Upon The First Ten (Books) of Titus Livy






Title Page of 1772 Edition

Portrait of Niccolo Machiavelli

Notes on the Text

Text Version

Book I [Decisions made by the Romans pertinent to the internal affairs of the City]
Chapter I What have generally been the beginnings of some Cities, and what was that of Rome
  II Of the kinds of Republics there are, and of which was the Roman Republic
  III What events caused the creation of the Tribunes of the Plebs in Rome, which made the Republic more perfect
  IV That disunion of the Plebs and the Roman Senate made that Republic free and powerful
  V Where the guarding of liberty is more securely placed, either in the People or in the Nobles; and which have the greater reason to become tumultuous either he who wants to acquire or he who wants to maintain
  VI Whether it was possible to establish a government in Rome which could eliminate the enmity between the Populace and the Senate
  VII How much the faculty of accusing (Judiciary) is necessary for a Republic for the maintenance of liberty
  VIII As much as accusations are useful to a Republic, so much so are calumnies pernicious
  IX How it is necessary for one man alone in desiring to organize a new Republic to reform its institutions entirely outside the ancient ones
  X As much as the founders of Republics and Kingdoms are laudable, so much are those of a Tyranny shameful
  XI Of the religions of the Romans
  XII Of how much importance should be given Religion; and how Italy, because the medium of the Roman Church was lacking, was ruined
  XIII How the Romans served themselves of Religion to establish the City and to carry out their enterprises and stop tumults
  XIV The Romans interpreted the auspices according to necessity, and with their prudence made a show of observing Religion, even when they were forced not to observe it, and if anyone recklessly disparaged it they punished him
  XV How the Samnites had recourse to Religion as an extreme remedy for the things afflicting them
  XVI A People accustomed to living under a Prince, if by some accident becomes free, maintains its liberty with difficulty
  XVII A corrupt People coming into their liberty can maintain itself free only with the greatest difficulty
  XVIII In what way in a corrupt City a free State can be maintained, if there is one there, or if not, how to establish it
  XIX A weak Prince who succeeds an excellent Prince can be maintained, but any Kingdom cannot be maintained if a weak one is succeeded by another weak one
  XX Two continuous successions of Princes of virtu achieve great results; and that well organized Republics of necessity have successions of virtu; therefore their acquisitions and expansions are great
  XXI How much blame that Prince and Republic merit who lack their own arms
  XXII What is to be noted in the case of the three Roman Horatii and of the three Alban Curatii
  XXIII That one ought not to put in peril all his fortune and all his forces; and because of this the guarding of passes is often harmful
  XXIV Well organized Republics establish rewards and penalties for their Citizens, but never compensate one (at the expense) of the other
  XXV Whoever wants to reform an ancient State into a free City, should retain at least a shadow of the ancient forms
  XXVI A new Prince in a City or Province taken by him ought to organize everything anew
  XXVII Very rarely do men know how to be entirely good or entirely bad
  XXVIII For what reasons the Romans were less ungrateful to their Citizens than the Athenians
  XXIX Which is more ungrateful, a People or a Prince
  XXX What means a Prince or a Republic ought to use to avoid this vice of ingratitude, and what that Captain or that Citizen ought to do so as not to be touched by it
  XXXI That Roman Captains were never extraordinarily punished for errors committed; nor were they yet punished when, by their ignorance or bad proceedings undertaken by them, harm ensued to the Republic
  XXXII A Republic or a Prince ought not to defer benefiting men in their necessity
  XXXIII When an evil has sprung up either within a State or against a State, it is a more salutary proceeding to temporize with it than to attack it rashly
  XXXIV The dictatorial authority did good and not harm to the Roman Republic; and that the authority which Citizens take away, not those are given them by free suffrage, are pernicious to Civil Society
  XXXV The reason why the creation of the Decemvirs in Rome was harmful to the liberty of that Republic, notwithstanding that it was created by public and free suffrage
  XXXVI Citizens who have been given the higher honors ought not to disdain the lesser
  XXXVII What troubles the Agrarian law brought forth in Rome; and how troublesome it is to make a law in a Republic which greatly regards the past but contrary to the ancient customs of the City
  XXXVIII Weak Republics are irresolute and do not know how to decide; and if they take up any proceeding, it results more from necessity than from election
  XXXIX The same incidents often happen to different People
  XL The creation of the Decemvirate in Rome, and what is to be noted in it; and where it will be considered among many other things how a Republic can be saved or ruined because of similar accidents
  XLI To jump from humility to pride and from mercy to cruelty without profitable means, is an imprudent and useless thing
  XLII How easily man may be corrupted
