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Chapter 13

CHAPTER XIII

CONCERNING AUXILIARIES, MIXED SOLDIERY, AND ONE'S OWN

Auxiliaries, which are the other useless arm, are employed when a
prince is called in with his forces to aid and defend, as was done by
Pope Julius in the most recent times; for he, having, in the
enterprise against Ferrara, had poor proof of his mercenaries, turned
to auxiliaries, and stipulated with Ferdinand, King of Spain,[*] for
his assistance with men and arms. These arms may be useful and good in
themselves, but for him who calls them in they are always
disadvantageous; for losing, one is undone, and winning, one is their
captive.

[*] Ferdinand V (F. II of Aragon and Sicily, F. III of Naples),
surnamed "The Catholic," born 1542, died 1516.

And although ancient histories may be full of examples, I do not wish
to leave this recent one of Pope Julius the Second, the peril of which
cannot fail to be perceived; for he, wishing to get Ferrara, threw
himself entirely into the hands of the foreigner. But his good fortune
brought about a third event, so that he did not reap the fruit of his
rash choice; because, having his auxiliaries routed at Ravenna, and
the Switzers having risen and driven out the conquerors (against all
expectation, both his and others), it so came to pass that he did not
become prisoner to his enemies, they having fled, nor to his
auxiliaries, he having conquered by other arms than theirs.

The Florentines, being entirely without arms, sent ten thousand
Frenchmen to take Pisa, whereby they ran more danger than at any other
time of their troubles.

The Emperor of Constantinople,[*] to oppose his neighbours, sent ten
thousand Turks into Greece, who, on the war being finished, were not
willing to quit; this was the beginning of the servitude of Greece to
the infidels.

[*] Joannes Cantacuzenus, born 1300, died 1383.

Therefore, let him who has no desire to conquer make use of these
arms, for they are much more hazardous than mercenaries, because with
them the ruin is ready made; they are all united, all yield obedience
to others; but with mercenaries, when they have conquered, more time
and better opportunities are needed to injure you; they are not all of
one community, they are found and paid by you, and a third party,
which you have made their head, is not able all at once to assume
enough authority to injure you. In conclusion, in mercenaries dastardy
is most dangerous; in auxiliaries, valour. The wise prince, therefore,
has always avoided these arms and turned to his own; and has been
willing rather to lose with them than to conquer with the others, not
deeming that a real victory which is gained with the arms of others.

I shall never hesitate to cite Cesare Borgia and his actions. This
duke entered the Romagna with auxiliaries, taking there only French
soldiers, and with them he captured Imola and Forli; but afterwards,
such forces not appearing to him reliable, he turned to mercenaries,
discerning less danger in them, and enlisted the Orsini and Vitelli;
whom presently, on handling and finding them doubtful, unfaithful, and
dangerous, he destroyed and turned to his own men. And the difference
between one and the other of these forces can easily be seen when one
considers the difference there was in the reputation of the duke, when
he had the French, when he had the Orsini and Vitelli, and when he
relied on his own soldiers, on whose fidelity he could always count
and found it ever increasing; he was never esteemed more highly than
when every one saw that he was complete master of his own forces.

I was not intending to go beyond Italian and recent examples, but I am
unwilling to leave out Hiero, the Syracusan, he being one of those I
have named above. This man, as I have said, made head of the army by
the Syracusans, soon found out that a mercenary soldiery, constituted
like our Italian condottieri, was of no use; and it appearing to him
that he could neither keep them not let them go, he had them all cut
to pieces, and afterwards made war with his own forces and not with
aliens.

I wish also to recall to memory an instance from the Old Testament
applicable to this subject. David offered himself to Saul to fight
with Goliath, the Philistine champion, and, to give him courage, Saul
armed him with his own weapons; which David rejected as soon as he had
them on his back, saying he could make no use of them, and that he
wished to meet the enemy with his sling and his knife. In conclusion,
the arms of others either fall from your back, or they weigh you down,
or they bind you fast.

Charles the Seventh,[*] the father of King Louis the Eleventh,[+]
having by good fortune and valour liberated France from the English,
recognized the necessity of being armed with forces of his own, and he
established in his kingdom ordinances concerning men-at-arms and
infantry. Afterwards his son, King Louis, abolished the infantry and
began to enlist the Switzers, which mistake, followed by others, is,
as is now seen, a source of peril to that kingdom; because, having
raised the reputation of the Switzers, he has entirely diminished the
value of his own arms, for he has destroyed the infantry altogether;
and his men-at-arms he has subordinated to others, for, being as they
are so accustomed to fight along with Switzers, it does not appear
that they can now conquer without them. Hence it arises that the
French cannot stand against the Switzers, and without the Switzers
they do not come off well against others. The armies of the French
have thus become mixed, partly mercenary and partly national, both of
which arms together are much better than mercenaries alone or
auxiliaries alone, but much inferior to one's own forces. And this
example proves it, for the kingdom of France would be unconquerable if
the ordinance of Charles had been enlarged or maintained.

[*] Charles VII of France, surnamed "The Victorious," born 1403, died
1461.

[+] Louis XI, son of the above, born 1423, died 1483.

But the scanty wisdom of man, on entering into an affair which looks
well at first, cannot discern the poison that is hidden in it, as I
have said above of hectic fevers. Therefore, if he who rules a
principality cannot recognize evils until they are upon him, he is not
truly wise; and this insight is given to few. And if the first
disaster to the Roman Empire[*] should be examined, it will be found
to have commenced only with the enlisting of the Goths; because from
that time the vigour of the Roman Empire began to decline, and all
that valour which had raised it passed away to others.

[*] "Many speakers to the House the other night in the debate on the
reduction of armaments seemed to show a most lamentable ignorance
of the conditions under which the British Empire maintains its
existence. When Mr Balfour replied to the allegations that the
Roman Empire sank under the weight of its military obligations, he
said that this was 'wholly unhistorical.' He might well have added
that the Roman power was at its zenith when every citizen
acknowledged his liability to fight for the State, but that it
began to decline as soon as this obligation was no longer
recognized."--Pall Mall Gazette, 15th May 1906.

I conclude, therefore, that no principality is secure without having
its own forces; on the contrary, it is entirely dependent on good
fortune, not having the valour which in adversity would defend it. And
it has always been the opinion and judgment of wise men that nothing
can be so uncertain or unstable as fame or power not founded on its
own strength. And one's own forces are those which are composed either
of subjects, citizens, or dependents; all others are mercenaries or
auxiliaries. And the way to make ready one's own forces will be easily
found if the rules suggested by me shall be reflected upon, and if one
will consider how Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, and many
republics and princes have armed and organized themselves, to which
rules I entirely commit myself.

Niccolo Machiavelli

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