The sinews of war are not gold, but good soldiers.
The sinews of war are not gold, but good soldiers; for gold alone will not procure good soldiers, but good soldiers will always procure gold.
Wars begin when you will, but they do not end when you please.
War is just when it is necessary; arms are permissible when there is no hope except in arms.
It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles.
And if, to be sure, sometimes you need to conceal a fact with words, do it in such a way that it does not become known, or if it does become known, that you have a ready and quick defense.
For the mob is always impressed by appearances and by results, and the world is composed of the mob.
There is nothing so difficult or so dangerous as to undertake to change the order of things.
There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.
Men rise from one ambition to another. First, they seek to secure themselves against attack, and then they attack others.
Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results.
One should never permit a disorder to persist in order to avoid a war, for wars cannot be avoided and can only be deferred to the advantage of others.
Whoever desires to found a state and give it laws, must start with assuming that all men are bad and ever ready to display their vicious nature, whenever they may find occasion for it.
Whoever takes it upon himself to establish a commonwealth and prescribe laws must presuppose all men naturally bad, and that they will yield to their innate evil passions as often as they can do so with safety.
Only those means of security are good, are certain, are lasting, that depend on yourself and your own vigor.
Besides what has been said, people are fickle by nature; and it is a simple to convince them of something but difficult to hold them in that conviction; and, therefore, affairs should be managed in such a way that when they no longer believe, they can be made to believe by force.
For as laws are necessary that good manners be preserved, so there is need of good manners that law may be maintained.
Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are, and those few dare not oppose themselves to the opinion of the many, who have the majesty of the state to defend them.
It is often found that modesty and humility not only do no good, but are positively hurtful, when they are shown to the arrogant who have taken up a prejudice against you, either from envy or from any other cause.
For friendships that are acquired by a price and not by greatness and nobility of character are purchased but are not owned, and at the proper moment they cannot be spent.
For the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are.
So in all human affairs one notices, if one examines them closely, that it is impossible to remove one inconvenience without another emerging.
In respect to foresight and firmness, the people are more prudent, more stable, and have better judgement than princes.
I hope and hoping feeds my pain
I weep and weeping feeds my failing heart
I laugh but the laughter does not pass within
I burn but the burning makes no mark outside.
It is a base thing to look to others for your defense instead of depending upon yourself. That defense alone is effectual, sure, and durable which depends upon yourself and your own valor.
For it must be noted, that men must either be caressed or else annihilated; they will revenge themselves for small injuries, but cannot do so for great ones; the injury therefore that we do to a man must be such that we need not fear his vengeance.
Everyone who wants to know what will happen ought to examine what has happened: everything in this world in any epoch has their replicas in antiquity.
It is better to be bold than too circumspect, because fortune is of a sex which likes not a tardy wooer and repulses all who are not ardent.
Men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived.
Men are of three different capacities: one understands intuitively; another understands so far as it is explained; and a third understands neither of himself nor by explanation. The first is excellent, the second, commendable, and the third, altogether useless.
For as good habits of the people require good laws to support them, so laws, to be observed, need good habits on the part of the people.
Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them.
Sometimes it has been of great moment while the fight is going on, to disseminate words that pronounce the enemies' captain to be dead, or to have been conquered by another part of the army. Many times this has given victory to him who used it.
In our own days we have seen no princes accomplish great results save those who have been accounted miserly.
A battle that you win cancels any other bad action of yours. In the same way, by losing one, all the good things worked by you before become vain.
The answer is, of course, that it would be best to be both loved and feared. But since the two rarely come together, anyone compelled to choose will find greater security in being feared than in being loved.
Thus it happens in matters of state; for knowing afar off (which it is only given a prudent man to do) the evils that are brewing, they are easily cured. But when, for want of such knowledge, they are allowed to grow so that everyone can recognize them, there is no longer any remedy to be found.
He who neglects what is done for what ought to be done, sooner effects his ruin than his preservation.
