The Prince eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 149 pages of information about The Prince.
as under Carmignuola,(#) they had a taste of this mistake; for, having found him a most valiant man (they beat the Duke of Milan under his leadership), and, on the other hand, knowing how lukewarm he was in the war, they feared they would no longer conquer under him, and for this reason they were not willing, nor were they able, to let him go; and so, not to lose again that which they had acquired, they were compelled, in order to secure themselves, to murder him.  They had afterwards for their captains Bartolomeo da Bergamo, Roberto da San Severino, the count of Pitigliano,(&) and the like, under whom they had to dread loss and not gain, as happened afterwards at Vaila,($) where in one battle they lost that which in eight hundred years they had acquired with so much trouble.  Because from such arms conquests come but slowly, long delayed and inconsiderable, but the losses sudden and portentous.

     (*) Battle of Caravaggio, 15th September 1448.

     (+) Johanna II of Naples, the widow of Ladislao, King of
     Naples.

(%) Giovanni Acuto.  An English knight whose name was Sir John Hawkwood.  He fought in the English wars in France, and was knighted by Edward III; afterwards he collected a body of troops and went into Italy.  These became the famous “White Company.”  He took part in many wars, and died in Florence in 1394.  He was born about 1320 at Sible Hedingham, a village in Essex.  He married Domnia, a daughter of Bernabo Visconti.

     (#) Carmignuola.  Francesco Bussone, born at Carmagnola about
     1390, executed at Venice, 5th May 1432.

(&) Bartolomeo Colleoni of Bergamo; died 1457.  Roberto of San Severino; died fighting for Venice against Sigismund, Duke of Austria, in 1487.  “Primo capitano in Italia.”—­ Machiavelli.  Count of Pitigliano; Nicolo Orsini, born 1442, died 1510.

     ($) Battle of Vaila in 1509.

And as with these examples I have reached Italy, which has been ruled for many years by mercenaries, I wish to discuss them more seriously, in order that, having seen their rise and progress, one may be better prepared to counteract them.  You must understand that the empire has recently come to be repudiated in Italy, that the Pope has acquired more temporal power, and that Italy has been divided up into more states, for the reason that many of the great cities took up arms against their nobles, who, formerly favoured by the emperor, were oppressing them, whilst the Church was favouring them so as to gain authority in temporal power:  in many others their citizens became princes.  From this it came to pass that Italy fell partly into the hands of the Church and of republics, and, the Church consisting of priests and the republic of citizens unaccustomed to arms, both commenced to enlist foreigners.

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The Prince from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.