Showing posts with label Machiavelli. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Machiavelli. Show all posts

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Best Enemies




"In addition, as he's going to be teaching politics, I've told him he's welcome to teach any of the great socialist thinkers, provided he makes it clear that they were wrong." 

They all stand up. 

Australia, Australia, Australia, Australia, we love you. Amen! 

     Pull back to reveal the knee belongs to First Bruce, an Australian in full Australian outback gear. We briefly hear a record of 'Waltzing Mathilda'. He is sitting in a very hot, slightly dusty room with low wicker chairs, a table in the middle, big centre fan, and old fridge.

Second Bruce     Goodday, Bruce!


First Bruce     Oh, Hello Bruce!


Third Bruce     How are yer Bruce?
 

First Bruce     Bit crook, Bruce.

Second Bruce     Where's Bruce?
 

First Bruce     He's not here, Bruce.
 

Third Bruce     Blimey, s'hot in here, Bruce.
 

First Bruce     S'hot enough to boil a monkey's bum!
 

Second Bruce     That's a strange expression, Bruce.
 

First Bruce     Well Bruce, I heard the Prime Minister use it. S'hot enough to boil a monkey's bum in 'ere, your Majesty,' he said and she smiled quietly to herself.
 

Third Bruce     She's a good Sheila, Bruce and not at all stuck up.

Second Bruce     Ah, here comes the Bossfella now! - how are you, Bruce?
 

    Enter fourth Bruce with English person, Michael
 

Fourth Bruce     G'day, Bruce, Hello Bruce, how are you, Bruce? Gentlemen, I'd like to introduce a chap from pommie land... who'll be joining us this year here in the Philosophy Department of the University of Woolamaloo.
 

All     G'day.

Fourth Bruce     Michael Baldwin - this is Bruce. Michael Baldwin - this is Bruce. Michael Baldwin - this is Bruce.
 

First Bruce     Is your name not Bruce, then?

Michael     No, it's Michael.
 

Second Bruce     That's going to cause a little confusion.
 

Third Bruce     Mind if we call you 'Bruce' to keep it clear?

Fourth Bruce     Well, Gentlemen, I think we'd better start the meeting. Before we start, though, I'll ask the padre for a prayer.

    First Bruce snaps a plastic dog-collar round his neck. They all lower their heads.

First Bruce     Oh Lord, we beseech thee, have mercy on our faculty, Amen!!

All     Amen!

Fourth Bruce     Crack the tubes, right! (Third Bruce starts opening beer cans) Er, Bruce, I now call upon you to welcome Mr. Baldwin to the Philosophy Department.

Second Bruce     I'd like to welcome the pommy bastard to God's own earth, and I'd like to remind him that we don't like stuck-up sticky-beaks here.

All     Hear, hear! Well spoken, Bruce!

Fourth Bruce     Now, Bruce teaches classical philosophy, Bruce teaches Haegelian philosophy, and Bruce here teaches logical positivism, and is also in charge of the sheepdip.

Third Bruce     What's does new Bruce teach?

Fourth Bruce     New Bruce will be teaching political science - Machiavelli, Bentham, Locke, Hobbes, Sutcliffe, Bradman, Lindwall, Miller, Hassett, and Benet.

Second Bruce     Those are cricketers, Bruce!

Fourth Bruce     Oh, spit!

Third Bruce     Howls of derisive laughter, Bruce!

Fourth Bruce     In addition, as he's going to be teaching politics, I've told him he's welcome to teach any of the great socialist thinkers, provided he makes it clear that they were wrong.

    They all stand up.

All     Australia, Australia, Australia, Australia, we love you. Amen!

    They sit down.

Fourth Bruce     Any questions?

Second Bruce     New Bruce - are you a pooftah?

Fourth Bruce     Are you a pooftah?

Michael     No!

Fourth Bruce     No right, well gentlemen, I'll just remind you of the faculty rules: 

Rule one - no pooftahs. 

Rule two, no member of the faculty is to maltreat the Abbos in any way whatsoever - if there's anybody watching. 

Rule three - no pooftahs. 

Rule four - I don't want to catch anyone not drinking in their room after lights out. 

Rule five - no pooftahs. 

Rule six - there is no rule six! 

Rule seven - no pooftahs. That concludes the reading of the rules, Bruce.

First Bruce     This here's the wattle - the emblem of our land. You can stick it in a bottle or you can hold it in your hand.

All     Amen!

Fourth Bruce     Gentlemen, at six o'clock I want every man-Bruce of you in the Sydney Harbour Bridge room to take a glass of sherry with the flying philosopher, Bruce, and I call upon you, padre, to close the meeting with a prayer.

First Bruce     Oh Lord, we beseech thee etc. etc. etc., Amen.

All     Amen!

First Bruce     Right, let's get some Sheilas.

    An Aborigine servant bursts in with an enormous tray full of enormous steaks.

Fourth Bruce     OK.

Second Bruce     Ah, elevenses.

Third Bruce     This should tide us over 'til lunchtime.






