Niccolò Machiavelli.

The works of Nicholas Machiavel ... : translated from the originals : illustrated with notes, annotations, dissertations, and several new plans on the Art of war (Volume 3) online

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at the higheft pitch it can attain to ; then it
abfolutely neeeffary that the earth fhould be purged by
One of thefe three ways, that fo mankind being re-
duced in their numbers, and humbled under a fenfe
of their mortality may become more righteous and live
with greater convenience. Thefe things being conii-
dered then, it is no wonder that Tufcany, which, as
we faid before, was fo povv'erful in fornier times, fo
renowned for its virtue, manners, and religion, and


2^6 Political Discourses upon Book 11.

had a language and laws of its own, being overwhelm-
ed by the exceflive power of the Romans, fhould now
retain no other marii of its ancient grandeur, than
the name alone.


Concerning the condu5l chferved hy the Romans in their


AVING already fhewn what means the Romans.
took to extend their Dominion, I fnall now fay
Something concerning the rules they followed in the
profecution of their wars ; and in this as well as all
the refl of their adions, we (hall fee how wifely they
deviated in many refpecls from the common pradice
of all other nations, in order to pave their way to uni-
verfal Empire. The end and defign of all thofe that
make war either out of choice, or, to fpeak more pro-
perly, out of motives of ambition, is to get what they
can and keep what they have got, in fuch a manner
as neither to endanger nor impoverifh their own domi-
nions ; for which purpofe, it is neceflary in both cafes,
to purfue all methods that can be taken, not only to
iave expences, but to enrich and benefit themfelves.
Whoever then would accompliili thefe encs muft imi-
tate the condu6l of th^ Romans, with whom it was a
general maxim to r/iake their \vzvs>fljort andjharp^ as
the French fay : for by taking the field early and with
powerful armies, they very foon brought thofe wars
to aconclufion, in which they were engaged with the
Latins, Samnites, andTufcans: and if we confider
ail the reit 'that happened from the foundation of
Ron^e to the Siege of Veii, it will be found that fome
of them were ended in fix days, fome in ten, and
others in twenty at moit. For ix) fooner was war de-
clared, but they led ont their forces tofeek the enemy
and bring them to an engagement : after which, if


Chap. VI. The First Decad of Livy. 237

they gained the vidory, as they generally did, they
forced them to cede that part of their territory which
lay upon their confines, to prevent the reft being laid
wafle ; and this was either appropriated to their own
particular ufe, or given to a Colony, which was fet-
tled there for the fecurity of their frontiers, to the
great advantage of the Colonifts, as well as of the
Commonwealth, which was thereby enabled to keep
a good garrifun in thofe parts without any expence to
itielf Nor could any method be taken more fafe and
beneficial than this ; for whilft the other State conti-
nued quiet, that garrifon was a fufficient fecurity
from any fudden invafion ; but if it offered to make
any attempt upon their Colony, the Romans were pre-
fently in the field again with a powerful army, and
having crufhed the enemy, made them fubmit to ftill
heavier terms ; thus by degrees continually increafing
their power and reputation abroad, and their ftrength
at home.

This method they ftriclly obferved till after they
had made themfelves Mailers of Veii -, after which
they changed it in fome meafiire, and gave pay to their
Soldiers, as they began to be engaged in wars that
lafted longer, which was unneceilary before, becaufe
their campaigns had always been of fhort continu-
ance. Neverthelefs, though they paid their forces
from that time in order to fupport a war the longer,
and to carry their arms into more remote parts, where
they were obliged to keep the field a confiderabie
time, yet they never loft fight of their old maxim,
but conftantly put an end to a war as foon as ever the
circumftances of the time and place would admit of
it, and always fent Colonies into the countries wh.ich
they had conquered : for, befides the utility that
naturally refulted from ih^ obfervation of this rule,
they wxre likewife prompted to it by ambition ;
becaufe the two Confuls continuing in ofSiice but
one year, and neither of them commanding the
army any longer than Six m.onths, they both were de-
firous to put an end to a war as foon as poiTible, in


23^ Political Discourses upo^J Book II.

order to obtain the honour of a triumph : and as for
Colonies, they were too fenfible of the advantages
they had reaped from fuch eftablifhments ever to
forego them. Indeed they made fome alteration in
their method of diftributing the fpoil taken from an
Enemy, in which they were not fo liberal as they had
been before ; fince in the firft place it did not feem
neccflary after they had given their Soldiers certain
pay, and in the next, the fpoil increafing confider-
ably, they thought proper to confign a good part of
it to the ufe of the Commonwealth; that fo they might
not be obliged to lay any frefh taxes upon their own
Subjedls for the profecution of any future enterprize :
by which means they foon enriched the Public to a
prodigious degree.

