Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER VII.: of new principalities that have been acquired by the aid of others and by good fortune. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 2 (The Prince, Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius, Thoughts of a Statesman)
CHAPTER VII.: of new principalities that have been acquired by the aid of others and by good fortune. - Niccolo Machiavelli, The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 2 (The Prince, Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius, Thoughts of a Statesman) 
The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings of Niccolo Machiavelli, tr. from the Italian, by Christian E. Detmold (Boston, J. R. Osgood and company, 1882). Vol. 2.
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- The Prince.
- Niccolo Machiavelli to the Magnificent Lorenzo, Son of Piero De’ Medici.
- Chapter I.: How Many Kinds of Principalities There Are, and In What Manner They Are Acquired.
- Chapter II.: Of Hereditary Principalities.
- Chapter III.: Of Mixed Principalities.
- Chapter IV.: Why the Kingdom of Darius, Which Was Conquered By Alexander, Did Not Revolt Against the Successors of Alexander After His Death.
- Chapter V.: How Cities Or Principalities Are to Be Governed That Previous to Being Conquered Had Lived Under Their Own Laws.
- Chapter VI.: Of New Principalities That Have Been Acquired By the Valor of the Prince and By His Own Troops.
- Chapter VII.: Of New Principalities That Have Been Acquired By the Aid of Others and By Good Fortune.
- Chapter VIII.: Of Such As Have Achieved Sovereignty By Means of Crimes.
- Chapter IX.: Of Civil Principalities.
- Chapter X.: In What Manner the Power of All Principalities Should Be Measured.
- Chapter XI.: Of Ecclesiastical Principalities.
- Chapter XII.: Of the Different Kinds of Troops, and of Mercenaries.
- Chapter XIII.: Of Auxiliaries, and of Mixed and National Troops.
- Chapter XIV.: Of the Duties of a Prince In Relation to Military Matters.
- Chapter XV.: Of the Means By Which Men, and Especially Princes, Win Applause, Or Incur Censure.
- Chapter XVI.: Of Liberality and Parsimoniousness.
- Chapter XVII.: Of Cruelty and Clemency, and Whether It Is Better to Be Loved Than Feared.
- Chapter XVIII.: In What Manner Princes Should Keep Their Faith.
- Chapter XIX.: A Prince Must Avoid Being Contemned and Hated.
- Chapter XX.: Whether the Erection of Fortresses, and Many Other Things Which Princes Often Do, Are Useful, Or Injurious.
- Chapter XXI.: How Princes Should Conduct Themselves to Acquire a Reputation.
- Chapter XXII.: Of the Ministers of Princes.
- Chapter XXIII.: How to Avoid Flatterers.
- Chapter XXIV.: The Reason Why the Princes of Italy Have Lost Their States.
- Chapter XXV.: Of the Influence of Fortune In Human Affairs, and How It May Be Counteracted.
- Chapter XXVI.: Exhortation to Deliver Italy From Foreign Barbarians.
- Discourses On the First Ten Books of Titus Livius.
- Niccolo Machiavelli to Zanobi Buondelmonte and Cosimo Rucellai, Greeting.
- First Book.
- Chapter I.: Of the Beginning of Cities In General, and Especially That of the City of Rome.
- Chapter II.: Of the Different Kinds of Republics, and of What Kind the Roman Republic Was.
- Chapter III.: Of the Events That Caused the Creation of Tribunes In Rome; Which Made the Republic More Perfect.
- Chapter IV.: The Disunion of the Senate and the People Renders the Republic of Rome Powerful and Free.
- Chapter V.: To Whom Can the Guardianship of Liberty More Safely Be Confided, to the Nobles Or to the People? and Which of the Two Have Most Cause For Creating Disturbances, Those Who Wish to Acquire, Or Those Who Desire to Conserve?
- Chapter VI.: Whether It Was Possible to Establish In Rome a Government Capable of Putting an End to the Enmities Existing Between the Nobles and the People.
- Chapter VII.: Showing How Necessary the Faculty of Accusation Is In a Republic For the Maintenance of Liberty.
- Chapter VIII.: In Proportion As Accusations Are Useful In a Republic, So Are Calumnies Pernicious.
- Chapter IX.: To Found a New Republic, Or to Reform Entirely the Old Institutions of an Existing One, Must Be the Work of One Man Only.
- Chapter X.: In Proportion As the Founders of a Republic Or Monarchy Are Entitled to Praise, So Do the Founders of a Tyranny Deserve Execration.
- Chapter XI.: Of the Religion of the Romans.