The 10 most appalling statements by Western leaders praising Fidel Castro

FILE -- Fidel Castro meets with intellectuals and writers at the International Book Fair in Havana, Cuba, on Feb. 10, 2012.
FILE -- Fidel Castro meets with intellectuals and writers at the International Book Fair in Havana, Cuba, on Feb. 10, 2012.  (AP)

Editor's note: The following column originally appeared on AEIdeas.org, the blog of the teAmerican Enterprise Institute. 
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Fidel Castro was a murderous tyrant who summarily executed dissidents and turned the entire island of Cuba into a tropical gulag. According to the Black Book of Communism – a groundbreaking effort by a group of French scholars to document the human toll of Communism in the 20th century — “From 1959 through the late 1990s more than 100,000 Cubans experienced life in one of [Castro’s] camps, prisons, or open-regime sites. Between 15,000 and 17,000 people were shot.”
But no matter such minor details of history. A panoply of Western leaders who ought to know better have been heaping praise on the dead dictator since his passing this weekend.
Here are the 10 most appalling examples:
It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President.
Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.
While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante”.
I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba.

On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader.

The Secretary-General was saddened to learn of the death of Fidel Castro Ruz, former President of Cuba. An emblematic figure of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro was prominent in Latin America and influential in world affairs. As Prime Minister, President, Commander of the Cuban Armed Forces and First Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party, his role at the helm of Cuba spanned nearly 50 years, during which he left a major imprint on his country and on global politics.

President Fidel Castro will be remembered for his leadership of the Cuban revolution and for advances in Cuba in the fields of education, literacy and health. His revolutionary ideals left few indifferent. He was a strong voice for social justice in global discussions at the UN General Assembly and international and regional forums. The Secretary-General vividly recalls meeting him during a visit to Cuba in January 2014, and was impressed by the former President’s passion and lively engagement on a wide range of issues.
The Secretary-General extends his condolences to the Cuban people and to the family of the former President, particularly to President Raul Castro.

The Secretary-General hopes Cuba will continue to advance on a path of reform, greater prosperity and human rights. At this time of national mourning, he offers the support of the United Nations to work alongside the Cuban people.

At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him. … Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.
We extend our condolences to the Cuban people today as they mourn the passing of Fidel Castro. Over more than half a century, he played an outsized role in their lives, and he influenced the direction of regional, even global affairs. As our two countries continue to move forward on the process of normalization — restoring the economic, diplomatic and cultural ties severed by a troubled past — we do so in a spirit of friendship and with an earnest desire not to ignore history but to write a new and better future for our two peoples. The United States reaffirms its support for deepening our engagement with the Cuban people now and in coming years.
“I regret the death of Fidel Castro Ruz, leader of the Cuban revolution and emblematic symbol of the 20th century.”
We remember fondly our visits with [Castro] in Cuba and his love of his country.

Pope Francis sent a telegram to Raúl Castro, writing, “Upon receiving the sad news of the passing of your beloved brother, the honorable Fidel Castro Ruz, former president of the state council and the government of the Republic of Cuba, I express my sadness to your excellency and all family members of the deceased dignitary, as well as the government and the people in that beloved nation.”
“At the same time,” the pope’s telegram continued, “I offer my prayers for his eternal rest, and I entrust the Cuban people to the maternal intercession of Our Lady of La Caridad del Cobre, patroness of that country.”

“We need to stop and pause and mourn his loss,” Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said in a phone interview. When she learned the news, Lee said, “I was very sad for the Cuban people. “He led a revolution in Cuba that led social improvements for his people.” In her eight meetings with Castro over the years, Lee said, she found him to be “a smart man. A historian. He wanted normal relations with the United States but not at the expense of the accomplishments of the revolution.”

Fidel Castro’s death marks the passing of a huge figure of modern history, national independence and 20th century socialism. From building a world class health and education system, to Cuba’s record of international solidarity abroad, Castro’s achievements were many. For all his flaws, Castro’s support for Angola played a crucial role in bringing an end to Apartheid in South Africa, and he will be remembered both as an internationalist and a champion of social justice.


These democratic leaders should be particularly ashamed to find themselves echoing the praise some of the world’s most brutal despots and mass murderers have heaped on Castro. Consider the company they are keeping:

Chinese President Xi Jinping also sent a telegram to Cuba on Saturday, mourning the loss of a “dear comrade and true friend” of the Chinese people who made “immortal contributions to the development of socialism around the world.” China’s official Xinhua News Agency eulogized a man who “resisted the American superpower for half a century” with the headline: “Old Soldiers Never Die.”

President al-Assad said that the “great” leader Fidel Castro efficiently led the struggle of his country and people against imperialism and hegemony for decades, and that his steadfastness has become an example and an inspiration for leaders and peoples everywhere in the world. “Our friend Cuba was able under his leadership to stand its ground in the face of the most ferocious of sanctions and unfair campaigns witnessed in our modern history,” said the President, adding that Cuba has thus become a beacon for the liberation of the peoples of the South American countries and others around the world. “The name Fidel Castro will live forever in the minds of generations and remain an inspiration for all the peoples who aspire to achieve real independence and liberation from the yoke of colonialism and hegemony,” the President said.

Though he passed away, the precious feats he performed will remain forever in the hearts of the peoples of our two countries and the hearts of progressive mankind.”
I express conviction that the revolutionary Cuban people would overcome the pain they suffer from the loss of their distinguished leader and certainly build the prospering ideal society of the people and achieve the victory of the socialist cause under the wise leadership of you, Comrade Raul Castro Ruz, true to the lifetime intention of Comrade Fidel Castro Ruz.”

