers’ billets) and had discovered in Italy a land ripe for conquest, rich in plunder. The resources of the little city states of Italy were no match for those of the larger territorial states of France, Spain, and the Empire, while Italian mercenaries were easily defeated by Swiss ones.” [12]
  6. “The first question we want to ask in reading The Prince is: ‘What assumptions did Machiavelli bring to the study of politics as a result of his years of government service from 1498 to 1512? It is easy to show that The Prince draws largely on Machiavelli’s personal experience (on his meetings, for example, with Cesare Borgia, the illegitimate son of Pope Alexander VI, who had conquered the Romagna in 1499— 1501 and threatened to invade Florence), and key themes from it are already found in a letter known as the Caprices, written in 1506.” [13]
  7. “We know from the Discourses that Machiavelli later felt that Soderini should have taken extralegal action to secure his hold on power and crush the supporters of the Medici. One can thus argue that in the years before Soderini’s fall Machiavelli’s goal was the establishment of a dictatorship. If one takes this view, Machiavelli in The Prince was simply advising the Medici to do what he thought Soderini ought to have done. Machiavelli’s later contempt for Soderini as a political baby would thus have been horn of the conviction that he had missed an opportunity to seize power.’”[14]

 

Christianity had been the official religion of Italy for twelve hundred years, though Machiavelli seems to have had little faith in it: his friends teased him about his unbelief, and he joked to them about his failure to attend Church.[15]

What is the role of the Council?

  1. How does the common public help us understand the change in Government in Florence? 
  2. “In 1513 Machiavelli was forty-four. Of his life between 1469 and 1498 we know almost nothing, beyond the fact that his father was a poor lawyer (“I was born to penury”) who went to some trouble to ensure that his son was decently educated.”[16]
  3. “[...] when it comes down to it only the masses count.” [17]

 

“State Craft”  Niccolò Machiavegli in Florence ( This is his signature).

 

Control Prescriptions:

Ch. 3

  1. Addressing: Newly added territories that already are secured in a possession of a ruler.
  2. Eliminate all surviving members of the ruling family.
  3. If customs are similar, and even if the languages are different, they can put up with each other.
  4. If different customs, them must set up colonies and a leader must reside where the different customs reside. An example was the Turkish Ottomans setting up on Greek traditional land of Constantinople.
  5. Colonies help “tie new subjects down.” [18]
  6. Colonists should seize fields and homes from the poor – not rich. the poor put up the least resistance (struggle)
  7. Occupying armies are less economical than colonists; it may cost more than the effort.
  8. Moreover, you army will make more enemies than colonists. If you use an army, your subjects will become your enemies eventually – and do you harm.
  9. Be a protector (like a parent) from competing outside forces. Example invited foreign occupiers in history: Aetolians, invited the Romans into Greece ( 211 B.C. see Livy, bk. 26, ch 24) [19] To protect them from Philip V of Macedon.
  10. Romans understood you cannot avoid war. So they remedy problems prudently ( quickly(, while they were small problems long before the problem became obvious and overwhelming.

Parables and sayings by Machiavelli.

  1. “One should never allow a problem to developed in order to avoid a war, for you end up not avoiding the war, but deferring it to a time that will be less favorable.”[20]
  2. He who is the cause of someone else’s becoming powerful is the agent of his own destruction; for he makes his protegé powerful  either through his own skill or through his own strength, and either of these must provoke his protegé’s mistrust once he has become powerful.” [21]

Machiavelli on Louis King of France and the Invasion of Lombardy.

Louis invaded Italy in 1499, and agreed to divide the Kingdom of Naples with Ferdinand the Catholic in 1500, but lost the whole state to him in 1504. Machiavelli intends that because Louis had not colonized, replaced leaders or provide local leaders with salaries and left allegiances suspect, this explained why France could not to continue to control the southern part of Italy. 

Control Prescriptions:

Five consequences rustled:

  1. Wasted alliance with the lesser states.
  2. Increased the strength of one of the more powerful Italian states.
  3. Invited an extremely powerful state to intervene in Italy.
  4. [Louis] did not go and live in Italy.
  5. [Louis] did not establish settlements there.

