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.
judged him to be effeminate, and therefore held him in slight esteem, understood that to preserve Rome he must resort to arms and resemble Romulus rather than Numa.  From whose example every ruler of a State may learn that a prince like Numa will hold or lose his power according as fortune and circumstances befriend him; but that the prince who resembles Romulus, and like him is fortified with foresight and arms, will hold his State whatever befall, unless deprived of it by some stubborn and irresistible force.  For we may reckon with certainty that if Rome had not had for her third king one who knew how to restore her credit by deeds of valour, she could not, or at any rate not without great difficulty, have afterwards held her ground, nor could ever have achieved the great exploits she did.

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.

CHAPTER XXI.—­That it is a great reproach to a Prince or to a Commonwealth to be without a national Army.

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,

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