your online library and language lab
Contents > Author > Niccolo Machiavelli > The Prince 04 1469- 1527
Previous Next

Niccolo Machiavelli
The Prince 04
printer friendly version
CHAPTER IV

WHY THE KINGDOM OF DARIUS, CONQUERED BY ALEXANDER, DID NOT
REBEL AGAINST THE SUCCESSORS OF ALEXANDER AT HIS DEATH

Considering the difficulties which men have had to hold to a newly
acquired state, some might wonder how, seeing that Alexander the
Great became the master of Asia in a few years, and died whilst it was
scarcely settled (whence it might appear reasonable that the whole
empire would have rebelled), nevertheless his successors maintained
themselves, and had to meet no other difficulty than that which arose
among themselves from their own ambitions.

I answer that the principalities of which one has record are found to
be governed in two different ways; either by a prince, with a body of
servants, who assist him to govern the kingdom as ministers by his
favour and permission; or by a prince and barons, who hold that
dignity by antiquity of blood and not by the grace of the prince. Such
barons have states and their own subjects, who recognize them as lords
and hold them in natural affection. Those states that are governed by
a prince and his servants hold their prince in more consideration,
because in all the country there is no one who is recognized as
superior to him, and if they yield obedience to another they do it as
to a minister and official, and they do not bear him any particular
affection.

The examples of these two governments in our time are the Turk and the
King of France. The entire monarchy of the Turk is governed by one
lord, the others are his servants; and, dividing his kingdom into
sanjaks, he sends there different administrators, and shifts and
changes them as he chooses. But the King of France is placed in the
midst of an ancient body of lords, acknowledged by their own subjects,
and beloved by them; they have their own prerogatives, nor can the
king take these away except at his peril. Therefore, he who considers
both of these states will recognize great difficulties in seizing the
state of the Turk, but, once it is conquered, great ease in holding
it. The causes of the difficulties in seizing the kingdom of the Turk
are that the usurper cannot be called in by the princes of the
kingdom, nor can he hope to be assisted in his designs by the revolt
of those whom the lord has around him. This arises from the reasons
given above; for his ministers, being all slaves and bondmen, can only
be corrupted with great difficulty, and one can expect little
advantage from them when they have been corrupted, as they cannot
carry the people with them, for the reasons assigned. Hence, he who
attacks the Turk must bear in mind that he will find him united, and
he will have to rely more on his own strength than on the revolt of
others; but, if once the Turk has been conquered, and routed in the
field in such a way that he cannot replace his armies, there is
nothing to fear but the family of this prince, and, this being
exterminated, there remains no one to fear, the others having no
credit with the people; and as the conqueror did not rely on them
before his victory, so he ought not to fear them after it.

The contrary happens in kingdoms governed like that of France, because
one can easily enter there by gaining over some baron of the kingdom,
for one always finds malcontents and such as desire a change. Such
men, for the reasons given, can open the way into the state and render
the victory easy; but if you wish to hold it afterwards, you meet with
infinite difficulties, both from those who have assisted you and from
those you have crushed. Nor is it enough for you to have exterminated
the family of the prince, because the lords that remain make
themselves the heads of fresh movements against you, and as you are
unable either to satisfy or exterminate them, that state is lost
whenever time brings the opportunity.

Now if you will consider what was the nature of the government of
Darius, you will find it similar to the kingdom of the Turk, and
therefore it was only necessary for Alexander, first to overthrow him
in the field, and then to take the country from him. After which
victory, Darius being killed, the state remained secure to Alexander,
for the above reasons. And if his successors had been united they
would have enjoyed it securely and at their ease, for there were no
tumults raised in the kingdom except those they provoked themselves.

But it is impossible to hold with such tranquillity states constituted
like that of France. Hence arose those frequent rebellions against the
Romans in Spain, France, and Greece, owing to the many principalities
there were in these states, of which, as long as the memory of them
endured, the Romans always held an insecure possession; but with the
power and long continuance of the empire the memory of them passed
away, and the Romans then became secure possessors. And when fighting
afterwards amongst themselves, each one was able to attach to himself
his own parts of the country, according to the authority he had
assumed there; and the family of the former lord being exterminated,
none other than the Romans were acknowledged.

When these things are remembered no one will marvel at the ease with
which Alexander held the Empire of Asia, or at the difficulties which
others have had to keep an acquisition, such as Pyrrhus and many more;
this is not occasioned by the little or abundance of ability in the
conqueror, but by the want of uniformity in the subject state.


------------------------------------------------------------
 

Previous Next

17919733 visitors
· 8908 texts · 2350 recordings · 957 authors · 194 readers

· Home · Index · Audio Clips · Links · Feedback · About Us · Contact Us ·


Copyright © RepeatAfterUs.com. All Rights Reserved.



Warning: Unknown: Your script possibly relies on a session side-effect which existed until PHP 4.2.3. Please be advised that the session extension does not consider global variables as a source of data, unless register_globals is enabled. You can disable this functionality and this warning by setting session.bug_compat_42 or session.bug_compat_warn to off, respectively in Unknown on line 0