The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.
A prudent man should always follow in the path trodden by great men and imitate those who are most excellent, so that if he does not attain to their greatness, at any rate he will get some tinge of it.
A prince must not have any other object nor any other thought… but war, its institutions, and its discipline; because that is the only art befitting one who commands.
God is not willing to do everything, and thus take away our free will and that share of glory which belongs to us.
It is of the greatest important in this world that a man should know himself, and the measure of his own strength and means; and he who knows that he has not a genius for fighting must learn how to govern by the arts of peace.
Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.
He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command
The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present.
In conclusion, the arms of others either fall from your back, or they weigh you down, or they bind you fast.
He who causes another to become powerful ruins himself, for he brings such a power into being either by design or by force, and both of these elements are suspects to the one whom he has made powerful.
These opportunities, then, gave these men the chance they needed, and their great abilities made them recognize it.
Those who believe that where great personages are concerned new favors cause old injuries to be forgotten deceive themselves.
Without an opportunity, their abilities would have been wasted, and without their abilities, the opportunity would have arisen in vain.
It is necessary for a prince wishing to hold his own to know how to do wrong, and to make use of it or not according to necessity.
There are many who think a wise prince ought, when he has the chance, to foment astutely some enmity, so that by suppressing it he will augment his greatness.
Armour belonging to someone else either chops off you or weighs you down or is too tight
… I believe that he will prosper most whose mode of acting best adapts itself to the character of the times; and conversely that he will be unprosperous, with whose mode of acting the times do not accord.
Everyone who wants to know what will happen ought to examine what has happened: everything in this world in any epoch has their replicas in antiquity.
To understand the nature of the people one must be a prince, and to understand the nature of the prince, one must be of the people
Wisdom consists of knowing how to distinguish the nature of trouble, and in choosing the lesser evil.
Therefore a wise prince ought to adopt such a course that his citizens will always in every sort and kind of circumstance have need of the state and of him, and then he will always find them faithful.
Men in general are as much affected by what a thing appears to be as by what it is, indeed they are frequently influenced more by appearances than by reality.
A prudent man will always try to follow in the footsteps of great men and imitate those who have been truly outstanding, so that, if he is not quite as skillful as they, at least some of their ability may rub off on him.
It is not titles that honour men, but men that honour titles.
Men are driven by two principal impulses, either by love or by fear.
..it happens in all human affairs that we never seek to escape one mischief without falling into another. Prudence therefore consists in knowing how to distinguish degrees of disadvantage, and in accepting a less evil as a good.
A prince need take little account of conspiracies if the people are disposed in his favor.
If they lacked the opportunity, the strength of their sprit would have been sapped; if they had lacked ability, the opportunity would have been wasted.
… When Princes devote themselves rather to pleasure than to arms, they lose their dominions.
… War is the sole art looked for in one who rules…
Florence which included diplomatic missions to various European courts.
at Florence which included diplomatic missions to various European courts. Imprisoned
Injuries, therefore, should be inflicted all at once, that their ill savour being less lasting may the less offend; whereas, benefits should be conferred little by little, that so they may be more fully relished.
… one would like to be both [loved and feared], but as it is difficult to combine both love and fear, if one has to choose between them it is far safer to be feared than loved
Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.
What remains to be done must be done by you; since in order not to deprive us of our free will and such share of glory as belongs to us, God will not do everything himself.
… By disarming, you at once give offense, since you show your subjects that you distrust them, either as doubting their courage, or as doubting their fidelity, each of which imputations begets hatred against you.
… On the whole, the best fortress you can have, is in not being hated by your subjects. If they hate you no fortress will save you…