Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was an Italian philosopher, historian, writer, diplomat, civil servant and humanist. Machiavelli was a founder of what we call modern political science. He is known for his political realism.

Machiavelli’s best-known work called “The Prince” is still very popular. It is a manual to keeping the political power. Although it is written in the form of a manual for a monarch, “The Prince” also contains arguments and explanations why republican regimes are superior.

Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes

The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.

— Niccolò Machiavelli

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success and more dangerous to carry through, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has against him those who benefited from the old system; while those who should benefit from the new are only lukewarm friends, being suspicious, as men generally are, of something new and not yet experienced. In speaking of innovations, it is first necessary to establish whether the innovators depend upon the strength of others or their own…in the first case, things always go badly for them, in the second, they almost always succeed. From this comes the fact that all armed prophets were victorious and the unarmed came to ruin.

— Niccolò Machiavelli

The sinews of war are not gold, but good soldiers; for gold alone will not procure good soldiers, but good soldiers will always procure gold.

— Niccolò Machiavelli

Never was anything great achieved without danger.

— Niccolò Machiavelli

If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.

— Niccolò Machiavelli

One should never allow chaos to develop in order to avoid going to war, because one does not avoid a war but instead puts it off to his disadvantage.

— Niccolò Machiavelli

It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles.

— Niccolò Machiavelli

Some princes, so as to hold securely the state, have disarmed their subjects…. But when you disarm them, you commence to offend them and show that you distrust them either through cowardice or lack of confidence, and both of these opinions generate hatred against you. And because the government cannot remain unarmed, it follows that the government turns to hired police. Therefore a wise prince has always distributed arms to the general population.

— Niccolò Machiavelli

Among other evils which being unarmed brings you, it causes you to be despised.

— Niccolò Machiavelli