Having spent his childhood most peacefully, Niccolo Machiavelli, the great Italian philosopher witnessed Italy’s state of decadence and intense political conflict in his adulthood. The then Italy was not a unified country rather, it was an accumulation of city-states, each with its own court and ruler, each of them attempting to addition control over the others. Italy was not only a place of domestic intrigue but also a battleground for the force-ravenous French, the Spanish, the Germans and the Catholic Church under the power of the popes.
The main cities like that of Florence, Milan, Naples and Venice fought fire with fire in order to establish their control over Italy. Each of these forces endeavoured to seek after a system of playing the different powers off of one other, yet they likewise occupied with less fair practices, for example shakedown and savagery. The year 1494 saw the expulsion of the despotic family of Medici who had ruled Florence for decades and also observed the rise of Girolamo Savonarola, a Dominican religious zealot who acceded to the throne shortly thereafter. Much being known for his criticism of the leadership of the Church, Savonarola’s reign was anathematized in 1497 by Pope Alexander VI.
No sooner after the return of Machiavelli to Florence, Italy was invaded by Charles VIII of France –this being one of the first of several French invasions that would occur during Machiavelli’s lifetime. Machiavelli entered the Florentine government as soon as he turned twenty-one and got the opportunity to meet the greatest envoys of his time – Pope Alexander and Kind Louis XII. Though both Pope Alexander and King Louis XII influenced Machiavelli’s thoughts, it was the intrigue of Cesare Borgia which magnetized him the most. Borgia was known for his viciousness and was despised by many people. He was a crafty and a spiteful politician, nevertheless, Machiavelli believed in his traits of leadership and in the fact that Borgia was capable enough to unify Italy.
The Prince: A Compendium
Opening with a letter of favour to Lorenzo De Medici, Machiavelli’s The Prince is an analysis of how to acquire political power and methods to maintain it. The intention behind this dedication is his hope of pleasing the Medici family, gaining their trust and augmenting his political standards. The first section discusses different types of principalities or states –the Hereditary Principalities, Republics, New Princedoms and Mixed Principalities. His primary focus lies on the new states for those are the most complicated to deal with.
The next section talks about the ruler and his military affairs. Machiavelli says that a prince should always pay close attention to all the minute details of his military associations for a prince is not judged by his strength but by the merits of his own arms. He has described four types of armies in his treatise –Mercenaries or soldiers who are hired; Auxiliaries or the troops that are...