Sep. 26, 2013
Machiavelli Chapters 68
Machiavelli’s attitude toward legitimacy:
We tend to view a democratic government as a legitimate one.
Republic like a hereditary monarchy represented the power of inertia in political life.
• Plunges us into Machiavelli’s vortex.
• Brings forth examples greater than Alexander the Great
• Machiavelli’s examples are of men who fit the highest order
• He is not mentioning that Lorenzo is not of their league, but rather that if he aims
high, he may reach that level.
• Of these men, the most excellent are Moses, Cyrus, Theseus, and Romulus
• Machiavelli raises Moses only to drop him, which raises us to question why he
would choose to raise him at all?
• As Machiavelli puts it, Moses is acting on behalf of something that is greater than
• Machiavelli alludes to that grace that Moses had when speaking to God. So even
though he was lower than God (the highest), Moses was still higher than most
people (namely men).
• Thus Moses is incomparably higher than those other figures that Machiavelli
Machiavelli suddenly implies a change in argument
• Cyrus and the others are all admirable, and what Moses did was nothing
extraordinary compared to the others.
• Machiavelli was implying that Moses was an imposter because he used God as a
tool to further his own identity… unlike Cyrus and the others who acted on their
• Machiavelli says that the founders secured their state and their security
(concerned with their own well being)
• The new laws that these founders bring is a means to the goal (of being founder)
• Whenever those who are enemies have the opportunity to attack, they do so with
zeal. They go about this through 2 ways: beg, or go about force and on their own
• Beg ▯not so useful
• Force ▯
• Armed prophets and unarmed prophets
• Armed prophets = successful, and got their prophecy to be accepted • Unarmed prophets = unsuccessful, and were not able to get their prophecies
• Armed prophets are able to convey people to obey and believe (Armed prophets
can compel people to believe, through fear. Fear = to believe)
• Savonarola points to Jesus as the great unanswered question, since he was an
• Christ and Muhammad are not viewed as prophets in all three faiths (Judaism,
Christianity and Islam), but Moses is viewed in that light.
• The divine