A War of One's Own: Mercenaries and the Theme of Arma Aliena in Machiavelli's Il Principe

Abstract
Treatments of the status of mercenary arms in Machiavelli typically concentrate on Machiavelli’s discussions of the theme of the ‘arms of others’ in chapters XII and XIII of the Prince. Generally they place special importance on the exaggerated disdain Machiavelli voices for mercenary arms, sometimes entirely passing over the related issue of auxiliaries, and sometimes grouping this issue together with Machiavelli’s treatment of mercenaries as constituting essentially the same issue – the arms of others. Further, though the importance of this distinction between one’s own arms and the arms of others in Machiavelli is nearly universally recognized by commentators, the distinction receives unequal treatment. Commentators tend to place great emphasis on the theme and implications of ‘having one’s own arms’ while either adopting Machiavelli’s criticism of mercenary and auxiliary arms verbatim or simply passing over this related issue. As a result, no sustained analyses of Machiavelli’s reasoning on the arms of ‘others’ have appeared. This article addresses that gap.
Keywords Machiavelli  Mercenaries  Renaissance Philosophy  Poltical Philosophy
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DOI 10.1080/09608788.2010.502332
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Deane-Peter Baker (2011). Are Mercenaries Just Warriors? The Philosophers' Magazine 54 (54):55-59.
Machiavelli, Ellis Farneworth & Neal Wood (1969). The Art of War. Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 159:492-492.
Niccolò Machiavelli (1988). Machiavelli. Cambridge University Press.

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