Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-tn8tq Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-21T12:08:29.710Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

7 - Machiavelli’s military project and the Art of War

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 September 2010

John M. Najemy
Affiliation:
Cornell University, New York
Get access

Summary

The military occupies a paradoxical, if not controversial, place in Machiavelli scholarship. Most commentators agree that Machiavelli's concern with military affairs was at the heart of his political thinking and that the military crisis of contemporary Italy crucially influenced his views. It is widely recognized that Machiavelli considered force and military strength to be determining factors in relations among states. Scholars also concur that his involvement with the new Florentine militia ordinance of 1506 was an important formative experience during his chancery days and that the idea of a conscript army or citizen militia was a key element in his classically inspired republicanism. Despite this widespread acknowledgment of the role of the military in Machiavelli's thought, the Art of War (1521), his most systematic and detailed treatment of military organization and the methods of war, remains by far the least studied of his major works. How can this paradox be explained, and is this relative lack of interest in the Art of War justifiable? This chapter analyzes Machiavelli's military experience and writings on military matters and takes a critical look at the Art of War. By comparing this late work to the earlier memoranda Machiavelli composed in connection with the militia project and his theorizing on military affairs in The Prince and the Discourses, we will ask how and to what extent the Art of War contributes to our overall understanding of Machiavelli's political and military project, and in what way his military experience and the role he played in the militia ordinance of 1506 prepared, or anticipated, his views on military affairs in the major works.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×