- Chapter XII.: The Importance of Giving Religion a Prominent Influence In a State, and How Italy Was Ruined Because She Failed In This Respect Through the Conduct of the Church of Rome.
- Chapter XIII.: How the Romans Availed of Religion to Preserve Order In Their City, and to Carry Out Their Enterprises and Suppress Disturbances.
- Chapter XIV.: The Romans Interpreted the Auspices According to Necessity, and Very Wisely Made Show of Observing Religion, Even When They Were Obliged In Reality to Disregard It; and If Any One Recklessly Disparaged It, He Was Punished.
- Chapter XV.: How the Samnites Resorted to Religion As an Extreme Remedy For Their Desperate Condition.
- Chapter XVI.: A People That Has Been Accustomed to Live Under a Prince Preserves Its Liberties With Difficulty, If By Accident It Has Become Free.
- Chapter XVII.: A Corrupt People That Becomes Free Can With Greatest Difficulty Maintain Its Liberty.
- Chapter XVIII.: How In a Corrupt State a Free Government May Be Maintained, Assuming That One Exists There Already; and How It Could Be Introduced, If None Had Previously Existed.
- Chapter XIX.: If an Able and Vigorous Prince Is Succeeded By a Feeble One, the Latter May For a Time Be Able to Maintain Himself; But If His Successor Be Also Weak, Then the Latter Will Not Be Able to Preserve His State.
- Chapter XX.: Two Continuous Successions of Able and Virtuous Princes Will Achieve Great Results; and As Well-constituted Republics Have, In the Nature of Things, a Succession of Virtuous Rulers, Their Acquisitions and Extension Will Consequently Be Very G
- Chapter XXI.: Princes and Republics Who Fail to Have National Armies Are Much to Be Blamed.
- Chapter XXII.: What We Should Note In the Case of the Three Roman Horatii and the Alban Curatii.
- Chapter XXIII.: One Should Never Risk One’s Whole Fortune Unless Supported By One’s Entire Forces, and Therefore the Mere Guarding of Passes Is Often Dangerous.
- Chapter XXIV.: Well-ordered Republics Establish Punishments and Rewards For Their Citizens, But Never Set Off One Against the Other.
- Chapter XXV.: Whoever Wishes to Reform an Existing Government In a Free State Should At Least Preserve the Semblance of the Old Forms.
- Chapter XXVI.: A New Prince In a City Or Province Conquered By Him Should Organize Everything Anew.
- Chapter XXVII.: Showing That Men Are Very Rarely Either Entirely Good Or Entirely Bad.
- Chapter XXVIII.: Why Rome Was Less Ungrateful to Her Citizens Than Athens.
- Chapter XXIX.: Which of the Two Is Most Ungrateful, a People Or a Prince.
- Chapter XXX.: How Princes and Republics Should Act to Avoid the Vice of Ingratitude, and How a Commander Or a Citizen Should Act So As Not to Expose Himself to It.
- Chapter XXXI.: Showing That the Roman Generals Were Never Severely Punished For Any Faults They Committed, Not Even When By Their Ignorance and Unfortunate Operations They Occasioned Serious Losses to the Republic.
- Chapter XXXII.: A Republic Or a Prince Should Not Defer Securing the Good Will of the People Until They Are Themselves In Difficulties.
- Chapter XXXIII.: When an Evil Has Sprung Up Within a State, Or Come Upon It From Without, It Is Safer to Temporize With It Rather Than to Attack It Violently.
- Chapter XXXIV.: The Authority of the Dictatorship Has Always Proved Beneficial to Rome, and Never Injurious; It Is the Authority Which Men Usurp, and Not That Which Is Given Them By the Free Suffrages of Their Fellow-citizens, That Is Dangerous to Civil L
- Chapter XXXV.: The Reason Why the Creation of Decemvirs In Rome Was Injurious to Liberty, Notwithstanding That They Were Created By the Free Suffrages of the People.
- Chapter XXXVI.: Citizens Who Have Been Honored With the Higher Offices Should Not Disdain Less Important Ones.
- Chapter XXXVII.: What Troubles Resulted In Rome From the Enactment of the Agrarian Law, and How Very Wrong It Is to Make Laws That Are Retrospective and Contrary to Old Established Customs.
- Chapter XXXVIII.: Feeble Republics Are Irresolute, and Know Not How to Take a Decided Part; and Whenever They Do, It Is More the Result of Necessity Than of Choice.
- Chapter XXXIX.: The Same Accidents Often Happen to Different Peoples.
