The Church accused Niccolo Machiavelli of being Satan for writing his book The Prince. Machiavelli completed The Prince in 1513. He wrote it as a gift to Lorenzo Medici, called the Magnificent, ruler of Florence. The political views Machiavelli expressed in his book went against the theology of the Church, specifically the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes.
Machiavelli wrote to gain control of a principality one must be brutal. "(I)f you are a prince in possession of a newly acquired state and deem it necessary. . . to annihilate those who can or must attack you. . . ." , you must do so to protect your principality. He gave the example of Duke Valentino's slaying of his nobles to maintain order, saying if Valentino had not killed his men, Valentino would have lost power. The Bible strongly forbids the killing of anyone. The Sixth Commandment states "You shall not murder." In what is known as the Beatitudes, from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, the Bible also says those who are meek shall inherit the earth. A meek person certainly does not kill others for standing in his or her way like Machiavelli is suggesting to be done. Another verse from the Beatitudes says those who are peacemakers will be called sons of God. Peacemakers do not kill either. For Machiavelli to say if killing a person is for the betterment of your principality, then to do so went against "God's rule" and the Church's. True followers of the Church abide by the Church beliefs, because if you are not for God, you are for Satan.
As a ruler a prince must make certain pledges and steadfast promises; however, Machiavelli reasons that a prince does not have to keep his word all the time. The prince can pledge one thing under certain circumstances; but if those circumstances change, he is free to change his pledge if the change should benefit his situation. For instance, Pope Alexander VI, who reigned before Machiavelli wrote The Prince, "made promises more persuasively or swore...
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