Chapters 26

A Call To Liberate Italy From The Invaders Icon

September 20, 2021

Is the present times right for a new prince?

Are there were elements that would give an opportunity to a wise and virtuous one to introduce a new order of things which would bring honour to him and good to the people?

So many things now come together to favour a new prince. This is the best time for one.

It was necessary for:

  • the Israelites to be in chains in order to make the ability of Moses clear
  • the Persians to be oppressed by the Medes in order to discover the greatness of Cyrus
  • the Athenians should be scattered to illustrate the capabilities of Theseus

In order to discover the virtue of an Italian spirit now, it was necessary that Italy were reduced to her current conditions. She is now:

  • more enslaved than the Hebrews
  • more oppressed than the Persians
  • more scattered than the Athenians

She is without a head, without order, beaten, exploited, torn, invaded, and suffering every kind of ill fortune.

Lately, someone has made us think that he was chosen by God to save us. But fortune later rejected him.

So Italy, left as dead:

  • waits for someone to heal her wounds and to end:
    • the destruction and exploitation of Lombardy
    • the cheating and taxing of Italy and Tuscany
  • begs God to send someone who shall deliver her from these oppressions
  • is willing to follow a flag, if only someone will raise it

Presently, your noble house is the best hope in Italy to lead this liberation. Your house has courage and fortune, favoured by God and by the Church of which it is now the chief.

This will not be difficult if you remember the actions and lives of the men I have named. They had the same opportunity as what the present offers to you. Their campaigns were neither more just nor easier than this, nor was God more their friend than He is yours.

On our side there is great justice, because a necessary war is just. Our weapons are blessed when there is no other hope but in them.

Everything has contributed to your greatness. You should do the rest. God is not willing to do everything. Thus, take away our free will and that share of glory which belongs to us.

The Italians lost military virtue because the old order of things was not good. None of us have known how to find a new one.

Nothing honours a man more than to establish new laws when he himself is newly risen. Such things when they are well founded and proper will make him loved and admired. In Italy there are great opportunities to do this.

Here, there is great courage in the limbs while it fails in the head. Look carefully at the individual hand-to-hand fights, to see the excellence of the Italians in strength, speed, and skill.

But when it comes to armies they are hopeless. This is entirely the result of poor leadership. Those who are capable are not obeyed.

Each one thinks they are capable. But no one stands out above the rest, either in courage or fortune.

Hence for so long a time, and during so much fighting in the past 20 years, the Italian armies have always performed badly. The first example of this is Il Taro. After this are Allesandria, Capua, Genoa, Vaila, Bologna, Mestri.

Although individually the tropps are good, together they will be much better when commanded by their prince, respected by him, and maintained at his expense.

Swiss and Spanish foot soldiers are very strong. But both have a weakness. This allows a third order to oppose them and even defeat them.

The Spaniards cannot resist cavalry. The Swiss are afraid of foot soldiers in close fighting. This is why:

  • the Spaniards are unable to resist French cavalry
  • the Swiss are beaten by Spanish foot soldiers.
    • This is somewhat proven at the battle of Ravenna when the Spanish foot soldiers were faced by German soldiers, who fight in the same way as the Swiss.
    • The Spaniards used skill, speed, and their shields to go under the spears of the Germans and attacked while the Germans stood helpless.

If the cavalry had not quickly attacked, the Germans would have been finished. We can invent a new army to resist cavalry attacks and not be afraid of foot soldiers.

This need not create a new order of arms, but may simply be a variation of the old. These are the kinds of improvements which confer reputation and power upon a new prince.

Nor can one express the love with which he would be received in all those parts of Italy which have suffered so much from these foreign attacks, with what thirst for revenge, with what strong faith, with what devotion, with what tears. What door would be closed to him? Who would refuse obedience to him?

What envy would hinder him? What Italian would refuse him to honour him?

To all of us this present situation is unbearable. Let, therefore,

Your great family should take up this task with that courage and hope with which all just causes are undertaken, so that under its flag our native country may be made great again. Under your command, that saying of Petrarch will be shown to be true Virtue against fury shall advance the fight.

For the old Roman courage is not dead. It still burns in the Italians’ hearts.

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