Vladimir Putin:
I offer my deepest condolences to you and the entire Cuban nation over the death of your brother, the leader of the Cuban revolution Fidel Castro. The name of this remarkable statesman is rightfully viewed as a symbol of a whole era in modern history. Free and independent Cuba built by him and his fellow revolutionaries has become an influential member of the international community and serves as an inspiring example for many countries and peoples. Fidel Castro was a sincere and reliable friend of Russia. He made a tremendous personal contribution to the establishment and progress of Russian-Cuban relations, close strategic partnership in all areas. This strong and wise man always looked into the future with confidence. He embodied the high ideals of a politician, citizen and patriot who wholeheartedly believed in the cause, to which he devoted his life. Russians will always cherish his memory in their hearts. In this mournful hour, I ask you to pass on my words of sympathy and support to all members of your family. I wish you courage and tenacity as you face this irreparable loss.
Here’s some advice for Trudeau and company – when your statements are indistinguishable from those of Bashar al-Assad and Kim Jong Un, maybe it’s time for a little introspection.

Marc Thiessen is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) where he studies and writes about American presidential leadership and counterterrorism. He also writes about general US foreign and defense policy issues and contributes to the AEIdeas blog. A member of the White House senior staff under President George W. Bush, Thiessen served as chief speechwriter to the president and to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Before joining the Bush administration, Thiessen spent more than six years as spokesman and senior policy adviser to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC). A weekly columnist for The Washington Post, Thiessen is also a contributor to Fox News, appearing several nights a week on “The Kelly File.” His book on the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation program, “Courting Disaster” (Regnery Press, 2010), is a New York Times bestseller. Thiessen is also the coauthor, with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, of “Unintimidated” (Sentinel, 2013). Thiessen has done postgraduate studies at the Naval War College and has a B.A. from Vassar College

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Street Theatre



Elizabeth Urquhart : 
I think you should do something, Francis.

Urquhart : 
I think so too - Cawdor..?

Cawdor : 
Accident of some sort - riot; explosion. 
Small bomb - minor injuries, IRA Code-Word... all of the usual Provo hallmarks
We could lay that on at... 90 minutes notice.

Urquhart : 
No... not this time - I was thinking some more like: 
a Happening.

Elizabeth Urquhart : 
Bit of Street Theatre - with a happy ending

Urquhart : 
And a moral, of course...


"The King of England is a Venetian Doge"

- Benjamin Disreali
Conningsby

Machiavelli wrote that the Venetians had “fixed in their souls the intention of creating a monarchy on the Roman model.” This is corroborated by a dispatch of the ambassador of Louis XII of France at the court of the Emperor Maximilian I some years later, which described the Venetians as:
traders in human blood, traitors to the Christian faith who have tacitly divided up the world with the Turks, and who are already planning to throw bridgeheads across the Danube, the Rhine, the Seine, and Tagus, and the Ebro, attempting to reduce Europe to a province and to keep it subjugated to their armies.
These megalomaniac plans of the Venetians were no secret. In 1423, the Doge Tommaso Mocenigo had urged upon his fellow oligarchs a policy of expansionism which would make them the overlords “of all the Gold and of Christendom.
The most penetrating indictments of the Venetians during this period were issued by Pope Pius II Piccolomino, who tried in vain to force Venice into joining a crusade against the Turks. A Venetian saying of this period was Prima son Vinizian, poi son Cristian. (I am a Venetian first, then a Christian.”

In his Commentaries, Pius II excoriates the Venetians for their duplicitous treachery, and establishes the fact that they are a pagan, totalitarian state. The Venetians, he says, have acted in their diplomacy:
with the good faith characteristics of barbarians, or after the manner of traders whose nature it is to weigh everything by utility, paying no attention to honor. But what do fish care about law? 

As among the brute beasts aquatic creatures have the least intelligence, so among human beings the Venetians are the least just and the least capable of humanity, and naturally so, for they live on the sea and pass their lives in the water; they use ships instead of horses; they are not so much companions of men as of fish and comrades of marine monsters. 

They please only themselves, and while they talk they listen to and admire themselves…. 

They are hypocrites. They wish to appear as Christians before the world, but in reality they never think of God and, except for the state, which they regard as a deity, they hold nothing sacred, nothing holy. 

To a Venetian, that is just which is for the good of the state; that is pious which increases The Empire…. 

What the senate approves is holy even though it is opposed to the gospel…. 

They are allowed to do anything that will bring them to supreme power. 

All law and right may be violated for the sake of power.
During many of these years Venetians were in a tacit alliance with the Turks. When, for example, a revolt against Venetian rule in Albania was started, threatening the Venetian naval base at Durazzo, the Venetians made a deal with the Turks to crush the revolt. On one occasion Pius II received the Venetian ambassador to the Roman court and condemned Venetian policy with these words:
Your cause is one with thieves and robbers…. No power was ever greater than the Roman empire and yet God overthrew it because it was impious, and He put in its place the priesthood because it respected divine law…. 

You think [your] republic will last forever. 
It will not last long. 

Your population so wickedly gathered together will soon be scattered abroad. The offscourings of fishermen will be exterminated. A mad state cannot long stand.


Monday, 16 January 2017

Concerning Mercenaries and Other Order-Takers


 Would you ever take a bullet for someone..?
Would you take a bullet for a complete stranger?

Perhaps. Maybe.

