by Niccolò Machiavelli
The Prince Respect and Reputation Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
[I]f a ruler can't avoid hatred altogether, he must first try to avoid the hatred of the country as a whole, and when that proves impossible he must do everything he can to escape the hatred of the classes that wield the most power. (19.10)
Power comes from cash or weapons. In ancient Rome, it was the weapons of the army. In Italy, it's the money of the nobles and wealthy merchants. Either way, you don't want to make these guys angry.
It's hardly surprising, then, that despite being a new arrival he was able to hold so much power: his enormous reputation always protected him from the hatred people might otherwise have felt as a result of his pillage and violence. (19.16)
That's nice, isn't it? Who needs to fight when your reputation precedes you? Severus—the guy with the reputation here—has it made.
Two things led to his being both hated and despised. First, his extremely lowly background: he had been a shepherd in Thrace - everybody knew it and thought it scandalous; second, on becoming emperor he had put off going to Rome for the formal investiture and got himself a reputation for extreme cruelty by ordering his prefects in Rome and all over the empire to carry out numerous atrocities. (19.20)
Maximinus went a little too far here. Machiavelli didn't say not to try at all. He just said don't worry about your reputation too much.