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Lecture 3

POL200Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Tyrant, Political Fiction, Cesare Borgia

Political Science
Course Code
Clifford Orwin

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Chapter Six:
The greatest political examples:
o Holy new princes and principalities
Example of Moses is not relevant
o Is Moses a higher or lower example of the other figures mentioned?
Lower, because he was a mere executor by God
Higher, because he was God's messenger
o In terms of political virtue, he may seem inferior to others
o To any religious person, Moses' virtue ranks higher than any other political example
Cyrus and other examples:
o If their actions and orders are considered, they are not so different from Moses
o Suggestion of Moses:
Moses is not really a religious figure, but a leader
Could be Moses was not a genuine servant of God, but an imposter or a liar
o If the others did the same as Moses without God, then Moses could have done it
without God as well
Moses does belong in the chapter, because he was a man that depended only on himself as
an imposter, not a religious figure
o Fundamental inversion of the bible's teaching on Moses
Unclear whether 'their' refers to just the three examples, or the three examples AND Moses
Moses saw the oppression of the Israelites in Egypt as his chance to act
Difficulties in acquiring principalities
What is Machiavelli's suggestion?
o God and his means of law was for Moses to achieve security
Traditional distinction (two categories) among prophets:
o True prophets and false prophets
o Machiavelli does this through armed prophets and unarmed prophets
Prophet who relies on God will fail
Prophet who does not rely on God will succeed
o Prophet:
Greek for spokesman
Moses and other examples would not have been able to make people believe their
constitutions for long if they were unarmed
Machiavelli says twice:
o Making unbelievers turn into believers
Force can make people believe
o Fear that is great enough will not only compel people, but shape and form them
o Moses put his fear of his God into the Israelites
This chapter, fear takes center stage
Successful prophecy is stemmed from terror
Hiero, the ancient tyrant
o Lesser example than Moses, but similar
Why does Machiavelli focus on Moses and not Jesus or others?
o Examining Christ directly is risky
o Treatment of Christ throughout the book is indirect
o Christians, Jews, and Muslims all recognize Moses
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