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How big a factor was the failing economy to the downfall of the Roman Empire?


How large a factor was the economy failing and Rome facing bankruptcy to their downfall when you compare it to the likes of political corruption and the rise of Christianity?


Economy of the period is analysed in the book by Bryan Ward-Perkins, Fall of Rome and the end of civilization (Oxford UP, 2006).The author gives abundant evidence that the fall of the empire was accompanied by a collapse of economy, material production and infrastructure in general. The evidence is based on contemporary accounts and archeological data.

However it is not completely clear whether the collapse of the economy was the reason or a consequence of the fall of the empire. My impression from the evidence presented in this book is that it was rather a consequence. The reason for destruction of economy was apparently collapse of administration, as a result of civil wars and invasions.

EDIT. Another recent book on the subject, Adrian Goldsworthy, The fall of the West. The death of the Roman superpower, (US title: How the Rome Fell), 2009 attibutes the fall of the empire to the constant internal struggle for power. It was so intense that the emperors cared more about their own survival than for the survival of the empire. The result was invasion of the tribes, which in turn led to the collapse of the central government and of the economy.


There is no consensus among historians as to what exact reasons lead to the downfall of the Roman Empire. There are varying different theories on this matter, but at least Edward Gibbon in his 1776 book The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, gives a well-researched and more importantly, well-referenced account. According to him, barbarians from the outside were majorly responsible for the fall of the Roman Empire:

Significant events include the Battle of Adrianople in 378, the death of Theodosius I in 395 (the last time the Roman Empire was politically unified), the crossing of the Rhine in 406 by Germanic tribes, the execution of Stilicho in 408, the sack of Rome in 410, the death of Constantius III in 421, the death of Aetius in 454, and the second sack of Rome in 455, with the death of Majorian in 461 marking the end of the last opportunity for recovery.


Economics were better than ever. Both the Imperial Romans and their successors, the Byzantines, were very wealthy. Unfortunately for them, it takes more than wealth to keep an empire together.

The thing to remember is that by 450 Rome did not really exist anymore in its original sense. All of the old families were gone or dispersed. There were no Cornelii, no Julii, no Scipii, all the old gens were gone. The city was full of Greeks, Africans, Germans and Judaeans. Nobody was even Latin anymore. The original Latins were a very serious, austere, strict people. The Romans of the 5th century were all on public welfare and wasted their time going to games, theaters and prostitutes. The army was a joke, mostly populated with foreign mercenaries. There were all sorts of wierd religious cults like the cult of Mithras. Economic activity wasn't the problem; the problem was that Rome was not a coherent group of noble people any more.


Roman Empire Essay

. The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterized by government headed by emperors, and large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The 500 year old republic which preceded it was severely destabilized in a series of civil wars and political conflict, during which Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator and then assassinated in 44 BC. Civil wars and executions continued, culminating in the victory of Octavian, Caesar's adopted son, over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the annexation of Egypt. Octavian's power was now unassailable and in 27 BC the Roman Senate formally granted him overarching power and the new title Augustus, effectively marking the end of the Roman Republic. The imperial successor to the Republic endured for some 500 years. The first two centuries of the Empire's existence were a period of unprecedented political stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana, or "Roman Peace". Following Octavian's victory, the size of the Empire was dramatically increased. After the assassination of Caligula in 41, the Senate briefly considered restoring the republic, but the Praetorian Guard proclaimed Claudius Emperor instead. Under Claudius, the Empire underwent its first major expansion since Augustus. After Claudius'.

Fall Of The Roman Empire Essay

. The Roman Empire was one of the biggest and most powerful empires of it’s time. Reaching from Greece to Egypt, the empire was bound to fall. The collapse of the Roman Empire in 476 A.D can be attributed to many social causes, such as the introduction of Buddhism, political causes, such as weak leaders, an economic causes, such as inflation. One of the main causes of the collapse was invasion by foreign people including the Huns, Vandals and Visigoths (DOC.4). The decline of the empire started when emperors would die or be assassinated, and then many military generals would think they were the next emperor. The government was so weak that there were over 15 rulers in a span of only 50 years, with most of them being assassinated (DOC. 1). These leaders were called “soldier generals”. All of these generals would then fight over who’s dictator, leaving the borders empty for attack. Even worse, when Diocletian split the empire, only the wealthier side was being protected leaving the other open for invasion. These invaders also weakened what little army the Romans had, due to lack of drafting (DOC.3). Along with little people in the army, the people in it, were not loyal to the emperor due to lack of fair pay. Since the government did not pay them well, and the generals payed them better and let them take loot, they weren't loyal to the emperors. There.

Essay On The Fall Of The Roman Empire

. The Roman Empire was once a vast and wondrous place where they conquered many places and many things. They had many great leaders and were a great empire but there were many things that went wrong. There are no definitive causes for the fall of the Roman Empire, yet there are multiple valid reasons as to why it happened such as military power, social problems, widespread of diseases, and moral strength. Military contributions in Roman times have helped the government, yet have hurt it at the same time. There were several factors that contributed to the collapse of the Roman government. The military leadership had a great impact on the lives in Rome and greatly shaped the empire. People believe that the fall of the Roman Empire was due to the collapse of the government . The military leadership and control quickly began to get out of hand. At one point in Roman history, the military had more control than the senates. When the military wasn't in complete control, the individual leaders did what they thought was best for themselves. Due to the struggle for power and order, there was a lack of centralized power. Rome had several different leaders in a short period of time. The collapse of the government is a possible cause because of the abuse of power from the military and the senate. There were several social aspects that.

The Cultural Impact of the Byzantine Empire Essay

. Eastern Roman Empire, tends to have a negative connotation. Not only did the Byzantine Empire last for over a thousand years, it reached out so far that countries from Libya to Bulgaria and Slovenia to Egypt can claim a legacy from it, keeping the fallen West safe from invading barbarians until the time of its own spectacular decline. When you realize that, it is especially shameful that the West no longer considered the Eastern Roman Empire any sort of “Roman Empire” at all, naming it the “Byzantine Empire” after its capital in Byzantium, in Greece. Meanwhile, despite the obligatory political turmoil in the East, scholars were tending to the flames of knowledge and would until the fall of Constantinople. Why would the West no longer consider the East part of the Roman Empire, and when did they become separate entities in the first place? This is the first part of determining the legacy of the Byzantines. The split was brought about by Emperor Diocletian, not because of war or arguments, but because he was a shrewd man who saw that the Roman Empire was too big. It was collapsing upon itself, too large to withstand its constant invasions and bloody political ordeals. In a decisive action, he gave the western half of the Roman Empire to a friend named Maximian, appointing him as.

