Yves Winter The Prince and His Art of War: Machiavelli's Military Populism EVEN IF THE BOUNDARIES BETWEEN WAR AND POLITICS HAVE OF LATE. The art of war, tr. by Peter Whitehorse, The prince, tr. by Edward Dacresv. 2. The Florentine history, tr. by Thomas Bedingfield. anno. Niccolo Machiavelli (). The Seven Books on the Art of War By Niccolo Machiavelli, Citizen and Secretary of Florence To Lorenzo di Filippo Strozzi.
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NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI. "THE ART OF WAR". Translator: Ellis Farneworth. Please note some of the chapters below will require more time to load because of . The Art of War By Sun Tzu translated by Lionel Giles. On War by Carl von Clausewitz translated by Colonel J.J. Graham. The Art of War by Niccolò Machiavelli. The Seven Books on the Art of War, by Niccolo Machiavelli, Citizen and Secretary of Florence. First published in This web edition published by.
In the battle scene of book III discussed earlier, firepower is only marginally relevant to success. Rights, Powers and Hobohm, Martin. Bill of Rights History. The Machiavellian Moment: Good arms and good friends will protect the prince against internal and external dangers, but soldiers pose a constant threat in the form of conspiracies. Trial Jury Reform.
Reform Proposals Annotated Constitution. Constitutional Convention. Bill of Rights History. Ratifying Conventions.
The Federalist Papers. Antifederalist Papers. Declaration of Independence. Rule of Law. Latin Maxims of Law.
Robert's Rules. Constitutional Design. Constitutional Construction. Constitutional Action.
Basic Principles. Founding and Founders. Rights, Powers and Unity and Federalism. Abuses and Usurpations. Constitutional Defense. Legal Reform. Political Reform.
Citizen Action. Public Education. Proposed Bills. Constitutional Amendments. Expanded Bill of Rights. Trial Jury Reform. Grand Jury Reform. Private Prosecutions. Rules of Evidence. Proxy Voting for House. Repeal State Bar Acts. Ward Republics. Purchase Tax. Energy Currency. Digital Currency. See with how much virtue our [men] fight, and with how much discipline, through the training that has made them do so by habit.
See how our artillery, so as to give them room and leave the space free for them, is withdrawn through that space where the velites had gone out. See how the light infantry and the light cavalry are spread out and returned to the flanks of the army.
See how. His troops defeat the enemy not because of superior weapons but by outmaneuvering the enemy lines. They outperform the enemy in terms of coordination and movement.
The artillery is depicted as tacti- cally retreating in order to provide a space for the infantry. The strategy is to control troop movement and sow disorder amongst the opponents. He describes how his men put their bodies between the enemies and their weapons, preventing them from discharging their artillery. Mobility, tactical retreats, and discipline are the deci- sive factors in battle.
The enemy troops are liter- ally trapped by their own arms. By describing what bodies do in battle, this passage orients the reader to the corporeal dimension of war, to the fact that war requires bodies to be dressed, armed, moved, disciplined, trained, and distrib- uted. Readers, whether princely or not, learn that battle choreogra- phy requires not only command skills but a sensibility for what bod- ies can do and how they move in space.
The problem of spatial management recurs in book VI when Fabrizio turns to an elaborate description of how an entire army of 24, infantrymen and 2, cavalrymen should be encamped AW VI, — The painstaking account specifies the precise dimensions and measurements of the encampment, including the number, widths, and even names of the streets; the positions of the various battalions as well as the logistical support; the exact space allotted to each lodg- ment and the number of soldiers assigned to it.
Thus the cavalry and the men-at-arms are to be accommodated in groups of 10 in quarters that are 15 arms long and 30 arms wide while the infantrymen are to sleep in groups of And just as the city is a site of com- merce, habitation, and production, so the encampment must make space for carpenters, smiths, horseshoers, stonecutters, engineers, and herdsmen, whose cattle provides sustenance to the army AW VI, In comparison to the treatment of war in The Prince, this special- ized discourse about war highlights a shift of focus.
The lessons on how to set up an encampment, how to defend a city, how wide and deep the ditch around a fortifica- tion ought to be, indicate that wars are made up of bodies and bodily practices, of spatial arrangements, and of performances. The point is not just that the arte della guerra which the prince is urged to master is an art of detail and a science of particulars.
More important, what makes the army a functioning and effective whole is not its hierarchy, nor the skill of its captain but the coherence and cohesion that are produced through shared bodily and spatial practices. An army is a collective subject that is produced through a series of shared practices. This shift of focus is corroborated by an analysis of the rhetoric of violence in Art of War compared to The Prince and the Discourses.
Most conspicuous in this respect is the lack, throughout Art of War, of a lan- guage of violence to describe warfare. Especially in The Prince, violence functions as a rhetorical and theatrical element of the first order Kahn ; Rebhorn , 86ff. In contrast, Art of War emphasizes coordination, training, and the movement and government of bodies. Violence is not accorded the central thematic consideration it receives in The Prince. The same infer- ence can be made through a lexical analysis: Apart from these instances and in stark contrast to The Prince, violence is conspicuously absent from the representation of war- fare.
