The prince by machiavelli

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CHAPTER I

HOW MANY KINDS OF PRINCIPALITIES THERE ARE,
AND BY WHAT MEANS THEY ARE ACQUIRED

All states, all powers, that have held and hold rule over men have
been and are either republics or principalities.

Principalities are either hereditary, in which the family has been
long established; or they are new.

The new are either entirely new, as was Milan to Francesco Sforza, or
theyare, as it were, members annexed to the hereditary state of the
prince who has acquired them, as was the kingdom of Naples to that of
the King of Spain.

Such dominions thus acquired are either accustomed to live under a
prince, or to live in freedom; and are acquired either by the arms of
the prince himself, or of others, or else by fortune or by ability.

CHAPTER VIII

CONCERNING THOSEWHO HAVE OBTAINED A PRINCIPALITY BY WICKEDNESS

Although a prince may rise from a private station in two ways, neither
of which can be entirely attributed to fortune or genius, yet it is
manifest to me that I must not be silent on them, although one could
be more copiously treated when I discuss republics. These methods are
when, either by some wicked or nefarious ways, one ascends to theprincipality, or when by the favour of his fellow-citizens a private
person becomes the prince of his country. And speaking of the first
method, it will be illustrated by two examples--one ancient, the other
modern--and without entering further into the subject, I consider
these two examples will suffice those who may be compelled to follow
them.

Agathocles, the Sicilian,[*] became King ofSyracuse not only from a
private but from a low and abject position. This man, the son of a
potter, through all the changes in his fortunes always led an infamous
life. Nevertheless, he accompanied his infamies with so much ability
of mind and body that, having devoted himself to the military
profession, he rose through its ranks to be Praetor of Syracuse. Being
established in thatposition, and having deliberately resolved to make
himself prince and to seize by violence, without obligation to others,
that which had been conceded to him by assent, he came to an
understanding for this purpose with Amilcar, the Carthaginian, who,
with his army, was fighting in Sicily. One morning he assembled the
people and the senate of Syracuse, as if he had to discuss with them
thingsrelating to the Republic, and at a given signal the soldiers
killed all the senators and the richest of the people; these dead, he
seized and held the princedom of that city without any civil
commotion. And although he was twice routed by the Carthaginians, and
ultimately besieged, yet not only was he able to defend his city, but
leaving part of his men for its defence, with the others he attackedAfrica, and in a short time raised the siege of Syracuse. The
Carthaginians, reduced to extreme necessity, were compelled to come to
terms with Agathocles, and, leaving Sicily to him, had to be content
with the possession of Africa.

[*] Agathocles the Sicilian, born 361 B.C., died 289 B.C.

Therefore, he who considers the actions and the genius of this man
will see nothing, or little,which can be attributed to fortune,
inasmuch as he attained pre-eminence, as is shown above, not by the
favour of any one, but step by step in the military profession, which
steps were gained with a thousand troubles and perils, and were
afterwards boldly held by him with many hazardous dangers. Yet it
cannot be called talent to slay fellow-citizens, to deceive friends,
to be without faith,without mercy, without religion; such methods may
gain empire, but not glory. Still, if the courage of Agathocles in
entering into and extricating himself from dangers be considered,
together with his greatness of mind in enduring and overcoming
hardships, it cannot be seen why he should be esteemed less than the
most notable captain. Nevertheless, his barbarous cruelty and
inhumanity with...
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