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Keeping the Mode

Fabrizio and Cosimo have a conversation in Book I where they discuss how to build and control a good army. Cosimo questions Fabrizio on how he would rebuild and create a new army; what kind of people would be best, what ages they would be, what skills they would have, and so on. Fabrizio seems to have a pretty good grasp on the answers to these questions and Cosimo mainly agrees. On the question of how to control an army, rebuilt or totally new, it seems to take them more time to get on the same page. Cosimo seems to worry about militia take over, where Fabrizio seems to think that is a problem of poor ruling and composition not a problem of every militia.

For making a new military Fabrizio says “I would take them from 17 to 40 years”(1.144). This age range is best for a new military because it brings in the youth, whose ambition was appeals to, and it brings in men with age and experience to instruct the youth. When rebuilding an army Fabrizio says “I would take them from 17 years so as to supplement it” (1.147). This is because he would already have those with experience and it is much easier to break a man into a different way of life at 17 than it is at 40. As for the kind of men Fabrizio would take he makes a very large divide in that “those on foot should be selected from the country and those on horse should be selected from the city” (1.142). Those from the city do not know the ground will enough to play to its advantages and disadvantages. These faults make men from the country better to select for military service and men from the city only useful if there are no more men from the country according to Fabrizio.

As for how to control a military Cosimo worries that the kind of military Fabrizio describes would need force to stay together and to much force leads to revolt. Fabrizio combats this idea and proclaims that a military needs both force and willingness to exist. He explains that as soldiers “they must be drawn through the respect that they have for the prince, where they fear his disdain more than present pain” (1.167). Fabrizio agrees with Cosimo “that by force nothing is ever done will” but only in the situations of complete force, because it makes for discontent (1.161). When soldiers are in discontent they do not strive for excellence of the matter. To overcome discontent soldiers also have to be willing. To much willingness however means there is no force to keep the form, if soldiers are told they can do whatever they want they won’t fill out the right form to keep the mode. Armies are not conquered because they are bad but because their mode has not kept the right matter and form and therefore the mode has not preformed to its fullest potential.

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