This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Machiavelli And The Roman Empire Essay

2009 words - 8 pages

Machiavelli argued, as Hegel would later, that one must look to history and the accounts of previous nations' events in order to "sense...that flavor that they have in themselves" in common with those from the past (Discourses 6). This seems to follow the adage that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, yet for Machiavelli he seems more concerned with actually emulating history in order to repeat success than looking out for particular things to avoid. For this reason, he pulls examples from an eclectic range of histories in order to demonstrate how his principles in both The Prince and the Discourses on Livy, when followed, will lead to a successful state. In particular, he refers to the Roman Republic a great deal in the Discourses, which are focused around Livy's account of Rome's history, to demonstrate what about this ancient society was so unique and worthy of repeating in terms of its existence as a republic. In fact, the Roman Republic serves as Machiavelli's central example in the work. In The Prince, however, since Machiavelli was more concerned with the behavior of an individual who wields absolute power over a principality, he looks more to the Roman Empire, since there are few examples one can find from the history of the Republic where one man was thrust into a situation where he could act prince-like and, as a result, the arguments made would have been harder to support had he used the Republic as his central example. The Roman Republic figures as such an important nation because Machiavelli sees in it the characteristics that are necessary for a successful republic and also because of its origin from a monarchy he sees a way for representative governments to start replacing, without transience, the principalities that controlled most of Italy and Europe.

There are three different types of state within a republic, as Machiavelli sees it in the Discourses--"principality, aristocrats, and popular." Each of these easily turns to corruption in an endless cycle that is described in Chapter 2 of the Discourses. Starting out as a principality, one prince after the other begins to "surpass the others in sumptuousness and lasciviousness," prompting the people to overthrow him to rid themselves of his tyranny. An aristocracy, which Machiavelli means as a rule of the Good, then takes control, but shortly thereafter they too succumb to the temptation of exploiting their power. Again, the masses must usurp the rule of the few and, still remembering what events had transpired in the past, they keep the power for themselves and establish a popular state. In spite of their good intentions, the people soon find they can't keep a firm control on the populace ("a thousand injuries were done every day") so they regress to a principality. Such a sequence of events would likely go on ad infinitum if the transitions didn't weaken the state to such a degree that its lasting one...

Find Another Essay On Machiavelli and the Roman Empire

Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire

1094 words - 4 pages The Romans were on one of the greatest people of all. They had power, wealth, and even a half of the world. They built one of the strongest and vast empire that world has ever seen. They came from nothing to something awesome. It started of as a city and ended up being one of the greatest empire of all. This essay is going to focus on the Roman Empire from the rise to the fall and the government, architecture, mythology, Family Structure, and

Church and State in the Roman Empire

827 words - 3 pages Church and State in the Roman Empire As most of the civilizations studied so far in Western Civilization – the Romans were a religious people. From the rise of the Roman Empire to the fall of its institutions, there was always a backdrop of religious involvement in the affairs of the state and people. Polytheism seems to reign throughout the majority of the Empire. Although the book states very little about the religious affairs of

The Holy Roman Empire

1858 words - 8 pages Holy Roman Empire Ever wondered what was one of the longest lasting empires that ever existed. The Holy Roman Empire was an empire with tremendous emperors and terrible emperors throughout its era. The Holy Roman Empire was an empire that was in existence from 800-1806(Cavendish). The Holy Roman Empire controls the majority of what is now Europe(Holy). During every change of emperors the landscape of the land they ruled changed to how they

Christianity & the Roman Empire

609 words - 2 pages The Success of Christianity in the Roman Empire The Roman Empire, before Christianity, was a polytheistic culture. There were many gods and goddesses that were worshiped for different reasons. Even small communities within the Roman Empire recognized their own deities along with the more popular gods and goddesses. As time progressed, Roman Emperors were soon included with the polytheistic worship. Julius Caesar himself claimed to be a

The Roman Empire

1079 words - 4 pages , military strength and cultural prosperity. No empire in history has ever spread without a great military force. The Roman military stands out as one of history’s greatest forces. They were virtually unbeatable. One of the Romans many strengths was their ability to manufacture weapons. Roman weapon makers were able to enhance upon the technologies of other cultures. This gave the Army a tactical advantage over their adversaries. With stronger

