A prince must have no other objective, no other thought, nor take up any profession but that of war, its methods and its discipline, for that is the only art expected of a ruler. And it is of such great value that it not only keeps hereditary princes in power, but often raises men of lowly condition to that rank.
This quote from Chapter XIV highlights warcraft as both an academic discipline that can be studied through historical examples and as a matter of practical experience. For Machiavelli, all affairs of government are viewed through a military lens, because the ultimate goal of a government is self-preservation; military defense—embracing ideas of strategy, diplomacy, and geography—is the means by which governments preserve themselves. Machiavelli does not conceive of the prince as a man skilled in many disciplines, but rather as one whose sole responsibility is to ensure the stability of the state that he governs.