By a ftridt adherence to thefe two methods, viz. of
diftributing their Spoils, and of fending out Colonies,
the Romans grew rich by their wars, whereas other
Princes and Republics, lefs wife, are impoverilhed by
them ; nay the matter was carried fo far at laft, that
noConful was allowed a triumph except he came home
loaded with gold, filver, and other fpoils for the ufe
of the public Treafury : and thus bringing their wars
to a fpeedy concluiion, either by forcing the enemy
to an engagement as foon as poflible, or by harrafling
their country with continual incurfions and devafta^
tions till they were obliged to fue for peace upon any
terms, this people became richer and more powerful
every day.


What froportion of land the Romans gave to every inha^

hitant of their Colonies,

IT is not an eafy matter to know with any certainty
how much land the Romans gave each Colonift j
but it feems reafonable to fuppofe that it was more or
lefs according to the barrennefs or fertility of the place.

8 W^e

Chap. VIII. The First Decad of Livy. 239

We may conclude however, that they were always
very fparing in this point, that To their Colonies might
fupport a great number of men, and confcquently be
well fecured ; and in the next place, as they them-
felvcs lived very frugally at home, we can hardly
imagine they v/ould fufFer their Subjects to wanton in
riot and luxury abroad. Livy informs us that after
they had taken Veii, they fent a Colony thither, and
gave each inhabitant a little more than three acres and
a half of land *. They might confider likewife that
their wants would be better fupplied by the improve-
ment and cultivation of their land, than by the quan-
tity of it. But we may fuppofe they had alfo Com-
mon fields to feed their Cattle, and woods to fupply
them with firing and other neceflaries, without which
no Colony could fupport itfelf.


What are the reafons that induce a people to abandon their
own Country and force themf elves into that of others »

NO W we have fpoken of the manner in which
the Romans conduded their wars, and made
fome mention of the invafion of Tufcany by the
Gauls, it may not perhaps appear foreign to our pur-
pofe, if we obferve that there are two forts of war :
one occafioned by the ambition of Princes or Repub-
lics that invade others to enlarge their own Empire,
like Alexander the Great and the Romans. Thefe
wars, though very ruinous indeed, do not utterly ex-
tirpate the natives of conquered Provinces, fmce the
Conqueror is generally content with reducing them to
obedience, often leaving them in pofleflion of their
own laws, and almofl: always of their eftates and pro-
perties. The other fort of war is when a v;hole peo-
ple, man, woman, and child, are compelled to quit

• Terna jugcra & feptunces deviferant.


*240 Political Discourses vpou Book II,

their own country either by Famine or Sword, and go
in fearch of new habitations in another ; not with a
defign merely to reduce it to Subjection, like the
others juft now mentioned, but firmly to edablifh
themfeives there, either by the entire dellrudion or
extermination of the former inhabitants. Now this is
always attended with much blood-fhed, cruelty, and
devaftation, as may appear from what SailuQ: tells us
in the end of his Hiftory of the Jugurthine war, when
it was reported that the Gauls were upon their march
to invade Italy. " Cum ceteris gencibus a populo
Romano de imperio tantum fuiffe dimicatum, cum
Gallis de Singulorum hominum Salute. The Ro-
mans contended with other nations for glory and do-
minion only ; but with the Gauls they fought to pre-
ferve their own lives and their Country." For when a
Prince or Republic fubdues another country, they
think it fufBcient to rid themfeives of thofe alone who
bore rule over it before •, but in irruptions of a whole
people at once, the invaders find it neceiiary to ex-
tirpate the whole nation which they conquer, in or-
der to fupport themfeives upon the produd of their

Three wars of this dreadful kind the Romans fuf-
tained ; the firft, when Rome was taken by the Gauls
who had driven the Tufcans out of Lombardy and
fettled there themfeives : and this invafion Livy ac-
counts for two v^^ays -, in the firil place, from the de-
licioufnefs of the Italian fruits and wines which tempt-
ed the Gauls, v;ho had none fuch at home, to come
thither for them, as has been faid before : and in the
next, their own country being grown fo full of inha-
bitants that it could no longer fupport them all, the
leading men of that nation perceived it abfolutcly ne-
cefTary that fome part of them fliould leave it and en-
deavour to eftablifli themfeives elfewhere : which be-
ing accordingly relblved upon, the people upon whom
the lot fell to quit their native country chufing Bello-
vefus and Sigovefus, two of tHeir Princes, to conduct
them, the former penetrated into Italy, and making


