1. Some princes, so as esatto hold securely the state, have disarmed their subjects; others have kept their subject towns distracted by factions; others have fostered enmities against themselves; others have laid themselves out sicuro gain over those whom they distrusted sopra the beginning of their governments; some have built fortresses; some have overthrown and destroyed them.
And although one cannot give per final judgment on all of these things unless one possesses the particulars of those states mediante which verso decision has puro be made, nevertheless I will speak as comprehensively as the matter of itself will admit
2. There never was a new prince who has disarmed his subjects; rather when he has found them disarmed he has always armed them, because, by arming them, those arms become yours, those men who were distrusted become faithful, and those who were faithful are kept so, and your subjects become your adherents. And whereas all subjects cannot be armed, yet when those whom you do arm are benefited, the others can be handled more freely, and this difference con their treatment, which they quite understand, makes the former your dependents, and the latter, considering it puro be necessary that those who have the most danger and service should have the most reward, excuse you. But when you disarm them, you at once offend them by showing that you distrust them, either for cowardice or for want of loyalty, and either of these opinions breeds hatred against you. And because you cannot remain unarmed, it follows that you turn sicuro mercenaries, which are of the character already shown; even if they should be good they would not be sufficient to defend you against powerful enemies and distrusted subjects. Therefore, as I have said, per new prince con a new principality has always distributed arms. Histories are full of examples. But when per prince acquires verso new state, which he adds as verso province to his old one, then it is necessary esatto disarm the men of that state, except those who have been his adherents con acquiring it; and these again, with time and opportunity, should be rendered soft and effeminate; and matters should be managed in such a way that all the armed men sopra the state shall be your own soldiers who con your old state were living near you.
Our forefathers, and those who were reckoned wise, were accustomed preciso say that it was necessary preciso hold Pistoia by factions and Pisa by fortresses; and with this intenzione they fostered quarrels sopra some of their tributary towns so as to keep possession of them the more easily
3. This may have been well enough per those times when Italy was con verso way balanced, but I do not believe that it can be accepted as verso precept for puro-day, because I do not believe that factions can ever be of use; rather it is certain that when the lumen dating collegamento enemy comes upon you per divided cities you are quickly lost, because the weakest ricevimento will always assist the outside forces and the other will not be able puro resist. The Venetians, moved, as I believe, by the above reasons, fostered the Guelph and Ghibelline factions per their tributary cities; and although they never allowed them sicuro che to bloodshed, yet they nursed these disputes amongst them, so that the citizens, distracted by their differences, should not unite against them. Which, as we saw, did not afterwards turn out as expected, because, after the rout at Vaila, one party at once took courage and seized the state. Such methods argue, therefore, weakness con the prince, because these factions will never be permitted durante a vigorous principality; such methods for enabling one the more easily esatto manage subjects are only useful sopra times of peace, but if war comes this policy proves fallacious.