To Preserve Life, or in Service to others, as a True Martyr, a Hero and Warrior for Righteousness - 

  • To Defend The Innocent,  
  • To Protect The Weak, or 
  • To Save The Fallen.

Sure. Possibly.

But because that person was paying you...?

Would you ever take a bullet for a Complete Stranger - for money...?




Of course not - no-one would.

" Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous .

And if one holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor safe.

For they are disunited, ambitious, and without discipline, unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies

They have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men, and destruction is deferred only so long as the attack is

For in peace, one is robbed by them, and in war by The Enemy. 

The fact is, they have no other attraction or reason for keeping the field than a trifle of stipend, which is not sufficient to make them willing to die for you

They are ready enough to be your soldiers whilst you do not make war, but if war comes they take themselves off or run from the foe... "


Machiavelli's The Prince (1513)

Chapter III: Concerning Mixed Principalities

But the difficulties occur in a new principality. And firstly, if it be not entirely new, but is, as it were, a member of a state which, taken collectively, may be called composite, the changes arise chiefly from an inherent difficulty which there is in all new principalities; for men change their rulers willingly, hoping to better themselves, and this hope induces them to take up arms against him who rules: wherein they are deceived, because they afterwards find by experience they have gone from bad to worse. This follows also on another natural and common necessity, which always causes a new prince to burden those who have submitted to him with his soldiery and with infinite other hardships which he must put upon his new acquisition.

In this way you have enemies in all those whom you have injured in seizing that principality, and you are not able to keep those friends who put you there because of your not being able to satisfy them in the way they expected, and you cannot take strong measures against them, feeling bound to them. For, although one may be very strong in armed forces, yet in entering a province one has always need of the goodwill of the natives.

For these reasons Louis the Twelfth, King of France, quickly occupied Milan, and as quickly lost it; and to turn him out the first time it only needed Lodovico’s own forces; because those who had opened the gates to him, finding themselves deceived in their hopes of future benefit, would not endure the ill-treatment of the new prince. It is very true that, after acquiring rebellious provinces a second time, they are not so lightly lost afterwards, because the prince, with little reluctance, takes the opportunity of the rebellion to punish the delinquents, to clear out the suspects, and to strengthen himself in the weakest places. Thus to cause France to lose Milan the first time it was enough for the Duke Lodovico[*] to raise insurrections on the borders; but to cause him to lose it a second time it was necessary to bring the whole world against him, and that his armies should be defeated and driven out of Italy; which followed from the causes above mentioned.

[*] Duke Lodovico was Lodovico Moro, a son of Francesco Sforza, who married Beatrice d'Este. He ruled over Milan from 1494 to 1500, and died in 1510.

Nevertheless Milan was taken from France both the first and the second time. The general reasons for the first have been discussed; it remains to name those for the second, and to see what resources he had, and what any one in his situation would have had for maintaining himself more securely in his acquisition than did the King of France.

Now I say that those dominions which, when acquired, are added to an ancient state by him who acquires them, are either of the same country and language, or they are not. When they are, it is easier to hold them, especially when they have not been accustomed to self- government; and to hold them securely it is enough to have destroyed the family of the prince who was ruling them; because the two peoples, preserving in other things the old conditions, and not being unlike in customs, will live quietly together, as one has seen in Brittany, Burgundy, Gascony, and Normandy, which have been bound to France for so long a time: and, although there may be some difference in language, nevertheless the customs are alike, and the people will easily be able to get on amongst themselves. He who has annexed them, if he wishes to hold them, has only to bear in mind two considerations: the one, that the family of their former lord is extinguished; the other, that neither their laws nor their taxes are altered, so that in a very short time they will become entirely one body with the old principality.

But when states are acquired in a country differing in language, customs, or laws, there are difficulties, and good fortune and great energy are needed to hold them, and one of the greatest and most real helps would be that he who has acquired them should go and reside there. This would make his position more secure and durable, as it has made that of the Turk in Greece, who, notwithstanding all the other measures taken by him for holding that state, if he had not settled there, would not have been able to keep it. Because, if one is on the spot, disorders are seen as they spring up, and one can quickly remedy them; but if one is not at hand, they are heard of only when they are great, and then one can no longer remedy them. Besides this, the country is not pillaged by your officials; the subjects are satisfied by prompt recourse to the prince; thus, wishing to be good, they have more cause to love him, and wishing to be otherwise, to fear him. He who would attack that state from the outside must have the utmost caution; as long as the prince resides there it can only be wrested from him with the greatest difficulty.

The other and better course is to send colonies to one or two places, which may be as keys to that state, for it is necessary either to do this or else to keep there a great number of cavalry and infantry. A prince does not spend much on colonies, for with little or no expense he can send them out and keep them there, and he offends a minority only of the citizens from whom he takes lands and houses to give them to the new inhabitants; and those whom he offends, remaining poor and scattered, are never able to injure him; whilst the rest being uninjured are easily kept quiet, and at the same time are anxious not to err for fear it should happen to them as it has to those who have been despoiled. In conclusion, I say that these colonies are not costly, they are more faithful, they injure less, and the injured, as has been said, being poor and scattered, cannot hurt. Upon this, one has to remark that men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.

But in maintaining armed men there in place of colonies one spends much more, having to consume on the garrison all the income from the state, so that the acquisition turns into a loss, and many more are exasperated, because the whole state is injured; through the shifting of the garrison up and down all become acquainted with hardship, and all become hostile, and they are enemies who, whilst beaten on their own ground, are yet able to do hurt. 

