October 1: Of Princedoms, And Why It Seems Like A Lousy Job, Except For The Meal Plan, Which Is Excellent

It's fast food week!

In case we think the Renaissance was all possibility and overwrought Italian dudes getting models pregnant, Machiavelli reminds us that you might also get yourself beseiged:
Moreover, it is to be expected that the enemy will burn and lay waste the country immediately on their arrival, at a time when men’s minds are still heated and resolute for defence.
The citizens are going to win this war, but still all their cows and stuff were laid waste and burned. And that's when they're ruled by a good prince.

Reading "The Prince" is like opening the owner's manual to your car and seeing that all the chapter headings are about all the complicated stuff you have to do to keep it from blowing up at any moment: "I have already said that a Prince must lay solid foundations, since otherwise he will inevitably be destroyed." In this case, (Chapter XII) it's mercenaries he's talking about -- are there any examples where the use of mercenaries turns out well for a state? -- but consider the poor Popes:
For in the ten years, which was the average duration of a Pope’s life, he could barely succeed in humbling one of these factions; so that if, for instance, one Pope had almost exterminated the Colonnesi, he was followed by another, who being the enemy of the Orsini had no time to rid himself of them, but so far from completing the destruction of the Colonnesi, restored them to life.
You can change water into wine, but Italian politics, you cannot change.

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