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Article :: Supporting Evidence

Machiavailli Reconsidered


To the Magnificent Lorenzo Di Piero De' Medici:

Those who strive to obtain the good graces of a prince are accustomed to come before him with such things as they hold most precious, or in which they see him take most delight; whence one often sees horses, arms, cloth of gold, precious stones, and similar ornaments presented to princes, worthy of their greatness.

Desiring therefore to present myself to your Magnificence with some testimony of my devotion towards you, I have not found among my possessions anything which I hold more dear than, or value so much as, the knowledge of the actions of great men, acquired by long experience in contemporary affairs, and a continual study of antiquity; which, having reflected upon it with great and prolonged diligence, I now send, digested into a little volume, to your Magnificence.

And although I may consider this work unworthy of your countenance, nevertheless I trust much to your benignity that it may be acceptable, seeing that it is not possible for me to make a better gift than to offer you the opportunity of understanding in the shortest time all that I have learnt in so many years, and with so many troubles and dangers; which work I have not embellished with swelling or magnificent words, nor stuffed with rounded periods, nor with any extrinsic allurements or adornments whatever, with which so many are accustomed to embellish their works; for I have wished either that no honour should be given it, or else that the truth of the matter and the weightiness of the theme shall make it acceptable.[1]

Nor do I hold with those who regard it as a presumption if a man of low and humble condition dare to discuss and settle the concerns of princes; because, just as those who draw landscapes place themselves below in the plain to contemplate the nature of the mountains and of lofty places, and in order to contemplate the plains place themselves upon high mountains, even so to understand the nature of the people it needs to be a prince, and to understand that of princes it needs to be of the people.

Take then, your Magnificence, this little gift in the spirit in which I send it; wherein, if it be diligently read and considered by you, you will learn my extreme desire that you should attain that greatness which fortune and your other attributes promise. And if your Magnificence from the summit of your greatness will sometimes turn your eyes to these lower regions, you will see how unmeritedly I suffer a great and continued malignity of fortune..[2]

  • Most people give rulers material gifts to gain their favor.
  • He has nothing of great material value to give him, so he offers him this book, containing his distilled wisdom, experience and knowlege of a lifetime of dillegent study, observation, consideration and conclusion regarding the affairs of princes. This knowlege he considers to be more valuable than anything else.
  • Machiavaiili LIES. States this work is unworthy of one so great, flatters, expresses respect to Magnificent Lorenzo Di Piero De' Medici when, in actual fact it is Machiavailli who posesses superior greatness which he must be aware of, by contrast to all he associates with. Appears to be an attempt to avoid being shot, as heretec, for implying that princes, being mortals are also subject to natural law, as a messenger of truth.
  • States that, unlike others, he is providing the whole, unadorned truth.
  • States that (unstated but implied: due to subjective perception, princes, as all others are unable to see themselves clearly) princes need to understand themselves from the perceptions of others, to determine reality. Princes need truthful feedback, and, here it is.
  • Expresses desire to assist Magnificent Lorenzo Di Piero De' Medici in achieving further greatness and power in exchange for being raised from the depths of undeserved mis-fortune.

[1] Translation to RealSpeak: Dear God; unlike your other snivelling supplicants / synchophants, I have REAL value. I am telling you the TRUTH which really determines results in the affairs of nature and of man, as a part of nature. Your other advisers and those whom seek your favor are FRAUDS.

[2] Translation to RealSpeak: So please, dear God, do not take offense at one so unfairly cast as low as I presuming to speak to my admitted betters, but rather, see the value I can provide in assisting you in maintaining and acquiring more power for you, for the small price of allowing me to suck at the teat of your power, basking in your magnificance and, of course, getting a fair "cut". End whine.

Machiavaiili provides evidence of breaking his stated prime directive of rulers; self-reliance, placing himself in the position of supplicant, as opposed to behaving as a ruler himself.

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