The Prince

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

CHAPTER IV

Why the Kingdom of Darius, Occupied by
Alexander, Did Not Rebel Against His Successors
after the Death of Alexander

Considering the difficulties one has in maintaining a newly acquired state, one might wonder how it happened that when Alexander the Great,* having become lord of Asia in a few years and having hardly occupied it, died — wherefore it would have seemed reasonable for the whole state to revolt - Alexander's successors nevertheless managed to hold on to it; and they had, in keeping it, no other difficulty than that which originated among themselves from their own ambition. Let me reply that all principalities known to us are governed in one of two different ways: either by a prince with the others as his servants, who, as ministers, through his favour and permission, assist in governing that kingdom; or by a prince and barons who hold that position not because of any favour of their master but because of the nobility of their birth. Such barons as these have their own dominions and subjects who recognize them as masters and are naturally fond of them. Those dominions governed by a prince and his ministers hold their prince in greater authority, for in all his province there is no one that may be recognized as superior to him; and if they do obey any other, they do so as his minister and officer, and they do not harbour any special affection for him.

Examples of these two different kinds of governments in our own times are the Turkish Emperor and the King of France. The entire kingdom of the Turk is ruled by one master; the others are his servants; and dividing his kingdom into parts, he sends various administrators there, and he moves them and changes them as he pleases. But the King of France is placed among a group of established nobles who are recognized in that state by their subjects and who are loved by them; they have their hereditary rights; the King cannot remove them without danger to himself. Anyone, therefore, who considers

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