Roman Empire Dbq Essay

. Nearly two thousand years ago, the Roman Empire conquered all territories west of the Persian Empire in modern day Iran and Iraq. The empire extended southwards into North Africa, and as far north as the British Isles. For close on to four centuries, the Romans controlled and conquered most of Western Eurasia and the Mediterranean. However, their rule came to an end because of the centrifugal forces of political and economic issues, foreign invaders and belligerent tribes, and socio-religious transformations. This brief response will help highlight the primary reasons why the Roman Empire fell. In the later part of the Roman Empire’s existence, their political and government was fraught with political corruption and incompetent leaders. The author of one popular Western civilization textbook described this era of mismanagement as a period where “very few inhabitants of the empire believed that the old civilization was worth saving… the overwhelming majority of the population had been systematically excluded from political responsibilities.” (Document A) This telling excerpt reveals that there was a vast disconnect between the subjects and the ruling class. The ruling class was seen by many as a wasteful, self-centered, and imprudent. For the most part these critiques were very accurate: the ruling class continued to use slaves to prop up the.

Han Empire Vs Roman Empire Essay

. The Roman empire and the Han empire collapsed for similar reasons as well as some different reasons. Firstly, both Rome and China’s governments became an ineffective way to control an empire. Secondly, nomadic tribes invaded both Rome and China. These tribes broke into their respective empires and laid waste to the land. Yet differences exist between the collapse of the two empires. A large part of the collapse of Rome was due to inflation. The Han empire was not as affected by inflation as the Roman empire was. The external invasions that caused the collapse of the Roman empire and the Han empire could be compared to invasive species from the realm of Biology. The factors that contributed to the demise of the Roman empire and the Han empire have elements that are the same. The Roman government became less effective due to struggles over who was going to be in power. Twenty-six barrack emperors came and fell from power in a short period of time. Each of these emperors was violently displaced by the general who wanted to be the emperor of Rome next. This is no way to keep government control stable. The constant power struggle led to the government officials being more focused on how to become the next emperor then how to run the empire.

The Byzantine Empire Essay

. The Byzantine Empire, sometimes known as the Eastern Roman Empire, was the predominantly Greek-speaking continuation of the eastern half of the Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Its capital city was Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), originally founded as Byzantium. It survived the 5th century fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm its citizens continued to refer to their empire as the Roman Empire. Several events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the transitional period during which the Roman Empire's east and west divided. In 285, the emperor Diocletian (r. 284–305) partitioned the Roman Empire's administration into eastern and western halves. The borders of the Empire evolved significantly over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I (r. 527–565), the Empire reached its greatest extent after.

Decline Roman Empire Essay

. For many centuries, the Roman Empire flourished and was able to make many great accomplishments and creations that have influenced modern culture today. Despite the success of this empire, it soon began to crumble after the Pax Romana, which was a period of 200 years of peace and prosperity. Many factors contributed to the decline of this empire, including the spread of famine, disease, and the effects of Christianity, as it spread throughout the empire. However, the three main reasons that contributed and caused the fall of Rome were the political, military, and economic factors. The political factors were a major reasoning behind Rome’s decline. The government became very weak and unstable. For one, due to the bad leadership the empire had, the people began to become bandits, and crime broke out more in cities and streets. As more fights broke out, the government became weaker and weaker, causing an internal decay to begin to spread throughout the empire. This decay eventually grew and reached a point where it was unable to be fixed, causing the empire to crumble. Patricians were the higher class citizens in the empire, and they often took more roles in the government than the plebeians, which were the regular class citizens. Not having as big of a role in the government led for more issues to arise. Military factors also caused for this.


Downfall of the Roman Empire

The Roman Empire was strong for a time. It was founded on geography, family values, military strength, and wise leadership. It flourished because of social, economic, political, military and religious strengths. However, when the very things that make a civilization flourish start to decline, the civilization will also lead to a downfall.

The first reason for the fall was economic decay. The rulers of Rome had expensive lifestyles. To aid their image, they needed money. They gained money through taxation on the poor. In response to the torment of tax collectors, the poor fled to barbaric lands. The poor made up a large percentage of the Roman population. Barbarians disrupted trade on the Mediterranean sea. Rome&aposs gold and silver were being drained into buying luxuries from China, India, and Arabia. The government decreased the silver content in money. The value of the money also decreased. Diocletion attempted to curb the inflation. He issued an edict that fixed maximum prices and wages throughout the Empire. It was an unrealistic and unenforceable idea which failed. The emperors still felt the tax issue needed to be addressed. They decided to make the hereditary class of tax collectors pay the difference. In other words, if a poor person could not pay their full share, the tax collector paid the rest. This concept wiped out a whole class of moderately wealthy people.

Later, slavery split communities. Rome believed the workers of society should not benefit from slavery. Slaves then had to reason to try hard or improve. Eastern slaves started doing technical work. Thus, all technical work was looked down upon. Labor was cheap and worthless. Upper-class Romans were content with what they had become. They felt no need to improve their inventions, they were content with slaves.

Another reason for the fall of Rome was political issues. Citizens no longer displayed patriotism, they were indifferent. Only the rich ran for office. Only the rich could run for office. It had become too expensive to hold office. The officers were forced to pay for public engagements themselves. The wealthy men destroyed Greco-Roman civilization. The loss of Greco-Roman civilization led to the decline of classical civilization. The general pattern of the classical civilization was based upon slavery being at the root of society. The army had


Compare and Contrast Essay on the Fall of the Roman and Han Empires

The Roman and Han Empires were among the greatest empires in the history of the World. Both ruling in the first century of the Common Era, the Han dynasty peaking in the 200s and the Roman Empire in the 400s, these empires showed great military power, strived in economic trade, and their territories covered vast land. So how did these great empires find themselves plummeting to an unfortunate collapse? Although there are many similarities in the reasons for the desecration of these empires, there are also several contrasting reasons for the declines in economic trade, effects of the changing populations, and the failure of the political systems.

