Maxims and Reflections (Ricordi)
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Softcover. University of Pennsylvania Press.
secondly, that such government could be established and safeguarded by a judicious combination of constitutional elements. While the former view reflects traditional attitudes of the Florentine patriciate, the latter testifies to the deep-rooted Florentine belief in the effectiveness of institutional policies and reforms. That this belief might occasionally be backed by references to Aristotle's teachings only shows that the Politics could once again be read as a practical manual of city-state
166. You MUST not suppose that whoever assumes the offensive -besieges a city, for instance-cao foresee ali of the defenses his enemy will devise. Naturally, the skillful aggressor will foresee the ordinary remedies to which the defender will resort. But danger and necessity will enable the defender to find extraordinary remedies, impossible to conceive, unless one were himself in the same straits. • • • 167. 1 BELIEVE there is nothing worse in this world than levity. For lighthearted men are
left Florence for the Spanish court as ambassador to the king of Aragon. It was Francesco's first major appointment, and one that was remarkable on account of his youth: "No one could remember at Florence that so young a man had ever been chosen for such an embassy," he writes in his diary. 1 Born in 1483, Franceso, after studying law in Florence, Ferrara, and Padua, had become a successfullawyer in his native city, and had already been elected to minor posts in the republic. As a member of an
Machiavelli was in charge of Florentine fortifications, and went on frequent missions to the Papal lieutenant-general in the dra- TORCHBOOK EDITION matie months when the army of German Landsknechte was advancing south; and their Florentine and ltalian patriotism, their strenuous efforts to help defend both their city and their country from the foreign invaders, brought them nearer to one another than ever. "lo amo messer Francesco Guicciardini, a.mo la patria mia più dell' anima," writes
belonged to Lorenzo the Magnificent's inner circle. Francesco's father Piero, although less active in public Iife, continued to hold office under the new republican regime. Thus when, in October 1511, the Council of Eighty elected Francesco ambassador to Spain, the future may weil have seemed mapped out for the young lawyer. Service to the state was in the tradition of the Florentine aristocracy, and this embassy would normally have been the first of many high offices in the republic; but