The Art of War (Dell'arte della guerra) is a treatise by the Italian Renaissance political philosopher and historian Niccolò Machiavelli.
The format of The Art of War is a socratic dialogue. The purpose, declared by Lord Fabrizio Colonna (perhaps Machiavelli's persona) at the outset, "To honor and reward virtù, not to have contempt for poverty, to esteem the modes and orders of military discipline, to constrain citizens to love one another, to live without factions, to esteem less the private than the public good." To these ends, Machiavelli notes in his preface, the military is like the roof of a palazzo protecting the contents.
Written between 1519 and 1520 and published the following year, it was Machiavelli's only historical or political work printed during his lifetime, though he was appointed official historian of Florence in 1520 and entrusted with minor civil duties.
Machiavelli's Art of War echoes many themes, issues, ideas and proposals from his earlier, more widely read works, The Prince and The Discourses. To the contemporary reader, Machiavelli's dialogue may seem impractical and to under-rate the effectiveness of both firearms and cavalry. However, his theories were not merely based on a thorough study and analysis of classical and contemporary military practices. Machiavelli had served for fourteen years as secretary to the Chancery of Florence and "personally observed and reported back to his government on the size, composition, weaponry, morale, and logistical capabilities of the most effective militaries of his day." However, the native fighting force he assiduously oversaw was struck a catastrophic defeat in Prato in 1512 which led to the downfall of the Florentine republican government.
The Art of War is divided into a preface (proemio) and seven books (chapters), which take the form of a series of dialogues that take place in the Orti Oricellari, the gardens built in a classical style by Bernardo Rucellai in the 1490s for Florentine aristocrats and humanists to engage in discussion, between Cosimo Rucellai and "Lord Fabrizio Colonna" (many feel Colonna is a veiled disguise for Machiavelli himself, but this view has been challenged by scholars such as Mansfield), with other patrizi and captains of the recent Florentine republic: Zanobi Buondelmonti, Battista della Palla and Luigi Alamanni. The work is dedicated to Lorenzo di Filippo Strozzi, patrizio fiorentino in a preface which ostentatiously pronounces Machiavelli's authorship. After repeated uses of the first person singular to introduce the dialogue, Machiavelli retreats from the work, serving as neither narrator nor interlocutor. Fabrizio is enamored with the Roman Legions of the early to mid Roman Republic and strongly advocates adapting them to the contemporary situation of Renaissance Florence.
Fabrizio dominates the discussions with his knowledge, wisdom and insights. The other characters, for the most part, simply yield to his superior knowledge and merely bring up topics, ask him questions or for clarification. These dialogues, then, often become monologues with Fabrizio detailing how an army should be raised, trained, organized, deployed and employed.
- Categoría BISAC POL018000
- Formato Epub 2
- Idioma Inglés
- Año 2020