The Roman and Han empires equally strived economically in trade. However, decline in trade affected Rome more than Han China. Many Chinese communities were self sufficient, and most trade was carried out between communities. The Roman’s economy relied heavily on trade, and as trade routes became compromised, pirates and bandits began stealing goods from merchants creating a decline in trade and profits. Less trade reduced the amount of taxes going back to the government. In contrast to trade, raising taxes evenly weakened both empires. The Roman and Han Empires raised taxes to support their growing armies. As taxes increased, the poor were unable to pay them. Since rich landowners in both empires were not required to pay taxes, many peasants fled to these landlords for protection. In Rome, this affected trade by making the tax on good go up, creating inflation.

Both the Roman and Han Empires experienced social unrest during their collapse. Peasants became angered with the raise in taxes and started to revolt in China. The Chinese used their military to stop these revolts but soon needed more soldiers. The Han government forced many farmers and others to fight, generating a larger group of angry citizens and producing reluctant warriors. On the other hand, the Romans did not struggle with revolts but instead religion. As the Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, officials tried to eliminate it. They created laws banning Christianity with the consequence being the cruel punishments or death. As a final stitch effort, the emperor declared himself supreme god. Needless to say all plans failed and Christianity continued to spread further fracturing the once powerful empire.

Nomadic invasions pestered both Roman and Han empires. Nomads attacked the outskirts of the large territories creating small settlements. The Romans were attacked by Germanic tribes while Han China suffered attacks from the Huns. These Germanic tribes were superior in military technology and threatened Roman forces. During Caesar’s rule, these nomadic peoples tried to conquer small cities but failed and ultimately settled on the outskirts of the empire. In contrast, the Huns, violent, savage men, led several attacks and defeated several Roman legions. These attacks called for a need of a large army from both empires, but with taxes dropping and the growing lack of good authority, most armies failed.

Many factors played role in the fail of once powerful empires. Both the Roman and Han empires flourished and had a very successful reign. Nonetheless, small mistakes made by the central governments caused huge problems socially, economically and politically. The ultimate failure of these empires can be determined from the outraged citizens, the drastic decline in trade and crops, and the attacks from nomadic peoples as well as corrupted political officials.


Sons of Hades: How a Gang War Contributed to the Downfall of the Roman Republic

“I AM A SON OF HADES!” Cries Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) after destroying a statue of Concordia, Roman goddess of harmony. But this was no random act of iconoclasm. Vorenus has been charged by First Counsel Mark Antony (James Purefoy) to stop a violent street war that has been brewing between the various gangs of Rome for control of the Aventine. After frightening the other gang bosses into submission by the destruction of Concodia, Vorenus is able to establish himself in the Roman underworld and quell the hostilities between the gangs at least for the moment.

Though the following is a fictional scene from HBO’s Rome, Ancient Rome did have organized street gangs. The best account of these gangs can be found in Andrew William Lintott’s Violence in Republican Rome. In his book, Lintott describes what could be considered the first gang war in recorded history between Titus Annius Milo and Publius Clodius Pulcher. To the readers who are unfamiliar with Roman history, it should be noted that neither Milo nor Clodius made their living as street thugs these men were not archaic Tony Sopranos. Both Clodius and Milo held political positions in the Roman Republic. The late Republic of Rome gives us a perfect example of how gangsters of the state and armed thugs can form a symbiotic relationship.

Clodius was a populist and wanted to hold the office of tribune of the plebeians, who were the free, land owning, non-aristocratic citizens of Rome. The problem was that Clodius was a patrician from the house of Claudius. Due to his noble birth, Clodius legally wasn’t allowed to become tribune of the plebs. Thankfully, for Clodius, this was all fixed by proconsul and Pontifex Maximus Gaius Julius Caesar. Before Caesar departed to his new command in the Gallic Wars of 58 B.C., he passed a law allowing Clodius to be adopted by a pleb named Fonteius, who was fifteen years younger than Clodius(1). In giving Clodius the opportunity to become Tribune of the Plebs, Caesar was unleashing a political gangster upon a political foe of a close ally the infamous Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Cicero had made an enemy of both Marcus Licinius Crassus(who was apart of the First Triumvirate along with Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus and Caesar) and Clodius. Cicero was responsible for unraveling a conspiracy aimed at overthrowing the Republic, lead by Crassus’s protégé Catiline(2). Cicero also successfully struck down a land bill proposed by Publius Servilius Rullus, which would have given Crassus a political edge over Pompey(3). Cicero had crossed Clodius when he ousted him in the Bona Dea scandal. The Roman festival of Bona Dea(the good goddess) could only be attended by women. Clodius, either in jest or to continue an alleged affair with Caesar’s current wife, dressed up as a woman and attended the festival. After he was discovered at the festival, a mob of angry women attacked him Cloidus barley escaped. Clodius’s stunt was considered such a sacrilege that he was brought to trial. His defense was that there was no way that he could have been at the festival, because he had been at an exhibition fifty miles away from Rome on the day in question. Cicero destroyed Clodius’s alibi by claiming that he had visited him the same day of the festival. There was no way that Clodius could have been fifty miles away from Rome and would have been able to visit Cicero in Rome on the same day. Even though Clodius was acquitted of all charges, he never forgave Cicero(4).

Elected as Tribune of the Plebs in 59 B.C., Clodius proposed a series of bills that would help him establish his gang. The first bill would reinstate and would allow the new organization of collegia, which functioned as associations for craftsmen, guilds, and religious cults. The majority of collegia were dismantled in 64 B.C. by the senate, after several of them were involved in the before mentioned failed Catiline conspiracy. Clodius eventually would use members of the collegia as enforcers of his own political will. The second bill that Clodius proposed would give free grain to all citizens of Rome, making him ever more popular with the plebs. Clodius was able to supply free grain to the people of Rome by adding the kingdom of Cyprus into the Roman Republic, which would increase the supply of the dole(5). To pass these bills, Clodius would count on Cicero for his support. While Cicero wholeheartedly agreed not to veto any of Clodius’s bills, once they were passed, he strongly supported a resolution to review Caesar’s acts as consul. With plebs pouring in to join Clodius’s new political organizations, he was building up and arming gangs that would try to silence both Cicero and Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis, who were the two biggest threats to Caesar’s growing power. His criminal organization became so large that he had to appoint faithful lieutenants to take charge of a specific gang. The names of these ancient capos(6) are given to us by Cicero, but besides their names, nothing is really known about them(7). Soon after proposing that Cypress was absorbed into the expanding Roman Republic, Clodius also proposed a law that would force exile upon any Roman citizen that executed another Roman citizen without a proper trial. The proposal and eventual passing of this law was no random act. Four years before, in 64 B.C., Cicero condemned four members of the botched Catiline conspiracy to death without a proper trial. It was obvious that the passing of this law was in order to neutralize Cicero(8).

