Machiavelli, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 391 pages of information about Machiavelli, Volume I.
examples, I will add one of less remark; but it shall hold some proportion with them, and this shall suffice me for all others of this kind, which is Hiero the Siracusan.  He of a private man, became Prince of Siracusa, nor knew he any other ayd of fortune than the occasion:  for the Siracusans being oppress’d, made choyce of him for their Captain, whereupon he deserv’d to be made their Prince:  and he was of such vertue even in his private fortune, that he who writes of him, sayes, he wanted nothing of reigning, but a Kingdom; this man extinguish’d all the old soldiery, ordaind the new; left the old allyances, entertained new; and as he had friendship, and soldiers that were his own, upon that ground he was able to build any edifice; so that he indured much trouble in gaining, and suffered but little in maintaining.

CHAP.  VII

Of new Principalities, gotten by fortune, and other mens forces.

They who by fortune only become Princes of private men, with small pains attain to it, but have much ado to maintain themselves in it; and find no difficulty at all in the way, because they are carried thither with wings:  but all the difficulties arise there, after they are plac’d in them.  And of such sort are those who have an estate given them for money, by the favor of some one that grants it them:  as it befell many in Greece, in the cities of Jonia, and Hellespont; where divers Princes were made by Darius, as well for his own safety as his glory; as also them that were made Emperors; who from private men by corrupting the soldiers, attaind to the Empire.  These subsist meerly upon the will, and fortune of those that have advanced them; which are two voluble and unsteady things; and they neither know how, nor are able to continue in that dignity:  they know not how, because unless it be a man of great understanding and vertue, it is not probable that he who hath always liv’d a private life, can know how to command:  neither are they able, because they have not any forces that can be friendly or faithful to them.  Moreover those States that suddenly fall into a mans hands, as all other things in nature that spring and grow quickly, cannot well have taken root, nor have made their correspondencies so firm, but that the first storm that takes them, ruines them; in case these, who (as it is said) are thus on a sudden clambred up to be Princes, are not of that worth and vertue as to know how to prepare themselves to maintain that which chance hath cast into their bosoms, and can afterwards lay those foundations, which others have cast before they were Princes.  For the one and the other of these wayes about the attaining to be a Prince, by Vertue, or by Fortune, I will alledge you two examples which have been in the dayes of our memory.  These were Francis Sforza, and Caesar Borgia; Francis by just means and with a great deal of vertue, of a private man got to be Duke of Millan; and that which with

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Machiavelli, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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