site index sites of Greece | sites of Italy | other sites | Myth | Romans in...
lectures | texts | Latin | OTHER COURSES (CLASSICS +)| Dr. J's Dossier
Dr J's Audio-Visual Resources for Classics

Courses Taught

INTELLECTUAL HERITAGE (at Temple University)

Course Info:
Sample Syllabus


Course Themes

Delphi- A Focal Point for IH 51 Texts

Writing Guides:
Writing Guidelines

style guide

Writing Analogies

Subject Study Aids:
Aeschylus' Agamemnon Study Guide

Aeschylus' Libation Bearers Study Guide

Aeschylus' Eumenides Passages

Sophocles' Oedipus and the Sphinx Lecture

Dr. J's Illustrated Pericles' Funeral Oration

Dr. J's Illustrated Pericles and America

Dr. J's Illustrated Pericles and Philadelphia

Dr. J's Illustrated Aeschylus' Oresteia

Dr. J's Curse of the House of Atreus Outline

Dr. J's Background Lecture on Greek Philosophy

Dr. J's Apology Study Questions

Dr. J's Illustrated Plato's Apology

Socrates and the Apology Lecture

Dr. J's Plutarch's Pericles

Judaism Study Guide

Sundiata Study Guide

Epic Qualities of the Sundiata Lecture

Othello Study Guide

Machiavelli Study Guide

Galileo and Humanism Lecture



Courses Proposed
(needs some pruning):

Topics in Classical Culture:
The Legend of the House of Atreus: Greek Tragedy in Greece

Religious Foundations of Greek Culture

The Intersection of Myth and History

The Ancient Greek Cultural Nexus- Art, Archaeology, Literature and Topography

From 1996-2001 I taught in the Intellectual Heritage Program at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This page is part of my teaching materials for Intellectual Heritage 51, a course covering literature and ideas from Sappho through Shakespeare...

(chapters 8 and 16-26)

by Dr. Janice Siegel 

machiavelli400.jpg (19891 bytes)

Machiavelli's Tomb
Location: Florence, Italy
Photo courtesy of Dr. Timothy Peters

This is excerpted from the introduction of the Mentor book called Great Books That Changed the World and concerns Machiavelli's The Prince:

"That dictators and tyrants of every era have found much useful advice in The Prince is undeniable. The list of avid readers is impressive: Emperor Charles V and Catherine de Medici admired the work; Oliver Cromwell procured a manuscript copy, and adapted its principles to the Commonwealth government in England; Henry III and Henry IV of France were carrying copies when they were murdered; it helped Frederick the Great to shape Prussian policy; Louis XIV used the book as his "favorite nightcap"; an annotated copy was found in Napoleon Bonaparte's coach at Waterloo; Napoleon III's ideas on government were chiefly derived from it; and Bismarck was a devoted disciple. More recently, Adolf Hitler, according to his own word, kept The Prince by his bedside, where it served as a constant source of inspiration; and Benito Mussolini stated, "I believe Machiavelli's Prince to be the statesman's supreme guide. His doctrine is alive today because in the course of four hundred years no deep changes have occurred in the minds of men or in the actions of nations." (Later, Mussolini changed his mind, for in 1939, on the list of authors, ancient and modern, placed on the fascist index of books which Roman librarians must not circulate appeared the name of Machiavelli.)


Chapter 8: Of those who come to power through wicked actions

"One ought not, of course, to call it virtu to massacre one’s fellow citizens, to betray one’s friends, to break one’s word, to be without mercy and without religion. By such means one can acquire power but not glory." (28)

"Well-used cruelty (if one can speak well of evil) one may call those atrocities that are committed at a stroke, in order to secure one's power, and are then not repeated, rather every effort is made to ensure one’s subjects benefit in the long run. An abuse of cruelty one may call those policies that, even if in the beginning they involve little bloodshed, lead to more rather than less as time goes by." (30)

"Do all the harm you must at one and the same time, that way the full extent of it will not be noticed, and it will give least offense. One should do good, on the other hand, little by little, so people can fully appreciate it." (31)

Chapter 16: On generosity and parsimony

""I argue it would be good to be thought generous; nevertheless, if you act in the way that will get you a reputation for generosity, you will do yourself damage." (49)

"Squandering other people’s money does not do your reputation any harm, quite the reverse. The problem is with squandering your own. There is nothing so self-defeating as generosity, for the more generous you are, the less you are able to be generous. Generosity leads to poverty and disgrace, or, if you try to escape that, to rapacity and hostility. Among all the things a ruler should try to avoid, he must avoid above all being hated and despised. Generosity leads to your being both...""(50)

Chapter 17: About cruelty and compassion; and about whether it is better to be loved than feared, or the reverse

""Employ policies that are moderated by prudence and sympathy. Avoid excessive self-confidence, which leads to carelessness, and avoid excessive timidity, which will make you insupportable." (51)

"It is much safer to be feared than loved, if you have to do without one of the two…" (51-52)

"For love attaches men by ties of obligation, which, since men are wicked, they break whenever their interests are at stake. But fear restrains men because they are afraid of punishment, and this fear never leaves them. Still, a ruler should makes himself feared in such a way that, if he does not inspire love, at least he does not provoke hatred. For it is perfectly possible to be feared and not hated. You will only be hated if you seize the property or women of your subjects or citizens. Whenever you have to kill someone, make sure you have a suitable excuse and an obvious reason; but, above all else, keep your hand off other people’s property; for men are quicker to forget the death of their father than the loss of their inheritance." (52)