Realizing that political aid was not coming, Cicero fled to Greece in 58 B.C. Now with Caesar gone, Clodius began turning his armed gangs on those who helped him get elected. Pompey, who supported the public’s cry for Cicero’s return, was besieged by Clodius’s gang of armed thugs. Clodius threatened to kill Pompey and burn his house down if he continued to ask for the return of Cicero. After being roughed up in the street by Clodius’s thugs, Pompey would not leave his house. Since Roman armies could not legally enter the city, there was no armed force to stop Clodius‘s street gangs. In an effort to destabilize Clodius’s new powerful grip over the streets of Rome, Pompey supported Titus Annius Milo(9). Milo, a tribune himself, organized his own street gang to fight Clodius. But there was a big difference between the gangs of Clodius and Milo. Clodius’s gangs were mostly made up of loyal supporters of the collegia either of craftsmen or slaves. Milo hired gladiators or mercenaries from outside of Rome to be apart of his gang. The two gangs clashed in the streets of Rome. Milo’s small band of mercenary gladiators easily defeated Clodius’s large force of dedicated volunteers(10).

As the violence between the two gangs continued, legally, it was ignored. In his book, Violence in Republican Rome, Linott states that as long as the gangs could prove that the other gang struck first, self defense was totally legal(11). But with the streets of Rome running red with blood, the plebs began to abandon the violent tactics of Clodius. In 57 B.C., when consideration of letting Cicero return to Rome was discussed, Clodius and his gang attacked the assembly, killing several in the Fourm. Cicero’s brother, Quintus Cicero, was only able to escape by hiding under a slain corpse(12). This type of violence was commonplace every time the return of Cicero was considered, even in the Senate. Clodius would strike, and Milo would respond with blood. Eventually, the vote to allow Cicero to return to Rome was passed, and he returned to cheering crowds in 57 B.C.

Cicero returned to a Rome on the brink of chaos. His return did not end the gang war between Clodius and Milo, and Cicero allied himself with Milo in an attempt to defeat Clodius. Beside the streets of Rome in shambles, the Senate was equally in poor shape. Without Cicero’s skeptical voice in the senate, glorified tales of Caesar’s victories in Gaul strengthened his political support immensely. Soon even Crassus(part of the First Triumvirate) departed Rome for war against the Parthians, where eventually his army would be decimated leaving Caesar as the new great general of Rome.

The animosity between the two gangs continued. Clodius harassed Cicero with violence. Armed men chased off workers building Cicero’s new house, and Clodius, accompanied with an armed entourage, would stalk Cicero through the city waiting for their time to strike(13). The gang violence lasted until 52 B.C., when Clodius was finally struck down in a gang battle on the Appian Way. In his book Pompey: The Republican Prince, Peter Greenhalgh describes Clodius’s demise:

“On 18 January the crisis was precipitated by a fatal encounter between Clodius and Milo on the Appian Way, the former riding back to Rome from a visit to Aricia, the latter driving out to Lanuvium. As they passed each other, one of the gladiators in Milo’s armed entourage picked a quarrel with one of Clodius’ slaves, and when Clodius looked round to see what was happening, he was spitted by a javelin. The Clodians carried their wounded leader into a wayside inn, but Milo had him hauled out and finished off in the middle of the road.”

After Clodius’s murder, Sextus Clodius, a relative of Clodius, took over his gangs and exacted revenge on the city. Clodius’s naked body was carried through the city, deposited in the Senate House, and then it was set on fire, acting as a funeral pyre. Milo’s house was attacked by Clodius’s men, only to be fended off by archers. Anyone walking the streets was harassed or even murdered(14).

Out of desperation to end the violence, the Senate decided to make Pompey sole consul (Crassus died in 53 and Caesar was in Gaul, leaving Pompey the sole power in the city), giving him dictatorship powers. The Senate was so desperate, that even the strict constitionalist Cato agreed to the decree. Pompey now had the power to raise troops to restore order to the city. As Consul, Pompey passed a series of laws that exasperated the relationship between he and Caesar and isolated Caesar’s allies, which helped lead to the oncoming civil war(15). Milo was blamed for Clodius’s death and was brought to trial. Cicero came to his defense, but the unrelenting plebs would often interrupt his speaking, despite Pompey’s soldiers standing by. Milo would eventually be condemned for Clodius’s death, and faced exile in modern day Marseille. Three years after Pompey was made lead consul to end the violence sparked by this gang war, Caesar and his army crossed the Rubicon. Caesar taking his legions pass this river was one of the most vile acts of treason a Roman could commit, and it would be the beginning of the civil war between Pompey and Caesar, signaling the end of the Republic.

Would have Caesar allowed Clodius to become Tribune of the Plebs if he would have known what violence he would have unleashed upon Rome? It’s hard to say. For a brief period of time, Clodius could have been considered the most powerful man in Rome, surpassing even Pompey and Caesar. Illegally taking his legions across the Rubicon upon his return to Rome, it would be hard to say if Caesar, if he wasn’t away in Gaul, would have waited for the Senate to give him legal power to deal with the violence caused by these organized gangs. According to Cicero in his Pro Milone, his speech defending Milo, he claimed that Mark Antony tried to assassinate Clodius earlier in 53 B.C. Antony, who was a former member of Clodius’s gang, at this time was openly Caesar’s man. It could be that Caesar, resenting Clodius for seizing street power in Rome, could have put his loyal friend up to assassinating Clodius in the forum . Rather Caesar ordered the death of Clodius or not, the assassination attempt failed. Clodius was able to avoid death this time, just to meet it on the Appian way months later. It should be mentioned that although most historians regard Cicero’s claim about this attempt to be true, there are skeptics. Notably among them is Dean Anthony Alexander of the University of Otago, whose paper, Marc Anthony’s Assault of Publius Clodius: Fact or Ciceronian Fiction?, which is available online, suggests that either Cicero invented the assassination attempt against Clodius, or he radically misinterpreted it to the public.

