Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes 52 Sourced Quotes from the original Machiavellian

Niccolò Machiavelli (May 3, 1469 – June 21, 1527) was a Florentine political philosopher, historian, musician, poet, and romantic comedic playwright. Machiavelli was also a key figure in realist political theory, crucial to European statecraft during the Renaissance.

Here are 52 real Niccolò Machiavelli quotes ordered by their popularity online. The most quoted quotes on the web appear first. Questionable and fake quotes are excluded. Sources and related information are shown after each quote. We hope you find these quotes useful. If there is anything we can do to improve this article, your feedback is welcome. If you find these quotes helpful, please share them.

1. “Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text. Ch. 26

2. “A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text. Ch. 18

3. “Among other evils which being unarmed brings you, it causes you to be despised.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text. Ch. 14

4. “God is not willing to do everything, and thus take away our free will and that share of glory which belongs to us.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text. Ch. 26

5. “Upon this, one has to remark that men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text.

6. “A man who wishes to act entirely up to his professions of virtue soon meets with what destroys him among so much that is evil.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text.

7. “Hence it comes that all armed prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed prophets have been destroyed.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text. Ch. 6

8. “The chief foundations of all states, new as well as old or composite, are good laws and good arms; and as there cannot be good laws where the state is not well armed, it follows that where they are well armed they have good laws.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text. Ch. 12

9. “The people resemble a wild beast, which, naturally fierce and accustomed to live in the woods, has been brought up, as it were, in a prison and in servitude, and having by accident got its liberty, not being accustomed to search for its food, and not knowing where to conceal itself, easily becomes the prey of the first who seeks to incarcerate it again.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, Discourses on Livy (1517): Quotes from translations of Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio; 3 vols. published between 1512–1517 (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius) Book 1, Ch. 16

10. “There is no other way of guarding oneself against flattery than by letting men understand that they will not offend you by speaking the truth; but when everyone can tell you the truth, you lose their respect.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text. Ch. 23.

11. “A prince who is not wise himself will never take good advice.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text.

12. “I believe that it is possible for one to praise, without concern, any man after he is dead since every reason and supervision for adulation is lacking.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1520s, The Art of War (1520): Quotations from translations of Dell'arte della guerra — also known as On the Art of War Book 1

13. “Because there is nothing proportionate between the armed and the unarmed; and it is not reasonable that he who is armed should yield obedience willingly to him who is unarmed, or that the unarmed man should be secure among armed servants. Because, there being in the one disdain and in the other suspicion, it is not possible for them to work well together.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text.

14. “And therefore a prince who does not understand the art of war, over and above the other misfortunes already mentioned, cannot be respected by his soldiers, nor can he rely on them. He ought never, therefore, to have out of his thoughts this subject of war, and in peace he should addict himself more to its exercise than in war; this he can do in two ways, the one by action, the other by study.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text. Ch. 14

15. “Many have imagined republics and principalities which have never been seen or known to exist in reality; for how we live is so far removed from how we ought to live, that he who abandons what is done for what ought to be done, will rather bring about his own ruin than his preservation.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text. Ch. 15

16. “There are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehend; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others; the first is the most excellent, the second is good, and the third is useless.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text. Ch. 22

17. “No proceeding is better than that which you have concealed from the enemy until the time you have executed it. To know how to recognize an opportunity in war, and take it, benefits you more than anything else. Nature creates few men brave, industry and training makes many. Discipline in war counts more than fury.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source:   • As translated by Neal Wood (1965)

18. “Wars begin when you will, but they do not end when you please.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1520s, Florentine Histories (1521–1525): Original Italian title: Istorie Fiorentine Book III, Chapter 2

19. “If someone puts up the argument that King Louis gave the Romagna to Pope Alexander, and the kingdom of Naples to Spain, in order to avoid a war, I would answer as I did before: that you should never let things get out of hand in order to avoid war. You don't avoid such a war, you merely postpone it, to your own disadvantage.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text. Ch. 3 (as translated by RM Adams)

20. “The best fortress which a prince can possess is the affection of his people.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text. Ch. 20 "Are fortresses, and many other things to which princes often resort advantageous or hurtful"

