Machiavelli’s two reports on German and French affairs were published only after his death

In 1508, the Italian writer and politician commonly described as “the astute” reported on his observations during numerous voyages to many German regions and cities. Perhaps the diplomatic “secret” that surrounded him in the preparation of his reports on those travels that he decided on behalf of the Italian authorities with which he was dealing at the time and led him to the court of Emperor Maximilian in Innsbruck, had him with ideas let return and notes on the existing relations that could have been entered into with That Emperor, but apparently under the guise of a talk about his journey which he had formulated for himself and a number of his friends in which he informed them of the conditions of that neighboring countries.

The wealth of cities

In fact, what surprised the author, who at the time was on the way to formulating what would later be considered his lead author “The Prince”, at least as he expressed in the apparent side of his report, was the outrageous wealth he observed in the German cities, whether those he visited or others he was content to go through. . It is clear that this text played a major role in making the Italian political authorities aware of things that were not clear to them in Germany under Maximilian. Niccol Machiavelli has thus achieved half of his “mission”. The other half, which consisted in presenting his view to his friends and to the Italian intelligentsia in general, would have to wait another quarter of a century before it was completed and exactly for the report to be published in book form in 1532 appeared, five years after Machiavelli’s death. The case is that it was also the fate of the next report that Machiavelli himself compiled in 1510, this time, after completing the first report, to deal with the “affairs of France” and this, and here again, as the author completed the report at that relatively early time, it was not published. Only 22 years later, in the same year that the “Report on German Affairs” was published. Here we must point out what critics who read the two reports remarked almost simultaneously, that Machiavelli’s report on France and its affairs was much more complete and deeper than his report on German affairs. The reason is simple anyway.

Get to know each other better

Here, in this “French” report, Machiavelli continued to repair and develop a previous report that had previously appeared and been widely read, but this time it seemed extensive and elaborate, unlike what was the case with the ” German “report, and the reason is that Machiavelli He knew France much more than he knew Germany. Not to mention that he loved France and knew how to wander around as if he were at home, unlike his case with Germany. It is known that he visited her regularly. Hence, when he would describe it by mixing that foreknowledge with new observations, this time associated with political and diplomatic tasks entrusted to him and ultimately part of the content of his book, but it was a part of share the pages with others. part that seems more important here to the diplomatic writer who wanted to express here about his deep culture, which he would not have been very interested in expressing in his “German” report. From here we see how he balances the objective side of his text with the subjective side, which it was clear he formulated with great pleasure.

Holds for hundreds of years

Thus, in the “French” report, Machiavelli is concerned, above all else, with the description of the political distribution and formation of this kingdom, which outlines the numerous missions he undertook to enable him to identify it in detail. and to see its strengths. What the author would like to explore here is the power of this central crown, with which all the vast lands that make up “the geography of this kingdom” depend, and the regions, each of which is individually subject to the authority of the feudal nobles, their turn, and each one individually, are subject to the authority of The royal throne, they are those who “let the royal blood run in the veins of all.”

Hence, according to Machiavelli’s analysis, the unity of this kingdom and the astonishing cohesion of his state, a cohesion that prevents any of its neighbors from considering any threat to it. Referring to this fact, Machiavelli goes on to talk in detail about the political and strategic situation of each of the countries and regions bordering France, and explains, based on the economic, military and strategic situation of each of these countries, their weaknesses towards France, which makes them always try to prevent its evil by showing that Friendship is hers, even if they do not hide that she is their enemy. An enemy whose power and tyranny must be taken into account on the basis of the cohesion to which he refers. But where does that constant power come from that kept France in power and cohesion hundreds of years ago, while other nations underwent changes that in many cases seemed radical and destructive?

economic factor

It is true that Machiavelli insists on the power of the throne and the attachment of the feudal lords to it, despite skirmishes from here and others from there, and despite the occasional aspiration of some to an ascension that is only behind the back of that throne, but the author who knows how to monitor things closely and away from haste and rely on a single thought, it quickly tells us that the belligerent summit that the French nobility enjoys in terms of individual achievement plays a major role in it all. “even if France can run its affairs without fleeing to that force, as long as it has armies. A tractor has always provided him with the most modern equipment”, especially at the time, an artillery power that had the comparable power of its neighbors could surpass. their Spaniards, Germans or Swiss.

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Perhaps the decisive factor in this strength is the ability of the French state to spend indefinitely on it. And it is precisely, in the opinion of the author, “thanks to the enormous wealth which he has built up especially from agriculture, that makes this nation one of the richest nations in the world.” France is one of the few nations that can be satisfied with what it produces and markets its surplus to spend not only on arms and the army, but even on society and its needs, on the state and its employees, and on the church, which makes this expenditure in service of the state and its resources. The truth is that Machiavelli, though not the first foreign thinker to monitor all these facts, was one of the first to give their description and analysis a documented scientific character, in the same style that will last for centuries. fascinate.

From “Art of War” to “Prince”

On the other hand, even if the “German report” does not stray far from the accuracy of the information and the depth of analysis that characterizes that “French”, we will find that the author there deviates from the subjective characteristic that he talks about characterized it. France. Here he dives further into economic and scientific statements without showing any particular sympathy and admiration. In this context he tells us about the industrial strength of the Germans and their ability to innovate. It ceases when he considers it one of the objective virtues of this people: perseverance and love of work, and hence his zeal not to spend his savings and his unwillingness to spend any penny on what is not useful .

Admittedly, the author tells us here about the similarity in this matter with the French, but he adds that the latter, in spite of their eagerness to save, do not hesitate to spend generously on their holidays and weekends and on their personal pleasure. , while the Germans deprive themselves of this pleasure, preferring to invest what they have in What brings them additional profits. Perhaps Machiavelli attributes this case, albeit unequivocally, to the political instability in Germany, where conflicts are permanent between regions and princes, which often drives people to save their white pennies for their black day! It is clear that the author’s interest in the issue of conflict and armaments in Germany in the light of this situation which has no stability, was a kind of prelude to his next book “The Art of War”, just as he liked about the French wanted to speak. taking over the throne with an iron hand, in preparation for his book. the prince “.

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