Ch. 5

  1. “When Machiavelli speaks of France, modern France and the ancient Gaul, he was convinced that there was a real continuity between the ancient rule and the present.” [22]
  2. Cesare Borgia (1475-1507) was the natural son of Rodrigo Borgia (1431-1503), who became Pope Alexander VI in 1492 [first Spanish Pope]. He began the conquest of the Romagna in 1499. [23]
  3. Borgia’s fall was letting Pope Julius become elected.
  4. Machiavelli on Borgia: “And if his strategy did not lead to success, this was not his fault; his failure was due to extraordinary and exceptional hostility on the part of fortune.” [24] Machiavelli’s weakness, along with the a non understanding of religious social importance throughout the ages, was his non-understanding of racial tensions. Machiavelli was a multi-culturalist, but one who could not see that others were not. The unfortunate that Cesare ran into was ethnic or racial tensions on part of Italian ruling the Romagna for centuries than an outsider comes in and proclaims ownership ( a type of ethnic usurpation). His father, the Pope was also the first Spanish pope, and was suppressing the traditional Orsini and Colonna.  Machiavelli runs into analytical problems by not addressing this contentious issue between the stability of states. By not doing so, he places these reactions by the Italians against the policies of Borgia into the “fortune” classification – e.g. irrational understanding of history. After Alexander dies, the cardinals that survived the Cesare suppressions elect Pope Julius, who reversed much of Borgia’s contentious policies. Machiavelli intends that Cesare before his father died was close to securing Rome for himself. In a view, Machiavelli would have wanted a job in Cesare’s new administration; partly because the maverick had possessed many of Machiavelli’s principles of a prince. However, I have no proof, but Machiavelli’s torture by the Medici left lasting impressions upon him that he did not communicate, but are revealed in his writings. Machiavelli may had seen that a foreign intervention of lasting proportions would had punished the Medici –once and for all. By dedicating The Prince to Lorenzo, he was masking his true intentions in his script with obvious preference – and that he makes no mentions of Lorenzo in the text.
  5. Venetians and Alexander (and Cesare Borgia) wanted France in Italy to destabilize lands. Once France was in Milan, Alexander VI barrowed troops to attack Romagna. This made Borgia Duke of Romagna and beat the Colonnes.

Ch. 6

Friar Girolamo Savonarola

Girolamo Savonarola (b. 1452) was a Dominican friar and prophetic preacher. He dominated Florentine politics form the expulsion of the Medici [ the common backed him at this time, the economy soured and the Medici in their extravagance were blamed] in 1494 until 1498, when he was executed as a heretic [ many believe falsely]. [25]

  1. People by nature are inconsistent. It is easy to persuade them of something, but it is difficult to stop them from changing their minds. So you have to prepare for the moment when they no longer believe: You have to force them to believe. Moses, Cyrus, Theseus, and Romulus would not have been able to make their peoples obey their new structures of authority for long if they had been unarmed.  This is what happened in our own day, to Friar Girolamo Savonarola. He and his new constitution were destroyed as soon as the multitude began to stop believing in him. He had no way of stiffening the resolution of those who had been believers or of forcing disbelievers to obey.  [26] Historians of secular and paganistic proclivities framed Girolamo as a person who was a religious fanatic, which was not the case. The famous burring of artistic pursuits was a protest against individualism, elitism, privilege, and non-community. But the winners wrote the story and demonfied Savonarola, who believed in pacifism. While Florence rose to great prominence under the Medici, they had began to change from citizen republicans to liberal elitists who wanted a nobility and a title and control of Italian states. After this episode of suppressing Savonarola, Florence ceased to become the center of the Italian renaissance and shifted to Roman imperialism – a mirror of greed and opulence of the Medici vision. Machiavelli’s reactions to the burning at the stake of Savonarola is “ Thus the founders of new states have immense difficulties to overcome, and dangers beset their path, dangers they must overcome by skill and strength of purpose [virtù]. Girolamo failed to act as the others, and form a militia, and it cost him his life, Machiavelli intends. One of Machiavelli’s first principles for a new ruler is to arm his populous, and destroy the enemies that threaten his power. Girolamo did not due this and thus was framed as the bad person by the winners of history, the Medici. Savonarola saw a citizen republican family take defacto rule of Florence, become nobles and he tried to stop it but lost. Once the Medici became nobles Florence lost its prestige, it allures, its uniqueness, and ended up like all the rest kingship quasi-states in history. Only the memory of the fifteenth to the mid-sixteenth centuries is romanticized.

