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The Prince

Niccolò Machiavelli


Terms & People

Terms & People

Terms & People

Terms & People

Agathocles -  Ruler of Syracuse (317–310 B.C.) who conquered all of Sicily except for territory dominated by Carthage; he was eventually defeated by the Carthaginian army.
Alexander - Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia (336–323 B.C.). He conquered Greece, Persia, and much of Asia.
Alexander VI  - Elected pope in 1492. Challenged by French invasion of Italy and a war between France and Spain. Father of Cesare Borgia.
Auxiliary troops  - Troops borrowed from other nations to fight for a prince. Organized and effective in battle, they nonetheless have loyalties to their home state.
Cesare Borgia -  Also called Duke Valentino (1476–1507). Cesare Borgia was made duke of Romagna by his father, Pope Alexander VI, in 1501. He lost power after the death of the pope. Cesare Borgia is Machiavelli’s primary example of a prince who has great prowess, as displayed by his efforts to secure his state quickly after he was put in power.
Composite principality -  A principality that is either newly created or annexed from another power. These principalities can differ in their culture, language, and attitudes in relation to the prince, since he is an unfamiliar ruler. These principalities pose the most difficulties.
Cyrus - Founder of the Persian Empire.
Ecclesiastical principalities -  A principality technically under the rulership of a prince, but nonetheless strongly dominated by the Church.
Hereditary principality -  A principality ruled by a prince whose family has controlled the principality for several generations. Hereditary principalities, according to Machiavelli, are generally easy to rule and maintain.
Julius II - Reigned as pope 1503–1513. Julius II strengthened the power of the Church through vigorous leadership and intelligent diplomacy. He defeated Roman barons and negotiated an alliance against France.
Leo X - Elected pope in 1513. Leo X was an advocate of the Medici family.
Mercenary troops -  Troops that are paid to perform a service for the prince. Because they have no loyalty to the prince, and money is their only inducement to fight, they are unreliable as a means of defense. They will be unwilling to die in battle and therefore will not fight vigorously.
Native troops -  Broad term to describe the native army of a principality, consisting of countrymen and commanded either by a prince himself or a confidant.
Principality -  A localized territory or region ruled by a prince (or princess), from which the term is derived. A prince may rule more than one principality. All principalities can be grouped under the general category of “state.” A principality is ruled autocratically and is therefore distinguished from a republic, the only other type of state. For the most part, the advice found in The Prince is geared toward principalities, although the book does reference republics in some cases.
Prowess - The ability to conquer and govern. Machiavelli uses this term as the opposite of “fortune.”
Republic - A state not ruled by a monarch or prince but headed by elected officials accountable to a larger citizenry. Machiavelli distinguishes a republic from a principality, which the bulk of The Prince takes as its subject.
Romulus - Founder and first king of Rome.
Septimius Severus -  Roman emperor (a.d. 193–211).
Theseus - Hero of Attica, king of Athens. According to legend, he killed the Minotaur in the Cretan labyrinth.


What term best describes a group of soldiers paid to perform a service for the prince?
Mercenary troops
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