For every reason, therefore, such guards are as useless as a colony is useful.

Again, the prince who holds a country differing in the above respects ought to make himself the head and defender of his less powerful neighbours, and to weaken the more powerful amongst them, taking care that no foreigner as powerful as himself shall, by any accident, get a footing there; for it will always happen that such a one will be introduced by those who are discontented, either through excess of ambition or through fear, as one has seen already. The Romans were brought into Greece by the Aetolians; and in every other country where they obtained a footing they were brought in by the inhabitants. And the usual course of affairs is that, as soon as a powerful foreigner enters a country, all the subject states are drawn to him, moved by the hatred which they feel against the ruling power. So that in respect to those subject states he has not to take any trouble to gain them over to himself, for the whole of them quickly rally to the state which he has acquired there. He has only to take care that they do not get hold of too much power and too much authority, and then with his own forces, and with their goodwill, he can easily keep down the more powerful of them, so as to remain entirely master in the country. And he who does not properly manage this business will soon lose what he has acquired, and whilst he does hold it he will have endless difficulties and troubles.

The Romans, in the countries which they annexed, observed closely these measures; they sent colonies and maintained friendly relations with[*] the minor powers, without increasing their strength; they kept down the greater, and did not allow any strong foreign powers to gain authority. Greece appears to me sufficient for an example. The Achaeans and Aetolians were kept friendly by them, the kingdom of Macedonia was humbled, Antiochus was driven out; yet the merits of the Achaeans and Aetolians never secured for them permission to increase their power, nor did the persuasions of Philip ever induce the Romans to be his friends without first humbling him, nor did the influence of Antiochus make them agree that he should retain any lordship over the country. Because the Romans did in these instances what all prudent princes ought to do, who have to regard not only present troubles, but also future ones, for which they must prepare with every energy, because, when foreseen, it is easy to remedy them; but if you wait until they approach, the medicine is no longer in time because the malady has become incurable; for it happens in this, as the physicians say it happens in hectic fever, that in the beginning of the malady it is easy to cure but difficult to detect, but in the course of time, not having been either detected or treated in the beginning, it becomes easy to detect but difficult to cure. This it happens in affairs of state, for when the evils that arise have been foreseen (which it is only given to a wise man to see), they can be quickly redressed, but when, through not having been foreseen, they have been permitted to grow in a way that every one can see them, there is no longer a remedy. Therefore, the Romans, foreseeing troubles, dealt with them at once, and, even to avoid a war, would not let them come to a head, for they knew that war is not to be avoided, but is only to be put off to the advantage of others; moreover they wished to fight with Philip and Antiochus in Greece so as not to have to do it in Italy; they could have avoided both, but this they did not wish; nor did that ever please them which is for ever in the mouths of the wise ones of our time:--Let us enjoy the benefits of the time--but rather the benefits of their own valour and prudence, for time drives everything before it, and is able to bring with it good as well as evil, and evil as well as good.

[*] See remark in the introduction on the word “intrattenere.”

But let us turn to France and inquire whether she has done any of the things mentioned. I will speak of Louis[*] (and not of Charles[+]) as the one whose conduct is the better to be observed, he having held possession of Italy for the longest period; and you will see that he has done the opposite to those things which ought to be done to retain a state composed of divers elements.

[*] Louis XII, King of France, “The Father of the People,” born 1462, died 1515.

[+] Charles VIII, King of France, born 1470, died 1498.

King Louis was brought into Italy by the ambition of the Venetians, who desired to obtain half the state of Lombardy by his intervention. I will not blame the course taken by the king, because, wishing to get a foothold in Italy, and having no friends there--seeing rather that every door was shut to him owing to the conduct of Charles--he was forced to accept those friendships which he could get, and he would have succeeded very quickly in his design if in other matters he had not made some mistakes. The king, however, having acquired Lombardy, regained at once the authority which Charles had lost: Genoa yielded; the Florentines became his friends; the Marquess of Mantua, the Duke of Ferrara, the Bentivogli, my lady of Forli, the Lords of Faenza, of Pesaro, of Rimini, of Camerino, of Piombino, the Lucchese, the Pisans, the Sienese--everybody made advances to him to become his friend. Then could the Venetians realize the rashness of the course taken by them, which, in order that they might secure two towns in Lombardy, had made the king master of two-thirds of Italy.

Let any one now consider with that little difficulty the king could have maintained his position in Italy had he observed the rules above laid down, and kept all his friends secure and protected; for although they were numerous they were both weak and timid, some afraid of the Church, some of the Venetians, and thus they would always have been forced to stand in with him, and by their means he could easily have made himself secure against those who remained powerful. But he was no sooner in Milan than he did the contrary by assisting Pope Alexander to occupy the Romagna. It never occurred to him that by this action he was weakening himself, depriving himself of friends and of those who had thrown themselves into his lap, whilst he aggrandized the Church by adding much temporal power to the spiritual, thus giving it greater authority. And having committed this prime error, he was obliged to follow it up, so much so that, to put an end to the ambition of Alexander, and to prevent his becoming the master of Tuscany, he was himself forced to come into Italy.

