The Prince eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 149 pages of information about The Prince.

Further, he ought to entertain the people with festivals and spectacles at convenient seasons of the year; and as every city is divided into guilds or into societies,(*) he ought to hold such bodies in esteem, and associate with them sometimes, and show himself an example of courtesy and liberality; nevertheless, always maintaining the majesty of his rank, for this he must never consent to abate in anything.

(*) “Guilds or societies,” “in arti o in tribu.”  “Arti” were craft or trade guilds, cf.  Florio:  “Arte . . . a whole company of any trade in any city or corporation town.”  The guilds of Florence are most admirably described by Mr Edgcumbe Staley in his work on the subject (Methuen, 1906).  Institutions of a somewhat similar character, called “artel,” exist in Russia to-day, cf.  Sir Mackenzie Wallace’s “Russia,” ed. 1905:  “The sons . . . were always during the working season members of an artel.  In some of the larger towns there are artels of a much more complex kind—­ permanent associations, possessing large capital, and pecuniarily responsible for the acts of the individual members.”  The word “artel,” despite its apparent similarity, has, Mr Aylmer Maude assures me, no connection with “ars” or “arte.”  Its root is that of the verb “rotisya,” to bind oneself by an oath; and it is generally admitted to be only another form of “rota,” which now signifies a “regimental company.”  In both words the underlying idea is that of a body of men united by an oath.  “Tribu” were possibly gentile groups, united by common descent, and included individuals connected by marriage.  Perhaps our words “sects” or “clans” would be most appropriate.

CHAPTER XXII —­ CONCERNING THE SECRETARIES OF PRINCES

The choice of servants is of no little importance to a prince, and they are good or not according to the discrimination of the prince.  And the first opinion which one forms of a prince, and of his understanding, is by observing the men he has around him; and when they are capable and faithful he may always be considered wise, because he has known how to recognize the capable and to keep them faithful.  But when they are otherwise one cannot form a good opinion of him, for the prime error which he made was in choosing them.

There were none who knew Messer Antonio da Venafro as the servant of Pandolfo Petrucci, Prince of Siena, who would not consider Pandolfo to be a very clever man in having Venafro for his servant.  Because there are three classes of intellects:  one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehended; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others; the first is the most excellent, the second is good, the third is useless.  Therefore, it follows necessarily that, if Pandolfo was not in the first rank, he was in the second, for whenever one has judgment to know good and bad when it is said and done, although he himself may not have the initiative, yet he can recognize the good and the bad in his servant, and the one he can praise and the other correct; thus the servant cannot hope to deceive him, and is kept honest.

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The Prince from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.