21. “Io iudico bene questo, che sia meglio essere impetuoso che respettivo; perché la fortuna è donna, et è necessario, volendola tenere sotto, batterla et urtarla. E si vede che la si lascia più vincere da questi, che da quelli che freddamente procedano. E però sempre, come donna, è amica de' giovani, perché sono meno respettivi, più feroci e con più audacia la comandano.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source:  • Ch. 25 (as translated by RM Adams)

22. “Men never do good unless necessity drives them to it; but when they are free to choose and can do just as they please, confusion and disorder become rampant.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, Discourses on Livy (1517): Quotes from translations of Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio; 3 vols. published between 1512–1517 (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius) Book 1, Ch. 3 (as translated by LJ Walker and B Crick)

23. “So in all human affairs one notices, if one examines them closely, that it is impossible to remove one inconvenience without another emerging.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, Discourses on Livy (1517): Quotes from translations of Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio; 3 vols. published between 1512–1517 (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius) Book 1, Ch. 6 (as translated by LJ Walker and B Crick)

24. “The end of the republic is to enervate and to weaken all other bodies so as to increase its own body.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, Discourses on Livy (1517): Quotes from translations of Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio; 3 vols. published between 1512–1517 (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius) Book 2, Ch. 3 (translation by Mansfield and Tarcov)

25. “It is not titles that make men illustrious, but men who make titles illustrious.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, Discourses on Livy (1517): Quotes from translations of Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio; 3 vols. published between 1512–1517 (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius) Book 3, Ch. 38

26. “In judging policies we should consider the results that have been achieved through them rather than the means by which they have been executed.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: From an undated letter to Piero Soderini (translated here by Dr. Arthur Livingston), in The Living Thoughts of Machiavelli, by Count Carlo Sforza, published by Cassell, London (1942), p. 85

27. “...debbe un uomo prudente entrare sempre per vie battute da uomini grandi, e quelli che sono stati eccellentissimi, imitare...”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source and Related Info: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text. A prudent man should always follow in the path trodden by great men and imitate those who are most excellent.
• Ch. 6

28. “The first opinion which one forms of a prince, and of his understanding, is by observing the men he has around him; and when they are capable and faithful he may always be considered wise, because he has known how to recognize the capable and to keep them faithful. But when they are otherwise one cannot form a good opinion of him, for the prime error which he made was in choosing them. (as tranlsated by W. K. Marriott)”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text.

29. “The demands of a free populace, too, are very seldom harmful to liberty, for they are due either to the populace being oppressed or to the suspicious that it is going to be oppressed... and, should these impressions be false, a remedy is provided in the public platform on which some man of standing can get up, appeal to the crowd, and show that it is mistaken. And though, as Tully remarks, the populace may be ignorant, it is capable of grasping the truth and readily yields when a man, worthy of confidence, lays the truth before it.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, Discourses on Livy (1517): Quotes from translations of Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio; 3 vols. published between 1512–1517 (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius) Book 1, Ch. 4 (as translated by LJ Walker and B Crick)

30. “When Scipio became consul and was keen on getting the province of Africa, promising that Carthage should be completely destroyed, and the senate would not agree to this because Fabius Maximus was against it, he threatened to appeal to the people, for he knew full well how pleasing such projects are to the populace.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, Discourses on Livy (1517): Quotes from translations of Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio; 3 vols. published between 1512–1517 (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius) Book 1, Ch. 53 (as translated by LJ Walker and B Crick)

31. “Cunning and deceit will every time serve a man better than force to rise from a base condition to great fortune.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, Discourses on Livy (1517): Quotes from translations of Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio; 3 vols. published between 1512–1517 (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius) Book 2, Ch. 13

32. “I assert once again as a truth to which history as a whole bears witness that men may second their fortune, but cannot oppose it; that they may weave its warp, but cannot break it. Yet they should never give up, because there is always hope, though they know not the end and more towards it along roads which cross one another and as yet are unexplored; and since there is hope, they should not despair, no matter what fortune brings or in what travail they find themselves.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, Discourses on Livy (1517): Quotes from translations of Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio; 3 vols. published between 1512–1517 (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius) Book 2, Ch. 29 (as translated by LJ Walker and B Crick)

33. “ognuno vede quello che tu pari, pochi sentono quello che tu se; e quelli pochi non ardiseano opporsi alla opinione di molti che abbino la maestà dello stato ch li difenda:...”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source and Related Info:  • Variant trans: Everybody sees what you seem, but few know what thou art
• Ch. 18