Ch. 6

A leader needs skill [virtù], the skill [virtù], skillful [virtù]; then a contradiction, a leader needs “both luck and skill.” [27]

  1. “Both luck and skills enable you to overcome difficulties.” [28] Francesco Guicciardini, Machiavelli’s friend, and the Italian and Florentine historian, hold ‘fortuna’ to be at the center of the renaissance cause. Most of Machiavelli’s idea contain an idea that man makes his own destiny, but his friend and possibly the normal currents of thought, place a hesitant proof in establishing all things in common. Simply luck had to be a part of the Italian renaissance story. As with the opposite of luck, Machiavelli intends that if Alexander VI had not died when he had, Cesare would have completed the four necessities of Machiavelli to accomplish his aim at controlling Romagna.
  2. Borgia did everything right; failure was (fortune). [29]
  3. Cyrus overcame the Medes around 550 BC and founded the Persian Empire. Theseus is the slayer of the Minotaur and founder of Athens. Romulus was the founder of Rome. Moses needed the enslaved Jewish people by the Egyptians to free. Machiavelli took them as genuine people, Wootton intends.

Ch. 8

Oliverotto of Fermo

He kills Fermo’s local leaders, and Machiavelli calls him wicked. This is a contradiction to his ideology of kill the elite and competitors argument. Machiavelli comes to this conclusion because Oliverotto continued to kill opponents. [30] Machiavelli prescribes one bloody killing spree by the new ruler, then has the new ruler never kill again. Machiavelli fails to understand that opposition rises when it wants and a massive first bloodbath may not solve opposition he intends.

Ch. 17

Loved, feared or revered

  1. “I maintain it is much safer to be feared than loved, if you have to do without one of the two.” [31] “For it is perfectly possible to be feared and not hated. You will only be hated if you seize the property; for men are quicker to forget the death of their father than the loss of their inheritance.” [32]
  2. “A wise ruler should not keep his word.” [33]
  3. Kill men is better than taking someone’s property.
  4. Must prevent army from.
  5. A warning about a ruler being compassionate.
  6. “Whenever you have to kill someone, make sure you have a suitable excuse and an obvious reason; but above all else, keep your hands off other people’s property; for men are quicker to forget the death of their father than the loss of their inheritance.” [34]

Ch. 18

Break the Rules to Win

  1. Be prepared to break the rules of engagement. [35] “But because you cannot always win if you respect the rules, you must be prepared to break them. A ruler, in particular, needs to know how to be both an animal and a man.” [36]
  2. Win at all costs. “So you will see a wise ruler cannot, and should not keep his word when doing so is to his disadvantage, and when the reasons that led him to promise to do so no longer apply. Of course, if all men were good, this advice would be bad; but since men are wicked and will not keep faith with you, you need not keep faith with them.” [37]
  3. Chiron, a centaur, half man, and half beast. “They described how Achilles, and many other rulers in ancient times, were given to Chiron the centaur to be raised, so he could bring them up as he thought best. What they intended to convey, with this story of rulers’ being educated by someone who was half beast and half man, was that it is necessary for a ruler to know when to act like an animal and when like a man; and if he relies on just one or the other mode of behavior he cannot hope to survive.” [38]  Ex. Achilles breaks the rules, and wins.
  4.  Ex. Achilles breaks the rules, and wins.
  5. “[...] when it comes down to it only the masses count.” [39]
  6. “So if a ruler wins wars and holds on to power, the means he has employed will always be judged honorable, and everyone will praise them. The common man accepts eternal appearances and judges by the outcome; and when it comes down to it only the masses count; for the elite are powerless if the masses have someone to provide them with leadership.” [40] Machiavelli implies that cover of the book is regarded more valuable than the contents of that book. This is an age old philosophy observation: appearance matters more than content. In some sense, if the common are the majority population, a new ruler promises them a better life, and to punish the elite who have suppressed them. He or she has the upper political hand, so to speak, unless the population is educated in common sense, and not in propaganda. Any new ruler can promise the candy store to the common, and knowing they cannot deliver it prior to their election. This is a common tactic during the twentieth century socialist states who saw individualists rise under the socialist party platform of justice for all and money for all, and after they arrived in power were faced with reality that not all opportunities are open for social advancement – thus breaking their promises. Many understood that they had to lie to attain power, but believed that they were correct for the job. Some attained power because they loved themselves and adored power, and the socialist party platform was the quickest way to that power. These are common types of situations where the phrase ‘appearances matter more than content’ does apply.