Chap. VIII, The First Decad of Livy. 241 •
himfeif mailer of Lombardy, foon after fell upon the
Romans: the latter forced his way into Spain. The
fecond war of this fort that the Romans had upon
their hands, happened to be with the fame nation at
the end of the firft Punic war; and in this they killed
above two hundred thoufand of them in a battle be-
twixt Pila and Piombino ; and the laft was when the
Cimbri and Germans poured themieives into Italy ;
who, after they had often routed the Roman armies,
were totally conquered and driven back again by
Marius ■^. Now if the Romans not only fupported
themfelves, but came off with great glory and repu-
tation at lafl: in all thele three terrible wars, it is an
indifputable proof of their extraordinary valour and
conftancy in thofe times : for afterwards, when they be-
gan degenerate, and had in fome meafure loll: their an-
cient virtue and courage, their dominions were over-
run by the very fame people, that is, by the Goths,
Vandals, and others, who wrefted the Empire of the
Weft entirely out of their hands.

Thefe Emigrations are the effed of Neceffity (as I
faid before) and this Neceffity is occafioned by fa-
mine, or war, and diftrefs at home, which obliges
the people to feek new habitations -, and v;hen the
number of thofe that are thus forced abroad is great,
their irruptions into other parts are exceeding tierce
and bloody : for they always kill the natives, feize
upon their lands, turn every thing upfide down, and
give the Country a new name •, as Moies did, and
the nations that over-ran the Roman Empire. Thus
the names by which the feveral Provinces of Italy and
other nations are now^called, were given them by their
feveral Conquerors : for Lombardy was formerly call-
ed Gallia Cifalpina, and France Gallia Tranfalpina ;
which laft now takes its name fromi the Franks who
difpoircfTed the Romans of it. So likewife Sclavonia

* It is faid that a town has been lately difcovered in the faftnefTes of
the Alps, which has been inhabited by the cieicendents of this people
ever fmce that tinier who have ftill prelervtd their ancient language
and manners.

Vol. hi. R was

242 Political Discourses UPON BookIL

was anciently called Illyria, Hungary Pannonia,^ ^-^g-
land Britain ; thus Mofes changed the name of that
part of Syria, which he took poflcflion of, into Ju-
dea -, and in this manner many other countries, which
it would be tedious to enumerace, have L-ad new names
given them very different from their old ores. And
fince I have obferved above,, thr.t people are fometimes-
driven cut of their own country by war, and forced
to feek new habitations, I (hail give one example of
it in the cafe of the MauruHans, formerly a people of
Syrij, who, upon the approach of the Ifraclites under
the condud of Jofhua, not being able to oppofe him»
thought it better to fave their lives by leaving their
country, than to lofe both by waiting for his arrival r
for which purpoie, they marched away with their
wives and children into Africa, where they fettled
themfeives after they had driven the inhabitants out of
that part of the country, though they could not de-
fend their own. Procopius, in his Hiftory of the war
which Belifarius conducted againft the Vandals who
had got poifefTion of Africa, fays that he himfelf had
read infcriptions upoa certain pillars in thofe parts^
that were form.erly occupied by the Maurufians, to
this effef^:, '' Thefe pillars were erefled by us when
we fled from the face of Jofhua the Robber, the Son
of Nun*:" from whence the reafon of their aban- Sy.ria phmiy appears. Such multitudes there-
fore becoming defperate^ and urged forwards by ex^
treme neceiTity are very formidable : and fo great in-
deed is their fury, that it is not to be fuftained excepfi
by the moft warlike and courageous nations.

But when thofe that are obliged to leave theircoun-
try are few in number they are not fo much to be
dreaded, as the people of whom we have been fpeak-
ing •, becaufe when they find they cannot fucceed by
downright force and violence, they are under a necet-