  XLIII Those who combat for their own glory are good and faithful Soldiers
  XLIV A multitude without a head is useless, and one ought not to threaten first, and then seek authority
  XLV It is a bad example not to observe a Law that has been made, and especially by the author of it; and it is most harmful to renew every day new injuries in a City and to the one who governs it
  XLVI Men jump from one ambition to another, and first they seek not to be offended, then to offend others
  XLVII Men, although they deceive themselves in general matters do not deceive themselves in the particulars
  XLVIII Whoever wants a Magistracy not to be given to a vile or wicked one, will have it asked by a man more vile and more wicked, or by one more noble and more good
  XLIX If those Cities which had their beginning free as Rome, have had difficulty in finding laws that would maintain them, those that had their beginning in servitude have almost an impossibility
  L A Council or Magistrate ought not to be able to stop the activities of a City
  LI A Republic or a Prince ought to feign to do through liberality, that which necessity constrains them
  LII To reprimand the insolence of a powerful one who springs up in a Republic, there is no more secure and less troublesome way than to forestall him those ways by which he comes to power
  LIII The People many times desire their ruin, deceived by a false species of good: and how great hopes and strong promises easily move them
  LIV How much authority a great Man has in restraining an excited Multitude (mob)
  LV How easily things are managed in that City where the Multitude is not corrupt, and that where there is equality a Principality cannot be established, and where there is none a Republic cannot be established
  LVI Before great events occur in a City or a Province, signs come which foretell them, or men who predict them
  LVII Together the Plebs are strong, dispersed they are weak
  LVIII The Multitude is wiser and more constant than a Prince
  LIX Which Alliances or Leagues can be trusted, whether those made with a Republic or those made with a Prince
  LX How the Consulship and every other Magistracy in Rome ought to be (bestowed) without any regard to age
Book II [That which the Roman people did pertinent to the aggrandizement of their Empire]
Chapter I Whether Virtu or Fortune was the greater cause for the Empire which the Romans acquired
  II With what People the Romans had to combat, and how obstinately they defended their liberty
  III Rome became a great City by ruining the surrounding Cities and admitting foreigners easily to her honors
  IV Republics have had three ways of expanding
  V That the changes of sects and languages, together with the accident of deluges and pestilence, extinguished the memory of things
  VI How the Romans proceeded in making war
  VII How much land the Romans gave each colonist
  VIII The reason why People depart from their national places and inundate the country of others
  IX What causes commonly make wars arise between the powerful
  X Money is not the sinew of war although this is common opinion
  XI It is not a prudent proceeding to make an alliance with a Prince who has more reputation than power
  XII Is it better, fearing to be assaulted, to carry out or await war
  XIII That one comes from the bottom to a great fortune more by fraud than by force
  XIV Men often deceive themselves believing that by humility they overcome haughtiness
  XV Weak States are always ambiguous in their resolutions, and weak decisions are always harmful
  XVI How much the soldiers in our times are different from the ancient organization
  XVII How much the army ought to esteem the artillery in the present times, and if that opinion that is generally had of it is true
  XVIII That because of the authority of the Romans and by the example of ancient armies, the infantry ought to be more esteemed than cavalry
  XIX That acquisitions in Republics not well organized and that do not proceed according to Roman virtu, are the ruin and not the exaltation of them
  XX What perils are brought to that Prince or that Republic which avails itself of auxiliary and mercenary troops
  XXI The first Praetor which the Romans sent any place was the Capua, four hundred years after they had begun to make war (against that City)
  XXII How often the opinions of men in judging things (to be) great are false
  XXIII How much the Romans, in judging the matters for any incident that should necessitate such judgment, avoided half-way measures
  XXIV Fortresses are generally more harmful than useful
  XXV That the assaulting of a disunited City in order to occupy it by means of its disunion is an error
  XXVI Contempt and insult generate hatred against those who employ them, without any usefulness to them
  XXVII To prudent Princes and Republics, it ought to be enough to win, for often it is not enough if they lose
  XXVIII How dangerous it is for a Prince or a Republic, not to avenge an injury made against the public or a private (citizen)
  XXIX Fortune blinds the minds of men when she does not want them to oppose her designs
  XXX Truly powerful Republics and Princes do not purchase friendship with money, but with virtu and reputation of strength
  XXXI How dangerous it is to believe exiles
  XXXII In how many ways the Romans occupied Towns
  XXXIII How the Romans gave their Captains of armies uncontrolled commissions
