How we cite our quotes:
It wasn't a question of the abilities of each particular conqueror, but of the different kinds of state they had invaded. (4.5)
And here's the whole point of this book summed up in a neat little sentence: to see the results of certain conquerors mixing with certain states.
The fact is that mercenaries bring only slow, belated, unconvincing victories, then sudden, bewildering defeats. (12.8)
We dare you to count the number of times that Machiavelli tells us that mercenaries are bad. Go ahead. We'll wait.
One of the things historians admired about the Achaean leader Philopoemen was that even in peacetime he thought of nothing but military strategy and when he was in the country with his friends he would often stop and ask them: If the enemy were over there on that hill and we were down here with our army, who would be in the better position? How could we attack them without breaking ranks? If we decided to retreat, how would we do it? And if they retreated, how would we go after them? And as he and his friends went along he would list all the predicaments an army can find itself in. He listened to their ideas, expressed and explained his own; so much so that, thanks to this constant work of mental preparation, when he was back leading his armies there was simply nothing that could happen that he didn't know how to deal with. (14.4)
It makes sense that the best ruler at the time would know a lot about war. Diplomacy was about as advanced as nanotechnology, so it was make war or get invaded.