Niccolo Machiavelli


From Chapter VII of The Prince


When [Cesare Borgia] occupied the Romagna he found it under the rule of weak masters, who rather plundered their subjects than ruled them, and gave them more cause for disunion than for union, so that the country was full of robbery, quarrels, and every kind of violence; and so, wishing to bring back peace and obedience to authority, he considered it necessary to give it a good governor. Thereupon he promoted Messer Ramiro d'Orco [de Lorqua], a swift and cruel man, to whom he gave the fullest power. This man in a short time restored peace and unity with the greatest success. Afterwards the duke considered that it was not advisable to confer such excessive authority, for he had no doubt but that he would become odious, so he set up a court of judgment in the country, under a most excellent president, wherein all cities had their advocates. And because he knew that the past severity had caused some hatred against himself, so, to clear himself in the minds of the people, and gain them entirely to himself, he desired to show that, if any cruelty had been practised, it had not originated with him, but in the natural sternness of the minister. Under this pretence he took Ramiro, and one morning caused him to be executed and left on the piazza at Cesena with the block and a bloody knife at his side. The barbarity of this spectacle caused the people to be at once satisfied and dismayed.


"It is better to be feared than to be loved, if you cannot be both."

"It should be noted that when he seizes a state the new ruler ought to determine all the injuries that he will need to inflict. He should inflict them once and for all, and not have to renew them every day."

Appearing to have been first distributed in 1513, Niccolo Machiavelli wrote Il Principe, or The Prince, in dedication to Lorenzo de' Medici, the Duke of Urbino and ruler of the city-state of Florence. The Prince was written to inform Lorenzo of the tactics he must use to unify Italy. Like Machiavelli, you will use your knowledge of the Renaissance period to inform Lorenzo of YOUR ideas of the best way to consolidate power and to rule in Italy.


For this assignment, my expectation is five edited paragraphs, graded according to the Grade 8 Functional Writing rubric found at the Language Arts section of the web page. Be certain to cite the sources that you use to demonstrate understanding of Renaissance Italy and Machiavelli's ideas. Possible writing Ideas include patronage to the arts, dedication towards scientific advancement and improvements to medicine and quality of life.

Niccolo Machiavelli - Read by Mr. Berrigan
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