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Greatwk – Machiavelli Niccolò Machiavelli

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GREATWK – Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli

- 1469 – 1527

- Machiavelli was born in 15th Century Florence

- Banks controlled by Medici

- Questions were after the publication of the prince

Motivation for writing the book

1. To create an impression for Lorenzo de Medici

to be qualified to become part of the

government of Lorenzo de Medici

2. Chapter26

a. The writings of Machiavelli were super

passionate “it sounded like a speech”

b. Viroli said that Machiavelli wrote the prince

to unite/ inspire the people of Italy “the

Prince’s of Italy” to unite under one.

c. Shows his patriotism

3. Prof’s theory - Virtu and Fortuna; not the same

as descriptions of the human/ English language

a. Virtu

i. The positive traits of a person

ii. Meant ability of one to do things that are

almost “super human”

iii. Ability of man to get things done

- Ibsan – Tagalog/ to ease the pain – English

o An act of virtu “preventive maintenance”

- Fortuna

o Things you cannot control

▪ Ex: Earthquake

o Machiavelli – the same

- Prof doesn’t think it was written to be part of the

republic of Medici

Structure of the Text

- 5 Themes/ Major sections

1. Chapters 1-11: Taxonomy of the States;

Outlines of the States/ types of government


a. Outline of how states are governed,

situation of prince’s that he may find

himself in, in the context of God

2. Chapters 12-14: Military Affairs: Argues that

most important in statecraft is a strong military

3. Chapters 15-19: Princely Conduct

a. How a prince should conduct himself

4. Chapters 20-25: Situational Advice: Specific

Examples/ Situations on How to Act

a. How prince’s should act when it comes to a


5. Chapter 26: Exhortation (Not an analysis/

Rhetorical): Most important according to

biographer Viroli – The Culmination of the book


a. It was rhetorical

b. Meant to liberate from the foreign

influences (including the Vatican)


Machiavelli vs Aristotle

- Machiavelli:

o Explained through a scientific approach

o Comparative study of governments

▪ Used historical elements

o Father of Modern Political Science

o Opted that statesmen should only/just appear


- Aristotle

o Idea is that statesmen should be virtuous

Chapters 1-4

- Taxonomy of States

- Kinds of Principalities and the means that they are

acquired (Chapter 1)

- 2 Types

o Principalities

▪ Hereditary (chapter 2)

▪ Mixed Principalities (chapter 3)

▪ New Principalities (chapter 4)

▪ Why Alexanders successors were able to

keep possession of Darius’ kingdom

o Republics

▪ Within that country, they make laws

▪ Has a law-making body

Chapters 5: Governance of Free States

- 3 possibilities

o Ruin/ destroy

o Reside in person

PVDD 19’

o Permit self-rule

▪ They will serve you, but you respect their


- Oligarchic rule

Chapter 6: Acquisition of Principalities

- Principalities – region under control of a prince

o Best to gain thru ability or virtu

o Principalities – Principalia – Principe

- Machiavelli said best is to gain it through virtu

Chapter 7: Principalities Acquired through arms and


- Key distinction: Plundering vs governing

o Plundering

▪ whoever wins takes everything

▪ Winner takes all

▪ Women were included as part of the


- Prince must be shrewd



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