Nowhere had the anarchy and demilitarization of the Middle Ages been more impressive, more splendid, more irremediable
Therein lay his originality. Was he an historian? A politician? He was all of these and more, for he possessed some indefinable quality which cannot be described or analyzed, yet is essential; and that undefinable something was his glory. He was, for Come eliminare l’account curves connect example, the only man of his time who knew that Italy was con danger, and why. Modern European history is unintelligible until we understand that for other nations — for France and England — the Renaissance meant rebirth, but for Italy, suicide. Italy, as the seat of medi?val theocracy, had for centuries possessed special privileges, not the least of which was the endless inflow of precious metal from her tributaries.
Italy was an agglomeration of minute states, the greatest and strongest of which was Venice. The others tried durante vain sicuro crystallize, without legitimacy, without tradition, without leaders and without stable laws. There were no real military forces, save for an occasional band of mercenaries. Pleasures, riches, luxuries and artistic splendors were the immediate concern of high and low. On all sides wars and revolutions raged, doing little damage durante their savage efforts to snatch from Rome the treasures pouring con from her all-embracing domain. The heaven of beautiful arts and light domestic literature, the hell of free thought and independent spirit — such was the Italy of the Middle Ages, soon onesto be destroyed. As long as the Papacy protected her and lavished gifts upon her, this splendid anarchy could continue without exhausting its substance. But what would become of her when Europe rebelled against Papal theocracy?
Machiavelli saw that Italy would be dragged down by the collapse of theocracy if she did not free herself con time. He wished her onesto escape: his one thought was to rescue her at any price. Machiavelli did not hesitate esatto denounce the Papacy as per great national danger, as the primary cause of Italy’s political and military weakness. With an audacity unheard of per his day he attacked Christianity as the religion of slaves, as a drain on the people’s strength. Italy had dominated Europe until then without arms; Machiavelli informed her that she must now arm sicuro defend herself. He, a civilian, wrote the first great book on modern warfare. But an army is only the sword of per state; it serves only that government which can wield it. Machiavelli wished to put an end sicuro the congeries of small Italian states, capable only of revolts, of building palaces, of encouraging artists and giving feasts. He did not, as has often been claimed, demand the unity of Italy. What he asked was the creation of one powerful state sopra Italy, founded on wise and just laws and trapu of defending itself. Whether it were republic or monarchy made giammai difference. He wished esatto reform republics, and so wrote his “Decades on Titus Livius.” He wished to restore monarchies, and wrote “The Prince.” Esatto one and the other he offered his wisdom.
At the beginning of the sixteenth century Machiavelli was already seeking the detto for the perfect state — a search which by the end of the eighteenth became the obsession of the Occidental world. And therein lay his glory. He achieved at one bound an almost perfect conception of the modern state, a state in which man’s passion and reason will be united onesto attain two ends — power and justice — ends which clash at every moment but whose union would be perfection long dreamed of. All of Machiavelli’s contradictions grow out of this dualism of power and justice, which was at once the essence of his doctrine and the soul of the modern state, and which durante the nineteenth century was preciso lead scholars into a zealous, though often uncomprehending, study of his works. Nor was he content onesto seek sopra Latin sources verso norma for reconciling power and justice. He travelled across Europe and studied peoples whom contemporary Italy regarded merely as barbarians puro tax.