- Chapter Xl.: of the Creation of the Decemvirs In Rome, and What Is Noteworthy In It; and Where We Shall Consider Amongst Many Other Things How the Same Accidents May Save Or Ruin a Republic.
- Chapter Xli.: It Is Imprudent and Unprofitable Suddenly to Change From Humility to Pride, and From Gentleness to Cruelty.
- Chapter Xlii.: How Easily Men May Be Corrupted.
- Chapter Xliii.: Those Only Who Combat For Their Own Glory Are Good and Loyal Soldiers.
- Chapter Xliv.: a Multitude Without a Chief Is Useless; and It Is Not Well to Threaten Before Having the Power to Act.
- Chapter Xlv.: It Is a Bad Example Not to Observe the Laws, Especially On the Part of Those Who Have Made Them; and It Is Dangerous For Those Who Govern Cities to Harass the People With Constant Wrongs.
- Chapter Xlvi.: Men Rise From One Ambition to Another: First, They Seek to Secure Themselves Against Attack, and Then They Attack Others.
- Chapter Xlvii.: Although Men Are Apt to Deceive Themselves In General Matters, Yet They Rarely Do So In Particulars.
- Chapter Xlviii.: One of the Means of Preventing an Important Magistracy From Being Conferred Upon a Vile and Wicked Individual Is to Have It Applied For By One Still More Vile and Wicked, Or By the Most Noble and Deserving In the State.
- Chapter Xlix.: If Cities Which From Their Beginning Have Enjoyed Liberty, Like Rome, Have Found Difficulties In Devising Laws That Would Preserve Their Liberties, Those That Have Had Their Origin In Servitude Find It Impossible to Succeed In Making Such L
- Chapter L.: No Council Or Magistrate Should Have It In Their Power to Stop the Public Business of a City.
- Chapter Li.: a Republic Or a Prince Must Feign to Do of Their Own Liberality That to Which Necessity Compels Them.
- Chapter Lii.: There Is No Surer and Less Objectionable Mode of Repressing the Insolence of an Individual Ambitious of Power, Who Arises In a Republic, Than to Forestall Him In the Ways By Which He Expects to Arrive At That Power.
- Chapter Liii.: How By the Delusions of Seeming Good the People Are Often Misled to Desire Their Own Ruin; and How They Are Frequently Influenced By Great Hopes and Brave Promises.
- Chapter Liv.: How Much Influence a Great Man Has In Restraining an Excited Multitude.
- Chapter Lv.: Public Affairs Are Easily Managed In a City Where the Body of the People Is Not Corrupt; and Where Equality Exists, There No Principality Can Be Established; Nor Can a Republic Be Established Where There Is No Equality.
- Chapter Lvi.: the Occurrence of Important Events In Any City Or Country Is Generally Preceded By Signs and Portents, Or By Men Who Predict Them.
- Chapter Lvii.: the People As a Body Are Courageous, But Individually They Are Cowardly and Feeble.
- Chapter Lviii.: the People Are Wiser and More Constant Than Princes.
- Chapter Lix.: Leagues and Alliances With Republics Are More to Be Trusted Than Those With Princes.
- Chapter Lx.: How the Consulates and Some Other Magistracies Were Bestowed In Rome Without Regard to the Age of Persons.
- Second Book.
- Chapter I.: The Greatness of the Romans Was Due More to Their Valor and Ability Than to Good Fortune.
- Chapter II.: What Nations the Romans Had to Contend Against, and With What Obstinacy They Defended Their Liberty.
- Chapter III.: Rome Became Great By Ruining Her Neighboring Cities, and By Freely Admitting Strangers to Her Privileges and Honors.
- Chapter IV.: The Ancient Republics Employed Three Different Methods For Aggrandizing Themselves.
- Chapter V.: The Changes of Religion and of Languages, Together With the Occurrence of Deluges and Pestilences, Destroy the Record of Things.
- Chapter VI.: Of the Manner In Which the Romans Conducted Their Wars.
- Chapter VII.: How Much Land the Romans Allowed to Each Colonist.
- Chapter VIII.: The Reasons Why People Leave Their Own Country to Spread Over Others.
- Chapter IX.: What the Causes Are That Most Frequently Provoke War Between Sovereigns.
- Chapter X.: Money Is Not the Sinews of War, Although It Is Generally So Considered.
- Chapter XI.: It Is Not Wise to Form an Alliance With a Prince That Has More Reputation Than Power.
- Chapter XII.: Whether It Is Better, When Apprehending an Attack, to Await It At Home, Or to Carry the War Into the Enemy’s Country.
