Machiavelli, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 391 pages of information about Machiavelli, Volume I.

CHAP.  IV

Wherefore Darius his Kingdome taken by Alexander, rebelled not against Alexanders Successors after his death.

The difficulties being consider’d, which a man hath in the maintaining of a State new gotten, some might marvaile how it came to pass, that Alexander the great subdued all Asia in a few years; and having hardly possessed himself of it, died; whereupon it seemed probable that all that State should have rebelled; nevertheless his Successors kept the possession of it, nor found they other difficulty in holding it, than what arose among themselves through their own ambition.  I answer, that all the Principalities whereof we have memory left us, have been governed in two several manners; either by a Prince, and all the rest Vassals, who as ministers by his favor and allowance, do help to govern that Kingdom; or by a Prince and by Barons, who not by their Princes favor, but by the antiquity of blood hold that degree.  And these kinds of Barons have both states of their own, and Vassals who acknowledge them for their Lords; and bare them a true natural affection.  Those States that are govern’d by a Prince and by Vassals, have their Prince ruling over them with more authority; for in all his countrey, there is none acknowledged for superior, but himself:  and if they yeeld obedience to any one else, it is but as to his minister and officer, nor beare they him any particular good will.  The examples of these two different Governments now in our dayes, are, the Turk, and the King of France.  The Turks whole Monarchy is govern’d by one Lord, and the rest are all his Vassals; and dividing his whole Kingdom into divers Sangiacques or Governments, he sends several thither, and those he chops and changes, as he pleases.  But the King of France is seated in the midst of a multitude of Lords, who of old have been acknowledg’d for such by their subjects, and being belov’d by them, enjoy their preheminencies; nor can the King take their States from them without danger.  He then that considers the one and the other of these two States, shall find difficulty in the conquest of the Turks State; but when once it is subdu’d, great facility to hold it.  The reasons of these difficulties in taking of the Turks Kingdom from him, are, because the Invader cannot be called in by the Princes of that Kingdom, nor hope by the rebellion of those which he hath about him, to be able to facilitate his enterprize:  which proceeds from the reasons aforesaid; for they being all his slaves, and oblig’d to him, can more hardly be corrupted; and put case they were corrupted, little profit could he get by it, they not being able to draw after them any people, for the reasons we have shewed:  whereupon he that assails the Turk, must think to find him united; and must rather relie upon his own forces, than in the others disorders:  but when once he is overcome and broken in the field, so that he cannot repair his armies, there is nothing

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Machiavelli, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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