• K.'i.e7^ ec-fjLSv 01 <bvyovTit;a'ffo trpos-wn^u liT(ri/ rS hrj^a viytHdv^t. Nos fugimilS
a facie Jelu latronis filii Nava. Procop. de belio Vandalico, lib. II-.
p. 25S, cap. X. deMaurorum origine. Paris Edit. j66z,


chap. VlIL The First Decad OF LivY. ^^^
fity of having recourfe to artifice and gentle means,
in order to gain a Tettlement fomewhere or other, and
afterwards to kipport themfelves by allir.nces and con-
federacies, like /Eneas, Dido, the (Vlaflilians, and
many others, who found means to maintain theirground
in thofe parts where they had got footing with the
confent and good will of the neighbouring States.
The mod numerous emigrations have been chiefly out
of Scythia *, a cold and barren climate, where the in-
habitants were generally fo numerous, and the Coun-
try fo fterile, that it was not able to iuftain them : fo
that multitudes of them having many reafons to leave
it, and none that could induce them to Ifay there, were
in a manner compelled to fcek more plentiful and
comfortable habitations : and if there have been none
of thefe inundations from thofe parts during the
courfe of thefe laft five hundred years and upwards,
1 think it may be accounted for feveral ways f. In
the firft place, from the prodigious fwarms of peo-
ple, that ilTued out from thence in the declenfion
of the Empire, which muft have drained and
cxhaufted them to the lafl: degree j as there were
above thirty emigrations at that time. In the next,
Germany and Hungary, which likev^ife fcnt out le-
gions of thefe adventurers, are now cultivated and
improved in fuch a m.anner, that all the inhabitants
live in plenty and fatisfaclion, and confcquently are
under no temptation or nccefliry of removing into
any other country : and in the laft place, thelc two
tiations and the Poles, who aifo border upon the Scy-
thians, being very warlike and inured to arms, make
fo ftrong a bulwark againft them, that there is no
likelihood of their ever being able either to conquer,
of even to force a paflage through them ; and indeed
thj^y have adually repelled many formidable inva-
fions of thefe Barbarians: i.c is not without rcafoa

• N,o\v called Tartar)^.

+ Since Machiavcrs time, the Tartars have made terrible irruption*
iot^o China, and entirely fubdued that Empire.^

R 2 there-

244 Political Discourses upon Book II.

therefore, if they fometimes boaft that it is owing to
their valour, that Italy has been fo long fecured from
fuch irruptions, and that the Church of Rome isobligcd
to them for its very exiftence *.

* For a further account of thefe emigrat)ons, fee Hift. Flor. book I.
at the beginning. Davill^^'s Hiltory of the Civil wars of France, at the
beginning. Examen du Prince, chap. xxi. Sir William Temple, in
the fiift Chapter of his obfervations upon the united provinces of the
Netherlands, aiTigns another reafon why they have long cealed. '* I have
fometimes thouglit (fays he) how it (hould have come to pafs that thein-
finite fwarm of that vaft northern hive, which fo often fliook the world
like a great tempell, and overflowed it like a torrent ; changing names»
and culfoms, and government, and language, and the very face of na-
ture, wherever they leated themfelves ; which upon record of Story,
under the name of Gauls, pierced into Greece and Italy, facking Rome,
and befieging the Capitol in Camillus's time ; under that of the Cim-
bers, marched through France to the very confines of Italy, defended
by Marius 5 under that of Huns or Lombards, Vifigoths, Goths, and
Vandals, conquered the whole force of the, Roman Empire, facked
Rome thrice in a fm^ll compafs of years, ft-ated three Kingdoms in
Spain and Africa, as well as Lombardy 5 and under that of Danes and
Normans poflefled themfelves of England, a great part of France, and
even of Naples and Sicily : how (I lay) thefe nations which feemed to
Ipawn in every age, and at fome intervals of time difcharged their own
native countries of fo vaft numbers, and with fuch terror to the world,
Ihould about feven or eight hundred years ago leave off the ufe of thefe
furious expeditions, as if on a fudden they fhould have grown barren,
or tame, or better contented with their own ill climates. But I fup-
pofe we owe this benefit wholly to the growth and progrefs of Chrif-
tianity in the North ; by which, early and undiilinguifhed copula-
tion, or multitude of wives,- were reltrained or abrogated. By the
fame means learning and civility got footiiig amongit them in fome
degree, and enclofed certain circuits of thofe vaft regions, by the
diftin(ftions and bounus of Kingdoms, Principalities, or Commonal-
ties. Men began to leave their wilder lives, fpent without other cares
or pleafures than of food or of luft, and betook themfelves to the eafe
and errertainment of Ibcieties ; with order and labour, riches began
and trade followed, and rhe(e made way for luxury, and that for
many difeafes or ill habits of body unknown to former and limpler
ages, which began to fnorten and weaken both life and procreation.
Befides, the divilions and circles of dominion occafioned wars betwixt
the feveial nations tliough of the fame faith : and thofe of the Poles,
Hungarians, and Muiicovites, with the Turks and Tartars made
greater (laughters: and by thefe accidents, I fuppofie, the numbers of
thofe feitile broods have been lelTened, and their limits in a meafure
confined ; and we have had thereby for fo long together in thefe parts
of the world the honour and liberty of drawing uur own blood upon
the quarrels of humour or avarice, ambition, or pride, without the
affiftance or need of any barbarian nations to deftroy us.'*


Chap. IX. The First "Decad of Livy. 245

C H A P. IX.

