7

It is a reference to the Tarquinian conspiracy. After the overthrow of Tarquinius, the last Roman King, and the founding of the Roman republic, a number of Romans, including two sons and two brothers-in-law of Lucius Junius Brutus, were found to be plotting to restore the kingdom and put Tarquinius back on the throne. The conspiracy was discovered, and the ...


4

The context is a paragraph discussing conspiracy against a prince (i.e. ruler). When a conspirator looks for support from other people, anyone who gets involved in the conspiracy is constantly at risk of being betrayed to the ruler in return for a reward. This is what Machiavelli in the words preceding the quote in the question: As soon as you have opened ...


1

You seem to be assuming that “to keep faith with you” must refer either to “he must be a very rare friend” or to “a thoroughly obstinate enemy of the prince”. Actually, it refers to both. Let me simplify the sentence structure for a moment: He must be X, to do Y. This sentence means that someone who does Y is necessarily X. If someone does Y, then they ...


1

This might be a remnant for Machiavelli's original goal of writing a running commentary of the first ten books in Livy's A Urbe Condita. Several other passages in the book may also be remnants of this original goal, namely those where Machiavelli quotes a sentence from Livy at the start of a chapter, e.g. at the start of Book 2, chapter 2, and Book 2, ...


1

Now that I've finished reading an annotated translation of the Discourses on Livy (translated by Julia Conaway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella. Oxford University Press, 2008), I can answer my own question. Livy's Ab Urbe Condita is Machiavelli's main source of citations and references, so there is a benefit in reading that book. However, Ab Urbe Condita is ...


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