Machiavelli Quotes

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Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power by Ross King
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“The course of a person’s life, like the course of a river, may likewise be changed by means of ingenious and timely precautions.”
Ross King, Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power
“The steadfast behavior that could turn the head or melt the heart of Fortune was embodied in the Roman concept of virtus (from the Latin vir, the “man of true manliness”), a cultural value encompassing toughness, bravery, and a never-say-die willingness to combat adversity.”
Ross King, Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power
“The Prince to a slightly more upbeat view of human action. In order “not to rule out our free will,” he arrives at a formula by which Fortune is “the arbiter of half the things we do, leaving the other half or so to be controlled by ourselves.”
Ross King, Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power
“Machiavelli’s second metaphor alludes to the fact that Fortune was always seen as a feminine force. Like any woman, she responds best, he believes, to rough handling. He argues that in dealings with Fortune it is advisable to act impetuously “because Fortune is a woman and if she is to be submissive it is necessary to beat and coerce her.” However disagreeable the image, it is worth remembering that gendered interpretations of philosophical conceptions have a lengthy history, and that Machiavelli elsewhere speaks of winning over Fortune by means of friendship and harmonious action. The idea of battering Fortune into submission did not, in fact, originate with Machiavelli. Seventy years earlier, in Somnium de Fortuna (The Dream of Fortune), Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini had Fortune claim she despised those who “run away from me” and favored “those who put me to flight.” The upshot, at any rate, is that one can manage the caprice of Fortune—a comforting philosophy for the former Second Chancellor to contemplate from his lonely exile in the Albergaccio.”
Ross King, Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power
“Qualities that the world considers virtues will lead a leader to ruin, while those regarded as vices will often bring safety and prosperity. Good leadership requires a prince to “know how to do evil.”
Ross King, Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power