34. “It is enough to ask somebody for his weapons without saying 'I want to kill you with them', because when you have his weapons in hand, you can satisfy your desire.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, Discourses on Livy (1517): Quotes from translations of Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio; 3 vols. published between 1512–1517 (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius) Book 1, Ch 44 (as translated by Julia Conaway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella)

35. “This return of Republics back to their principles also results from the simple virtue of one man, without depending on any law that excites him to any execution: none the less, they are of such influence and example that good men desire to imitate him, and the wicked are ashamed to lead a life contrary to those examples.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, Discourses on Livy (1517): Quotes from translations of Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio; 3 vols. published between 1512–1517 (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius) Book 3, Ch. 1

36. “Now, in order to execute a political commission well, it is necessary to know the character of the prince and those who sway his counsels; ... but it is above all things necessary to make himself esteemed, which he will do if he so regulates his actions and conversation that he shall be thought a man of honour, liberal, and sincere. The latter point is highly essential, though too much neglected, as I have seen more than one so lose themselves in the opinion of princes by their duplicity, that they have been unable to conduct a negotiation of the most trifling importance. It is undoubtedly necessary for the ambassador occasionally to mask his game; but it should be done so as not to awaken suspicion and he ought also to be prepared with an answer in case of discovery.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: "Instructions given by Niccolo Machiavelli to Rafael Girolami, Ambassador to the Emperor," The History of Florence and of the Affairs of Italy: From the Earliest Times to the Death of Lorenzo the Magnificent; Together with The Prince, and Various Historical Tracts, H.G. Bohn, Editor, p.505–06 (1854).The highlighted passage is often misquoted or paraphrased out of context, as in Arthur Koestler's Darkness At Noon (1941): Occasionally words must serve to veil the facts. But let this happen in such a way that no one become aware of it; or, if it should be noticed, excuses must be at hand to be produced immediately.

37. “The Romans never allowed a trouble spot to remain simply to avoid going to war over it, because they knew that wars don't just go away, they are only postponed to someone else's advantage. Therefore, they made war with Philip and Antiochus in Greece, in order not to have to fight them in Italy... They never went by that saying which you constantly hear from the wiseacres of our day, that time heals all things. They trusted rather their own character and prudence — knowing perfectly well that time contains the seeds of all things, good as well as bad.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text. Ch. 3 (as translated by RM Adams) Variants [these can seem to generalize the circumstances in ways that the translation above does not.]: The Romans, foreseeing troubles, dealt with them at once, and, even to avoid a war, would not let them come to a head, for they knew that war is not to be avoided, but is only put off to the advantage of others.
There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.

38. “It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text. Ch. 6

39. “A prince ought to have no other aim or thought, nor select anything else for his study, than war and its rules and discipline; for this is the sole art that belongs to him who rules, and it is of such force that it not only upholds those who are born princes, but it often enables men to rise from a private station to that rank. And, on the contrary, it is seen that when princes have thought more of ease than of arms they have lost their states. And the first cause of your losing it is to neglect this art; and what enables you to acquire a state is to be master of the art.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text.

40. “I say that every prince must desire to be considered merciful and not cruel. He must, however, take care not to misuse this mercifulness. … A prince, therefore, must not mind incurring the charge of cruelty for the purpose of keeping his subjects united and confident; for, with a very few examples, he will be more merciful than those who, from excess of tenderness, allow disorders to arise, from whence spring murders and rapine; for these as a rule injure the whole community, while the executions carried out by the prince injure only one individual. And of all princes, it is impossible for a new prince to escape the name of cruel, new states being always full of dangers. … Nevertheless, he must be cautious in believing and acting, and must not inspire fear of his own accord, and must proceed in a temperate manner with prudence and humanity, so that too much confidence does not render him incautious, and too much diffidence does not render him intolerant. From this arises the question whether it is better to be loved more than feared, or feared more than loved. The reply is, that one ought to be both feared and loved, but as it is difficult for the two to go together, it is much safer to be feared than loved, if one of the two has to be wanting. For it may be said of men in general that they are ungrateful, voluble, dissemblers, anxious to avoid danger, and covetous of gain ; as long as you benefit them, they are entirely yours; they offer you their blood, their goods, their life, and their children, as I have before said, when the necessity is remote; but when it approaches, they revolt. And the prince who has relied solely on their words, without making other preparations, is ruined, for the friendship which is gained by purchase and not through grandeur and nobility of spirit is merited but is not secured, and at times is not to be had. And men have less scruple in offending one who makes himself loved than one who makes himself feared; for love is held by a chain of obligation which, men being selfish, is broken whenever it serves their purpose; but fear is maintained by a dread of punishment which never fails.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source and Related Info: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text. Ch. 17, as translated by Luigi Ricci (1903)
• Variant translations of portions of this passage:
From this arises the question whether it is better to be loved rather than feared, or feared rather than loved. It might perhaps be answered that we should wish to be both: but since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.
• He ought to be slow to believe and to act, nor should he himself show fear, but proceed in a temperate manner with prudence and humanity, so that too much confidence may not make him incautious and too much distrust render him intolerable.
• The prince who relies upon their words, without having otherwise provided for his security, is ruined; for friendships that are won by awards, and not by greatness and nobility of soul, although deserved, yet are not real, and cannot be depended upon in time of adversity.

