Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 483 pages of information about Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius.
when, if the great citizen who finds himself slighted be vindictive, and have some credit and following in the city, disorder will always ensue.  And though Rome escaped this danger for a time, she too, as has elsewhere been said, having no longer, after she had conquered Carthage and Antiochus, any fear of war, came to think she might commit her armies to whom she would, making less account of the valour of her captains than of those other qualities which gain favour with the people.  Accordingly we find Paulus Emilius rejected oftener than once when he sought the consulship; nor, in fact, obtaining it until the Macedonian war broke out, which, being judged a formidable business, was by the voice of the whole city committed to his management.  After the year 1494 our city of Florence was involved in a series of wars, in conducting which none of our citizens had any success until chance threw the command into the hands of one who showed us how an army should be led.  This was Antonio Giacomini, and so long as there were dangerous wars on foot, all rivalry on the part of other citizens was suspended; and whenever a captain or commissary had to be appointed he was unopposed.  But when a war came to be undertaken, as to the issue of which no misgivings were felt, and which promised both honour and preferment, so numerous were the competitors for command, that three commissaries having to be chosen to conduct the siege of Pisa, Antonio was left out; and though it cannot with certainty be shown that any harm resulted to our republic from his not having been sent on this enterprise, we may reasonably conjecture that such was indeed the case.  For as the people of Pisa were then without means either for subsistence or defence, it may be believed that had Antonio been there he would have reduced them to such extremities as would have forced them to surrender at discretion to the Florentines.  But Pisa being besieged by captains who knew neither how to blockade nor how to storm it, held out so long, that the Florentines, who should have reduced it by force, were obliged to buy its submission.  Neglect like this might well move Antonio to resentment; and he must needs have been both very patient and very forgiving if he felt no desire to revenge himself when he could, by the ruin of the city or by injuries to individual citizens.  But a republic should beware not to rouse such feelings, as I shall show in the following Chapter.

CHAPTER XVII.—­That we are not to offend a Man, and then send him to fill an important Office or Command.

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