The Roman Empire

1345 words - 6 pages The Roman Empire was one of the largest, strongest, and longest lasting empires in history. It lasted over five hundred years surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and at its zenith, stretched from the British Isles to the Persian Sea. The empire brought with it many technological achievements and advancements in art, medicine and language. Unfortunately, as with all great empires, it must end. There was much causation for the empire’s demise, most

The Roman Empire

2391 words - 10 pages Ancient Rome, the period between the 8th and 1st centuries B.C. in which Rome grew from a little colony to an emerging empire. "Roman imperialism introduced extremes of wealth and poverty that honed social and economic conflict within the Roman state ." The enormous army and their countless loots, as well as their captured slaves, produced many changes along the countryside such as small farms becoming large plantations, and peasants

The roman empire

532 words - 2 pages (98-117).The most popular Roman Emperor after Augustus, Trajan also engaged in eastern conquests against Parthia, yet died before the troubled regions could be adequately secured. His successor, Hadrian (117-138), abandoned Parthian expansion, yet maintained gains in Dacia and Moesia, allowing the gradual process of Romanization and Latinization to begin. In his attempts to administratively regularize all regions in the Empire and rationalize

Imperialsim: The Roman Empire

2232 words - 9 pages Throughout history, the major powers of the world constantly seek to conquer other parts of the world. Most of the powers were centralized in Europe, for example the Roman Empire. During the Age of Exploration, the idea of taking over other nations is brought back in a more modernized way. Imperialism is the idea of a major power controlling another nation or land with the intentions to use the native people and resources to help the mother

Notes on the Roman Empire during Constantine, his successors and The decline of the Roman empire

618 words - 2 pages instead of Christianity•Died when trying to defend eastern borders against Persians•All successors of Julian were ChristiansTHE 5TH CENTURY INVASIONS•While roman emperors were worried about their empire and dynastic struggles (religion etc)•The Huns were invading western Europe•Since Huns fought on horse back, they easily defeated Germans•Romans allowed the Visigoths (western Germans) to refuge in the roman borders

Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

876 words - 4 pages The decline of the Roman Empire has been the subject of intense scholarly research. Yet the causes of the decline are still the subject of vigorous debate. The classic work on the collapse is the massive text titled The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, written in 1776 by the English historian Edward Gibbon. Over two hundred theories have been advanced to explain the decline. Despite many areas for conjecture regarding the decline of the

Similar Essays

Christiany And The Roman Empire Essay

642 words - 3 pages was banned religion in Rome until AD 313, when Emperor Constantine made Christianity official religion. Christianity played more than important role in fall of an empire; it was reason that destroyed Roman Empire, because people started to ignore emperor. People say that Rome fell because of pervasion which isn’t true because there was a corruption in economy, no middle class and that they always had a war with someone. The reason why

The Roman Empire And Ireland Essay

1873 words - 7 pages to improve themselves. This essay will outline the contacts between Ireland and the Roman Empire (and its legacy) and discuss the effects of these contacts on the island.The first links between Ireland and the Roman Empire would have been through trading. The apparent isolation of Ireland by the sea is, in fact, misleading, as the seas linked rather than divided people. In "A History of the Irish Church 400-700 AD it is suggested that the seas

Rome And The Roman Empire Essay

2580 words - 10 pages Rome and the Roman Empire      As the story goes, Rome was founded by a pair of feuding brothers who were allegedly raised by wolves. Romulus and Remus. From that point on, the Roman Empire would play a pivotal role in the development of both Eastern and Western society alike. Its influence can still be noticed. The Empire bought us such inventions as aqueducts, elevators, and innovations like urban planning. This essay will discuss the

The Roman Empire And Nero Essay

1428 words - 6 pages The Roman Empire and Nero It is the beginning of the first century A.D. Seneca, chief Roman tragic writer and philosopher in the time, who just came back from exile is summoned to the Roman emperor's castle by the old emperor Claudius' wife Julia Agrippina. He is assigned to tutor her son, Nero. Nero is a spoiled little twenty-year old fat freak hungry for gladiator-ism. He hates his step- father, Claudius for he always treats him as