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Chapters 13 and 14

Chapter XIII: Of Auxiliary, Mixed and Native Troops

Machiavelli declares that "auxiliary troops," or armies borrowed from another prince, are as useless as mercenaries. In fact, auxiliaries are even worse than mercenaries. Mercenaries, as we recall from the previous chapter, are hard to motivate - a paycheck is not enough to make a man willing to fight and die for a prince they care nothing about. In the case of auxiliaries, they are actually loyal to someone else - and so, even if they win the battle, they may hand the victory over to their actual leader instead of the prince who has borrowed them. As Machiavelli cleverly puts it, the danger with mercenaries is their cowardice, while the danger with auxiliaries is their courage. It is always better to fight with your own men - Cesare Borgia, for instance, used a small troop of his own men rather than a larger auxiliary army. . . and was victorious!

Chapter XIV: The Duties of a Prince with Regard to the Militia

In a rather bold piece of advice, Machiavelli counsels the prince to "have no other aim or thought" than the proper conduct of war, and to study nothing else besides military matters. The best way to gain and maintain power is through this knowledge, he claims, and without it a prince is sure to lose whatever he has. Again, Machiavelli brings up Francesco Sforza (see Chapter ). Francesco became Duke of Milan because he was well armed, but his sons saw no need to study warfare, and soon lost their power. Machiavelli argues that no unarmed prince can ever be safe, because no armed man ever obeys an unarmed one. Thus, an un-military prince will always fail to have the support of his soldiers, his soldiers will then fail to protect him, and soon he will be prince no longer.

For this reason, a prince must practice the arts of war even more seriously in peace-time. Machiavelli describes the kind of training he has in mind: a prince should hunt, he should become as physically fit as possible, he should learn every detail of the landscape (so that he can draw up battle plans better), and he should study military histories, particularly of great commanders (Alexander the Great read about Achilles, Caesar read about Alexander, Scipio Africanus read about Cyrus).

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Important Persons
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Summary of the Argument
Prefatory Letter
Chapters 1 and 2
Chapter 3
Chapters 4 and 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapters 9 and 10
Chapters 11 and 12
Chapters 13 and 14
Chapters 15 and 16
Chapters 17 and 18
Chapters 19 and 20
Chapters 21, 22, and 23
Chapters 24, 25, and 26


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