A distinct echelon of professional soldiers produces an excess of violence that can dominate political and social life. Good arms and good friends will protect the prince against internal and external dangers, but soldiers pose a constant threat in the form of conspiracies. The difficulty for the prince is to maintain an effective military force to keep potential rivals and unruly subjects in check while prevent- ing the military from becoming too powerful and autonomous.
To strike that balance, the prince must avoid being hated by the people or being despised by the soldiers.
The more powerful the army, the more troublesome the conf lict- ing demands of soldiers and people. But an even more elegant way to solve this problem and satisfy both the people and the soldiers is to make them identical—in other words, to arm the people. This is what Machiavelli recommends in chapter XX of The Prince, where he claims falsely that the histories are full of princes who have armed their subjects. Machiavelli alludes to this passage in the final book of Art of War, the book that, of all seven, most resembles The Prince both in style and substance and thus forms the obvious starting point for readers approaching Art of War from The Prince.
In current conditions in Italy, it is more important to know how to recruit an army rather than how to fight a battle. The concluding claim of Art of War, then, is that the crucial knowledge for the prince is not the art of commanding but of creat- ing an army.
Making such an army, Fabrizio notes, is easy for princes who have access to a large subject population and who can draft 15, to 20, youths; nearly impossible for those who do not AW VII, To recruit a militia of such size would have been difficult for any sixteenth-century state. While especially wealthy princes were able to raise combat armies of such size, permanent establishments were typically much smaller, and except for the kingdoms of France and Spain, no European power had a standing army exceeding 10, troops Hale , 65—67 For any of the Italian states of the early six- teenth century Florence, Venice, Milan, Naples, and the Holy See , mobilizing an army of this size would have required the inclusion of noncitizen subjects.
Drafting an army of that size would thus have been not simply a military but a political venture, one that has the po- tential to create the kind of anti-oligarchic political alliance between the prince and the people that Machiavelli so cherishes.
But soldiers are not exactly selected, Fabrizio explains. They are produced, through good habits and good practices. Virtuous soldiers are forged through training. Hence Fabrizio rejects as corrupt the custom, attributed to Pyrrhus and Caesar, of selecting soldiers on the basis of their physi- cal characteristics: With training and practice, Machiavelli insists, good soldiers can be made anywhere AW I, If military discipline and training are seen to reinforce civic- mindedness and if good soldiers turn out to be good citizens, then perhaps all citizens should be soldiers.
There are, indeed, good reasons for such an interpretation. Already in the preface to Art of War, Machiavelli insists on the com- patibility of civil and military life, mocking those who believe that war and civil life are fundamentally distinct AW; P 3. By attributing the violence and assassinations in peacetime to professional soldiers, Machiavelli implies that the distinction between war and peace and thus between civil and military life is established and guaranteed by the proper conduct of soldiers.
It is no wonder, then, that the question of how to instill appropriate soldierly conduct is a key concern of the first book of Art of War.
Warfare must be hemmed in by civil life, which is accomplished by turning citizens or subjects into soldiers and by returning them to be citizens or subjects in times of peace AW I, The problem of civil-military relations, then, is how to make soldiers out of citizens in such a way that they can be restored to their peaceful role once warfare is over.
If it were possible to unhinge military from civilian affairs, the problem of soldiers corrupting civil life would not arise. But as The Prince reminds us, such a dissociation would undo the state. If The Prince represents war as the paradigm of statecraft, Art of War highlights the limit of this political imaginary, because armed soldiers are a constant threat to the political and social order. The republican citizen-soldier represents a solution to this problem, because he has a stake not only in war but also in peace.
But in Art of War, Machiavelli also intimates another line of thinking, one that is perhaps less explicitly worked out yet no less revolutionary. What if the aim of arming the people is not merely to defend existing modes and orders but to institute new ones? Rather than treating the popular army as a potential threat, it is also possible to envisage it as a catalyst of political change.
One of the difficulties encountered by the republican interpre- tation of Art of War is that Machiavelli does not restrict his milizia to citizens, explicitly including subjects sudditi as recruits for the troops. And while the citizen-soldier model may be a compelling solution, it is unclear whether any of the Italian city-states would have been large enough to muster the requisite 15 to 20, troops from their citizens. And the trouble with armies levied not only from citizens but also from subjects is that the citizen-soldier model does not apply to urban subjects without political rights or ru- ral peasants who often reside outside city walls.
Incorporating subject populations poses the non-negligible risk that subject-soldiers may turn their weapons against their masters. This was precisely one of the fears expressed by the Florentine ottimati when, in , Piero Soderini tasked Machiavelli, during his tenure as Florentine secretary, with organizing a peasant militia.
What could be more useful to a prince, advised to ally himself with the peo- ple against the nobility, than such a threat? Republics that arm their noncitizen subjects would therefore have to expect demands to widen the franchise or possibly face revolts. If the peasant militia is to out- perform the mercenaries, then it has to appear on the battlefield as a collective subject, able to operate seamlessly.