It would be grossly inaccurate to claim that the Roman Republic collapsed simply because of organized gang warfare in Rome, but it being one of the principal factors certainly deserves more discussion. Because of Clodius and Milo’s gang war, Pompey was given dictatorship powers over Rome, which exasperated the tension between Pompey and Caesar, leading to civil war and the death of the Republic.

Endnotes
(1) In his book, The Education of Julius Caesar, Arthur D. Kahn references the adoption ceremony that Caesar performed for Clodius.

(2) W.K. Lacey, in his book Cicero, goes into detail about Cicero’s speeches against Catiline.

(3) Peter Greenhalgh references the proposed land bills proposed by Rullus, and how Pompey benefited from them being struck down by Cicero, in Pompey: The Republican Prince.

(4) The entire Bona Dea scandal, and Clodius’s alleged affair with Caesar’s wife, can be found in Kahn’s The Education of Julius Caesar.

(5) A majority of Clodius’s acts as Tribune of the Plebs can be found in F.R. Cowell’s Cicero and the Roman Republic.

(6) A Capo or Caporegime is a ranking term used in the hierarchy of the Mafia. A Capo is a captain of a crew of soldiers.

(7) Cicero gives the names of Clodius’s lieutenants in de Domo sua, his speech against Clodius. It can also be found in Andrew Linott’sViolence in Republican Rome.

(8) Clodius passing this law, and its effects on Cicero can be found in Cowell’s Cicero and the Roman Republic.

(9) Clodius’s harassment of Pompey can be found in Greenhalgh’s Pompey: The Republican Prince.

(10) Descriptions of the two gangs can be found in Linott’s Violence in Republican Rome.

(11) Again, see Linott’s Violence in Republican Rome.

(12) Clodius’s exploits can be found in any of the sources listen thus far, but Cowell’s Cicero and the Roman Republic is recommended.

(13) Clodius’s harrasment of Cicero can be found in Cowell’s Cicero and the Roman Republic.

(14) The details of the aftermath of Clodius’s death can be found in Cowell’s Cicero and the Roman Republic and in Kahn’s The Education of Julius Caesar.


Marius vs Sulla

Caesar was part of the era of Roman history known as the Republican Period, but by his day, a few memorable leaders, not restricted to one class or another, had taken control, defying custom and law, making a mockery of the Republican political institutions. One of these leaders was his uncle by marriage, ​Marius, a man who had not come from the aristocracy but was still wealthy enough to have married into Caesar's ancient, pedigreed, yet impoverished family.

Marius improved the army. Even men who lacked property to worry about and defend could now join the ranks. And Marius saw to it that they were paid. This meant farmers wouldn't have to leave their fields at the productive period in the year to face Rome's enemies, all the while worrying about the fate of their families, and hoping for enough loot to make the venture worthwhile. Those with nothing to lose, who had previously been barred, could now earn something worth hanging on to, and with luck and the cooperation of the Senate and consuls, they might even get a bit of land to retire on.

But seven-time consul Marius was at odds with a member of an old, aristocratic family, Sulla. Between them, they slaughtered many of their fellow Romans and confiscated their property. Marius and Sulla illegally brought armed troops into Rome, effectively waging war on the Senate and Roman People (SPQR). The young Julius Caesar not only witnessed this tumultuous breakdown of the Republican institutions, but he defied Sulla, which was a very risky action, and so he was lucky to have survived the era and proscription at all.


Possible Major Causes:

  • Conflict between the Emperor and the Senate
  • Weakening of the emperor’s authority (after Christianity the Emperor was no longer seen as a god)
  • Political Corruption – there was never a clear-cut system for choosing a new emperor, leading the ones in power to “sell” the position to the highest bidder.
  • Money wasting – the Romans were very fond of their prostitutes and orgies and wasted a lot of money on lavish parties, as well as their yearly “games”
  • Slave labor and price competition – Large, wealthy farm owners used slaves to work their farms, allowing them to farm cheaply, in contrast to smaller farmers who had to pay their workmen and could not compete price wise. Farmers had to sell their farms, leading to high unemployment figures.
  • Economical Decline – After Marcus Aurelius, the Romans stopped expanding their empire, causing in a decrease of gold coming into the empire. The Romans however kept spending, causing coinmakers to use less gold, decreasing the value of money.
  • Military spending – Because they wasted so much money and had to defend their borders all the time, the Government focused more on military spending than building houses or other public works, which enraged the people. Many stopped volunteering for the army, forcing the government to employ hired mercenaries, who were expensive, highly unreliable and ended up turning against the Roman Empire.
  • A stop in technological advancement – The Romans were great engineers, but did not focus on how to produce goods more effectively to provide to their growing population.
  • The Eastern Empire – The Roman Empire was divided in a Eastern and Western empire that drifted apart, making the empire easier to manage, but also weaker. Maybe the empire’s rapid expansion was its own downfall in the end.
  • Civil War and Barbarian Invasion – Civil war broke out in Italy and the smaller Roman army had to focus all of its attention there, leaving the borders wide open for the barbarians to attack and invade. Barbarian bandits made travel in the empire unsafe and merchants could not get goods to the cities anymore, leading to the total collapse of the empire

This article is part of our larger resource on the Romans culture, society, economics, and warfare. Click here for our comprehensive article on the Romans.


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Then study also showed the lead levels dropped by about 50 per cent during a civil war in the first century BC, before increasing again.

‘ [Augustus']. progressive defeat of his rivals during the 30s BCE allowed his future son-in-law, Agrippa, to take control of Rome's water supply by 33 BCE,’ the authors say.

Pictured are Ostia Antica ruins, near Rome, Italy. Examining the lead in the soil, the team found that in Ostia there was a sudden influx of lead in 200 BC, around the same time Rome’s expansion began

The House of Diana in the port of Ostia, made up of apartments with shops on the ground floor, 2nd century. Examining the lead in the soil, the team found that in Ostia there was a sudden influx of lead in 200 BC, around the same time Rome’s expansion began

Research suggests Romans started using lead in their pipes much earlier than we first thought. Pictured is an original Roman lead pipe from Pompeii

LEAD POISONING AND THE DECLINE OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE

Lead poisoning is caused by increased levels of lead in the body, which is toxic to many organs and tissues, including the heart, bones and kidneys.

