The Prince

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

totally and defeat it in battle; after this victory, Darius being dead, that state remained securely in Alexander's hands for the reasons discussed above. And his successors, had they been united, could have enjoyed it with ease; for in that kingdom no disorders arose other than those they themselves had caused. But in states organized like France, it is impossible to hold them with such case. Because of this, there arose the frequent revolts of Spain, France, and Greece against the Romans, all because of the numerous principalities that were in those states; as long as the memory of them lasted, the Romans were always unsure of their power; but once that memory had been extinguished, because of their long and powerful rule, they became sure possessors. Afterwards, when the Romans fought among themselves, each one was able to draw a following from those provinces, according to the authority he enjoyed there; and since the families of their former rulers had been extinguished, they recognized only the Romans. Taking all these things into account, therefore, no one at all should marvel at the ease with which Alexander retained the state of Asia, or at the problems that others suffered in preserving their acquisition, such as Pyrrhus* and many others. This is not caused by the greater or lesser skill of the victor but rather by the difference of the situations.


CHAPTER V

How Cities or Principalities Should be Governed
that Lived by Their Own Laws Before They Were
Occupied

AsI have said, when those states that are acquired are used to living by their own laws and in freedom, there are three methods of holding on to them: the first is to destroy them; the second is to go there in person to live; the third is to allow them to live with their own laws, forcing them to pay a tribute and creating therein a government made up of a few people who will keep the state friendly toward you. For such a govern-

-18-

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