The Prince | Study Guide

Niccolò Machiavelli

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The Prince | Chapter 14 : How a Prince Should Organize His Militia | Summary

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Summary

Machiavelli emphasizes the importance of a prince being skilled in warfare: "A prince, therefore, must have no other object or thought, nor acquire skill in anything, except war, its organization, and its discipline."

The skills of warfare are to be practiced at all times. The required skills are many and diverse. In addition to organizing and training his military force, Machiavelli states that an effective prince will:

  • Hunt to become used to physical exertion and to learn the details of his land.
  • Consider, and discuss with advisors, possible battle scenarios.
  • Read military history to understand why rulers of the past won victories or suffered defeats and adjust his own plans accordingly.

Analysis

The skills of war that Machiavelli considers worthy of a prince are not just the skills of a fighting soldier. In addition, the prince needs the skills and knowledge that allow for the strategic deployment of groups of fighting soldiers.

These skills must be practiced not only during times of war. Indeed, Machiavelli stresses that they must be practiced especially during times of peace. This ensures that a prince will be well prepared before he goes to war and also strengthens his rule at home by putting force behind the laws he makes.

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