And as if it were not enough to have aggrandized the Church, and deprived himself of friends, he, wishing to have the kingdom of Naples, divides it with the King of Spain, and where he was the prime arbiter in Italy he takes an associate, so that the ambitious of that country and the malcontents of his own should have somewhere to shelter; and whereas he could have left in the kingdom his own pensioner as king, he drove him out, to put one there who was able to drive him, Louis, out in turn.

The wish to acquire is in truth very natural and common, and men always do so when they can, and for this they will be praised not blamed; but when they cannot do so, yet wish to do so by any means, then there is folly and blame. Therefore, if France could have attacked Naples with her own forces she ought to have done so; if she could not, then she ought not to have divided it. And if the partition which she made with the Venetians in Lombardy was justified by the excuse that by it she got a foothold in Italy, this other partition merited blame, for it had not the excuse of that necessity.

Therefore Louis made these five errors: 

he destroyed the minor powers, 
he increased the strength of one of the greater powers in Italy, 
he brought in a foreign power, 
he did not settle in the country, 
he did not send colonies. 

Which errors, had he lived, were not enough to injure him had he not made a sixth by taking away their dominions from the Venetians; because, had he not aggrandized the Church, nor brought Spain into Italy, it would have been very reasonable and necessary to humble them; but having first taken these steps, he ought never to have consented to their ruin, for they, being powerful, would always have kept off others from designs on Lombardy, to which the Venetians would never have consented except to become masters themselves there; also because the others would not wish to take Lombardy from France in order to give it to the Venetians, and to run counter to both they would not have had the courage.

And if any one should say: “King Louis yielded the Romagna to Alexander and the kingdom to Spain to avoid war", I answer for the reasons given above that a blunder ought never to be perpetrated to avoid war, because it is not to be avoided, but is only deferred to your disadvantage. 

And if another should allege the pledge which the king had given to the Pope that he would assist him in the enterprise, in exchange for the dissolution of his marriage[*] and for the cap to Rouen,[+] to that I reply what I shall write later on concerning the faith of princes, and how it ought to be kept.

[*] Louis XII divorced his wife, Jeanne, daughter of Louis XI, and married in 1499 Anne of Brittany, widow of Charles VIII, in order to retain the Duchy of Brittany for the crown.

[+] The Archbishop of Rouen. He was Georges d'Amboise, created a cardinal by Alexander VI. Born 1460, died 1510.

Thus King Louis lost Lombardy by not having followed any of the conditions observed by those who have taken possession of countries and wished to retain them. Nor is there any miracle in this, but much that is reasonable and quite natural. And on these matters I spoke at Nantes with Rouen, when Valentino, as Cesare Borgia, the son of Pope Alexander, was usually called, occupied the Romagna, and on Cardinal Rouen observing to me that the Italians did not understand war, I replied to him that the French did not understand statecraft, meaning that otherwise they would not have allowed the Church to reach such greatness. And in fact is has been seen that the greatness of the Church and of Spain in Italy has been caused by France, and her ruin may be attributed to them. From this a general rule is drawn which never or rarely fails: that he who is the cause of another becoming powerful is ruined; because 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.
Machiavelli's The Prince (1513)

Chapter XII: How Many Kinds of Soldiery There are, and Concerning Mercenaries




Having discoursed particularly on the characteristics of such principalities as in the beginning I proposed to discuss, and having considered in some degree the causes of their being good or bad, and having shown the methods by which many have sought to acquire them and to hold them, it now remains for me to discuss generally the means of offence and defence which belong to each of them.

We have seen above how necessary it is for a prince to have his foundations well laid, otherwise it follows of necessity he will go to ruin. The chief foundations of all states, new as well as old or composite, are good laws and good arms; and as there cannot be good laws where the state is not well armed, it follows that where they are well armed they have good laws. I shall leave the laws out of the discussion and shall speak of the arms.

I say, therefore, that the arms with which a prince defends his state are either his own, or they are mercenaries, auxiliaries, or mixed. Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous; and if one holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor safe; for they are disunited, ambitious, and without discipline, unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies; they have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men, and destruction is deferred only so long as the attack is; for in peace one is robbed by them, and in war by the enemy. The fact is, they have no other attraction or reason for keeping the field than a trifle of stipend, which is not sufficient to make them willing to die for you. They are ready enough to be your soldiers whilst you do not make war, but if war comes they take themselves off or run from the foe; which I should have little trouble to prove, for the ruin of Italy has been caused by nothing else than by resting all her hopes for many years on mercenaries, and although they formerly made some display and appeared valiant amongst themselves, yet when the foreigners came they showed what they were. Thus it was that Charles, King of France, was allowed to seize Italy with chalk in hand;[*] and he who told us that our sins were the cause of it told the truth, but they were not the sins he imagined, but those which I have related. And as they were the sins of princes, it is the princes who have also suffered the penalty.

[*] “With chalk in hand,” “col gesso.” This is one of the bons mots of Alexander VI, and refers to the ease with which Charles VIII seized Italy, implying that it was only necessary for him to send his quartermasters to chalk up the billets for his soldiers to conquer the country. Cf. “The History of Henry VII,” by Lord Bacon: “King Charles had conquered the realm of Naples, and lost it again, in a kind of a felicity of a dream. He passed the whole length of Italy without resistance: so that it was true what Pope Alexander was wont to say: That the Frenchmen came into Italy with chalk in their hands, to mark up their lodgings, rather than with swords to fight.”

