Concerning those who by wicked meanes have attaind to a Principality.
But because a man becomes a Prince of a private man two wayes, which cannot wholly be attributed either to Fortune or Vertue, I think not fit to let them passe me: howbeit the one of them may be more largely discoursed upon, where the Republicks are treated of. These are, when by some wicked and unlawfull meanes a man rises to the Principality; or when a private person by the favour of his fellow Citizens becomes Prince of his countrey. And speaking of the first manner, it shall be made evident by two Examples, the one ancient, the other moderne, without entring otherwise into the justice or merit of this part; for I take it that these are sufficient for any body that is forc’d to follow them. Agathocles the Sicilian, not of a private man onely, but from a base and abject fortune, got to be King of Siracusa. This man borne but of a Potter, continued alwayes a wicked life throughout all the degrees of this fortune: neverthelesse he accompanied his lewdnesse with such a courage and resolution, that applying himselfe to military affaires, by the degrees thereof he attained to bee Praetour of Siracusa, and being setled in that degree, and having determined that he would become Prince, and hold that by violence and without obligation to any other, which by consent had been granted him: and to this purpose haveing had some private intelligence touching his designe with Amilcar the Carthaginian, who was imployd with his army in Sicily, one morining gatherd the people together and the Senate of Syracusa, as if he had some what to advise with them of matters belonging to the Commonwealth, and upon a signe given, caus’d his souldiers to kill his Senatours, and the richest of the people; who being slaine, he usurp’d the Principality of that City without any civill strife: and however he was twice broken by the Carthaginians, and at last besieged, was able not onely to defend his own City, but leaving part of his own army at the defence thereof, with the other invaded Affrique, and in a short time freed Siracusa from the siege,