The Prince

By Niccolò Machiavelli; Peter Bondanella et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I

How Many Kinds of Principalities There Are and.
the Way They Are Acquired

All states, all dominions that have had and continue to have power over men were and still are either republics or principalities. Principalities are either hereditary, in which instance the family of the prince has ruled for generations, or they are new. The new ones are either completely new, as was Milan for Francesco Sforza,* or they are like members added to the hereditary state of the prince who acquires them, as is the Kingdom of Naples for the King of Spain.* Dominions taken in this way are either used to living under a prince or are accustomed to being free; and they are gained either by the arms of others or by one's own, either through fortune or through ingenuity.


CHAPTER II

On Hereditary Principalities

I shall set aside any discussion of republics, because I treated them elsewhere at length.* I shall consider solely the principality, developing as I go the topics mentioned above; and I shall discuss how these principalities can be governed and maintained.

I say, then, that in hereditary states accustomed to the rule of their prince's family there are far fewer difficulties in maintaining them than in new states; for it suffices simply not to break ancient customs, and then to suit one's actions to unexpected events; in this manner, if such a prince is of ordinary ability, he will always maintain his state, unless some extraordinary and

-7-

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