Maxims and Reflections (Ricordi)

Maxims and Reflections (Ricordi)
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Sign in Create an account. Syntax Advanced Search. About us. Editorial team. Francesco Guicciardini. The right way is to think, Edit this record. Mark as duplicate. Find it on Scholar. Request removal from index.

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Revision history. In any war there is no greater enemy than entering into it in the belief that it is as good as won. For even if wars appear very easy and certain they are subject to a thousand accidents, which are made worse if those involved are not ready with courage and resources—as they would have been if they had considered the war difficult from the very beginning. Whoever was the author of that saying that moneys are the sinews of war, and those who later repeated it, did not mean that money suffices by itself to make war, nor that it is more necessary than soldiers, for that would have been a view not only false but quite ridiculous.

It means, however, that anyone making war has an extreme need for money and that without it, war would be impossible to sustain, for money is not only necessary to pay troops but to provide arms, victuals, spies, munitions, and all the instruments used in war, which demand a flood of money impossible to imagine without personal experience. And although sometimes an army lacking money may make up for it by its strength and courage and by lucky victories, nevertheless these are very rare instances, particularly in our own times.

And in every case and every age, money does not run after armies until after victory. I admit that anyone with soldiers of their own may make war at smaller expense than those who have mercenary troops; nevertheless, those who make war with their own troops need money too, and not everybody has native troops.

And it is much easier to find soldiers by means of money than to find money through soldiers. Anyone therefore who interprets that saying in the sense of the person who first said it and as it is usually understood, will not be surprised, and not condemn it in any respect.

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by Francesco Guicciardini (Author), Mario Domandi (Translator), Nicolai Rubinstein (Introduction) & 0 more. This item:Maxims and Reflections (Ricordi) by Francesco Guicciardini Paperback $ The Defeat of a Renaissance Intellectual: Selected Writings of Francesco Guicciardini. "In the history of Renaissance thought, Guicciardini's Ricordi occupy a place of singular importance. Few works of the sixteenth century allow us so penetrating.

Guicciardini gave extensive consideration to how rulers should act. There follows seven such sage pieces of advice, only a modest sampling of his observations in the Ricordi , that speak to certain perquisites of wise leadership.

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In one of them, he pokes gentle fun at himself in recalling his less than stellar record in negotiation, owing to his candid character. In another, he sees the basis of human solidarity in a mutual forgiveness of our flawed natures. Ambition is not to be condemned, nor should one revile the ambitious man's desires to attain glory by honourable and worthy means. Such men as these do great and outstanding things, and anyone who lacks this urge is a cold spirit and inclined rather to idleness than to effort.


Ambition is pernicious and detestable when its sole end is power. This is usually true of those princes who, when they set it up as an idol to achieve what will lead them to power, set aside conscience, honour, humanity, and all else. In political affairs we should not consider so much what reason shows a prince should do, as what he can be expected to do according to his nature or habit.

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For princes often do, not as they should, but what they can, or what they feel like doing. Those who judge by any other rule may make great mistakes. Rulers of states should not be frightened of apparent dangers even though they may appear great, imminent, and virtually real, for, as the proverb says, the devil is not as ugly as he is painted. Often dangers resolve themselves through various accidents, and even when the worst happens, one may find some mitigation more than one hoped.

Consider well this axiom, for it is frequently useful. Let princes beware above all those who arc by nature hard to please, because they will never be able so to benefit and satisfy them that they will be sure of their loyalty. This glory is greatly increased by its proper use, that is, by showing mercy and letting it suffice to have conquered. I have always been by nature very frank and a great enemy of long drawn-out negotiations, hence those who have had to negotiate with me have found their task easy. Nevertheless, I have found that in all affairs it is of the greatest value to negotiate from a strong position.

The essence of this is not to come to the final terms at once, but standing aloof, to allow oneself to be drawn on step by step and with difficulty. If you do this you may often obtain more than you would have been satisfied with. Those who negotiate as I have done, never get more than their minimum demands.

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Palmarocchi, cit. There are fewer person years of employment that can be taxed to pay for more person years of retirement and health care. No ratings or reviews yet. John M. Customers who bought this item also bought. Retrieved September 24, from Encyclopedia.

Everybody has faults, some more and some less; however, friendship cannot last, nor allegiance, nor companionship, if men will not put up with one another. Men must know one another, and remembering that by change one cannot avoid all defects, but one meets either with the same or perhaps greater failings, one should be ready to suffer them as long as they are things which may easily be tolerated, or are of no great importance.

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Do not be surprised that much is unknown about former ages or about what is happening in distant towns and provinces. For if you consider well, there is no accurate information to be had about present-day affairs or those done daily in the same city, and often between the palace and the public square there is such a dense fog or thick wall, that being impenetrable to the human eye, the people know as much of what those in power are doing and their reasons for it as of what is going on in India.

Hence the world is easily filled with false and vain opinions. In this world those men conduct their affairs well who always keep before them their own interests and measure all their actions by this purpose. Those do badly who do not know their own best interests; that is, who think them always to lie in some monetary advantage, rather than in honour and in knowing how to preserve one's reputation and good name.

Guicciardini was caustic regarding those who offered prophecies of the future.

Maxims and Reflections (Ricordi)

He draws attention to the evident weaknesses of such prophecies, losing in plausibility the further they descend into detail. Future events are so chancy and subject to so many accidents that most times even those who arc really wise are deceived in them. Sort order. Oct 25, Tony Gualtieri rated it it was amazing. One of the wisest books I've ever read. Guicciardini, a Florentine diplomat and friend of Machiavelli, collected his thoughts on self-interest in service of the powerful in this series of ricordi.

They give the feeling of being developed through observation and experience rather than by any attempt at a philosophy or a system. Some of the topics covered include the role of boldness, luck, and deception in achieving success; the value of reputation and ways to maintain it; how people are driven m One of the wisest books I've ever read. Some of the topics covered include the role of boldness, luck, and deception in achieving success; the value of reputation and ways to maintain it; how people are driven more by hope than by fear, and why being stingy with generosity helps to build hope in others; how negatives are exaggerated and positives underrated; etc.

Together they build up a picture of how to survive and succeed in a politicized context. It's a brilliant picture of an observant mind.

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Feb 12, James rated it really liked it Shelves: aphorisms , philosophy , u-of-chicago , italian-lit. Sixteenth century Italy is remembered as the time of Machiavelli, but it also produced another noteworthy author of maxims and other works in Francesco Guicciardini March 6, - May 22, Guicciardini is considered as the Father of Modern History, due to his use of government documents to verify his "History of Italy.

Hi Sixteenth century Italy is remembered as the time of Machiavelli, but it also produced another noteworthy author of maxims and other works in Francesco Guicciardini March 6, - May 22, His Maxims and Reflections were recorded over the better part of two decades and reflect his thoughts on various questions based on his personal experience. In spite of increasing skepticism, Guicciardini argues in these maxims for the superiority of reason over ignorance. The turmoil in his world is never far from the surface of this work and it is a worthy source of reading enjoyment.

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The maxims provide a window on an age and a record of renaissance political thought during the greatness of the Italian Renaissance. Feb 02, Claudia rated it it was amazing. Francesco Guicciardini was a famous Italian Statesman, living in the late 15th century and early 16th century. He was a friend but also a critic of Niccolo Machiavelli.