Il Principe - The Prince
Written by the first true political philosopher of the Renaissance, in 1512, this famous treatise stands apart from all other political writings of the period insofar as it focuses on the practical problems a monarch faces in staying in power, rather than more speculative issues explaining the foundation of political authority. As such, it is an expression of realpolitik, that is, governmental policy based on retaining power rather than pursuing ideals.
The book can be arranged into four parts. The chapters I to XI deal with the different forms of rule. All states can be arranged into republics and principalities, whereby principaliti can be further divided into inherited, newly acquired and church states. These different kinds are treated in chapters II to XI. Machiavelli sets the emphasis however on the newly acquired principalities.
The second section, covering chapters XII to XIV, concerns itself with the problems of the military order. This is followed by a paper on the foundation of the principalities. This basis consists of "good laws and good weapons", whereby particularly the army is discussed in great detail.
In the third part follow the behavior principles, which, according to Machiavelli, a prince has to acquire in order to gain and/or stay in power. This part forms the principal item of the writing.
The last three chapters again point out the reasons for the loss of rule. Here Machiavelli refers explicitly to the conditions in Italy. The work closes with a request at the princes of Florence to finally undertake something against the then present situation.
- Dedication to Lorenzo de Medici
- How many kinds of principalities there are, and by what means they are acquired
- Concerning hereditary principalities
- Concerning mixed principalities
- Why the kingdom of Darius, conquered by Alexander, did not rebel against the successors of Alexander at his death
- Concerning the way to govern cities or principalities which lived under their own laws before they were annexed
- Concerning new principalities which are acquired by one's own arms and ability
- Concerning new principalities which are acquired either by the arms of others or by good fortune
- Concerning those who have obtained a principality by wickedness
- Concerning a civil principality
- Concerning the way in which the strength of all principalities ought to be measured
- Concerning ecclesiastical principalities
- How many kinds of soldiery there are, and concerning mercenaries
- Concerning auxiliaries, mixed soldiery, and one's own
- That which concerns a prince on the subject of the art of war
- Concerning Things for which men, and especially princes, are praised or blamed
- Concerning liberality and meanness
- Concerning cruelty and clemency, and whether it is better to be loved than feared
- Concerning the way in which princes should keep faith
- That one should avoid being despised and hated
- Are fortresses, and many other things to which princes often resort, advantageous or hurtful?
- How a prince should conduct himself so as to gain renown
- Concerning the secretaries of princes
- How flatterers should be avoided
- Why the princes of Italy have lost their states
- What fortune can effect in human affairs and how to withstand her
- An exhortation to liberate Italy from the barbarians
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