41. “Still, a prince should make himself feared in such a way that if he does not gain love, he at any rate avoids hatred; for fear and the absence of hatred may well go together, and will be always attained by one who abstains from interfering with the property of his citizens and subjects or with their women. And when he is obliged to take the life of any one, to do so when there is a proper justification and manifest reason for it; but above all he must abstain from taking the property of others, for men forget more easily the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony. Then also pretexts for seizing property are never wanting, and one who begins to live by rapine will always find some reason for taking the goods of others, whereas causes for taking life are rarer and more quickly destroyed.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text. Ch. 17

42. “How laudable it is for a prince to keep good faith and live with integrity, and not with astuteness, every one knows. Still the experience of our times shows those princes to have done great things who have had little regard for good faith, and have been able by astuteness to confuse men's brains, and who have ultimately overcome those who have made loyalty their foundation. You must know, then, that there are two methods of fighting, the one by law, the other by force: the first method is that of men, the second of beasts; but as the first method is often insufficient, one must have recourse to the second. It is therefore necessary to know well how to use both the beast and the man. This was covertly taught to princes by ancient writers, who relate how Achilles and many others of those princes were given to Chiron the centaur to be brought up, who kept them under his discipline; this system of having for teacher one who was half beast and half man is meant to indicate that a prince must know how to use both natures, and that the one without the other is not durable. A prince being thus obliged to know well how to act as a beast must imitate the fox and the lion, for the lion cannot protect himself from snares, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognise snares, and a lion to frighten wolves. Those that wish to be only lions do not understand this. Therefore, a prudent ruler ought not to keep faith when by so doing it would be against his interest, and when the reasons which made him bind himself no longer exist. If men were all good, this precept would not be a good one; but as they are bad, and would not observe their faith with you, so you are not bound to keep faith with them.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source and Related Info: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text. Ch. 18
• Variant translations of portions of this passage:
• Every one admits how praiseworthy it is in a prince to keep faith, and to live with integrity and not with craft. Nevertheless our experience has been that those princes who have done great things have held good faith of little account, and have known how to circumvent the intellect of men by craft, and in the end have overcome those who have relied on their word.
 • Ch. 18. Concerning the Way in which Princes should keep Faith (as translated by W. K. Marriott)
• A prince being thus obliged to know well how to act as a beast must imitate the fox and the lion, for the lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves.
• You must know there are two ways of contesting, the one by the law, the other by force; the first method is proper to men, the second to beasts; but because the first is frequently not sufficient, it is necessary to have recourse to the second.

43. “The prince must consider, as has been in part said before, how to avoid those things which will make him hated or contemptible; and as often as he shall have succeeded he will have fulfilled his part, and he need not fear any danger in other reproaches. It makes him hated above all things, as I have said, to be rapacious, and to be a violator of the property and women of his subjects, from both of which he must abstain. And when neither their property nor honour is touched, the majority of men live content, and he has only to contend with the ambition of a few, whom he can curb with ease in many ways. It makes him contemptible to be considered fickle, frivolous, effeminate, mean-spirited, irresolute, from all of which a prince should guard himself as from a rock; and he should endeavour to show in his actions greatness, courage, gravity, and fortitude; and in his private dealings with his subjects let him show that his judgments are irrevocable, and maintain himself in such reputation that no one can hope either to deceive him or to get round him. That prince is highly esteemed who conveys this impression of himself, and he who is highly esteemed is not easily conspired against; for, provided it is well known that he is an excellent man and revered by his people, he can only be attacked with difficulty.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text. Ch. 19 "That one should avoid being despised and hated"

