portrait of Niccolo Machiavelli
Posthumous portrait by Santi di Tito (late 16th century)

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Quotes of the Day for 3 May 2003 – The Prince

Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was born at Fiorenza, Italy on this day in 1469, the same year Isabella married Ferdinand to create Spain. That's significant as it was the foreign influences of Spain and France that largely controlled the fate of Italy's city-states. If Machiavelli had any core values, a question that seems unclear, a united Italy freed from foreign rule or allegiance was at the top of the list. The world knows him mostly from a very slim volume called "The Prince," written specifically to ingratiate himself with the Medicis when they retook the government of Fiorenza in 1512. In this work he completely divorces ethics and power in the art of government, whatever course of action is more likely to prolong the ruling government and make it more wealthy is recommended. I tend to disagree, both with the original concept and with those in positions of power today who operate under the same philosophy.

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You will find an expanded profile, photo, additional biographical links, and all quotes from this author on the author's Notable Quotable page.

The quotes:

For among other evils caused by being disarmed, it renders you contemptible; which is one of those disgraceful things which a prince must guard against.

Since it is difficult to join them together, it is safer to be feared than to be loved when one of the two must be lacking.

Benefits should be conferred gradually; and in that way they will taste better.

A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise.

There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.

The fact is that a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous.
     - All from Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince, 1514

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