Book III [Preservation and governance of the State]
Chapter I To want that a Sect or a Republic exist for long, it is necessary to return them often to their Principles
  II How at times it is a very wise thing to simulate madness
  III How it was necessary, in wanting to maintain the newly acquired liberty, to kill the sons of Brutus
  IV A prince does not live securely in a Principality while those who have been despoiled of it live
  V That which makes a King lose the Kingdom that was inherited by him
  VI Of conspiracies
  VII Whence that when changes take place from liberty to slavery, and from slavery to liberty, some are effected without bloodshed, and some are full of it
  VIII He who wants to alter a Republic ought to consider its condition
  IX How one must change with the times, if he wants to have good fortune always
  X That a Captain cannot avoid an engagement if the Adversary wants to do so in every way
  XI That he who has to do with many, even though he is inferior, as long as he resists the first attack, wins
  XII How a prudent Captain ought to impose every necessity for fighting on his soldiers, and take them away from the Enemy
  XIII Where one should have more confidence, either in a good Captain who has a weak Army, or in a good Army which has a weak Captain
  XIV What effects the new invention and new voices have that appear in the midst of battle
  XV That an Army should have one, and not many, in charge, and that many Commanders are harmful
  XVI That true virtu is difficult to find in difficult times, and in easy times it is not men of virtu that prevail, but those who have more favor because of riches or (powerful) relation
  XVII That one who has been offended ought not to be placed in any administration and government of importance
  XVIII Nothing is more worthy of a Captain than to penetrate the proceedings of the Enemy
  XIX Whether obsequies are more necessary than punishment in ruling a multitude
  XX An example of how humanity did influence the Faliscians more than all the power of Rome
  XXI Whence it happened that Hannibal, with a different method of proceeding than Scipio, achieved the same result in Italy as the latter (did in Spain)
  XXII How the harshness of Manlius Torquatus and the humanity of Valerius Corvinus acquired the same glory for each
  XXIII For what reason Camillus was driven out of Rome
  XXIV The prolongation of (military) commands made Rome slave
  XXV Of the poverty of Cincinnatus and many Roman citizens
  XXVI How a State is ruined because of women
  XXVII How a divided City is to be united, and how that opinion is not true which supposes that it is necessary to keep a City disunited in order to hold it
  XXVIII That the actions of citizens ought to be observed, for many times a beginning of tyranny is hidden under a pious act
  XXIX That the faults of the People arise from the Princes
  XXX For a citizen who wants to do some good deed in his Republic on his own authority, it is first necessary to extinguish envy; and how the defense of a City ought to be organized on the coming of the Enemy
  XXXI Strong Republics and excellent men retain the same courage and dignity in any fortune
  XXXII What means some have had to disturb a peace
  XXXIII In wanting to win an engagement, it is necessary to make the army have confidence both in themselves and in their captain
  XXXIV What fame or voice or opinion which a people make begins to favor a citizen; and whether they distribute the magistracies with greater prudence than a Prince
  XXXV What dangers occur in making oneself head in counselling a thing, and how much the danger increases when it is an extraordinary thing
  XXXVI The reason why the Gauls have been, and still are, judged at the beginning of a battle to be more than men, and afterwards less than women
  XXXVII Whether skirmishes before an engagement are necessary, and how to recognize a new enemy if they are avoided
  XXXVIII How a Captain ought to be constituted, in whom in army can confide
  XXXIX That a Captain ought to be one having a knowledge of sites
  XL That to use deceit in the managing of a war is a glorious thing
  XLI That one's country ought to be defended, whether with ignominy or with glory, but it can be defended in whatever manner
  XLII That promises made by force ought not to be observed
  XLIII That men born in a province observe for all time almost the same natures
  XLIV Impetuosity and audacity many times can obtain that which, with ordinary means, can never be obtained
  XLV What is the better proceeding in battle, either to sustain the first shock of the enemy, and having sustained it, hurl them back, or rather to assault him first with fury
  XLVI Whence it happens that a family in a city for a time, have the same customs
  XLVII That for the love of his country, a good citizen ought to forget private injuries
  XLVIII When a good error is seen to be made by the enemy, it ought to be believed that it is done under deceit
  XLIX A Republic wanting to maintain itself free has some need of new precautions, and it was by such methods that Q. Fabius was called Maximus
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Original URL: http://constitution.org/mac/disclivy_.htm | Text Version
Maintained: Jon Roland of the Constitution Society
Original date: 1999/10/12 — 
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