44. “A prince ought to have two fears, one from within, on account of his subjects, the other from without, on account of external powers. From the latter he is defended by being well armed and having good allies, and if he is well armed he will have good friends, and affairs will always remain quiet within when they are quiet without, unless they should have been already disturbed by conspiracy; and even should affairs outside be disturbed, if he has carried out his preparations and has lived as I have said, as long as he does not despair, he will resist every attack.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Source: 1510s, The Prince (1513): Original Italian title: Il Principe (written c. 1505). Full text.

45. “As all those have shown who have discussed civil institutions, and as every history is full of examples, it is necessary to whoever arranges to found a Republic and establish laws in it, to presuppose that all men are bad and that they will use their malignity of mind every time they have the opportunity; and if such malignity is hidden for a time, it proceeds from the unknown reason that would not be known because the experience of the contrary had not been seen, but time, which is said to be the father of every truth, will cause it to be discovered.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Machiavelli, Niccolo. “Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes: 52 Sourced Quotes from the original Machiavellian.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/machiavelli-quotes.html#45

Source: 1510s, Discourses on Livy (1517): Quotes from translations of Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio; 3 vols. published between 1512–1517 (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius) Book 1, Ch. 3 Variant portion: Whoever desires to found a state and give it laws, must start with assuming that all men are bad and ever ready to display their vicious nature, whenever they may find occasion for it.

46. “For as when much superfluous matter has gathered in simple bodies, nature makes repeated efforts to remove and purge it away, thereby promoting the health of these bodies, so likewise as regards that composite body the human race, when every province of the world so teems with inhabitants that they can neither subsist where they are nor remove elsewhere, every region being equally crowded and over-peopled, and when human craft and wickedness have reached their highest pitch, it must needs come about that the world will purge herself in one or another of these three ways, to the end that men, becoming few and contrite, may amend their lives and live with more convenience.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Machiavelli, Niccolo. “Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes: 52 Sourced Quotes from the original Machiavellian.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/machiavelli-quotes.html#46

Source: 1510s, Discourses on Livy (1517): Quotes from translations of Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio; 3 vols. published between 1512–1517 (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius) Book 1 Ch. 5 (as translated by Ninian Hill Thomson)

47. “I am firmly convinced, therefore, that to set up a republic which is to last a long time, the way to set about it is to constitute it as Sparta and Venice were constituted; to place it in a strong position, and so to fortify it that no one will dream of taking it by a sudden assault; and, on the other hand, not to make it so large as to appear formidable to its neighbors. It should in this way be able to enjoy its form of government for a long time. For war is made on a commonwealth for two reasons: to subjugate it, and for fear of being subjugated by it.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Machiavelli, Niccolo. “Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes: 52 Sourced Quotes from the original Machiavellian.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 15 November 2017, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/machiavelli-quotes.html#47

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Machiavelli, Niccolo. “Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes: 52 Sourced Quotes from the original Machiavellian.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/machiavelli-quotes.html#47

Source: 1510s, Discourses on Livy (1517): Quotes from translations of Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio; 3 vols. published between 1512–1517 (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius) Book 1, Ch. 6 (as translated by LJ Walker and B Crick)

48. “It was the verdict of ancient writers that men afflict themselves in evil and weary themselves in the good, and that the same effects result from both of these passions. For whenever men are not obliged to fight from necessity, they fight from ambition; which is so powerful in human breasts, that it never leaves them no matter to what rank they rise. The reason is that nature has so created men that they are able to desire everything but are not able to attain everything: so that the desire being always greater than the acquisition, there results discontent with the possession and little satisfaction to themselves from it. From this arises the changes in their fortunes; for as men desire, some to have more, some in fear of losing their acquisition, there ensues enmity and war, from which results the ruin of that province and the elevation of another.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Machiavelli, Niccolo. “Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes: 52 Sourced Quotes from the original Machiavellian.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 15 November 2017, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/machiavelli-quotes.html#48