It is necessary that the prince should know how to color his nature well, and how to be a hypocrite and dissembler. For men are so simple, and yield so much to immediate necessity, that the deceiver will never lack dupes.
Delusion gives you more happiness than truth gives to me. For injuries ought to be done all at one time, so that, being tasted less, they offend less; benefits ought to be given little by little, so that the flavour of them may last longer.
He who makes war his profession cannot be otherwise than vicious. War makes thieves, and peace brings them to the gallows.
Because just as good morals, if they are to be maintained, have need of the laws, so the laws, if they are to be observed, have need of good morals.
The innovator has for enemies all who have done well under the old, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new.
I desire to go to Hell and not to Heaven. In the former I shall enjoy the company of popes, kings and princes, while in the latter are only beggars, monks and apostles.
For a prince should have two fears: one, internal concerning his subjects; the other, external, concerning foreign powers. From the latter he can always defend himself by his good troops and friends; and he will always have good friends if he has good troops.
When settling disputes between his subjects, he should ensure that his judgement is irrevocable; and he should be so regarded that no one ever dreams of trying to deceive or trick him.
Republics have a longer life and enjoy better fortune than principalities, because they can profit by their greater internal diversity. They are the better able to meet emergencies.
From this arises the question whether it is better to be loved rather than feared, or feared rather than loved. It might perhaps be answered that we should wish to be both: but since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.
Therefore, in order not to have to rob his subjects, to be able to defend himself, not to become poor and contemptible, and not to be forced to become rapacious, a prince must consider it of little importance if he incurs the name of miser, for this is one of the vices that permits him to rule.
So far as he is able, a prince should stick to the path of good but, if the necessity arises, he should know how to follow evil.
He who blinded by ambition, raises himself to a position whence he cannot mount higher, must thereafter fall with the greatest loss.
The nature of man is such that people consider themselves put under an obligation as much by the benefits they confer as by those they receive.
States that rise quickly, just as all the other things of nature that are born and grow rapidly, cannot have roots and ramifications; the first bad weather kills them.
In order not to annul our free will, I judge it true that Fortune may be mistress of one half our actions but then even she leaves the other half, or almost, under our control.
And when he is obliged to take the life of any one, to do so when there is a proper justification and manifest reason for it; but above all he must abstain from taking the property of others, for men forget more easily the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony.
A prince who is not himself wise cannot be wisely advised... Good advice depends on the shrewdness of the prince who seeks it, and not the shrewdness of the prince on good advice.
When fortune wishes to bring mighty events to a successful conclusion, she selects some man of spirit and ability who knows how to seize the opportunity she offers.
We have not seen great things done in our time except by those who have been considered mean; the rest have failed.
Minds are of three kinds: one is capable of thinking for itself; another is able to understand the thinking of others; and a third can neither think for itself nor understand the thinking of others. The first is of the highest excellence, the second is excellent, and the third is worthless.
He who would foresee what is to happen should look to what has happened: for all that is has its counterpart in time past.
When every province of the world so teems with inhabitants that they can neither subsist where they are nor remove themselves elsewhere.
A wise prince then...should never be idle in times of peace but should industriously lay up stores of which to avail himself in times of adversity so that when fortune abandons him he may be prepared to resist her blows.
Occasionally words must serve to veil the facts. But let this happen in such a way that no one become aware of it; or, if it should be noticed, excuses must be at hand to be produced immediately.
Thus it is well to seem merciful, faithful, humane, sincere, religious, and also to be so; but you must have the mind so disposed that when it is needful to be otherwise you may be able to change to the opposite qualities.
Power is the pivot on which everything hinges. He who has the power is always right; the weaker is always wrong.
I hold strongly to this: that it is better to be impetuous than circumspect; because fortune is a woman and if she is to be submissive it is necessary to beat and coerce her.
For he who innovates will have for his enemies all those who are well off under the existing order of things, and only lukewarm supporters in those who might be better off under the new.
The reformer has enemies in all who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order.