"I conclude then, that as far as being feared and loved is concerned, since men decide for themselves whom they love, and rulers decide whom they fear, a wise ruler should rely on the emotion he can control, not on the one he cannot. But he must take care to avoid being hated, as I have said." (53)

Chapter 18: How far rulers are to keep their word

"What [classical writers] intended to convey, with this story of rulers’ being educated by someone who was half beast and half man, was that it is necessary for a ruler to know when to act like an animal and when like a man; and if he relies on just one or the other mode of behavior he cannot hope to survive." (54)

"Since a ruler needs to know how to make good use of beastly qualities, he should take as his models among the animals both the fox and the lion, for the lion does not know how to avoid traps, and the fox is easily overpowered by wolves…So you see a wise ruler cannot, and should not, keep his word when doing so is to his disadvantage, and when the reasons that led him to promise to do so no longer apply. Of course, if all men were good, this advice would be bad; but since men are wicked and will not keep faith with you, you need not keep faith with them…But it is essential to know how to conceal how crafty one is, to know how to be a clever counterfeit and hypocrite." (54)

"So a ruler need not have all the positive qualities I listed earlier, but he must seem to have them…he should do what is right if he can; but he must be prepared to do wrong if necessary." (55)

"Everyone sees what you seem to be; few have direct experience of who you really are…the common man accepts external appearances and judges by the outcome…" (55)

Chapter Nineteen: How one should avoid hatred and contempt

"You become hateful, above all, as I have said, if you prey on the possessions and the women of your subjects…Make every effort to ensure your actions suggest greatness and endurance, strength of character and purpose." (56)

"Indeed, one of the most effective defenses a ruler has against conspiracies is to make sure he is not generally hated." (57)

"States that are well-governed and rulers who are wise make every effort to ensure the elite are not driven to despair, and to satisfy the masses and keep them content; for this is one of the most important tasks a ruler must set himself." (58)

"Rulers should delegate responsibility for unpopular actions, while taking personal responsibility for those that win favor. And once again I conclude a ruler should treat the powerful with respect, but at all costs he should avoid being hated by the people." (58)

Chapter 20: Whether the building of fortresses (and many other things
rulers regularly do) is useful or not

"A ruler who is more afraid of his subjects than of foreign powers should build fortresses; but a ruler who is more afraid of foreign powers than of his subjects should do without them." (66-67)

"…I would criticize anyone who, relying on his fortresses, thought it unimportant that his people hated him." (67)

Chapter 21: What a ruler should do in order to acquire a reputation

"Nothing does more to give a ruler a reputation than embarking on great undertakings and doing remarkable things." (67)

"Above all a ruler should make every effort to ensure that whatever he does it gains him a reputation as a great man, a person who excels." (68)

"Rulers are also admired when they know how to be true allies and genuine enemies: That is, when, without any reservations, they demonstrate themselves to be loyal supporters or opponents of others. Such policy is always better than one of neutrality." (68)

"A ruler should also show himself to be an admirer of virtu and should honor those who are excellent in any type of work." (70)

Chapter 22: About those whom rulers employ as advisors

"When you see your advisor give more thought to his own interests than yours, and recognize everything he does is aimed at his own benefit, then you can be sure such a person will never be a good advisor." (71)

Chapter 23: How sycophants are to be avoided

"For there is no way of protecting oneself against flattery other than by making it clear you do not mind being told the truth; but, when anyone can tell you the truth, then you are not treated with sufficient respect." (71)

"A ruler who is not himself wise cannot be given good advice." (71)

"So we may conclude that good advice, no matter who it comes from, really comes from the ruler’s own good judgement, and that the ruler’s good judgement never comes from good advice." (73)

Chapter 24: Why the rulers of Italy have lost their states

"…it is a common human failing not to plan ahead for stormy weather while the sun shines…" (74)

"No method of defense is good, certain, and lasting that does not depend on your own decisions and your own virtu. (74)

Chapter 25: How much fortune can achieve in human affairs, and how it is to be resisted

"Nevertheless, since our free will must not be eliminated, I think it may be true that fortune determines one half of our actions, but that, even sop, she leaves us to control the other half, or thereabouts. And I compare her to one of those torrential rivers…" (74)

"A ruler who depends entirely on his good fortune will be destroyed when his luck changes." (75)

"And so, the cautious man, when it is time to be headstrong, does not know how to act and is destroyed. But, if one know how to change one’s character as times and circumstances change, one’s luck would never change." (76)

""…for fortune is a lady. It is necessary, if you want to master her, to beat and strike her…" (76-77)

Chapter 26: Exhortation to seize Italy and free her from the barbarians

"These circumstances are ideal; and when the circumstances are ideal there can be no great difficulty in achieving success, provided your family copies the policies of those I have recommended as your models." (78)


copyright 2001 Janice Siegel, All Rights Reserved
send comments to: Janice Siegel (jfsiege@ilstu.edu)

date this page was edited last: 10/25/2005
the URL of this page