Symptoms include abdominal pain, confusion, headaches, irritability and can result in seizures, coma and death.

Some historians claim that as lead levels in water drank by powerful and wealthy Romans were high, leaders were incapacitated or killed off, which helped lead to the decline of the Roman empire. However, this latest study largely disproves their theory.

There is ongoing debate as to what happened to the Roman Empire in the 4th and 5th centuries but many include the disintegration of political, military, economic and social institutions combined with invasions at the peripheries of the sprawling empire.

Jerome Nriagu, a geochemist, argued in a 1983 book that 'lead poisoning contributed to the decline of the Roman empire.'

His work centred on the fact that the Romans had few sweeteners besides honey and often made a syrup called defrutum or sapa in lead pots to sweeten wine and food, leading to the creation of lead acetate - as well as drinking water carried in lead pipes and bathing in it in municipal baths.

He calculated the level of lead that wealthy Romans consumed and linked the findings to levels of the metal found in preserved bones.

However, his work proved controversial and has been criticised by leading historians.

‘Over the next 30 years, they repaired and extended the existing aqueduct and fistulae system, as well as built an unprecedented three new aqueducts, leading to renewed increase in [lead] pollution of the Tiber river.’

The lead levels dropped again after 250 AD, when Rome stopped maintaining its pipe system as its economy declined.

The ‘receding [lead] contamination corresponds to the apparent decline of [lead] and [silver] mining and of overall economic activity in the Roman Empire,’ the authors say.

Here is an original lead pipe from the Roman Baths in England. Previous evidence of lead pipes only dated back to 11 BC, meaning the new evidence shows ancient Rome used lead almost 200 years earlier than we thought

These harbours, called Ostia (pictured) and Portus, would have been the end of journey for some of the water running through the lead pipes, after it was disposed of into the Tiber River

Past research has suggested that the lead used to create the Roman water pipes in cities such as Pontus and Ostia Antica (pictured) had harmful effects on public health, and may even have contributed to the society’s downfall – but, many since refuted the idea

Whether or not lead from these pipes poisoned the ancient Romans is still up for discussion.

Past research has suggested that the lead used to create the Roman water pipes had harmful effects on public health, and may even have contributed to the society’s downfall – but, many since refuted the idea.

Last month, a study on a metal fragment from Pompeii revealed the presence of the ‘acutely toxic’ element antimony, which made the water 'decidedly hazardous,' with risk of vomiting and diarrhea, liver and kidney damage, and even cardiac arrest.


Что люди думают о The Prince

Отзывы читателей

This is an interesting book on Political Philosophy, I think it falls under Realism.
Machiavelli doesn't want to systematize but simply shares from his experience.
As I kept reading the book, I had to reflect a lot of the ideas and try to draw conclusions from this world. I think, most of what he says stands True.

I learnt about power distribution in a political system.
Machiavelli says if it is concentrated with just one person (King), and people under him are servants, then if the King is toppled, it is easier to maintain the Kingdom in the long run. This reminds me of North Korea, I do not see a long future for it anyway.

Meanwhile, if there are nobles, barons who share some influence then it will be difficult to maintain if toppled. I was thinking of China, which I used to think has a good political system.
They do not waste time in election et cetera, however, the disadvantage in Chinese political system is that, if a new political party takes over, they will maintain the whole population under control. Meanwhile, it is difficult in America because the power is distributed differently. I can see how the Founders of America were cautious and knew all systems inside out.

I was surprised to find that Machiavelli supports people who believe in God for defense (Army) are better. He goes on to say that it is easier to train them as they will be Loyal to you.
The people who depend only on money will desert you. He says ministries who only think of them are fickle minded, this reminds me of political system of Tamil Nadu. I wonder how long the Government can run? Based on Machiavelli's writings, not long.

He also talks about weakness of mercenaries, which, I think was one of the causes of downfall –– Roman and Ottoman Empire.
The Ottoman Empire's Janissaries started to decline in power due to lack of training, corruption.

The Roman empire started to bring mercenaries from Germanic tribes. There's always a tension between common people and nobles. Machiavelli says, common people are more important and the Prince ought to give them first priority.

"As the observance of religious rites is the foundation of a republic's greatness, so disrespect for them is the source of its ruin."

"Where a fear of God is lacking, the state must either fail or be sustained by a fear of the ruler which may substitute for the lack of religion."


Estudio preliminar

Casi quinientos años después de su publicación (1532), El Príncipe sigue siendo una obra que atrae y fascina a numerosos lectores. Sin duda, su fama de libro perverso, de manual de déspotas condenado por la Iglesia, pero también por gobernantes, moralistas y pensadores políticos a través de los siglos, explica, en buena medida, el interés del público por conocer las páginas que han otorgado a su autor, Nicolás Maquiavelo, el título de maestro del mal. Sin embargo, en El Príncipe no sólo se ha encontrado al consejero de tiranos por antonomasia o al padre de la denostada razón de Estado. En efecto, con el paso del tiempo las interpretaciones de este breve tratado u opúsculo, como lo llamó el propio Maquiavelo, se multiplicaron, dando lugar a una polémica todavía no cerrada sobre su verdadero fin o significado. Así, contra la opinión generalizada hasta entonces, pero siguiendo una línea ya aparecida en el siglo XVI y en sintonía con Spinoza, Rousseau lo consideraba en el Contrato Social (1762) «el libro de los republicanos», pues, so pretexto de dar lecciones a los reyes, desenmascaraba su proceder despótico ante los pueblos. Pero ha sido en el transcurso de los últimos ciento cincuenta años cuando El Príncipe se ha reinterpretado más veces y no sólo de forma negativa, calificándolo de escrito belicista, anticristiano, protofascista o totalitario, sino también de manera positiva hasta convertir a Maquiavelo en un hito, e incluso mito, de la modernidad. De hecho, el consejero de tiranos pasó a ser, según opinión aún hoy muy extendida, el fundador de la Ciencia Política moderna –entendida como un saber del poder separado de la ética–, el padre de la Teoría del Estado o un ardiente patriota italiano. En cualquier caso, en los inicios del tercer milenio la pluralidad interpretativa de El Príncipe no parece tener trazas de solucionarse y, tal vez, como afirmó Benedetto Croce, la cuestión de Maquiavelo no se resuelva nunca pero quizá, si seguimos las pautas historiográficas que desde hace más de medio siglo insisten en situar a los hombres en su espacio y en su época, podamos, al menos, evitar buena parte de las contaminaciones, interesadas o ingenuas, que tanto han distorsionado la imagen de Maquiavelo y su obra. Ya lo dijo antes el proverbio árabe: «Los hombres se parecen más a su tiempo que a sus padres». Así pues, en las próximas páginas nos acercaremos a un contexto histórico distinto y distante con el cual, pese a compartir inquietudes, no tenemos la familiaridad que con frecuencia se ha pretendido.