- Chapter XIII.: Cunning and Deceit Will Serve a Man Better Than Force to Rise From a Base Condition to Great Fortune.
- Chapter XIV.: Men Often Deceive Themselves In Believing That By Humility They Can Overcome Insolence.
- Chapter XV.: Feeble States Are Always Undecided In Their Resolves; and Slow Resolves Are Invariably Injurious.
- Chapter XVI.: Wherein the Military System Differs From That of the Ancients.
- Chapter XVII.: Of the Value of Artillery to Modern Armies, and Whether the General Opinion Respecting It Is Correct.
- Chapter XVIII.: According to the Authority of the Romans and the Example of Ancient Armies We Should Value Infantry More Than Cavalry.
- Chapter XIX.: Conquests Made By Republics That Are Not Well Constituted, and Do Not Follow In Their Conduct the Example of the Romans, Are More Conducive to Their Ruin Than to Their Advancement.
- Chapter XX.: Of the Dangers to Which Princes and Republics Are Exposed That Employ Auxiliary Or Mercenary Troops.
- Chapter XXI.: The First Prætor Sent By the Romans Anywhere Was to Capua, Four Hundred Years After They Began to Make War Upon That City.
- Chapter XXII.: How Often the Judgments of Men In Important Matters Are Erroneous.
- Chapter XXIII.: How Much the Romans Avoided Half-way Measures When They Had to Decide Upon the Fate of Their Subjects.
- Chapter XXIV.: Fortresses Are Generally More Injurious Than Useful.
- Chapter XXV.: It Is an Error to Take Advantage of the Internal Dissensions of a City, and to Attempt to Take Possession of It Whilst In That Condition.
- Chapter XXVI.: Contempt and Insults Engender Hatred Against Those Who Indulge In Them, Without Being of Any Advantage to Them.
- Chapter XXVII.: Wise Princes and Republics Should Content Themselves With Victory; For When They Aim At More, They Generally Lose.
- Chapter XXVIII.: How Dangerous It Is For a Republic Or a Prince Not to Avenge a Public Or a Private Injury.
- Chapter XXIX.: Fortune Blinds the Minds of Men When She Does Not Wish Them to Oppose Her Designs.
- Chapter XXX.: Republics and Princes That Are Really Powerful Do Not Purchase Alliances By Money, But By Their Valor and the Reputation of Their Armies.
- Chapter XXXI.: How Dangerous It Is to Trust to the Representations of Exiles.
- Chapter XXXII.: Of the Method Practised By the Romans In Taking Cities.
- Chapter XXXIII.: The Romans Left the Commanders of Their Armies Entirely Uncontrolled In Their Operations.
- Third Book.
- Chapter I.: To Insure a Long Existence to Religious Sects Or Republics, It Is Necessary Frequently to Bring Them Back to Their Original Principles.
- Chapter II.: It May At Times Be the Highest Wisdom to Simulate Folly.
- Chapter III.: To Preserve the Newly Recovered Liberty In Rome, It Was Necessary That the Sons of Brutus Should Have Been Executed.
- Chapter IV.: A Prince Cannot Live Securely In a State So Long As Those Live Whom He Has Deprived of It.
- Chapter V.: Of the Causes That Make a King Lose the Throne Which He Has Inherited.
- Chapter VI.: Of Conspiracies.
- Chapter VII.: The Reasons Why the Transitions From Liberty to Servitude and From Servitude to Liberty Are At Times Effected Without Bloodshed, and At Other Times Are Most Sanguinary.
- Chapter VIII.: Whoever Wishes to Change the Government of a Republic Should First Consider Well Its Existing Condition.
- Chapter IX.: Whoever Desires Constant Success Must Change His Conduct With the Times.
- Chapter X.: A General Cannot Avoid a Battle When the Enemy Is Resolved Upon It At All Hazards.
- Chapter XI.: Whoever Has to Contend Against Many Enemies May Nevertheless Overcome Them, Though He Be Inferior In Power, Provided He Is Able to Resist Their First Efforts.
- Chapter XII.: A Skilful General Should Endeavor By All Means In His Power to Place His Soldiers In the Position of Being Obliged to Fight, and As Far As Possible Relieve the Enemy of Such Necessity.
- Chapter XIII.: Whether an Able Commander With a Feeble Army, Or a Good Army With an Incompetent Commander, Is Most to Be Relied Upon.
- Chapter XIV.: Of the Effect of New Stratagems and Unexpected Cries In the Midst of Battle.
- Chapter XV.: An Army Should Have But One Chief: a Greater Number Is Detrimental.
