Food for Thought

The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli
CHAPTER III Concerning Mixed Principalities

…BUT the difficulties occur in a new principality. And firstly, if it be not entirely new, but is, as it were, a member of a state which, taken collectively, may be called composite, the changes arise chiefly from an inherent difficulty which there is in all new principalities; for men change their rulers willingly, hoping to better themselves, and this hope induces them to take up arms against him who rules: wherein they are deceived, because they afterwards find by experience they have gone from bad to worse. This follows also on another natural and common necessity, which always causes a new prince to burden those who have submitted to him with his soldiery and with infinite other hardships which he must put upon his new acquisition. In this way you have enemies in all those whom you have injured in seizing that principality, and you are not able to keep those friends who put you there because of your not being able to satisfy them in the way they expected, and you cannot take strong measures against them, feeling bound to them. For, although one may be very strong in armed forces, yet in entering a province one has always need of the goodwill of the natives. For these reasons Louis XII, King of France, quickly occupied Milan, and as quickly lost it; and to turn him out the first time it only needed Lodovico’s own forces; because those who had opened the gates to him, finding themselves deceived in their hopes of future benefit, would not endure the ill-treatment of the new prince. It is very true that, after acquiring rebellious provinces a second time, they are not so lightly lost afterwards, because the prince, with little reluctance, takes the opportunity of the rebellion to punish the delinquents, to clear out the suspects, and to strengthen himself in the weakest places. Thus to cause France to lose Milan the first time it was enough for the Duke Lodovico to raise insurrections on the borders; but to cause him to lose it a second time it was necessary to bring the whole world against him, and that his armies should be defeated and driven out of Italy; which followed from the causes above mentioned.

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One Response

  1. I’m diggin this one. How about something from the Art of War…

    “Being unconquerable lies within yourself, being conquerable lies with the enemy, thus one who excels in warfare is able to make himself unconquerable, but cannot neccessarly cause the enemy to become conquerable. Thus it is said a strategy for conquering the enemy can be known, but yet not possible to implement.”

    “Thus there are three ways by which an army is put into difficulty by its ruler; … He does not understand the three armies military affairs but directs them in the same way his civil administration…”

    “To travel a thousand li without becoming fatigued, traversed unoccupie terrain. To ensure taking the objective in an attack, strike positions that are undefended. To be certain of an impregnable defense, secure positions that the enemy will not attack.”

    I could go on all day…

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