From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Prince

The Prince

  

by Niccolò Machiavelli

The Prince Chapter 11 Summary

Church states

  • We've arrived at the last type of state. Hurrah! But if the book is only half done, what's the rest of it about? Don't worry: it's coming.
  • Church states are awesome because no matter what you do, you can't lose them. You don't have to defend them, or even govern them. It is totally a sweet deal being pope.
  • Now, Machiavelli is just a little bit sarcastic when he says that, "since Church states depend on forces beyond the reach of human reason, I shall say no more about them," but continues to talk about them for a couple of pages (10.2).
  • Recently, the church has been getting more and more earthly power. We're not talking angels here, we're talking war popes.
  • This sounds a bit weird to us, since we can't imagine Pope John Paul or Benedict XVI going all Rambo on someone, but these were hard core biker popes back in Machiavelli's day.
  • Apparently the whole aggro-pope thing snuck up on Europe and no one noticed that they were getting so powerful that they could boss France around.
  • We get it. They are popes. They're supposed to be goody two-shoes; plus, they only rule for like ten years. What can get done in that amount of time?
  • Well, everything changed when Cesare Borgia's dad, Pope Alexander VI, came on the scene. He was darned determined to get his kid some land, and he did.
  • Sure, that land was reabsorbed into the pope's territory, but oh well. So, when Julius, the next pope, took over, the church was stronger than ever.
  • Machiavelli ends this chapter with some pretty blatant flattery to Pope Leo, the pope at the time, and the uncle of the prince Machiavelli was writing to.
  • Tricky.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement