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Machiavellli, is he worth studying

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  • Machiavellli, is he worth studying

    Have been going over "The Prince" a few months"

    Would like to discuss the merits of this book.. especialy as it pertains to this setting.

    only part I foundinspiring, was when he mentioned a ruler who apointed a ruthless and sadistic governer, who broke the people, just like "the Prince" wanted, then the prince put the guy on trial, and had him executed, for doing what he'd been asked to do.

    that and, "Injury, must be given all at once, benefits, little by little.



  • #2
    It's the generalized notion that The Prince was a work of satire on the author's part, but there's few darker notions of it's precepts actually working in the Chronicles of Darkness.

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    • #3
      The Prince in our world is satirical. In the Chronicles of Darkness, it may well have been a Seer manuscript that was, either by mistake or by subterfuge, released to the public.


      Words of Wisdom from the Forums:
      "Don't be unlucky and get dead by a wolf-man."
      "Most of the current eras are too modern, we need 'Dark Eras: The electroweak epoch'."

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      • #4
        Originally posted by malonkey1 View Post
        The Prince in our world is satirical. In the Chronicles of Darkness, it may well have been a Seer manuscript that was, either by mistake or by subterfuge, released to the public.
        Kinda makes you think about A modest proposal by Johnathan Swift.......

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        • #5
          Originally posted by BurritoMage View Post

          Kinda makes you think about A modest proposal by Johnathan Swift.......


          Think it wouldnt have bolded the thing about "Let no one speak to me of other expedients, let no one speak to me of..." Cant remember rest. if he was being serious about the baby eating?


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          • #6
            Can you talk a bit about how you found The Prince to be non-useful? I was thumbing through my copy and almost every page struck me as really useful both as someone designing scenarios (his advise on colonies works pretty well for designing dungeons and other villain infrastructure) and running characters (far too few of my Ventrue, for all their supposed political savvy, really value being able to shoot their way out of a deal gone bad).

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Writing in Circles View Post
              Can you talk a bit about how you found The Prince to be non-useful? I was thumbing through my copy and almost every page struck me as really useful both as someone designing scenarios (his advise on colonies works pretty well for designing dungeons and other villain infrastructure) and running characters (far too few of my Ventrue, for all their supposed political savvy, really value being able to shoot their way out of a deal gone bad).
              I think they mean as an actual guide for running a society.


              Words of Wisdom from the Forums:
              "Don't be unlucky and get dead by a wolf-man."
              "Most of the current eras are too modern, we need 'Dark Eras: The electroweak epoch'."

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              • #8
                short answer. Heck yes. Longer answer: don't just look at The Prince. Look at the translator's notes as well as his other works and the records of his life in general.


                A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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                • #9
                  The paradoxical thing about The Prince is that while Machiavelli wrote it as satire, full of back-handed praise for the ruling style of the Medici, and it doesn't represent his actual views on ideal government*, it was among the first works to bluntly articulate a philosophy of ruthless pragmatism in politics at a time when most of the conversation around that topic was still couched in terms of Christian virtue. It gave truth to something that already existed but that no one was talking about, and in distilling that ruthlessness (even in critique) it managed to contain kernels of genuine wisdom.

                  *Arguably Machiavelli's actual views on politics and government can be found in Discourses on Livy, but its a more obtuse and scholarly screed that presumes the audience is already familiar with Titus Livy and his histories of the Roman Republic.

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                  • #10
                    As far as I know, there's very little evidence that it's satire beyond the fact that people just can't accept he meant what he said. His statements on it directly said it was sincere, and he very much wanted to use the book to get back into the Florentine government. Writing a satire addressed to the people who just tortured you and whose territory you still live in is pretty unlikely behaviour.

                    While people point to the Borgia stuff, it's pretty noticable that there are long sections where there's nothing that looks particularly satirical. Indeed, there are sections where he misses obvious targets. I mean, the section on Agathocles makes little sense as satire. Agathocles should be the obvious exemplar of the prince, but he's not.

                    It's more likely that Machiavelli just had complicated views. He's was a believer in republicanism, so his idea of a good principality is one organised like a Repubic.


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                    • #11
                      I agree it's more likely his views were complicated, but it's not really clear what form they took in that regard. While the satire argument is not super-well supported, it does successfully point out that The Prince is a deeply strange volume for Machiavelli to write. It's not just that Machiavelli was a life-long republican, it's that he's a life-long republican who really did not like principalities or princes, and articulated that in his writings both before and after The Prince. That he would write an argument seemingly in favor of Principalities, and deeply suspect of the wisdom of populations, really is strange. While the satire argument to me fails to provide a strong alternate reading to The Prince, its strength lies in helping The Prince line up with Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy.

                      To bring this back to CoD for a minute, I think it's this very dynamic which makes Machiavelli fit well into the line's political reality. A lot of the WoD's general politics return to this question about whether people can be trusted to govern themselves, or if they need some kind of governing authority. Machiavelli's writings provide a lot of very specific political situations you can use to gesture towards these questions.

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