Niccolò Machiavelli.

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the Stales round about it^ and incorporating ft rangers
with its own Citizens,

**y^RESCIT interea Roma, Albas ruinis. In the

\^ mean time Rome eftablifhed itfelf upon the '
ruins of Alba," fays Livy very juftiy. For thofe
that would aggrandize and extend a State, {hould en-
deavour by all means to maake it exceeding populous,
fince it will be impoGible ever to accomplifh that pur-
pofe, without a vaft number of men. Now this may
be done two ways ; either by foft and gentle methods,
or by force and violence. In the former cafe, you
are to encourage Foreigners to fettle with you, and to
make theirrefidence fecure and comfortable, that they
may ftay there with fatisfa6tion : in the latter, you
muft ruia the neighbouring States, and compel their


Chap. HI. The First Decad of Livy.' 225

inhabitants to come and live v/ith you : both which
rules were fo well obferved by the Romans, that in
the time of their Sixth King, they muftered eighty
thoufand men in their City, that were fit to carry
arms *, imitating in this relpeft the practice ot a fl<il-
ful planter, who, in order to flrengthen a tree, and
enable it to thrive and bear plenty of good fruit,
prunes off its firft (hoots, that the fap, which other-
wife would dilate itfeif in the branches, being confined
wholly to the trunk, may exert itfeif in time v/ith more
vic^our, and make the tree more flouriiliins; and fruit-
fui. That this policy is not only r^xpedicnt, but ab-
folurely neceifary to eftabliili and enlarge Dominion,
plainly appears from the neglecl of Athens and Spar-
ta in this refped: •, v^hich two Republics, though very
warlike indeed, and happy in their Laws, could never
arrive at that height of grandeur which Rome attained
to ; notwithdacding Rome feems to have been a more
tumultuous (late, and not -fo well governed as they
were. For which there can be no other reafons than
what have beenjuft now affigned. For R.ome ilrength-
ened itielf to fuch a degree by purfuing thefe maxims,
that it was able to fend out armies confiding of two
hundred and eighty thoufand effecHve men at one
time : v/hereas, neither of the other could ever raife
above tv/enty thoufand. 7"*his was not the efFe(;:t of
an advantageous fiiuation (becaufe that of Rome was
neither, better nor irore benign, than thofe of Athens
and Sparta) but to the difference of their condudl : for
Lycurgus, the Founder of the Spartan Common-
wealth, apprehending that the admiffion and conver-
fation of the new inhabitants would naturally tend to
the corruption and diflblution of his Lav;s, took all
polfible care to prevent his Citizens from having any

* We mull reckon the forces of their neighbours, the Campanians,
in this number, becaufe they were always accounted Roman citizens :
accordingly, our author lays in another place, that when th*^ Decem-
viri had difgufted their fellow-citizens, they had nothing to hope from
the Campanians, as they were reckoned the fame with the Komaa

Vol. IIL (^ manner

22<^ ' Political Discourses upon BooklL

manner of commerce with ftrangers : for which pur-
pole he not only would not fuffer intermarriages with
Foreigners, or that they Ihould be admitted to the
freedom of the City, or have any fuch connexions or
correfpondence with them as ufually drew men toge-
ther, and unite them •, but likewife caufed the current
money of that Commonwealth to be made of Lea-
ther, that nobody might be tempted to come thither
to traffic or introduce any new kind of manufacture :
fo that it was not poffible that City fhould ever be very
full of inhabitants.

Now, as natural and politic bodies may often be
very fitly compared together, and it is impoflible that
a feeble trunk fhould fuftain vaft and ponderous
branches: fo it is equally impoflible that a weak Com-
monwealth fhould ever fubdue another Common-
wealth or Kingdom, that is much flronger or fuller of
armed men than itfelf : or if it fhould by chance hap-
pen to fubdue them, it muft necefTarily very foon re-
lemble a tree, the branches of which are too large
and heavy for its trunk to fupport, and confequently
will be torn from it by the leafl blaft of wind. This
was adlually the cafe of Sparta ; though it had the
good fortune to conquer all Greece : for, upon the
rebellion of the Thebans, all the reft of the States re-
volted alfo, and left that Republic like a tree, ftripped
of its branches : a misfortune that never could hap-
pen to Rome, as its trunk was flrong enough to fuftain
any weight. The flrid pradlice therefore of the afore-
faid rules^ and fome others that we fliall mention here-
after, made the Romans fo ftrong and powerful : fo
that Livy's obfervation, *' Crelcit intereaRoma Albx
" ruinis," contains a great deal in a few words.