I wish to demonstrate further the infelicity of these arms. The mercenary captains are either capable men or they are not; if they are, you cannot trust them, because they always aspire to their own greatness, either by oppressing you, who are their master, or others contrary to your intentions; but if the captain is not skilful, you are ruined in the usual way.

And if it be urged that whoever is armed will act in the same way, whether mercenary or not, I reply that when arms have to be resorted to, either by a prince or a republic, then the prince ought to go in person and perform the duty of a captain; the republic has to send its citizens, and when one is sent who does not turn out satisfactorily, it ought to recall him, and when one is worthy, to hold him by the laws so that he does not leave the command. And experience has shown princes and republics, single-handed, making the greatest progress, and mercenaries doing nothing except damage; and it is more difficult to bring a republic, armed with its own arms, under the sway of one of its citizens than it is to bring one armed with foreign arms. Rome and Sparta stood for many ages armed and free. The Switzers are completely armed and quite free.

Of ancient mercenaries, for example, there are the Carthaginians, who were oppressed by their mercenary soldiers after the first war with the Romans, although the Carthaginians had their own citizens for captains. After the death of Epaminondas, Philip of Macedon was made captain of their soldiers by the Thebans, and after victory he took away their liberty.

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

[*] Battle of Caravaggio, 15th September 1448.


[+] Johanna II of Naples, the widow of Ladislao, King of Naples.


[%] Giovanni Acuto. An English knight whose name was Sir John Hawkwood. He fought in the English wars in France, and was knighted by Edward III; afterwards he collected a body of troops and went into Italy. These became the famous “White Company.” He took part in many wars, and died in Florence in 1394. He was born about 1320 at Sible Hedingham, a village in Essex. He married Domnia, a daughter of Bernabo Visconti.


[#] Carmignuola. Francesco Bussone, born at Carmagnola about 1390, executed at Venice, 5th May 1432.


[&] Bartolomeo Colleoni of Bergamo; died 1457. Roberto of San Severino; died fighting for Venice against Sigismund, Duke of Austria, in 1487. “Primo capitano in Italia."--Machiavelli. Count of Pitigliano; Nicolo Orsini, born 1442, died 1510.


[$] Battle of Vaila in 1509.


And as with these examples I have reached Italy, which has been ruled for many years by mercenaries, I wish to discuss them more seriously, in order that, having seen their rise and progress, one may be better prepared to counteract them. You must understand that the empire has recently come to be repudiated in Italy, that the Pope has acquired more temporal power, and that Italy has been divided up into more states, for the reason that many of the great cities took up arms against their nobles, who, formerly favoured by the emperor, were oppressing them, whilst the Church was favouring them so as to gain authority in temporal power: in many others their citizens became princes. From this it came to pass that Italy fell partly into the hands of the Church and of republics, and, the Church consisting of priests and the republic of citizens unaccustomed to arms, both commenced to enlist foreigners.

The first who gave renown to this soldiery was Alberigo da Conio,[*] the Romagnian. From the school of this man sprang, among others, Braccio and Sforza, who in their time were the arbiters of Italy. After these came all the other captains who till now have directed the arms of Italy; and the end of all their valour has been, that she has been overrun by Charles, robbed by Louis, ravaged by Ferdinand, and insulted by the Switzers. The principle that has guided them has been, first, to lower the credit of infantry so that they might increase their own. They did this because, subsisting on their pay and without territory, they were unable to support many soldiers, and a few infantry did not give them any authority; so they were led to employ cavalry, with a moderate force of which they were maintained and honoured; and affairs were brought to such a pass that, in an army of twenty thousand soldiers, there were not to be found two thousand foot soldiers. They had, besides this, used every art to lessen fatigue and danger to themselves and their soldiers, not killing in the fray, but taking prisoners and liberating without ransom. They did not attack towns at night, nor did the garrisons of the towns attack encampments at night; they did not surround the camp either with stockade or ditch, nor did they campaign in the winter. All these things were permitted by their military rules, and devised by them to avoid, as I have said, both fatigue and dangers; thus they have brought Italy to slavery and contempt.

[*] Alberigo da Conio. Alberico da Barbiano, Count of Cunio in Romagna. He was the leader of the famous “Company of St George,” composed entirely of Italian soldiers. He died in 1409.


Machiavelli's The Prince (1513)

Chapter XIII: Concerning Auxiliaries, Mixed Soldiery, And One’s Own


Auxiliaries, which are the other useless arm, are employed when a prince is called in with his forces to aid and defend, as was done by Pope Julius in the most recent times; for he, having, in the enterprise against Ferrara, had poor proof of his mercenaries, turned to auxiliaries, and stipulated with Ferdinand, King of Spain,[*] for his assistance with men and arms. These arms may be useful and good in themselves, but for him who calls them in they are always disadvantageous; for losing, one is undone, and winning, one is their captive.

[*] Ferdinand V (F. II of Aragon and Sicily, F. III of Naples), surnamed “The Catholic,” born 1542, died 1516.

And although ancient histories may be full of examples, I do not wish to leave this recent one of Pope Julius the Second, the peril of which cannot fail to be perceived; for he, wishing to get Ferrara, threw himself entirely into the hands of the foreigner. But his good fortune brought about a third event, so that he did not reap the fruit of his rash choice; because, having his auxiliaries routed at Ravenna, and the Switzers having risen and driven out the conquerors (against all expectation, both his and others), it so came to pass that he did not become prisoner to his enemies, they having fled, nor to his auxiliaries, he having conquered by other arms than theirs.