Ch. 19

Leave possessions and women alone

  1. You become contemptible if you are thought to be erratic, capricious, effeminate, pusillanimous, and irresolute. [41]
  2. Roman soldiers in contrast to Roman citizens. Roman soldiers created problems for their rulers, because they always wanted to make war, take part in conquests, and rabble rouse the people, and be glorified. In contrast, the citizens were pacifists, and wanted peace. The ruler needed to balance out these two opposing ideologies.

Power of Positive Thinking (e.g. think before you are)

  1. Efforts to ensure your actions suggest greatness and endurance. Note, gangster rap and hip-hop (and other forms of artistic expression)  are laden with utterances of personal aggrandizement.

Ch. 20

New Rulers finding new subjects:

  1. If the new subjects are disarmed, one must arm them; “Their arms become you arms.” [42]
  2. Initial takeover, those who become hostile toward you will become your friend.
  3. ex. Pistoia encouraged factional division, and Pisa built fortresses ( Keep out the common) these were sound policies only in that day, “ but not recommended now.” [43]
  4. The Venetians had the same thought to encourage factionalism [ for the leders to keep control]: Guelfs and Ghibellines. “These factions were present in many Italian cities. The Guelfs supported the papacy (and later the French), the Ghibellines the Holy Roman Emperor.” [44] These divisions were encouraged but they failed. [45] This meant the ruler was weak.
  5. Social groups need to rely on government.” [46]  (In order to maintain their position). This statement is an ideology by Machiavelli. Without understanding the larger ideas of this concept, the left intends a wider and closer relationship with the central government, while the ideology of the right opposes in principle these ideas. But Machiavelli being educated understood without some semblance of a tie between these two groups then the form of government would be chaos. The degree of which the two are in a relationship has been the degrees of contention to founding ideologies or if possessing one, sticking to its critical criteria.

Ch. 21

Do great things, like conquest of new territory, increase power. Machiavelli does not explicitly say this but ‘increase power for the people.’ they are your intended allies.

Ex. Ferdinand the Catholic raised money from the Church, created armies, and took Grenada ( southern Spain). The negative response by Machiavelli was he kicked out the Moors, expelling Muslims. Machiavelli’s weakness was he had no idea of conflicts of religious interests. On many occasions, he declines to speak on religious matters citing a lack of understanding of them. However, he point from this observation could be more suitable toward the Jews. In Ch. 22, Machiavelli states that a good ruler should promote the most talented citizenry, in business, trade, and employment. By Ferdinand forcing out the Jews by religious threats, he had lost a considerable part of top management and learned tradesmanship. The result was Spain sold their gold instead of investing in industrial manufacturing. They spent their gold on outsourcing and foreign labor who made products and shipped them back into Spain. The argument for this intends the Jews by being forced to chose conversion left Spain and took their ‘skills’ with them, and this resulted in a vacuumed of capable families who had worked underneath the Moors as administrators and officials – learned jobs.

Ch. 22

 

  1. Don’t throw out the skilled workers: [47]
  2. Cities were divided into Guilds and/ or neighborhoods.
  3. “Prudence consists in knowing how to assess risks and in accepting the lesser evil as good.” [48] George Bush, Sr.’s model in speech was the term “prudence.” This president had used the term quite often.

