Book Notes Chapter 14 Notes from The Prince

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The Prince Chapter 14

A prince's concern in military matters

For Machiavelli, the main concern of a prince should be warfare: "A prince must have no other objective, no other thought, nor take up any profession but that of war, its methods and its discipline, for that is the only art expected of a ruler." Chapter 14, pp. 53-54 It is through war that a hereditary prince retains power and a private citizen rises to power. Francesco Sforza became the Duke of Milan through military prowess, but his sons lost their power by avoiding military affairs. A proper prince must never rest from military concerns. He must be even more diligent in times of peace, honing his skills through action and study. Considering action, Machiavelli advises hunting because it keeps the body fit and allows the prince to learn the character and nature of landscapes. Through this, he can learn how to best defend his territory and how to advance upon territories similar to it.

Philopoemen, the ancient leader of the Achaeans, is the embodiment of a prince who is constantly engaged in military affairs. Wherever he went, he would think up scenarios and situations of warfare and ask his friends for their opinions and offer up his. Therefore, in battle, he was never in a position where he did not know how to maneuver. A prince should be given to the study of great military men so that he can imitate their successes and avoid their mistakes. A prince that is diligent in times of peace will be ready in times of adversity. Machiavelli writes, "[t]hus, when fortune turns against him, he will be prepared to resist it." Chapter 14, pg. 55

Topic Tracking: Fortune 6
Topic Tracking: Virtue 9

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