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THE NOVEL - SUMMARY AND NOTES

PART I - CHAPTER 10

Machiavelli now examines the natures of different principalities and considers whether a prince can be sufficiently powerful, in case of need, to sustain himself, or whether he's always obliged to depend upon others for his defense. Machiavelli here lays the foundation for his later exploration of the role of military power and the manner in which power may be measured.

Machiavelli says those who are best able to defend themselves do so from an abundance of men and money as well as maintaining the loyalty of their people. They can put a well-equipped army into the field and meet anyone in open battle who may attempt to attack them. It behooves such princes to fortify the cities where they have their seat of government and to provide them with all necessary supplies.


To support the military strategy for fortifying a city, Machiavelli cites the example of the Germans. German cities enjoy great liberties and are well fortified; the walls are thick, high, and amply supplied with artillery. Military arms and ammunitions are kept in public storehouses, as are supplies of food, drink, and medicine. Only a foolish prince would attempt to seize such a well-guarded and well-stocked city. And if such a city were besieged, there would also be on hand a year's supply of raw materials for those branches of industry by which the people are accustomed to make their living, and which are the nerve and life of the city.

It's reasonable to suppose, Machiavelli continues, that the enemy will ravage and destroy the country immediately upon its arrival outside the fortified city. The prince need not be unduly apprehensive, however, because most of the damage that could hurt morale is done while the people are still enthusiastic and high-spirited. And by the time their enthusiasm has cooled somewhat, the people will be ready to stand by their prince, for they'll regard him as under obligation to them, their houses having been burned and their property ravaged in his defense.

Machiavelli concludes this brief chapter with a practical golden rule on the role of fortifications in maintaining a prince's power:

All things considered, then, it will not be difficult for a prudent prince to keep the courage of his citizens in time of siege, both in the beginning as well as afterward, provided there be no lack of provisions or means of defense.

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