- Chapter XVI.: In Times of Difficulty Men of Merit Are Sought After, But In Easy Times It Is Not Men of Merit, But Such As Have Riches and Powerful Relations, That Are Most In Favor.
- Chapter XVII.: A Person Who Has Been Offended Should Not Be Intrusted With an Important Administration and Government.
- Chapter XVIII.: Nothing Is More Worthy of the Attention of a Good General Than to Endeavor to Penetrate the Designs of the Enemy.
- Chapter XIX.: Whether Gentle Or Rigorous Measures Are Preferable In Governing the Multitude.
- Chapter XX.: An Act of Humanity Prevailed More With the Faliscians Than All the Power of Rome.
- Chapter XXI.: Why Hannibal By a Course of Conduct the Very Opposite of That of Scipio Yet Achieved the Same Success In Italy As the Latter Did In Spain.
- Chapter XXII.: How Manlius Torquatus By Harshness, and Valerius Corvinus By Gentleness, Acquired Equal Glory.
- Chapter XXIII.: The Reasons Why Camillus Was Banished From Rome.
- Chapter XXIV.: The Prolongation of Military Commands Caused Rome the Loss of Her Liberty.
- Chapter XXV.: Of the Poverty of Cincinnatus, and That of Many Other Roman Citizens.
- Chapter XXVI.: How States Are Ruined On Account of Women.
- Chapter XXVII.: Of the Means For Restoring Union In a City, and of the Common Error Which Supposes That a City Must Be Kept Divided For the Purpose of Preserving Authority.
- Chapter XXVIII.: The Actions of Citizens Should Be Watched, For Often Such As Seem Virtuous Conceal the Beginning of Tyranny.
- Chapter XXIX.: The Faults of the People Spring From the Faults of Their Rulers.
- Chapter XXX.: A Citizen Who Desires to Employ His Authority In a Republic For Some Public Good Must First of All Suppress All Feeling of Envy: and How to Organize the Defence of a City On the Approach of an Enemy.
- Chapter XXXI.: Great Men and Powerful Republics Preserve an Equal Dignity and Courage In Prosperity and Adversity.
- Chapter XXXII.: Of the Means Adopted By Some to Prevent a Peace.
- Chapter XXXIII.: To Insure Victory the Troops Must Have Confidence In Themselves As Well As In Their Commander.
- Chapter XXXIV.: How the Reputation of a Citizen and the Public Voice and Opinion Secure Him Popular Favor; and Whether the People Or Princes Show Most Judgment In the Choice of Magistrates.
- Chapter XXXV.: Of the Danger of Being Prominent In Counselling Any Enterprise, and How That Danger Increases With the Importance of Such Enterprise.
- Chapter XXXVI.: The Reason Why the Gauls Have Been and Are Still Looked Upon At the Beginning of a Combat As More Than Men, and Afterwards As Less Than Women.
- Chapter XXXVII.: Whether Skirmishes Are Necessary Before Coming to a General Action, and How to Know a New Enemy If Skirmishes Are Dispensed With.
- Chapter XXXVIII.: What Qualities a Commander Should Possess to Secure the Confidence of His Army.
- Chapter XXXIX.: A General Should Possess a Perfect Knowledge of the Localities Where He Is Carrying On a War.
- Chapter Xl.: Deceit In the Conduct of a War Is Meritorious.
- Chapter Xli.: One’s Country Must Be Defended, Whether With Glory Or With Shame; It Must Be Defended Anyhow.
- Chapter Xlii.: Promises Exacted By Force Need Not Be Observed.
- Chapter Xliii.: Natives of the Same Country Preserve For All Time the Same Characteristics.
- Chapter Xliv.: Impetuosity and Audacity Often Achieve What Ordinary Means Fail to Attain.
- Chapter Xlv.: Whether It Is Better In Battle to Await the Shock of the Enemy, and Then to Attack Him, Or to Assail Him First With Impetuosity.
- Chapter Xlvi.: the Reasons Why the Same Family In a City Always Preserves the Same Characteristics.
- Chapter Xlvii.: Love of Country Should Make a Good Citizen Forget Private Wrongs.
- Chapter Xlviii.: Any Manifest Error On the Part of an Enemy Should Make Us Suspect Some Stratagem.
- Chapter Xlix.: a Republic That Desires to Maintain Her Liberties Needs Daily Fresh Precautions: It Was By Such Merits That Fabius Obtained the Surname of Maximus.
- Thoughts of a Statesman.
- Prefatory Note.
- Niccolo Machiavelli to His Son Bernardo.
- Chapter I.: Religion.
