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5 hours ago, Vort said:

Here's the definition I'm using:

sat·ire 
/ˈsaˌtī(ə)r/
the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues

I see little humor or irony, and no exaggeration or ridicule, in Il Principe. On the contrary, it's straightforward and factual. Whatever it is, it does not look at all satirical to me.

True but I do see some exaggeration in his advice. There is some debate on the subject, as there always is about any aspect of history because historians rarely agree on anything, but if taken in the context of his other work, and taking into account his personal mistreatment by "Machiavellian" leaders, there is also plenty of evidence that his work was not meant to be taken seriously. It could also have been made merely for debate purposes, as during his lifetime he only circulated it amongst his friends and did not widely publish it.

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9 hours ago, unixknight said:

Maybe it's a bit of both.  Isn't that what satire is all about?

I think the close correlation between what Machiavelli wrote and the way the Medici's governed lends support to the idea that it was not intended to be satire. 

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1 hour ago, Vort said:

I'm sincerely curious to know what exaggerations you see. I haven't perceived them.

For me personally it's when you compare the Prince to his other works that you start to see it. Let me give you an example from one of his more widely published, at the time, books Discoursi

""We know by experience that states have never signally increased either in territory or in riches except under a free government. The cause is not far to seek, since it is the well-being not of the individuals but of the community which makes the state great, and without question this universal well-being is nowhere secured save in a republic.... Popular rule is always better than the rule of princes."

Compare that quote to this one from the Prince

"Whatever you do, whatever measures you take, if the population hasn't been routed and dispersed so that its freedoms and traditions are quite forgotten, they will rise up to fight for those principles at the first opportunity; just as the Pisans did after a hundred years of Florentine dominion."

It seems really odd to me that in most of his political works, like Discoursi, he argues about the benefits of liberty and how a free republic is the best way to preserve those liberties, but in the Prince he is arguing that you need to make sure to completely destroy your opponents so they forget their liberty and traditions. I don't claim to be a Machieavelli expert by any means, military history is more my specialty, but this and other examples seem to me to demonstrate exaguration. Especially when you remember that the Prince was not widely published while he was alive, while most of his other works were. Now I could easily be wrong, you can certainly find arguments to the contrary, but that's my view of things. If you're interested Garrett Mattingly explains the pro satire side of things pretty well in this article

 http://www2.idehist.uu.se/distans/ilmh/Ren/flor-mach-mattingly.htm

Edited by Midwest LDS

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