What often gives r'lfe to a war betwixt different Powers.

THE war betwixt the Romans and Samnite??,
after they had long been friends and confede-
rates, was owing to a circumftance which often proves
the f anfe of war between two powerful Siares : and
this circLimftance is occafioned either by accident or
defign. The abovementioned quarrel was the effe6t
of accident-, for when the Sarnnites firll made war
upon the Sidicines, and afterwards upon the Campa-
nians, they had no defign to break with the Romans.
But the Campanians being diftreffed, and having no
other refource, threw themfelves into the arms ot the
Romans, and fubmitted to their government, con-
trary to the exoedlation both of the Rom.ans and Sam-
nites : after which, the Romans were forced to defend
them as their own Subjeds, and to engage in a war
which they could not decHne with honour. For
though thev did not think themfelves obliged to fup-
port them before, when they were only in common
^mity with them, againfl: the Samnites, who were
their allies, yet they thought it would be (hameful
not to protedl them after they were become their Sub-
je6ls •, rightly judging that if they did not, it would
difcourage others who poITibly nrght afterwards be in-
clinable to do the fame, and acknowledge their do-
fininion ; which would be acting: contrary to the great
end they always had in view of extending their glory
and Empire. An accident of the fame nature occa-
fioned the firft Punic war ; that is, the prote6tion
which the Romans gave to the people of Mefhna in
Sicily :. but the fecond was owing to another caufe.
For Hannibal the Carthai/inian General fell upon the
Saguntines in Spain, a people in alliance with the Ro-
mans J not fo much out of any particular enmity he
J:\ad to that State, as to force the Romans to engage

R 3 in

24^ Political Discourses upokt Book IL

in its defence •, that fo he might have a fair pretence
to quarrel with them and invade Italy. This method
of exciiing a war is very common with fuch Princes
and Scates as are defirous to keep up feme appear-
ance, at lead, of honour and good faith ; for when
they want to make war upon another Prince with
whom they have been long in friendfhip and alliance,
they generally find fome excufe to fall upon one State
or other that is dependent upon him, and not diredly
upon him himfelt ; well knowing t|iat by fo doing, he
will either be provoked to refent it, and then a war
enfues according to their wifh •, or if he is not, he
niuft lliew either great weaknefs or bafenefs in not de»
fending thofe that are under his protedion : in either
of which cafes he muft lofe his reputation, and facili-
tate the defignsof his adverfary.

We may obferve therefore from what has been faid
above, concerning the Campanlans and Carthaginir
ans, how wars are excited in fuch cafes fometimes by
accident, fometimes by defign : and further, what
remedy a State may have recourfe to that is not able to
0efend itfelf, and yet rcfolved not to fubmit to the
enemy that inyades it ; which is to throw itfelf volun-
tarily into the arms of another that is powerful enough
to afford it protedicn, as the Romans did to the
Campanians, and Robert King of Naples to the Flo-
rentines; tor though that Prince would not undertake
to defend them againft the incurfions of Caftruccio
Caftracani, whilit they were only upon the footing of
comjmon friendfhip with him, yet he took them un-
der his protedipn when they fubmiitted to him as their
Sovereign *.

* This feems likely enough to be the cafe of the Dutch fome tim^
or other. Sir William Tempie fomewhere fays, that when they were
reduced almoft to the brink of ruin by the French in tlie laft century,
they adually began to talk of putting thtmfclves, as a circle, under
the protection ot the Empire.


Chap. X. The First Decad of Livv. 247


That Money is not the Sinews of IVar^ as it is

thought to he*

SINCE it is a much eaficr mieter to begin than to
conclude a war, a Prince who has any defign of
that kind in hand, ought not only maturely to con-
iider his own ftrength, and to r-egu!ate his condu6l ac-
cording to it •, but alio to take great care that he does
not impofe upon iiimfelf in making that eilimare, as
jie certainly will do if he altogether depends either
upon his coffers (be they ever fo full) or the fituatioa
cQf hL dominions, or the affedtion of his Subjeds ; all
which williignify nothing, if he has not a good and
faithful army of his own. Thefe things indeed may
increafe his firength, but none of them alone can
make him iirong : for without a powerful body of

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