history meme | [3/8] “objects”: il principe by niccolò machiavelli

And here we must observe that men must either be flattered or crushed; for they will revenge themselves for slight wrongs, whilst for grave ones they cannot. The injury therefore that you do to a man should be such that you need not fear his revenge.’ - Chapter III: Of Mixed Princedoms

Il Principe’ (The Prince) is a political treatise by Italian diplomat, historian, and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. Published in 1532, it is sometimes said to be one of the first works of modern philosophy. Discussing ideas on how to accrue power and honour, the book influenced many western leaders such as Henry VIII (probably by way of Thomas Cromwell), and Charles V of Spain. The inspiration of Il Principe carries on even after the 16th century; the book is said by some to have influenced the founding fathers of the American Revolution and others such as Napoleon I and Benito Mussolini are known to have written commentaries on it.

Leaders used as (mostly) positive examples - “princes” - by Machiavelli include Hannibal, Moses, Alexander the Great, and, most especially, Cesare Borgia. [read]