It has to be able to move and act as a collective, which requires coordination, shared trust, and responsibility—in short, a kind of cohesion based not only on physi- cal training but on reciprocal responsibility. But as Chabod notes, the idea of a militia is not compatible with a political form that does not give soldiers a stake in its defense and reproduction Chabod , It is hard to see how armed and well-trained sub- ject-soldiers, inculcated with these civic virtues, are to return to their subordinate positions in peacetime.
It would seem more likely that a popular army of such size would act as a force of political change rather than of stability. Such political change might happen along territorial or domes- tic axes: Territorial conquest would yield both land that could be distributed to soldiers and would also address the recruitment problem by broadening the demographic base for a mass army.
Domestically, the emergence of such an army might lead to growing political demands on behalf of the armed plebs.
Since the people, in contrast to the nobility, primarily desire to not be oppressed by the grandi P IX, 39; D I. Rucellai and Buondelmonti happen also to be the dedicatees of the Discourses; and to Alamanni and Buondel- monti Machiavelli devoted his Life of Castruccio Castracani of Lucca.
If these young ottimati and their ilk are the intended audience of Art of War, we would expect Machiavelli to avoid offending their aristocratic prejudices. A populist interpretation of Art of War explains the absence of the terminology of citizen-soldier as well as the repeated references to princes and subjects. Perhaps more important, the populist reading is consonant with the analysis of war in terms of practices, bodies, and movement. That analysis shifts the focus away from the general to the particular and away from the commanding officer to the movements and actions of popular soldiers.
By recruiting not only citi- zens but subjects, by undoing the traditional hierarchy of cities over the countryside, and by prioritizing infantry over cavalry, Machiavelli articulates the principles of an army that has the potential to emerge as a new political subject Althusser , Words And deeds How does the focus on bodies and practices reposition the role of the military captain? What can the prince learn from Fabrizio, our profes- sore of the art of war?
The role of the military leader is primarily one of arranging and govern- ing bodies and of generating illusions and appearances that sustain the collective subjectivity of the popular army. In the battle scene of book III discussed earlier, firepower is only marginally relevant to success.
The artillery is withdrawn in order to increase the liberty of maneuver for the foot soldiers. The same goes for the pikes that are withdrawn in order to maximize flexibility and movement in the field. The battlefield resembles a stage on which a precise chore- ography must be enacted. War is a performance, or perhaps a dance: Machiavelli juxtaposes this management of appearances against the figure of brute force, symbolized by the Swiss pikemen and hal- berdiers, whose military success was built on a crude lineup in deep columns and squares.
Not the use of force but the management of appearances constitutes the art of war. Thus Fabrizio never advises a captain to use overwhelming force; instead, he always counsels shrewd deception and schemes of duplicity.
To produce fear without expending force is the hallmark of a great military captain. A military leader must further be on guard against deceptions and tricks and ought never to trust any appearance on the battlefield. Indeed in book IV, Fabrizio underlines the importance of oratorial skill for the successful leader of a popular army.
Fabrizio, who serves as both captain and orator in the dialogue, imitates precisely this example. Incidentally, blacksmiths are one of the primary categories of recruits Fabrizio proposes for a cit- izen army. Just as his namesakes, Fabrizio does double duty in the dialogue, serving as a military expert and orator. The coordination of bodies and the orchestration of space needs to be sustained by captains who know how to speak and troops that know how to listen. Military historians have frequently reproached Machiavelli for having failed to appreciate the revolutionary character of fire- arms Hobohm ; Gat ; Cassidy ; for a spirited defense of Machiavelli against that charge, see Gilbert Yet the pyrotechnic metaphors to inflame and extinguish signal that Machiavelli was by no means uninterested in the role of combustion in warfare.
It is just that the combustion of primary interest is not the one that happens in the barrel of the gun but in the governing of bodily affects. By focusing on the passions, Art of War signals to readers of The Prince that the relation between the general and his troops is equivalent to that between the prince and his subjects, an analogy that is reinforced later in book VII — Just as the prince is called on to imag- ine politics as a field of appearances, so the captain must conceive of war as mediated by sensation and perception.
It is thus not only the prince, who must become a professore in the art of war, but the captain who needs to be a professore in the art of the state in order to master the performances required to govern an army of soldiers. The popular militia that Machiavelli cham- pions may well evolve into an unpredictable and rebellious political subject with the potential to undo the political order it is intended to serve.
The relation between war and politics is hence mediated not through the synecdochal relation of prince and general but through the juxtaposition of two distinct perspectives: The point raised by many interpreters about the convergence of war and politics thus needs to be recast. And while war and politics are compatible at the top, they are potentially incompatible at the bottom.
Princes may be gener- als, but soldiers are not by default citizens. And qua political constructs, they are also prospective sites of political upheaval and transformation. For counterarguments, see Pitkin , de Grazia , and Philonenko See D III. Machiavelli and Us. Translated by Gregory Elliott. Anglo, Sydney.
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