Who was the book intended for?

Chapter 26 was written at a later date, and is part of the reason why people intend “the family” are the Medici. However, there are only speculations and no confirmation. Machiavelli had sought continuously to achieve a good and proud job, and can explain his writings and topics. He wanted to become an important advisor to the papal expansion heading up a “new” prince or ruler to take over a land and make it his ideal strong state – and at the same time have a sense of normalcy of employment. Most commentators looking back at history see Cosimo setting up his son Lorenzo for a ‘new’ noble position in society – thus the links to Machiavelli’s pamphlet on how to attain and retain power. But Machiavelli does not address citizen family rulers, of the likes that were the Medici who were citizen, but defacto rulers of Florence. When Maciavelli was composing the Prince and Discourses, he was living during the Papal expansion period. Charles V would later force the papacy to give up local conquest aspirations by doing some of the things Machiavelli had seen in history. This  could be explained in that many historical views of Machiavelli had already been known to the educated ruling elite. Charles began to put in place patronage contracts with the Papacy and this change the Roman focus from conquest to building projects ( i.e. the Vatican). Machiavelli states that ‘great projects’ undertaken by a good ruler wins him support. The Spanish funding for the Vatican building project did just that. Machiavelli had his eyes not on a Florence artistic citizenry government, but the upstart Papal Empire. Alexander VI, and his son were models of this papal conquest period. Machiavelli did not want it to end. Machiavelli was anti-religion, in a sense he did not understand it, and therefore, he promoted secular political science. When he composed the Prince, the papal projects of conquests were anything but religious, as pacifism. For proof, Machiavelli intends that the papacy were inconsequential and ruled by outsiders sense the fall of Rome. It was during his day that the Papacy had finally come out of its shell, so to speak, and began an audacious conquest plan that was finally put down by Spain, and involved the intervention of France.  Machiavelli wanted to be where the action was, and it was not at Florence with the Medici. It was at the wild-wild-western frontiers of Rome and its rise to grandeur and Empire aspirations that saw the focus of The Prince as its target.

Addendum:

 

1.      Is Machiavelli satire, or is there a sophisticated way to explain why he changed sides of the freedom/despot argument?

2.      Why would Machiavelli contradict his convictions? Was he simply investigating certain forms of governments’ like Socrates, or was his patronage and economic survivability a vital factor in his changing stances of preferred form of government? What does currying favor have to due with economics and Machiavelli’s changing convictions?

3.      Why do you believe that most former scholars intend that  Machiavelli’s wrote The Prince as a serious endeavor?

The Prince is about how to acquire power in a free city.”[1] It is also possible that Machiavelli was writing another view point on government in another book at the same time when composing The Prince. “In the Prince, Machiavelli seems to advocate tyranny; yet in the Discourses he praises freedom.” [2] I intend that Machiavelli had fluid convictions and was only investigating arguments, and placing a particular view as an ‘absolute’ would be placing to much emphasis on one side of the argument of for public rule or tyrannical rule. Certainly this long tradition can be traced back to Socrates, at least in recorded articulation – implying the Greek philosophers necessarily does not prove they were the first to question representative forms of rule over despotism. Machiavelli was writing for Guiliano de’ Medici, who was, he believed, favorably disposed towards him, and Giuliano knew full well that Machiavelli was suspected of being an enemy of the Medici government in Florence, had been tortured, and had recently been released from prison.”[3] Wootton intends that Machiavelli had addressed these issues. Wootton exhorts, “What were his interrogators interested in, if not attitude to republics, and his commitment to the republican cause.”[4] Machiavelli’s discusses republican governments but does not write about them. To Machiavelli, security for the people under a benevolent, but strong ruler formed the correct course of action. The realism Machiavelli displayed in argumentation won him a place on the Index in 1559. Therefore, from henceforth, he had been demonized as an opponent of republican forms of government. Contemporary conspiracists intend Cosmo de’ Medici, due to his massive accumulation of wealth and privilege, influenced Florentine governance from behind a symbolic wall. Cosmo, certainly toward the later part of his life, believed in expanding his family toward nobility status. While Cosmo intended and acted as if he was only a citizen of the Florentine republican city-state, discourse to the contrary aggravated political argument of what was truly people government. Do people with extreme wealth have the ‘power’ to influence city politics from behind the scenes? How does this intend equal representation, a hallmark of republican government? Was Machiavelli’s realism toward understanding Lorenzo’s rise to power empirical evidence that republicanism was a duality and not a single defined reality?

