The Prince Questions and Answers
by Niccolo Machiavelli

The Prince book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In The Prince, describe the various principalities Machiavelli writes about.

Expert Answers info

bmadnick eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write1,334 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

"Principalities are either hereditary,...or they are new." Hereditary principalities are those where rule has been established for generations, usually by one family. The people tend to love a ruler of this kind, and there's usually little opposition to his rule. Mixed principalities are those where the rule of a prince is new. He has acquired the new territory either through annexation, the wishes of the people, or the actions of the nobles.The problems a ruler encounters can be difficult. If he has taken the area by force, the people of the newly acquired area are going to fight the ruler at every opportunity. A prince has three choices in this case. He can totally destroy the territory, live in the territory among the people, or create a government in the territory that will support him, allowing the people a sense of self-government. A civil principality is one where the ruler is given power by the general population or by nobles. In this case, a ruler needs to gain the favor of at least a few of the nobles and most of the people to be successful. An ecclesiastical principality is one where the real power is held by religious people. It doesn't matter what the prince does because the people's belief in their religion is so strong.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial