Chapter 6 Of Machiavelli's The Prince

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In Chapter Six of The Prince, Nicolò Machiavelli says that the highest examples of political accomplishment are “Moses, Cyrus, Theseus, Romulus and the like.” This phrasing suggests that these four are all examples of the same sort, and as such are interchangeable. Machiavelli acknowledges the objection that Moses is not an example of the same sort as these other three, but quickly (and blasphemously) restores him to their company. Another character in Chapter Six is Hiero, who, while a “lesser example” than these four, still has “some proportion” with them, and, as the only such case named in this chapter, seems to stand in for all other such lesser examples. Similarly, when Hiero, who was a tyrant of ancient Syracuse, reappears in Chapter 13, Machiavelli has nothing but good to say about him. Agathcoles, who is introduced in Chapter 8, which is Machiavelli’s thematic chapter on…show more content…
“Agathocles, the Sicilian, became King of Syracuse not only from a private but from a low and abject position” (Machiavelli, 1952, p. 13). At the same time, Agathcoles was quick to use violence and treachery in order to secure power. “One morning he assembled the people and senate of Syracuse, as if he had to discuss with them things relating to the Republic, and at a given signal the soldiers killed all the senators and the richest of the people; these dead, he seized and held the princedom of that city without any civil commotion” (Machiavelli, 1952, p. 13). However, Machiavelli does not regard this method or means of rising to power as being a particularly significant talent or skill. That is, “…it cannot be called talent to slay fellow-citizens, to deceive friends, to be without faith, without mercy, without religion; such methods may gain empire, but not glory” (Machiavelli, 1952, p.
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