Chap. IV. The First Decad of Livy. 227


Concerning the three ways which Republics have taken to

extend their Dominion,

HO EVER is convcrfant in ancient Hiftory
mufl: have obferved, that Republics have taken
three methods to extend themfelves. One of v,'hich
was formerly purfued by the Tufcans, who entered in-
to a confederacy with feveral Republics upon an equal
footing; that is, it was agreed, that none of them
fhould pretend to nfTume any degree of pre-eminence
or authority over the reft, and that they fhould like-
wife admit fuch ftates as they conquered into the con-
federacy ; as the Svvifs do at prefent, and the Achai-
ans and Etolians did of old in Greece: and fince the
Romans had many wars with the 7 ufcans, I fliall be
the more particular in what I have to fay, concern-
ing the condu6l of that people, in order to explaia
the nature and tendency of this firft method as clearly
as I can.

Before the foundation of the Roman Empire in
Italy, the Tufcans were very powerful both by fea and
land ; and though we have now no particular Hiftory
left of their tranfadlions and exploits, yet there arc
fome few traces and monuments of their grandeur
flill remaining, and we know for certain, that they
fenc a Colony to fettle upon the coaft of the higher
fea^ the inhabitants whereof built the town of Adria,
afterwards fo famous, that it gave name to that Sea,
which is called the Adriatic to this day. We likewife
know, that their dominion extended from the Tiber
to the foot of the Alps (a tradl of territory which in-
cludes the greater part of Italy), though indeed they
loft that Country, which is now called Lombardy ;
two hundred years before the Romans had acquired
any confiderable degree of power ; for it had been
' feized upon by the Gauls, who being either compelled

0^2 by

228 Political Discourses upon Book II,

by necefTity, or allured by the delicioufnefs of the
fruits, but particularly of the wines which abounded
there, invaded that part of Italy, under the condud:
of Bellovefus, and having vanquillied and extirpated
the natives, eftablifhed themlelves in thofe parts,
where they built many towns, and not only called the
Province Cifalpine Gaul^ from their own name, but
kept pofTefTion till they were conquered by the
Romans. The Tufcans therefore proceeded in the
method above mentioned, and enlarged their Domi-
nion by ading jointly, and upon an equal footing with
their Confederates, who were the people of twelve
States, namely, of Clufuim, Veii, Fefuls, Aretinum,
Volaterrae, and feven others, each of them having
the fame (hare in the Government of the whole. They
never were able, however, to extend their conquefts
beyond the boundaries of Italy, nor ever could fubdue
feveral parts of chat country, for reafons which we fhall
mention hereafter.

'The fecond method that has been taken by Repub-
lics to enlarge their Dominion, was likewile to enter
into a Leaprue with others , but in fuch a manner, that
one Republic alone took upon itfelf to be the Princi-
p::! of the Confederacy as well as the capital City, and
to carry on all enterprizes in its own name : and this
is what the Romans did. The third method was to
make downright Haves and not allies of fuch States
as were conquered, as the Spartans and Athenians did.
But of all thefe three ways, the lad is certainly the
word ; as plainly appears from the fate of thofe two
Republics, v/hich were ruined by conquering more
than they were able to maintain podeliion of: for it is
fo very difficult to keep conquered States in fubjec-
tion by violence, efpecially fuch have been ufed to
Liberty before, that it is almoll impofiible to fupport
any fort of command over them, without an exceed-
ing ilrong force ; to raife v;hich, it is abfolutely ne-
cefTary to confederate with others, and to make ufe
of all means to fill your date with inhabitants; but,
as the two Republics jud now mentioned negleded


Chap. IV. The FiR-ST Decad OF I.ivv. 229

both thefe expedients, they never could make any
lading acquifitions. The Roman Commonwealth,
on the contrary, taking the fecond method, but not
entirely negleding the others, raifed their Empire to
a furpriQng pitch of glory and grandeur : and as that
Republic was the only one that ever did To, fo it was
the only one that ever arrived at that degree of power.
For though it afTociated equally in many things with
feveral other States in Italy, it flill maintained the fu-
periority, and referved to itfelf the title and honour of
comm.anding in chief: by which means it came to pafs,
that thofe Ailbciates became entirely fubjecl to it be-
fore they were well aware, at the expence of their own
blood and treafure. For when they began to carry
their arms out of Italy, and reduced Kingdom.s into
Provinces dependent upon themfelves, the inhabitants
of thofe Provinces having been ufed to live under
Kingly Government, did not much trouble themfelves
about fuch a change : and fnice they had Roman Go-
vernors, and were conquered by armies under Roman
colours, and knew nothing of their Allies, they would
acknowledge no other Sovereign but the Rcrpiiblic of
Rome : fo that its Italian Confederates finding them-
felves furrounded on a fudden, as it were by people
who were all fubjecl to the Romans, and therefore un-
able to contend with fo powerful a head, at laft per-
ceived their error, when it was too late to remedy it :
fo great was the authority it had obtained amongfb
foreign nations, and fo formidable of itfelf from the
vafi: number of its inhabitants and military llrength.
It is true indeed, thofe allies endeavoured to revenge
themfelves by afcerwards rebelling againft the Ro-
mans ; but, being fubdued, they made their condi-
tion worfe, for, inflead of being treated any longer
as Allies, they were reduced to che level of Subjeds.

