The Prince

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

always turn out badly for you unless some necessity makes them good. Therefore, it is to be concluded that good advice, from whomever it may come, must arise from the prudence of the prince and not the prince's prudence from the good advice.


CHAPTER XXIV

Why Italian Princes Have Lost Their States

The things written above, if followed prudently, make a new prince seem well established and render him immediately safer and more established in his state than if he had been in it for some time. For a new prince is far more closely observed in his activities than is a hereditary prince; and when his deeds are recognized to be good actions they attract men much more and bind them to him more strongly than does antiquity of lineage. For men are much more taken by present concerns than by those of the past; and when they find the present satisfactory they enjoy it and seek nothing more; in fact, they will seize every measure to defend the new prince as long as he is not lacking in his other responsibilities. And thus he will have a double glory: that of having given birth to a new principality and of having adorned it and strengthened it with good laws, good arms, and good examples; as he will have double shame who, having been born a prince, loses his principality on account of his lack of prudence.

And if one considers those rulers in Italy that have lost their states in our times, such as the King of Naples, the Duke of Milan, and others, one discovers in them, first, a common defect in so far as arms are concerned, for the reasons that were discussed at length earlier; and then, one sees that some had the people hostile to them, while others had the people well disposed towards them but were unable to control the nobles; for without these defects states are not lost which have enough strength to take an army into battle. Philip of Macedonia*, — not the father of Alexander but the one who was defeated by Titus Quinctius — did not have much of a state

-80-

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