It is this duality that explains the historiography why Machiavelli had possibly earlier had staunch conviction toward despotism prior to 1513, when Cosmo’s life was still discussed in reverence and distain. And yet, but 1517, Wootton explaining historiography described clearly that Machiavelli had changed sides towards convictions of republican forms of government. If his torture had anything to do with this, his later metaphoric connections between republican forms of government and despotism in the phrasing of ‘dangled by the end of the rope,’ clearly portends caution toward a view that despotism is the greater form of government. I intend the conflict arises, in the same discourse Socrates had stated, and Machiavelli had reissued. Benevolent despots are ‘good’ rulers, but there always appears abrogation to the political concept. Having one’s life continually threatened by the end of the rope for freedom of speech, surely attests to this conflict of interest between free-states and tyrannical-states. Wootton elaborates on how written work had its hologramic reflections of the times Machiavelli lived in and made a living. One needed to have patrons, and conviction seemed fleeting in the face of political and economic survivability. This helps explain, as Wootton intends,  the Life, however, comes close to being a satire, “but we may suspect that Machiavelli took little pleasure in distorting his convictions in order to curry favor.”[5]

For pedagogical reasons, and how Wootton in his notes cross references some passages in the prince, I’ll write it out, not as it appears in the introduction, but what Wootton is expressing here about Machiavelli’s convictions. Barrowing from Diogenes Laertius [ today would be  plagiarism], he reports that Castracani once spat upon someone who sought favor from him. The courtier’s response was “Fisherman are prepared to get soaked with seawater in order to catch a tiny fish; there’s no reason why I shouldn’t get soaked in spit in order to catch a whale.” [6] Machiavelli, trying to curry favor, must have felt plainly how shameful his own position was.”[7] By framing such sweeping argumentation for historical courses of action, Machiavelli contends his view in Istorie fiorentine with a passage (actually more than one, but for brevity, here one example) from the Prince on favors. Machiavelli defines three types of advisors to a ruler (not necessary a king, but a ruler or boss), (1) “One understands matters for itself,” (2) “one follows the explanation of others, and” (3) “one neither understands nor follows. The first is the best, the second excellent, the third useless.” after setting up the principled criteria, a value judgment of a  ruler’s position of higher authority then defines the ‘best’ course of action. Machiavelli  explains, “But there is one infallible way for a ruler to judge his adviser. When you see your advisor give more thought to his own interests than yours, and recognize everything de does is aimed at his own benefit, then you can be sure such a person will never be a good advisor. You will never be able to trust him, for he who runs a government should never think of his own interests, but always of his ruler’s, and should never suggest anything to his ruler that is not in the ruler’s interests.”[8] at one spectrum of Machiavelli’s conviction was that  following one’s boss and his ideas was the only course of action for an advisor, and this contended the ‘spirit’ of republican inclusion into critical problem solving issues by the public impute into city-politics. Another spectrum was Machiavelli had to curry favor to his patron’s views, in which Wootton’s point was examining the changing conviction of Machiavelli’s views and some scholars intending that these writings of his were satirical in nature. This is explained by Machiavelli’s writings are in the position of an academic advisory. He is explaining these preferred ways to govern polities. One does not have the need for freedom while the other does. This contradiction is usually overlooked, ignored, or dismissed. Yet, Wootton’s explanation of Machiavelli’s intended audience in lieu of his patron of the moment explains everything. It we take Machiavelli’s views of three types of advisors and place them into it, his principle for each, then Socrates takes the third, and remains useless (to the State). Yet, but writing on Freedom in Life, Machiavelli inadvertently placed himself into the third category (type + principle). Under this revelation, Machiavelli could be cast as a satirist, in which evidence here suggests. But what about another view?