This manner of proceeding was peculiar to the Ro-
mans, as I have fald before : but it ought to be pui*-
fued by every other Republic that would extend its
Empire j fince experience has fufRciently proved it is
the beft. The next to this, is the method formerly

0^3 taken

2^0 Political Discourses UPON Book II.

taken bv the Tufcans, Achaians, and Etolians, and by
the Swifs at prefenc : for tho' very great things cannot
be done by it, yet it is attended with two convenien-
cies i the one, that it generally prevents wars, and the
other, that if any acquifition is made, it will be eafy
to maintain it. The reafon that iuch a Confederacy
cannot elTedt any very great things, is that it confifts
of members which are in a manner disjoined and
placed afa didance from each other, fo that their con-
fultations and reiolutions mud be flow and tedious :
belides they are not fo eager to make conquefts where
the prize is to be divided amongft many, as a fingle
Republic that is to enjoy the whole itfclf. It has like-
wife been obft^^ved, that Confederacies have their
certain bounds, which are never exceeded-, that is,
when the Confederates amount to twelve or fourteen,
they admit no more: for being then powerful enough,
as they conceive, to defend themfeives againfl every
one elfe, they never think of making any further ac-
quiGtions; becaufe, in the firil place, they are under
no necefiiiy of fo doing ; and, in the next, they will
reap little or no advantage from it, as we havejuft
obferved : and further, they would be reduced to the
dilemma, either of admitting the conquered States
into the Confederacy, which would create confufion
from their number ; or to reduce them to Subjeds,
which, being attended with great difficulty and fmall
profit, makes them indifferent about the matter, or
rather averfe to it. When the Afibciates therefore,
are once become fo numerous, and have fortified
themfeives in fuch a manner on every fide, as to live
in perfed fecurity from all danger, they chiefly attend
to two things: the firft, is to take other people un-
der their protedion, for which they are paid certain
fums of money, and divide it amongft themfeives,
without any further trouble ; and the next, to hire
out their forces to fuch States as have occafion for
them, as the Swifs do at prefent, and the above-men-
tioned people did in former times, according to Livy ;
who fays, that a conference betwixt Phijip of Mace-

Chap. IV. The First Decad OF LivT. 2^1

don and Titus Quintus Flaminius, Philip upbraided
an Etolian Commander, who was likwife prefent, with
the avarice and double-dealing of his countrymen, as
people that were not afhamed to confederate with one
State, and to fend afTiftance to another that was at war
with it ; fo that it was not unufual to fee their colours
difplayed in both armies at the fame time.

We fee then that this manner of confederating has
always produced the fame effedls, and been attended
with fimilar confequences. Jt appears likevv'ife, that
fuch Republics as reduced their conquefts to a ftate
of fubjedlion, were always debilitated by it them-
felves to fuch a degree, that they very feldom could
make any further progrefs in extending their Domi-
nion ; and that if they afterwards met vv'ith any little
fuccefs of that kind, it was fo far from being a lading
advantage to them, that it commonly occafioned their
ruin in a very fhort time. If this manner of proceed-
ing, therefore, is pernicious to Commonwealths that
are powerful and v/arlike, it muft be fpeedy and utter
deftru6lion to thofe that are not fo ; of which, we have
lately feen m^any examples in Italy.

