A man who wishes to act entirely up to his professions of virtue soon meets with what destroys him among so much that is evil.
A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise.
A prince ought to have no other aim or thought, nor select anything else for his study, than war and its rules and discipline; for this is the sole art that belongs to him who rules, and it is of such force that it not only upholds those who are born princes, but it often enables men to rise from a private station to that rank.
A prince who is not wise himself will never take good advice.
A prudent man should always follow in the path trodden by great men and imitate those who are most excellent.
Against foreign powers, a prince can defend himself with good weapons and good friends; if he has good weapons, he will never lack for good friends.
All armed prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed prophets have been destroyed.
Among other evils which being unarmed brings you, it causes you to be despised.
Anyone who studies present and ancient affairs will easily see how in all cities and all peoples there still exist, and have always existed, the same desires and passions.
Cunning and deceit will every time serve a man better than force to rise from a base condition to great fortune.
Discipline in war counts more than fury.
Everybody sees what you seem, but few know what thou art.
God and nature have thrown all human fortunes into the midst of mankind; and they are thus attainable rather by rapine than by industry, by wicked actions rather than by good. Hence it is that men feed upon each other, and those who cannot defend themselves must be worried.
God is not willing to do everything, and thus take away our free will and that share of glory which belongs to us.
I believe that it is possible for one to praise, without concern, any man after he is dead since every reason and supervision for adulation is lacking.
In judging policies we should consider the results that have been achieved through them rather than the means by which they have been executed.
It is impossible to remove one inconvenience without another emerging.
It is not titles that make men illustrious, but men who make titles illustrious.
It is the common good and not private gain that makes cities great.
Many have imagined republics and principalities which have never been seen or known to exist in reality; for how we live is so far removed from how we ought to live, that he who abandons what is done for what ought to be done, will rather bring about his own ruin than his preservation.
Men never do good unless necessity drives them to it; but when they are free to choose and can do just as they please, confusion and disorder become rampant.
Men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.
Nature has so contrived that to men, though all things are objects of desire, not all things are attainable; so that desire always exceeds the power of attainment, with the result that men are ill-content with what they possess and their present state brings them little satisfaction. Hence arise the vicissitudes of their fortune.
No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution.
Nothing is of greater importance in time of war than in knowing how to make the best use of a fair opportunity when it is offered.
One ought to be both feared and loved, but as it is difficult for the two to go together, it is much safer to be feared than loved, if one of the two has to be wanting.
So long as Fortune varies and men stand still, they will prosper while they suit the times, and fail when they do not.
That which is good for the enemy harms you, and that which is good for you harms the enemy.
The best fortress which a prince can possess is the affection of his people.
The chief foundations of all states, new as well as old or composite, are good laws and good arms; and as there cannot be good laws where the state is not well armed, it follows that where they are well armed they have good laws.
The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.
The Romans never allowed a trouble spot to remain simply to avoid going to war over it, because they knew that wars don't just go away, they are only postponed to someone else's advantage.
There are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehend; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others; the first is the most excellent, the second is good, and the third is useless.
There can be no proper relation between one who is armed and one who is not. Nor it is reasonable to expect that one who is armed will voluntarily obey one who is not.
There is no other way of guarding oneself against flattery than by letting men understand that they will not offend you by speaking the truth; but when everyone can tell you the truth, you lose their respect.
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. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new.
Time contains the seeds of all things, good as well as bad.
War is made on a commonwealth for two reasons: to subjugate it, and for fear of being subjugated by it.
Wars begin when you will, but they do not end when you please.
When princes have thought more of ease than of arms they have lost their states.
Whenever men are not obliged to fight from necessity, they fight from ambition...
Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great.
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.
You should never let things get out of hand in order to avoid war. You don't avoid such a war, you merely postpone it, to your own disadvantage.
Found 44 occurence(s) in 51,815 quotation(s).