 

What is the construction of Machiavelli?

 

1.      What is the distinction between militarism and culture?

2.      Which comes first? Militarism or culture?

3.      Is Machiavelli’s famous phrase “economy of violence,” a confused way of saying that Militarism begets culture? Therefore the complex sophistication of sustaining culture is some periods of militarism?

Machiavelli drew his famous “economy of violence” around the circumstances of the later fifteenth century and early sixteenth century. François I’s father was consolidating France’s kingship and boarders, while Spain was consolidating its ethnic dominance and expanding its Empire. England, in part, was doing the same by expanding itself on the coattails of Spain’s explorations into the new world(s). All the while Italy had taken a detour into antiquity of Roman Republicanism, an astounding contrast to France that would not appear until the later period of the French Revolution and after Napoleon. I intend the criticism of republicanism was prefaced on the notion that Italy had advanced toward representative law and experimentation while outside threats of older regimes ( ancient regimes) ruined the hopes of a democratic European society. As Burckhardt observes, the military of France, England and Spain surpassed the capabilities of the Italian mercenary and temporary militaries and explains that republicanism cannot survive within a complex environment of militarism threatening its boarders. While Spain had been involved in the Mediterranean and parts of the Italian peninsula for centuries, the later fifteenth and into the sixteenth century France and Spain rose with powerful competing militaries which made advances to carve up southeastern Europe.  Life of art, semi-free market, peaceful agriculturist and populous representation could not withstand the consolidation of singularity of kingship and militaries that were behind such endeavors. Machiavelli was simply caught between these dual ideological systems. While militarism begets conquest, relative peacefulness begets culture. Italian renaissance was all about culture, after its militarism of commerce period which had preceded the Italian renaissance period in which we now romanticize as solely coming out of a vacuum of peace and trade. It actually came out of the Crusades and Turkish expansion into eastern Rome that created the shifts of knowledge back into western civilization. In conjunction, Spain’s reconquista and its continuation under the Catholic Monarch’s also paved the way for the transfer of antiquity knowledge back into western civilization.   It was England, France, and Spain that were only beginning their militarism stage that Machiavelli had confused himself over the historicism. While these three powers were transferring knowledge, that knowledge did not take fruition until centuries later.  At least in France, culture did not begin to take place until around mid-sixteenth century and minimally too. Francis I simply borrowed and purchased Italian art and culture, as a temporary novelty. French culture does not ‘take-off’ until the eighteenth century, when the Ottomans borrowed French culture that helps to describe their Tulip Era, and the rise of the later Kadizadalis. Napoleon advanced France’s militarism that would later beget French crystallization of culture, in what today we consider French traditions.

As a historian, once could frame the argument that Italy was so advanced that France, England and Spain could not comprehend public representative rule and community ideologies of work ethics and prosperity (Something later Calvin would bring back to northern Europe by way of observing the past). Yet, a clear understanding that Italy laid closer to the scholars of Orthodox Christianity, and the subsequent transfer of knowledge by way of Ottoman expansion, helps explain the Medici sponsoring Greek translations, and exiled journey-men of the likes of Petrarch, and the ideas of Dante, spurred-on re-Romanization. Yet, the distributaries of knowledge were sporadic, inconsistent, and challenged to the north. For centuries, Spain’s and Italy’s proximity were closer to the advanced learning institutions of Islam than most of France, England, and northern Europe. The propensity of culture of high-learning was more rooted to take place in proximity. It was natural for Italy to resume higher culture when next to Eastern Roman cities and the advanced Islam states of the Middle Ages than was that of northern Europe who remained in isolation to the greater outside world’s influence. It is hard to tell if Machiavelli had understood these conceptual schemata of historicism. It also helps to explain that he was merely investigating ways of governance, and that patronism stood in his way for a consistent conviction. This is why all scholars do not hold unanimously Machiavelli’s writings to be serious. I contend the view that they were ‘solely’ satires. Machiavelli raised interesting questions, some laying in forbidden discourse. Like, what is the reality in the state’s role for continuing or achieving prosperity? Machiavelli simply expounds upon questions he does not give his audience.