Además, conoceremos los datos esenciales de la biografía de Maquiavelo y, de esta forma, «bañados por la atmósfera mental de su tiempo» –decía el medievalista francés Marc Bloch–, entraremos a continuación en el análisis de las cuestiones más destacadas de El Príncipe.

Nicolás Maquiavelo y su tiempo

El difícil equilibrio político italiano

Nicolás Maquiavelo vino al mundo en mayo de 1469 en la ciudad de Florencia. Por aquel entonces, Italia era un espacio políticamente muy fragmentado donde reinaba un equilibrio inestable entre cinco potencias –Milán, Florencia, Venecia, los Estados Pontificios y el Reino de Nápoles– enfrentadas desde hacía décadas. Según veremos, se trata de las mismas potencias italianas protagonistas de El Príncipe por tanto, parece oportuno aproximarnos a ellas antes de entrar en el análisis que sobre la actuación de cada una y en su conjunto hizo Maquiavelo en 1513[1].

Pues bien, al norte, en la zona más rica, urbanizada y densamente poblada de la península, las ciudades-Estado de Florencia, Milán y Venecia fueron ampliando desde el siglo XII sus dominios territoriales hasta convertirse en el XV en cabezas de unos poderosos «estados regionales» que englobaron a otras ciudades más débiles sometidas por la fuerza[2]. Éste fue el caso de Pisa, sujeta a Florencia desde 1409, y de cuya rebelión a fines del siglo XV nos habla Maquiavelo en El Príncipe. De todos modos, junto a los «estados regionales» dirigidos por pujantes centros económicos (bancarios, manufactureros y comerciales), entre los cuales no podemos olvidar a Génova, existían en el norte señores feudales laicos y eclesiásticos tan importantes como el duque de Saboya o el obispo de Trento. Y es que tradicionalmente se ha hecho un hincapié excesivo en la singularidad urbana de este ámbito geográfico, donde, es cierto, se situaban algunas de las ciudades más importantes de Europa, minusvalorando la notable presencia señorial y su influencia en los acontecimientos políticos. Por otro lado, no debemos olvidar la vinculación del norte de Italia al Sacro Imperio Romano Germánico, pues, pese a que en la práctica las comunas ciudadanas eran independientes de los emperadores desde las primeras décadas del siglo XIII, el Imperio siguió condicionando la realidad política italiana. No en balde, sendos títulos ducales otorgados por emperadores legitimaron a los Visconti y a sus herederos como señores de Milán a fines del siglo XIV, y a los Medici de Florencia en 1532. Pero asimismo los Della Scala en Verona, los Este en Ferrara o los Gonzaga en Mantua se convirtieron en príncipes gracias a la obtención de títulos del emperador. De esta forma culminaba un proceso iniciado en los últimos años del siglo XIII, durante el cual los gobiernos republicanos de las ciudades fueron siendo sustituidos paulatinamente por otros de carácter personal más o menos despótico. En la mayoría de los casos la transformación de una ciudad-Estado republicana en una «ciudad-principado»[3] fue propiciada por luchas políticas internas entre facciones, o bien por revueltas populares contra los grupos dirigentes. Entonces, el podestà, un árbitro de origen foráneo dotado temporalmente con plenos poderes para restablecer la paz, o el capitano del popolo, una figura similar, aunque por lo general aupada por las masas, podían aprovechar el momento y alzarse con el control de la ciudad, erigiéndose en señores (signori). Paralelamente, las repúblicas de Venecia y Florencia se fueron convirtiendo en regímenes oligárquicos sin el menor asomo de participación popular aunque, a diferencia de la amplia base aristocrática de la Serenísima, en Florencia el poder efectivo estaba en manos de una sola familia desde 1434: los Medici, que se impusieron previamente a los Albizzi.

En el centro de Italia se encontraba la cuarta potencia en discordia: los Estados Pontificios, un conflictivo agregado de pequeñas ciudades, feudos laicos y territorios eclesiásticos sujeto nominalmente al papa, quien desde Roma intentó imponer su discutida autoridad como un monarca más a fines del siglo XV. Y ya por último, al sur, en el territorio más pobre, rural y menos densamente poblado de la península, estaba el gran Reino de Nápoles, (el Regno) el Reino por antonomasia. En el pasado, Nápoles, junto con Sicilia, había formado parte de una unidad política más extensa: el Reino de las Dos Sicilias. Pero en 1282 el levantamiento de los sicilianos contra la casa de Anjou, dinastía francesa que arrebató el trono a los descendientes del emperador Federico II Hohenstaufen en 1266, puso fin a la unión. A su vez, los reyes de Aragón, beneficiarios del alzamiento siciliano, terminarían expulsando a los Anjou de Nápoles. Fue así como en 1443 Alfonso V el Magnánimo pasó a ser también Alfonso I de Nápoles. Sin embargo, la reunificación de Nápoles y Sicilia fue efímera y la lucha entre franceses y aragoneses por el dominio napolitano se reabrió después de 1494, zanjándose definitivamente la disputa a favor de Fernando el Católico en los primeros años del siglo XVI. El examen de la política del rey de España y su enfrentamiento con los soberanos franceses son dos temas centrales de El Príncipe, pues, a juicio de Maquiavelo, Fernando «merece prácticamente la consideración de príncipe nuevo, porque, de un rey débil, ha pasado a ser por fama y por gloria el primer rey de los cristianos»[4].

