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GLOSSARY / VOCABULARY LIST
AGATHOCLES (361-289 B.C.) - Potter's son, who through his special abilities became king of Syracuse. Machiavelli, however, considers him a villain.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT (356-323 B.C.) - One of Machiavelli's favorite historical examples of a successful and glorious prince. He conquered the kingdom of Darius of Persia.
ALEXANDER SEVERUS (208-235 A.D.) - Machiavelli's example of a weak prince, who was unduly influenced by his mother, hated by the people, and eventually murdered.
AUXILIARY TROOPS - Neighboring armies lent by powerful foreign princes in time of battle. Machiavelli regards them as highly dangerous.
CESARE BORGIA (1475-1507) - Model prince, who rose to power as the son of Pope Alexander VI. A brilliant tactical thinker, able leader, and cunning politician, Cesare Borgia fell victim to bad luck and lost his kingdom soon after his father's death.
CHIRON - Classical Greek mythological figure who was half-man and half-beast. Machiavelli employs this image to introduce his thesis that the prince must be both "fox" and "lion."
ECCLESIASTICAL PRINCIPALITY - Principality ruled by the Church and maintained by religious laws. The area around Rome, governed by the pope, was an ecclesiastical principality in Machiavelli's day.
FERDINAND OF SPAIN (1452-1516) - Machiavelli's example of a ruler who engaged
in forceful foreign policies that resulted in absolute power. King Ferdinand
drove the Moors out of Granada, attacked Africa, and invaded Italy and
FERMO - City in central Italy, near the Adriatic Sea, part of the papal domain, 1538-1860.
OLIVEROTTO DA FERMO - Infamous prince, who ruled Fermo in 1501. He was murdered in 1502 for plotting to overthrow Cesare Borgia.
FLORENCE - City-state in central Italy, located on the Arno River and at the foot of the Apennines. Greatest cultural and artistic center of western Europe, fourteenth-sixteenth centuries.
FORTUNE - According to Machiavelli, luck that plays a pivotal role in the success or failure of a prince.
GAETA - Fortified seaport, located in central Italy on the Gulf of Gaeta.
GOLDEN RULES - Machiavelli's political maxims, or wise sayings, that summarize his major ideas and themes.
HANNIBAL (247-183 B.C.) - Leader of the Carthaginian army against Rome during the Second Punic War (218-201 B.C.).
HEREDITARY PRINCIPALITY - Principality ruled by one person or one family for a prolonged period of time on the basis of an inherited right to power.
LOMBARDY - Region in northern Italy in the Italian Alps. It took its name from the fact that it was the center of the kingdom founded in the Po Valley by the Lombards, a German people who invaded Italy in the sixth century.
LOUIS XII (1462-1515) - Machiavelli's example of a ruler whose military blunders cost him an empire. Louis XII, king of France, lost the duchy of Milan through a series of tactical delays, foolish alliances, and weak supporting armies.
MAXIMILIAN I (1459-1519) - Holy Roman Emperor. Machiavelli's example of a ruler who surrounded himself with flatterers instead of able advisers and was soon distrusted by the people.
LORENZO DE' MEDICI (1492-1519) - Grandson of Lorenzo the Magnificent and ruler of Florence when The Prince was written. Machiavelli dedicates the book to Lorenzo, whom he sees as a potentially glorious prince.
MERCENARIES - Hired armies that Machiavelli portrays as ambitious, undisciplined, and frequently cowardly in the face of attack.
MILAN - City in Lombardy, located in northern Italy. During the Renaissance, it was governed by the tyrannical Sforza family. The French sought to conquer Milan.
MINISTERS - Personal advisers to the prince.
MIXED PRINCIPALITY - Principality including both old and newly acquired provinces, subject to frequent rebellion and changes of leadership.
MIXED TROOPS - Armies composed of both mercenaries and national or local troops. Machiavelli describes mixed forces as disruptive, because they provoke bitter quarreling that undermines the spirit of a military campaign.
NAPLES - Seaport on the Bay of Naples. A scene of rivalry between France and Spain in Machiavelli's day.
NATIVE TROOPS - Armies formed by the citizens of a nation and loyal to the prince. Machiavelli considers them the best possible armies because they fight for their own freedom as well as for their prince.
NEW PRINCIPALITY - A principality formed by conquest and maintained only as long as a strong military can prevent its subsequent loss to another conqueror.
REMIRRO D'ORCO - The majordomo, or chief lieutenant, of Cesare Borgia. He was killed after he displayed excessive cruelty and brutality as commander of Romagna. Machiavelli cites him to show that by punishing (killing) him, Cesare Borgia tried to appear a humane prince.
PETRARCH (1304-1374) - Famous Italian poet. Machiavelli quotes several of his patriotic stanzas to conclude The Prince.
PISA - City-state in the province of Tuscany, in western Italy. Rebelled against Florentine rule 1494- 1509; Machiavelli uses the image of Pisa in his writing to suggest that the love of freedom is so strong that a prince could never extinguish it by force alone.
PISTORIA - Surrounding province on the outskirts of Florence, seized by the Florentines in 1331.
PRATO - City located in Tuscany, in western Italy. Free Italian province in eleventh century; later under the control of Florence. Sacked by the Spaniards in 1512.
ROMAGNA - Under papal control until 1500. Seized by Cesare Borgia in 1501.
ROME - City in central Italy, along the Tiber River. The capital of the Roman Empire and the seat of the papacy.
ROMULUS - Legendary founder of Rome.
GIROLAMO SAVONAROLA (1452-1498) - Dominican friar who had much influence in Florence from 1494 to 1497. He advocated puritanical laws. He was eventually hanged and burned in the town square by the Florentines.
SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS (146-211 A.D.) - Roman Emperor. Machiavelli's example of a strong prince who was both a fox and a lion. He defeated his rivals, Niger and Albinus, using cunning and force.
FRANCESCO SFORZA (1401-1466) - Duke of Milan, who maintained a fiercely loyal army to defend himself. After his death, his descendants neglected the art of war and were overthrown.
SICILY - Largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, at the extreme southern point of the Italian peninsula. Syracuse was the leading city of ancient Sicily.
THESEUS - Greek mythological hero and king of Athens.
VENICE - Seaport in northeast Italy. A rich, powerful aristocratic republic in Machiavelli's time.
VIRTU - Machiavelli's term for personal strength and ability, the special talent of a prince to seize the opportunity of a given moment and assume absolute power.
BERNABO VISCONTI (1323-1385) - Ruler famous for his cruel methods of punishment, including torture. Machiavelli uses him as an example of how a prince can instill fear in the hearts of the people.