Machiavelli, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 391 pages of information about Machiavelli, Volume I.
The Venetians, if we consider their proceedings, we shall see wrought both warily and gloriously, while themselves made war, which was before their undertakings by land, where the gentlemen with their own Commons in armes behav’d themselves bravely:  but when they began to fight by land, they lost their valor, and follow’d the customes of Italy; and in the beginning of their enlargement by land, because they had not much territory, and yet were of great reputation, they had not much cause to fear their Captains; but as they began to extend their bounds, which was under their Commander Carminiola, they had a taste of this error:  for perceiving he was exceeding valorous, having under his conduct beaten the Duke of Milan; and knowing on the other side, how he was cold in the war, they judg’d that they could not make any great conquest with him; and because they neither would, nor could cashier him, that they might not lose what they had gotten, they were forced for their own safeties to put him to death.  Since they have had for their General Bartholomew of Berganio, Robert of St. Severin, the Count of Petilian, and such like:  whereby they were to fear their losses, as well as to hope for gain:  as it fell out afterwards at Vayla, where in one day they lost that, which with so much pains they had gotten in eight hundred years:  for from these kind of armes grow slack and slow and weak gains; but sudden and wonderfull losses:  And because I am now come with these examples into Italy, which now these many years, have been governd by mercenary armes, I will search deeper into them, to the end that their course and progress being better discoverd, they may be the better amended.  You have to understand, that so soon as in these later times the yoak of the Italian Empire began to be shaken off, and the Pope had gotten reputation in the temporality, Italy was divided into several States:  for many of the great cities took armes against their Nobility; who under the Emperors protection had held them in oppression; and the Pope favored these, whereby he might get himself reputation, in the temporality; of many others, their Citizens became Princes, so that hereupon Italy being come into the Churches hands as it were, and some few Republicks, those Priests and Citizens not accustomed to the use of armes, began to take strangers to their pay.  The first that gave reputation to these soldiers was Alberick of Como in Romania.  From his discipline among others descended Brachio and Sforza, who in their time were the arbitres of Italy; after these followed all others, who even till our dayes have commanded the armes of Italy; and the success of their valor hath been, that it was overrun by Charles, pillaged by Lewis, forc’d by Ferdinand, and disgrac’d by the Swissers.  The order which they have held, hath been, first whereby to give reputation to their own armes to take away the credit of the Infantry.  This they did, because they having no State of their own, but living upon
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Machiavelli, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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