- Chapter II.: Peace and War.
- Chapter III.: The Admirable Law of Nations Born With Christianity.
- Chapter IV.: Vices That Have Made the Great the Prey of the Small.
- Chapter V.: Laws.
- Chapter VI.: Justice.
- Chapter VII.: Public Charges.
- Chapter VIII.: Of Agriculture, Commerce, Population, Luxury, and Supplies.
- Chapter IX.: The Evils of Idleness.
- Chapter X.: Ill Effects of a Corrupt Government.
- Chapter XI.: Notable Precepts and Maxims.
- Chapter XII.: Beautiful Example of a Good Father of a Family.
- Chapter XIII.: The Good Prince.
- Chapter XIV.: Of the Ministers.
- Chapter XV.: The Tyrant Prince.
- Chapter XVI.: Praise and Safety of the Good Prince, and Infamy and Danger of the Tyrant.
of new principalities that have been acquired by the aid of others and by good fortune.
Those who by good fortune only rise from mere private station to the dignity of princes have but little trouble in achieving that elevation, for they fly there as it were on wings; but their difficulties begin after they have been placed in that high position. Such are those who acquire a state either by means of money, or by the favor of some powerful monarch who bestows it upon them. Many such instances occurred in Greece, in the cities of Ionia and of the Hellespont, where men were made princes by Darius so that they might hold those places for his security and glory. And such were those Emperors who from having been mere private individuals attained the Empire by corrupting the soldiery. These remain simply subject to the will and the fortune of those who bestowed greatness upon them, which are two most uncertain and variable things. And generally these men have neither the skill nor the power to maintain that high rank. They know not (for unless they are men of great genius and ability, it is not reasonable that they should know) how to command, having never occupied any but private stations; and they cannot, because they have no troops upon whose loyalty and attachment they can depend.
Moreover, states that spring up suddenly, like other things in nature that are born and attain their growth rapidly, cannot have those roots and supports that will protect them from destruction by the first unfavorable weather. Unless indeed, as has been said, those who have suddenly become princes are gifted with such ability that they quickly know how to prepare themselves for the preservation of that which fortune has cast into their lap, and afterwards to build up those foundations which others have laid before becoming princes.
In illustration of the one and the other of these two ways of becoming princes, by valor and ability, or by good fortune, I will adduce two examples from the time within our own memory; these are Francesco Sforza and Cesar Borgia. Francesco, by legitimate means and by great natural ability, rose from a private citizen to be Duke of Milan; and having attained that high position by a thousand efforts, it cost him but little trouble afterwards to maintain it. On the other hand, Cesar Borgia, commonly called Duke Valentino, acquired his state by the good fortune of his father, but lost it when no longer sustained by that good fortune; although he employed all the means and did all that a brave and prudent man can do to take root in that state which had been bestowed upon him by the arms and good fortune of another. For, as we have said above, he who does not lay the foundations for his power beforehand may be able by great ability and courage to do so afterwards; but it will be done with great trouble to the builder and with danger to the edifice.
If now we consider the whole course of the Duke Valentino, we shall see that he took pains to lay solid foundations for his future power; which I think it well to discuss. For I should not know what better lesson I could give to a new prince, than to hold up to him the example of the Duke Valentino’s conduct. And if the measures which he adopted did not insure his final success, the fault was not his, for his failure was due to the extreme and extraordinary malignity of fortune. Pope Alexander VI. in his efforts to aggrandize his son, the Duke Valentino, encountered many difficulties, immediate and prospective. In the first place he saw that there was no chance of making him master of any state, unless a state of the Church; and he knew that neither the Duke of Milan nor the Venetians would consent to that. Faenza and Rimini were already at that time under the protection of the Venetians; and the armies of Italy, especially those of which he could have availed himself, were in the hands of men who had cause to fear the power of the Pope, namely the Orsini, the Colonna, and their adherents; and therefore he could not rely upon them.
It became necessary therefore for Alexander to disturb the existing order of things, and to disorganize those states, in order to make himself safely master of them. And this it was easy for him to do; for he found the Venetians, influenced by other reasons, favorable to the return of the French into Italy; which not only he did not oppose, but facilitated by dissolving the former marriage of King Louis XII. (so as to enable him to marry Ann of Brittany). The king thereupon entered Italy with the aid of the Venetians and the consent of Alexander; and no sooner was he in Milan than the Pope obtained troops from him to aid in the conquest of the Romagna, which was yielded to him through the influence of the king.
