The Prince

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The Ancient World Symbol Analysis

The Ancient World Symbol Icon
Like his fellow Renaissance humanists, Machiavelli celebrated the achievements of the ancient world, championing the writings and accomplishments of Ancient Greek, Roman, and other Mediterranean civilizations. Throughout The Prince, Machiavelli invokes the great deeds and writings of the ancients, citing the Roman emperor Julius Caesar, the Greek historian Xenophon, the Persian ruler Cyrus, and the Carthaginian general Hannibal, among many others. Machiavelli frequently employs well-known ancient examples in order to illustrate the strategies and tactics outlined in The Prince, using the triumphs and foibles of ancient leaders in order to communicate and support his views on contemporary statecraft and warfare. Notably, Machiavelli uses antiquity in order to justify his call for Italian unification at the end of The Prince, quoting the Italian Renaissance poet Petrarch. Petrarch's pronouncement that the "old Romane valour [sic]" lives in the hearts of contemporary Italians suggested that Italians would soon take up the banner of unification, restoring the divided Italian peninsula to its Roman-era grandeur. Likewise, Machiavelli believed that he and his Italian countrymen were the rightful heirs of the Roman Empire and he sought to inspire Lorenzo dé Medici to fulfill his duty to reunify Italy and thus reclaim the rich cultural inheritance of antiquity.
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The Ancient World Symbol Timeline in The Prince

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Ancient World appears in The Prince. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Fortune and Prowess Theme Icon
The Masses and The Elite Theme Icon
...that he has gained through "long acquaintance with contemporary affairs and a continuous study of the ancient world ." The work is a summary and analysis of Machiavelli's hard-won wisdom. (full context)
Chapter 20
Laws and Arms Theme Icon
Goodwill and Hatred Theme Icon
The Masses and The Elite Theme Icon
...asserts, "I approve of this policy, because it has been used from the time of the ancient world ." Nonetheless, Machiavelli cites several modern examples that contradict this policy, referencing multiple leaders who... (full context)