From all thefe confiderations, the Roman method
feems much the belt, and it is wonderful that it was
never adopted by any people before them, nor has
been imitated (ince. As for the other way of confe-
derating, there is now no inftance of it except amongft
the Swifs, and in the Circle of Swabia. We might
add, by way of conclufion to this Chapter, that many
other excellent rules and inftitutions which the Ro-
mans obferved in conducting their affairs, both at
home and abroad, are only not imitated in thefe days,
but in a manner defpifed; forne of them being looked
upon as fidtions and idle Stories, others as impof-
fible, and others again, as either not fuitable to the
prefent times and circumftances of the world, or as
trifling and of no importance : and to this it is owing,
that our poor Country of late has been a prey to every
Invader. But, if it feems a matter of too much dif-
ficulty to tread in the fteps of the Romans, furely the

0^4 prefent

232 Political Discourses upojn Book II.

prefent race of Tulcans are as capable as any other
people Vvhatfoever of imitating their forefathers : for
though their Anceflors indeed never equalled the Ro-
irjans in extending their Dominion far abroad, for the
reafons which we have given above, yet they acquired
as much authority in Italy, as could pofiibly be ex-
pected from their conduct and manner of proceeding ^
enjoying themfelves in profound peace and fecuriry for
a long courfe of time, and in the highefl reputation
for their wlfdom, Religion, and power : v;hich power
was at firft iliaken by the Gauls, and afterwards lb to-
tally deitroyed by the Romans, that though it v»?as
very great about two thouland years ago, there are
but few or no traces of it left at prefent : which natu-
rally leads me to confider whence it comes to pafs, that
the memory of fuch things is fo foon buried in ob-


^hat Deluges^ Pefiiknces^ the change cf Religion and
LanguagsSy cud other accidents^ in a 'manner extinguijh
the meihory of many things,

IT might be objecfled, I think, to thofe who fay the
world hasexifted from Eternity, that if it was fo,
we might reafonably expect to have fome records of
things that happened much above five thoufand years
ago; if v;e did not know that the remembrance of
them muit inevitably have periihed from caufcs, part
of which are owing to the nature of mankind, and part
to the inpjuence of Heaven. The oblivion occafioned
by mankind proceeds from the variation of Religion
and language-, for, upon the introduction of anew
Religion, the firil: care of thofe that endeavour to efta-
blifn it, is to aboliin the old one, in order to give the
greater reputation to their own : and when it happens
that thr propagators of the new one fpeak a different
language from thofe that were of the perfuafion that
prevailed before, they lb much the fooner extinguifli

■ " the

Chap. V. The First Decad of Livy. 233

the memory of it. This may appear from confidering
the courfe taken by the Chriftians with regard to Pa-
ganitm : for they totally abolilhed all the inftitutions,
ceremonies, and monuments of the Pagan Theology.
It is true, they could not fo utterly extinguifh the me-
mory of feveral adlions performed by fome great and
illuftrious men of that religion, being forced to retain
the ufe of the Latin Tongue, though much againft
their will 5 becaufe they were under a neceflity of pub-
lifiiing the principles and Do6trine of their own in that
language. But if they could have v/rote in another,
we may be afiured from the reft of their proceedings,
they would not have left the leaft traces of any Hiilory
relating to them : for whoever reads the life and ac-
tions of St. Gregory, and other heads of the Chriftian
Religion, will fee what a cruel perfecution they car-
ried on againll all Monumjcnts of Antiquity, burning
the works of Poets and Hiftorians, defacing images
and ftatues, and demolifhing every thing that might
in any wife contribute to keep the memory of Pa-
ganifm alive : fo that if they had likewile introduced
a new language at the fame time, all footfteps of that
people and their worfhip would have been entirely ob-
literated *. It is very probable therefore, that rhofe

* Montaigne fays, book TI. chap. xix. of his Effay^, *< That when
the Chriitian Religion began to gain authority witn the Laws, zeal
armed many againll all forts of Pagan books, by which the learned
fuffered an exceeding great lofs j which I conceive did more prejudice
to Letters, than all the flames kindled by the Barbarians. Of this,
Cornelius Tacitus is a very good witnefs ; for though the Emperor
Tacitus, his Kinfman, had by exprefs order furnifned all the Libra-
ries in the world with his book, neverthelefs, one entire copy could
not efcape the curious fearch of thofe who vvere defirous to abolifii it,
only on account of five or fix idle palTages in it, which fcemed to op-
pugn our Belief."

Petrus Alcyonius in Mediae Legato priore beftows a noble eulogy
upon St. Gregory, here mentioned by Machiavel, but it ends thus.
** Utinam incorruptam Graecae linguse integritatera fervaifet in tanta
rerum Siiva & tarn magna librorum vi ; certe fanftifhmiirn ilium Pon-

tificem onini laudi cumulatum judicarem ex illius maxime

fcriptis barbariem irrepfilfe in Theologiam Latinam arbitror. Nam
veteres noltri interpreies, mediccris literaturas & nullius fere judicii
homines, animadverterent Theologum hunc frequenter ufurpare
voces quafdam novas, eafque non fatisapte fi6las, ntceffe fibi elfe cre-


2 34 Political Dscourses upon Book IL

Pagans had treated others who went before them, in
the fame manner that they themfelves were ferved in
their turn by the Chriflians : and as there have been
two or three revolutions of this kind, during the
courfeoffive or fix thoufand years, it cannot feem
ftrange that the memory of things, which happened
before that time, fhould have now become utterly
extinct, or fo fabulous that nobody regards it ; as in
fad it has fared with the Hiftory of Diodorus Sicu-
lus, which though it pretends to give an account of
forty or fifty thoufand years, is looked upon (and
juftly I think) as nothing more than a heap of trum-
pery and lies.

