And for these reasons Rome, while she lived under her kings, was in constant danger of destruction through a king who might be weak or bad.
CHAPTER XX.—That the consecutive Reigns of two valiant Princes produce great results: and that well-ordered Commonwealths are assured of a Succession of valiant Rulers by whom their Power and Growth are rapidly extended.
When Rome had driven out her kings, she was freed from those dangers to which, as I have said, she was exposed by the possible succession of a weak or wicked prince. For the chief share in the government then devolved upon the consuls, who took their authority not by inheritance, nor yet by craft or by ambitious violence, but by the free suffrages of their fellow-citizens, and were always men of signal worth; by whose valour and good fortune Rome being constantly aided, was able to reach the height of her greatness in the same number of years as she had lived under her kings. And since we find that two successive reigns of valiant princes, as of Philip of Macedon and his son Alexander, suffice to conquer the world, this ought to be still easier for a commonwealth, which has it in its power to choose, not two excellent rulers only, but an endless number in succession. And in every well ordered commonwealth provision will be made for a succession of this sort.
Those princes and republics of the present day who lack forces of their own, whether for attack or defence, should take shame to themselves, and should be convinced by the example of Tullus, that their deficiency does not arise from want of men fit for warlike enterprises, but from their own fault in not knowing how to make their subjects good soldiers. For after Rome had been at peace for forty years, Tullus, succeeding to the kingdom, found not a single Roman who had ever been in battle. Nevertheless when he made up his mind to enter on a war, it never occurred to him to have recourse to the Samnites, or the Etruscans,