Según dijimos al principio, Maquiavelo vio la luz en el contexto de un equilibrio político inestable. Se trataba del fruto de la Paz de Lodi, firmada en 1454 entre Venecia y Milán y a la que terminaron adhiriéndose las demás potencias, pues todas tenían buenos motivos para poner fin a sus luchas, casi ininterrumpidas desde los años veinte. En efecto, las guerras que habían ensangrentado Italia no establecieron un vencedor claro, pero terminaron haciendo ver a los contendientes el peligro de una intervención extranjera favorecida por sus disputas. No olvidemos cómo Nápoles había sido el escenario de un enfrentamiento franco-aragonés, mientras que el célebre caudillo mercenario Francesco Sforza, después de haberse hecho con el ducado de Milán en 1450, barajó la posibilidad de pedir ayuda al rey de Francia para mantenerlo frente a los venecianos y sus aliados, quienes consideraban al condotiero un usurpador. De todas formas, a esa amenaza se sumaba otra más próxima y temible: la de los turcos otomanos, que acababan de conquistar Constantinopla en 1453. En esta coyuntura, los esfuerzos conciliadores del papado auspiciaron la Paz de Lodi y una Liga italiana, bendecida por Nicolás V en febrero de 1455, cuyo fin prioritario iba a ser la defensa contra los turcos y el alejamiento de la monarquía francesa de los asuntos italianos. A partir de entonces se estableció el equilibrio entre las potencias y sus aliados durante veinticinco años. Un equilibrio difícil a la vista de las transgresiones del tratado, pero que, en cualquier caso, evitó una nueva escalada bélica. Con todo, las posteriores renovaciones de la Liga no lograron cumplir su objetivo y desde principios de los años ochenta estallaron las hostilidades de forma generalizada. En 1482 la agresión de Venecia contra Ferrara suscitó la alianza de Milán, Florencia y Nápoles contra la Serenísima, y en 1486, Ferrante, hijo bastardo de Alfonso de Aragón, combatía en su reino napolitano una rebelión baronial que reprimió con extrema dureza. Como consecuencia de ella, el papa Inocencio VIII decidió pedir la intervención del rey de Francia, quien unos años más tarde vio favorecidas sus pretensiones al trono napolitano como heredero de los Anjou, gracias a la actitud del duque usurpador de Milán, Ludovico el Moro. Éste, sintiéndose cercado por sus enemigos, se arrojó en manos de Carlos VIII, y el monarca galo no dudó en aprovechar la oportunidad para entrar en Italia. En 1494 comenzaba la invasión francesa, el «castigo celeste» profetizado desde Florencia por el prior del convento dominico de San Marcos: fray Girolamo Savonarola.

Una vez traspasados los Alpes, el ejército francés se paseó por la península y Carlos entró en Nápoles sin apenas encontrar resistencia el 22 de febrero de 1495. No obstante, su éxito fue breve. Una alianza de las potencias italianas, salvo Florencia, a la que se sumaron los Reyes Católicos y el Imperio, le obligó a retirarse a Francia a los pocos meses de su coronación como rey de Nápoles. Una vez más, los angevinos eran derrotados, aunque no tardarían en volver a tierras italianas. En 1499, el sucesor de Carlos, Luis XII, emprendía una nueva campaña, iniciando tras la toma de Milán otro período de guerras y de sucesivos reveses para los reyes de Francia. Al final, Enrique II terminó aceptando la hegemonía española sobre Italia en 1559 (Paz de Cateau-Cambrésis).

Pero volvamos a 1494 y a la patria de Nicolás Maquiavelo: Florencia. Allí, la marcha de Carlos VIII hacia Nápoles provocó la caída de los Medici, según dijimos, los verdaderos amos del gobierno. Su régimen, denunciado como corrupto e impío desde el púlpito por Savonarola, daba paso a una república popular profrancesa fuertemente influida por el dominico y sus partidarios. De hecho, el «profeta desarmado» del cambio clausuró la denominada Ilustración florentina de la época medicea, y la capital de las artes y las letras se sumió en un clima de austeridad y rigorismo religioso, entre cuyos excesos destacó la quema pública de cuadros, libros y todo tipo de objetos considerados dañinos para la moral. No tardó, pues, en nacer un partido contra Savonarola, enemistado con la mayoría de los hombres de negocios, principales perjudicados por su política de austeridad. A estos enemigos internos se sumaba el papa Alejandro VI, que terminó condenando al fraile a causa de sus duras críticas contra los desórdenes de la Iglesia y la codicia de los pontífices. Esa condena papal, bien aprovechada por los opositores al dominico, terminó precipitando su caída. El 23 de mayo de 1498, Savonarola moría en la horca y, acto seguido, era quemado en la plaza de la Señoría. Unos días más tarde, recién cumplidos los veintinueve años, Nicolás Maquiavelo era nombrado secretario de la Señoría y pasaba a dirigir la segunda Cancillería de Florencia.

Nuestros datos sobre la infancia y la juventud de Maquiavelo son muy escasos. Nicolás, nacido el 3 de mayo de 1469, fue el segundo de los cuatro hijos de Bernardo Machiavelli, abogado que durante cierto tiempo también ejerció un cargo público (tesorero de la Marca), y de Bartolomea Benizzi. Sus antepasados habían sido señores de Montespertoli, pero desde el siglo XIII la Maclavellorum familia figuraba entre los habitantes de Florencia y en los siguientes doscientos años varios miembros del linaje ocuparon cargos importantes en el gobierno de la república. Sin embargo, como sucedió con los descendientes de otras antiguas estirpes florentinas, Maquiavelo no llegó a gozar de una ciudadanía plena. Ese derecho, pese a su ampliación por la «constitución» de 1494, estaba limitado a unos 3.000 de los alrededor de 90.000 moradores de la ciudad del Arno. En consecuencia, nunca pudo aspirar a una magistratura. Este hecho parece explicar la arrogancia y la amargura destilada en algunos de sus escritos[5]. Por otro lado, su familia, aun sin pasar estrecheces económicas, no disfrutaba de una situación desahogada. Los modestos bienes hereditarios se localizaban en el municipio de San Casciano, una pequeña aldea situada entre los valles de Greve y de Pesa, en concreto, en Sant’Andrea in Percussina, donde Maquiavelo escribió El Príncipe. De todos modos, a pesar de esta situación de partida y del ejemplo de un padre ordenado y económico que administraba con celo los ingresos y el modesto patrimonio familiar, Nicolás fue siempre, según sus propias declaraciones, «aficionado a gastar», y, claro, esa prodigalidad le granjeó muchas simpatías, aunque se quejó a menudo de tener un sueldo insuficiente. Por tanto, los apuros financieros le acompañaron desde antes de los años difíciles que siguieron a su salida de la administración (1513-1514).


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