The Duke Valentino having thus acquired the Romagna, and the Colonna being discouraged, he both wished to hold that province, and also to push his possessions still further, but was prevented by two circumstances. The one was that his own troops seemed to him not to be reliable, and the other was the will of the king of France. That is to say, he feared lest the Orsini troops, which he had made use of, might fail him at the critical moment, and not only prevent him from acquiring more, but even take from him that which he had acquired; and that even the king of France might do the same. Of the disposition of the Orsini, the Duke had a proof when, after the capture of Faenza, he attacked Bologna, and saw with what indifference they moved to the assault. And as to the king of France, he knew his mind; for when he wanted to march into Tuscany, after having taken the Duchy of Urbino, King Louis made him desist from that undertaking. The Duke resolved therefore to rely no longer upon the fortune or the arms of others. And the first thing he did was to weaken the Orsini and the Colonna in Rome, by winning over to himself all the gentlemen adherents of those houses, by taking them into his own pay as gentlemen followers, giving them liberal stipends and bestowing honors upon them in proportion to their condition, and giving them appointments and commands; so that in the course of a few months their attachment to their factions was extinguished, and they all became devoted followers of the Duke.
After that, having successfully dispersed the Colonna faction, he watched for an opportunity to crush the Orsini, which soon presented itself, and of which he made the most. For the Orsini, having been slow to perceive that the aggrandizement of the Duke and of the Church would prove the cause of their ruin, convened a meeting at Magione, in the Perugine territory, which gave rise to the revolt of Urbino and the disturbances in the Romagna, and caused infinite dangers to the Duke Valentino, all of which, however, he overcame with the aid of the French. Having thus re-established his reputation, and trusting no longer in the French or any other foreign power, he had recourse to deceit, so as to avoid putting them to the test. And so well did he know how to dissemble and conceal his intentions that the Orsini became reconciled to him, through the agency of the Signor Paolo, whom the Duke had won over to himself by means of all possible good offices, and gifts of money, clothing, and horses. And thus their credulity led them into the hands of the Duke at Sinigaglia.
The chiefs thus destroyed, and their adherents converted into his friends, the Duke had laid sufficiently good foundations for his power, having made himself master of the whole of the Romagna and the Duchy of Urbino, and having attached their entire population to himself, by giving them a foretaste of the new prosperity which they were to enjoy under him. And as this part of the Duke’s proceedings is well worthy of notice, and may serve as an example to others, I will dwell upon it more fully.
Having conquered the Romagna, the Duke found it under the control of a number of impotent petty tyrants, who had devoted themselves more to plundering their subjects than to governing them properly, and encouraging discord and disorder amongst them rather than peace and union; so that this province was infested by brigands, torn by quarrels, and given over to every sort of violence. He saw at once that, to restore order amongst the inhabitants and obedience to the sovereign, it was necessary to establish a good and vigorous government there. And for this purpose he appointed as governor of that province Don Ramiro d’Orco, a man of cruelty, but at the same time of great energy, to whom he gave plenary power. In a very short time D’Orco reduced the province to peace and order, thereby gaining for him the highest reputation. After a while the Duke found such excessive exercise of authority no longer necessary or expedient, for he feared that it might render himself odious. He therefore established a civil tribunal in the heart of the province, under an excellent president, where every city should have its own advocate. And having observed that the past rigor of Ramiro had engendered some hatred, he wished to show to the people, for the purpose of removing that feeling from their minds, and to win their entire confidence, that, if any cruelties had been practised, they had not originated with him, but had resulted altogether from the harsh nature of his minister. He therefore took occasion to have Messer Ramiro put to death, and his body, cut into two parts, exposed in the market-place of Cesena one morning, with a block of wood and a bloody cutlass left beside him. The horror of this spectacle caused the people to remain for a time stupefied and satisfied.
But let us return to where we started from. I say, then, that the Duke, feeling himself strong enough now, and in a measure secure from immediate danger, having raised an armed force of his own, and having in great part destroyed those that were near and might have troubled him, wanted now to proceed with his conquest. The only power remaining which he had to fear was the king of France, upon whose support he knew that he could not count, although the king had been late in discovering his error of having allowed the Duke’s aggrandizement. The Duke, therefore, began to look for new alliances, and to prevaricate with the French about their entering the kingdom of Naples for the purpose of attacking the Spaniards, who were then engaged in the siege of Gaeta. His intention was to place them in such a position that they would not be able to harm him; and in this he would have succeeded easily if Pope Alexander had lived.