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Machiavelli, Niccolo. “Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes: 52 Sourced Quotes from the original Machiavellian.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/machiavelli-quotes.html#48

Source: 1510s, Discourses on Livy (1517): Quotes from translations of Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio; 3 vols. published between 1512–1517 (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius)

49. “Anyone who studies present and ancient affairs will easily see how in all cities and all peoples there still exist, and have always existed, the same desires and passions. Thus, it is an easy matter for him who carefully examines past events to foresee future events in a republic and to apply the remedies employed by the ancients, or, if old remedies cannot be found, to devise new ones based upon the similarity of the events. But since these matters are neglected or not understood by those who read, or, if understood, remain unknown to those who govern, the result is that the same problems always exist in every era.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Machiavelli, Niccolo. “Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes: 52 Sourced Quotes from the original Machiavellian.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 15 November 2017, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/machiavelli-quotes.html#49

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Machiavelli, Niccolo. “Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes: 52 Sourced Quotes from the original Machiavellian.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/machiavelli-quotes.html#49

Source: 1510s, Discourses on Livy (1517): Quotes from translations of Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio; 3 vols. published between 1512–1517 (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius) Book 1, Chapter 39

50. “It is truly a marvelous thing to consider to what greatness Athens arrived in the space of one hundred years after she freed herself from the tyranny of Pisistratus; but, above all, it is even more marvelous to consider the greatness Rome reached when she freed herself from her kings. The reason is easy to understand, for it is the common good and not private gain that makes cities great. Yet, without a doubt, this common good is observed only in republics, for in them everything that promotes it is practised, and however much damage it does to this or that private individual, those who benefit from the said common good are so numerous that they are able to advance in spite of the inclination of the few citizens who are oppressed by it.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Machiavelli, Niccolo. “Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes: 52 Sourced Quotes from the original Machiavellian.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 15 November 2017, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/machiavelli-quotes.html#50

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Machiavelli, Niccolo. “Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes: 52 Sourced Quotes from the original Machiavellian.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/machiavelli-quotes.html#50

Source: 1510s, Discourses on Livy (1517): Quotes from translations of Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio; 3 vols. published between 1512–1517 (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius) Book 2, Chapter 2

51. “It may be observed, that provinces amid the vicissitudes to which they are subject, pass from order into confusion, and afterward recur to a state of order again; for the nature of mundane affairs not allowing them to continue in an even course, when they have arrived at their greatest perfection, they soon begin to decline. In the same manner, having been reduced by disorder, and sunk to their utmost state of depression, unable to descend lower, they, of necessity, reascend; and thus from good they gradually decline to evil, and from evil again return to good. The reason is, that valor produces peace; peace, repose; repose, disorder; disorder, ruin; so from disorder order springs; from order virtue, and from this, glory and good fortune.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Machiavelli, Niccolo. “Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes: 52 Sourced Quotes from the original Machiavellian.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 15 November 2017, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/machiavelli-quotes.html#51

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Machiavelli, Niccolo. “Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes: 52 Sourced Quotes from the original Machiavellian.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/machiavelli-quotes.html#51

Source: 1520s, Florentine Histories (1521–1525): Original Italian title: Istorie Fiorentine Book V, Chapter 1

52. “If you only notice human proceedings, you may observe that all who attain great power and riches, make use of either force or fraud; and what they have acquired either by deceit or violence, in order to conceal the disgraceful methods of attainment, they endeavor to sanctify with the false title of honest gains. Those who either from imprudence or want of sagacity avoid doing so, are always overwhelmed with servitude and poverty; for faithful servants are always servants, and honest men are always poor; nor do any ever escape from servitude but the bold and faithless, or from poverty, but the rapacious and fraudulent. God and nature have thrown all human fortunes into the midst of mankind; and they are thus attainable rather by rapine than by industry, by wicked actions rather than by good. Hence it is that men feed upon each other, and those who cannot defend themselves must be worried.”

—Niccolò Machiavelli

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Machiavelli, Niccolo. “Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes: 52 Sourced Quotes from the original Machiavellian.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 15 November 2017, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/machiavelli-quotes.html#52

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Machiavelli, Niccolo. “Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes: 52 Sourced Quotes from the original Machiavellian.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/machiavelli-quotes.html#52

Source: 1520s, Florentine Histories (1521–1525): Original Italian title: Istorie Fiorentine Book III, Chapter 13

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