Most scholars believe the Prince should be taken seriously, while some contend this view and believe it is a satire.[9]

*          The Prince was dedicated to Lorenzo Medici

Skill or skillful [ Virtù]
 

[1] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, ed. & trans., David Wootton (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.,  1995), p. xxiv.

[2] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, ed. & trans., David Wootton (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.,  1995), p. xxiv.

[3] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, ed. & trans., David Wootton (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.,  1995), p. xxv.

[4] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, ed. & trans., David Wootton (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.,  1995), p. xxv.

[5] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, ed. & trans., David Wootton (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.,  1995), p. xxvii.

[6] Niccolò Machiavelli,  Istorie fiorentine, ed. F. Gaeta (Milan, Feltrinelli, 1962) [Opere, vol. 7], 36; Chief Works, 2:555., p. xli, note 58., quoted  in Niccolò Machiavelli, “The Prince,” ed. & trans., David Wootton (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.,  1995), p. xxvii.

[7] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, ed. & trans., David Wootton (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.,  1995), p. xxvii.

[8] Ibid., Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, p. 71. 

[9] E.g. Leo Strauss, Thoughts on Machiavelli (Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1956); Harvey C. Mansfield, Machiavelli’s New Modes and Orders: A Study of the “Discourses on Livy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1979).

Michael Johnathan McDonald (09292008)

Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p.


 

[1] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 13.

[2] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), pp. 1-4. David Wootton offers this conclusion, and is the main theme in his introductory essay. His argument is more than convincing. The Prince is written for new rulers taking over lands, and not for established families like the defacto ruling Medici on how to keep power.

[3] Ibid., p. 4, Letter to Vettori, “And that I am honest and true is evident from my poverty.”

[4] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. xvii.

[5] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, p. 38.

[6] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 39.

[7] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. xi.

[8] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. xiii.

[9] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), pp. xiv -xv.

[10] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. xv.

[11] The Chalk was used by Charles’s quartermasters to mark the soldiers’ billets. Savonarola attributed Charles’s victory to sins such as fornication and usury. in Niccolò Machiavelli, “The Prince ,” ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), note 45., p.  39.

[12] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. xiv.

[13] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed., & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. xv. Machiavelli, Chief Works, 2:895-97. This letter was once thought to have been written to Soderini shortly after his fall, but is now known to have been written as early as 1506, not to Piero Soderini but to his nephew, Giovan Battista: R.  Ridolfi and P. Ghiglieri, “ I ghirbizzi al Soderini,” La bibliofilia 72 (1970), 53-74; M. Martelli, “ ‘I ghirbizzi’ a Giovan Battista Soderini,” Rinascimento 9 (1969, 147-80.

[14] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. xi.

[15] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. xii. E.g., Vettori to Machiavelli, 23 November 1513; Machiavelli to Vettori, 19 December 1513; Francesco Guicciardini to Machiavelli, 17 May 1521: Niccolò Machiavelli, Letter, ed.

[16] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. xiii.

[17] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 55.

[18] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 9.

[19] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 10.

[20] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), pp. 13-14.

[21] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 14.

[22] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 16., note 17.

[23] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 22., note 27.

[24] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 22.

[25] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 20., note 22.

[26] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 20.

[27] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 18.

[28] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 18.

[29] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 22.

[30] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 30.

[31] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), pp. 51-52.

[32] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 52.

[33] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 54.

[34] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 52.

[35] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 54.

[36] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 54.

[37] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 54.

[38] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 54.

[39] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 55.

[40] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 55.

[41] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 56.

[42] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 64.

[43] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 64., note 87.

[44] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 64.

[45] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 64.

[46] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 66.

[47] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 70.

[48] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince , ed. & trans., David Wootton ( Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), p. 70.

 

 

 

Direct corrections and technical inquiries to
Please direct news submissions to Here

Copyright © 1999 - 2013 Michael Johnathan McDonald