Such was the course of the Duke Valentino with regard to the immediate present, but he had cause for apprehensions as to the future; mainly, lest the new successor to the papal chair should not be friendly to him, and should attempt to take from him what had been given him by Alexander. And this he thought of preventing in several different ways: one, by extirpating the families of those whom he had despoiled, so as to deprive the Pope of all pretext of restoring them to their possessions; secondly, by gaining over to himself all the gentlemen of Rome, so as to be able, through them, to keep the Pope in check; thirdly, by getting the College of Cardinals under his control; and, fourthly, by acquiring so much power before the death of Alexander that he might by himself be able to resist the first attack of his enemies. Of these four things he had accomplished three at the time of Alexander’s death; for of the petty tyrants whom he had despoiled he had killed as many as he could lay hands on, and but very few had been able to save themselves; he had won over to himself the gentlemen of Rome, and had secured a large majority in the sacred college; and as to further acquisitions, he contemplated making himself master of Tuscany, having already possession of Perugia and Piombino, and having assumed a protectorate over Pisa. There being no longer occasion to be apprehensive of France, which had been deprived of the kingdom of Naples by the Spaniards, so that both of these powers had to seek his friendship, he suddenly seized Pisa. After this, Lucca and Sienna promptly yielded to him, partly from jealousy of the Florentines and partly from fear. Thus Florence saw no safety from the Duke, and if he had succeeded in taking that city, as he could have done in the very year of Alexander’s death, it would have so increased his power and influence that he would have been able to have sustained himself alone, without depending upon the fortune or power of any one else, and relying solely upon his own strength and courage.
But Alexander died five years after the Duke had first unsheathed his sword. He left his son with only his government of the Romagna firmly established, but all his other possessions entirely uncertain, hemmed in between two powerful hostile armies, and himself sick unto death. But such were the Duke’s energy and courage, and so well did he know how men are either won or destroyed, and so solid were the foundations which he had in so brief a time laid for his greatness, that if he had not had these two armies upon his back, and had been in health, he would have sustained himself against all difficulties. And that the foundations of his power were well laid may be judged by the fact that the Romagna remained faithful, and waited quietly for him more than a month; and that, although half dead with sickness, yet he was perfectly secure in Rome; and that, although the Baglioni, Vitelli, and Orsini came to Rome at the time, yet they could not raise a party against him. Unable to make a Pope of his own choice, yet he could prevent the election of any one that was not acceptable to him. And had the Duke been in health at the time of Alexander’s death, everything would have gone well with him; for he said to me on the day when Julius II. was created Pope, that he had provided for everything that could possibly occur in case of his father’s death, except that he never thought that at that moment he should himself be so near dying.
Upon reviewing now all the actions of the Duke, I should not know where to blame him; it seems to me that I should rather hold him up as an example (as I have said) to be imitated by all those who have risen to sovereignty, either by the good fortune or the arms of others. For being endowed with great courage, and having a lofty ambition, he could not have acted otherwise under the circumstances; and the only thing that defeated his designs was the shortness of Alexander’s life and his own bodily infirmity.
Whoever, then, in a newly acquired state, finds it necessary to secure himself against his enemies, to gain friends, to conquer by force or by cunning, to make himself feared or beloved by the people, to be followed and revered by the soldiery, to destroy all who could or might injure him, to substitute a new for the old order of things, to be severe and yet gracious, magnanimous, and liberal, to disband a disloyal army and create a new one, to preserve the friendship of kings and princes, so that they may bestow benefits upon him with grace, and fear to injure him, — such a one, I say, cannot find more recent examples than those presented by the conduct of the Duke Valentino. The only thing we can blame him for was the election of Julius II. to the Pontificate, which was a bad selection for him to make; for, as has been said, though he was not able to make a Pope to his own liking, yet he could have prevented, and should never have consented to, the election of one from amongst those cardinals whom he had offended, or who, if he had been elected, would have had occasion to fear him, for either fear or resentment makes men enemies.
Those whom the Duke had offended were, amongst others, the Cardinals San Pietro in Vincola, Colonna, San Giorgio, and Ascanio. All the others, had they come to the pontificate, would have had to fear him, excepting D’Amboise and the Spanish cardinals; the latter because of certain relations and reciprocal obligations, and the former because of his power, he having France for his ally. The Duke then should by all means have had one of the Spanish cardinals made Pope, and failing in that, he should have supported the election of the Cardinal d’Amboise, and not that of the Cardinal San Pietro in Vincola. For whoever thinks that amongst great personages recent benefits will cause old injuries to be forgotten, deceives himself greatly. The Duke, then, in consenting to the election of Julius II. committed an error which proved the cause of his ultimate ruin.