The Florentines, being entirely without arms, sent ten thousand Frenchmen to take Pisa, whereby they ran more danger than at any other time of their troubles.

The Emperor of Constantinople,[*] to oppose his neighbours, sent ten thousand Turks into Greece, who, on the war being finished, were not willing to quit; this was the beginning of the servitude of Greece to the infidels.

[*] Joannes Cantacuzenus, born 1300, died 1383.


Therefore, let him who has no desire to conquer make use of these arms, for they are much more hazardous than mercenaries, because with them the ruin is ready made; they are all united, all yield obedience to others; but with mercenaries, when they have conquered, more time and better opportunities are needed to injure you; they are not all of one community, they are found and paid by you, and a third party, which you have made their head, is not able all at once to assume enough authority to injure you. In conclusion, in mercenaries dastardy is most dangerous; in auxiliaries, valour. The wise prince, therefore, has always avoided these arms and turned to his own; and has been willing rather to lose with them than to conquer with the others, not deeming that a real victory which is gained with the arms of others.

I shall never hesitate to cite Cesare Borgia and his actions. This duke entered the Romagna with auxiliaries, taking there only French soldiers, and with them he captured Imola and Forli; but afterwards, such forces not appearing to him reliable, he turned to mercenaries, discerning less danger in them, and enlisted the Orsini and Vitelli; whom presently, on handling and finding them doubtful, unfaithful, and dangerous, he destroyed and turned to his own men. And the difference between one and the other of these forces can easily be seen when one considers the difference there was in the reputation of the duke, when he had the French, when he had the Orsini and Vitelli, and when he relied on his own soldiers, on whose fidelity he could always count and found it ever increasing; he was never esteemed more highly than when every one saw that he was complete master of his own forces.

I was not intending to go beyond Italian and recent examples, but I am unwilling to leave out Hiero, the Syracusan, he being one of those I have named above. This man, as I have said, made head of the army by the Syracusans, soon found out that a mercenary soldiery, constituted like our Italian condottieri, was of no use; and it appearing to him that he could neither keep them not let them go, he had them all cut to pieces, and afterwards made war with his own forces and not with aliens.

I wish also to recall to memory an instance from the Old Testament applicable to this subject. David offered himself to Saul to fight with Goliath, the Philistine champion, and, to give him courage, Saul armed him with his own weapons; which David rejected as soon as he had them on his back, saying he could make no use of them, and that he wished to meet the enemy with his sling and his knife. In conclusion, the arms of others either fall from your back, or they weigh you down, or they bind you fast.

Charles the Seventh,[*] the father of King Louis the Eleventh,[+] having by good fortune and valour liberated France from the English, recognized the necessity of being armed with forces of his own, and he established in his kingdom ordinances concerning men-at-arms and infantry. Afterwards his son, King Louis, abolished the infantry and began to enlist the Switzers, which mistake, followed by others, is, as is now seen, a source of peril to that kingdom; because, having raised the reputation of the Switzers, he has entirely diminished the value of his own arms, for he has destroyed the infantry altogether; and his men-at-arms he has subordinated to others, for, being as they are so accustomed to fight along with Switzers, it does not appear that they can now conquer without them. Hence it arises that the French cannot stand against the Switzers, and without the Switzers they do not come off well against others. The armies of the French have thus become mixed, partly mercenary and partly national, both of which arms together are much better than mercenaries alone or auxiliaries alone, but much inferior to one’s own forces. And this example proves it, for the kingdom of France would be unconquerable if the ordinance of Charles had been enlarged or maintained.

[*] Charles VII of France, surnamed “The Victorious,” born 1403, died 1461.


[+] Louis XI, son of the above, born 1423, died 1483.


But the scanty wisdom of man, on entering into an affair which looks well at first, cannot discern the poison that is hidden in it, as I have said above of hectic fevers. Therefore, if he who rules a principality cannot recognize evils until they are upon him, he is not truly wise; and this insight is given to few. And if the first disaster to the Roman Empire[*] should be examined, it will be found to have commenced only with the enlisting of the Goths; because from that time the vigour of the Roman Empire began to decline, and all that valour which had raised it passed away to others.

[*] “Many speakers to the House the other night in the debate on the reduction of armaments seemed to show a most lamentable ignorance of the conditions under which the British Empire maintains its existence. When Mr Balfour replied to the allegations that the Roman Empire sank under the weight of its military obligations, he said that this was ‘wholly unhistorical.’ He might well have added that the Roman power was at its zenith when every citizen acknowledged his liability to fight for the State, but that it began to decline as soon as this obligation was no longer recognized."--Pall Mall Gazette, 15th May 1906.


I conclude, therefore, that no principality is secure without having its own forces; on the contrary, it is entirely dependent on good fortune, not having the valour which in adversity would defend it. And it has always been the opinion and judgment of wise men that nothing can be so uncertain or unstable as fame or power not founded on its own strength. And one’s own forces are those which are composed either of subjects, citizens, or dependents; all others are mercenaries or auxiliaries. And the way to make ready one’s own forces will be easily found if the rules suggested by me shall be reflected upon, and if one will consider how Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, and many republics and princes have armed and organized themselves, to which rules I entirely commit myself.