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Extra resources for Machiavelli: The Chief Works and Others, Vol. 2
In insisting on the primary importance of infantry and the secondary value of cavalry, Niccolo was in harmony with European practice for many years 1. The belief cannot be escaped that the Romans in rear ranks threw their javelins over the heads of those in front ranks. This demanded perfect timing, the result of long training. See H. M. D. Parker) THE ROMAN LEGIONS (1958)) pp. 1~ 251. Introduction after his time. Nothing but commendation can be given to his insistence on the value of reserves) though his tactical method is hardly practicable.
To honor and reward excellence, not to despise poverty, to esteem the methods and regulations of military discipline, to oblige the citizens to love one another, to live without factions, to esteem private less than public good, and other like things that could easily fit in with our times. About these customs, it is not difficult to be persuaded when one thinks about them enough and takes them up in the right way, because in them so plainly can be seen the truth that every public,-spirited nature is capable of receiving.
But because this discourse must be long, I want aid from these friends of mine, with your permission; and they and I beg from you one thing: that you will not be annoyed if sometimes we interrupt you with some urgent question. FABRIZIO. I am very willing that you, Cosimo, and these other young men should here question me, because I believe that your youth makes you more interested in military matters and readier to believe what I shall say. Men of another age, with their hair white and the blood in their bodies turned to ice, are commonly some of them enemies of war, some beyond correction, believing that the times and not bad customs force men to live thus.