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04:39pm 28/03/2003
  "Men are less hesitant about harming someone who makes himself loved than one who makes himself feared because love is held together by a chain of obligation which, since men are wretched creatures, is broken on every occasion in which their own interests are concerned; but fear is sustained by dread of punishment which will never abandon you."  
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04:35pm 28/03/2003
  "Besides what has been said, people are fickle by nature; and it is a simple thing to convince them of something but difficult to hold them in that conviction; and, therefore, affairs should be managed in such a way that when they no longer believe, they can be made to believe by force."  
08:57pm 18/03/2003
mood: uncomfortable
"A state will not expose itself and its subjects to the continual anxiety of military discipline and exercises when these anxieties not only seem largely unnecessary but also are attended with much trouble and inconvenience."

"War is just when it is necessary; arms are permissible when there is no hope except in arms."

"When you disarm the people, you commence to offend them and show that you distrust them either through cowardice or lack of confidence, and both of these opinions generate hatred."
A Day in San Casciano   
01:47am 17/03/2003
mood: impressed
This first real post is about a letter written by Niccolo Machiavelli to Francesco Vettori, in hopes of gaining his patronage and re-entering Florentine political life. The text of the letter is enclosed in a cut-tag following some preliminary words.

This is widely regarded as one of Machiavelli's most important letters, and one which is extremely touching - odd for a man so widely reviled. It offers the reader an insight into his daily life, particularly how he spent his evenings, and how he dreamed each night of being again the active, dignified, employed statesman - the Renaissance son of his Ancient republican forefathers.

When he wrote this letter, Machiavelli had just returned to San Casciano after being imprisoned and tortured. He was bitter, pessimistic, and dreamed of a return to political life - and he hoped that his "little work," The Prince, might be his ticket of return. Once again, he would be all but shunned and rejected; but The Prince would be not only his gift to "the Magnificent Lorenzo Di Piero De’ Medici," but also to innumerable statesmen, philosophers, scholars, and even ordinary men, ever after.

After writing The Prince and having his gift all but rejected, Machiavelli was to offer a quite different take on politics in his Discourses, in which he promotes the republican ideals of a politically active citizenry - perhaps signifying his increasingly bitter rejection of a world which had rejected him, despite his love, participation, and advice. He also wrote La Mandragola, a scathing dramatic critique of what he felt was an impotent and foolish state which had rejected the greatness and glory of its Roman republican roots and virtu, and become a dimwitted cuckold of the very femaleness - Lucretia - upon whose conquest it was once founded. San Casciano, then, was a vital turning point for Machiavelli, and this letter is its herald.

An Evening With Machiavelli: San Casciano, 10 December 1513Collapse )
Time Line   
12:40am 17/03/2003
mood: contemplative
1469- May 3, born in Florence the son of a jurist.

1494- The Medici expelled from Florence. Machiavelli Appointed clerk to Adriani in the second chancery.

1498- Adriani becomes chancellor and Machiavelli succeeds him as second chancellor and secretary.

1499- Sent to Forli to negotiate the continuance of a loan to Catherine Sforza.

1500- Sent to France where he meets with Louis XII and the Cardinal of Rouen.

1502- Marries Marietta Corsini. Sent to Romagna as envoy to Cesare Borgia where he witnessed the events leading up to Borgia's murder. Machiavelli's political philosophy was highly influenced by his study of Cesare Borgia.

1503- January, returns to Florence.

1504- Second mission to France.

1506- December, submits a plan to reorganize the military to Pierre Soderini, Florence's gonfalonier, and it is accepted.

1508- Sent to Bolzano to the court of the Emperer Maximilian.

1510- Sent once more to France.

1512- The Medici returns with a Spanish army and Florence throws out Soderini and welcomes the Medici. Machiavelli dismissed from office and retires to San Casciano.

1513- Imprisoned after accused of participation in a conspiracy. Is tortured and then released upon Giovanni de Medici's election to the papacy. Returns to San Casciano and writes The Prince.

1515- Writes La Mandragola.

1519- Consulted by the Medici on a new constitution for Florence which he offers in his Discourses.

1520- Appearance of The Art of War and The Life of Castruccio Castracane. Commissioned to write the History of Florence.

1526- Clement VII employes Machiavelli first in inspecting the fortifications of Florence and then sending him to attend the historian Francesco Guicciardini. He meets Guicciardini in Bologna later in the year as well.

1527- June 20, dies in Florence.