As for other caufes immediately owing to the influ-
ence of Heaven, which occafion this oblivion of things,

diderunt illos latine reddere, atque hunc in modurn fordida barbaric
€ft lingua latina infufcata."

He fays further, in the perfon of Cardinal de' Medici, " Audiebam
etjam puer ex Demetrio Chalcondyla, Grascarum rerum peritiiTimo,
facerdotes Gra;cos tanta floruifle auftoritate apud Caefares Byzantios,
Bt integra illorum gratia complura de veteribus Grsecis poemata com-
bufftrint, in primifque ea ubi amores, turpeslufuf, & nequitin; aman-
tium continebantur J itaMenandri, Diphili, Apollodori, Philemonis,
Alexis fabellas, & Sappus, Erinnce, Anacreontis, Mimnermi, Bionis,
Alcmanis, Alcasi carmina intercidifie. Turn pro his fubftituta Nazi-
azeni noltri poemata, qus etfi excitant animos noftrorum hominum
ad fiagrantiorum religionis cultum, non tamen verborum Atticorum
proprietatem & Grarcae linguae elegantiam edocent. Turpiter quidein
iacerdotes ifti in ceteres Grsscos malevoli fuerunt j fed integritatis,
probiratis & religionis maximum dedere teltimonium." But Alcyo-
nius is not a credible vvitnefs, with regard to the incident here re-
lated } nor is the teftimony of Demetrius Chalcondylas much better.

E. Dacres has the following Note upon this paflage. " This is all
tralumny : for we find not that any have preferved the records of learn-
ing more tlian the Chriftians, however much intermixed with Pa-
ganifm. 1 take it, that thofe memorials were loll in the vaft deluges
of the Vandals, Goths, and Hunns, who themfelves being barbarous
and ignorant, envyed others learning, and therefore deftroyed all
the re^itlers of Antiquity they could find ; which our author inju-
rioufly imputes to the Chriftians ; bein^ that they, time out of minde,
have cau(cd thofe books to be taught the youth in their fchooles : and
we find that the moftefteemed Fathers of the Church were adorned
wirh that learning, which they are taxed to have perfecuted ; which
ierves alfo for the better undeiitanding and iliufirating of Theology,
and affords good arguments many times to our DivineS; for thecon-
\'i6^ion of the Gentiles, out of their own writers. Nor do I find theie
was any other reftraint in thofe Itudies, than that men wereadvifed to
apply themfelves foberly thertninto, ns not being ftudies to dwell in,
but tending rather to the lervice of rheology,"


Chap. V» The First Decad of Livy. 235

we may reckon thofe that extinguifh mankind, and
fweep away moil of the inhabitants in fome particular
part of the world ; fuch as Peitilence, Famine, and
inundations •, the laft of which feems to be the moil
fatal, not only becaufe the calamity is ufually more
general, but becaufe thofe that efcape its rage are
for the moil part mountaineers and ignorant men,
who having no knowledge of ancient times themfelves, -
cannot therefore be fuppofed to tranfmit any memo-
rials of them to their defcendants : and though fome
one ihould chance to furvive, who may poffibly be
verfed in Antiquity-, yet, it is very probable that he
will fupprefs many things, and garble others in fuch a
manner, as will tend chiefly to render himfelf and his
own family famous among poilerity ; leaving juil as
-much upon record, as he thinks will ferve that pur-
pofe, and no more. That fuch inundations, pefli-
lence, and famine have actually happened, there is
no room to doubt •, fmce it plainly appears, not only
from the teftimony of many Hiilories, but from this
very coiifequence of them, the oblivion into which {o
many Hates and nations are fallen; the abfolute necef-
fity of fuch events renders them alfo fufiiciently evi-
dent ; for, as nature adls in the bodies of individuals,
and caufes a purgation, that tends to preferve them,
when there is too much fuperfluous matter collecled ;
fo likewife it happens in the united body of mankind ;
when either the feveral Provinces of the world arc fo
full of inhabitants that they can neither fupport them-
felves where they are, nor find room in any other
place ; or when the wickednefs of mankind is arrived

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