Machiavelli’s Art of War

Arte Della Guerra – Niccolò Machiavelli
Manoscritto autografo
Banco Rari 29
ISBN 9788890803345
Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Firenze (Italy)
Manuscript on paper 21,4 × 15 cm − 194 pp.
cc. 25r-118v; mm 225 x165
BNCF, Banco Rari 29
The main testimony of Machiavelli’s work is made up of miscellaneous manuscripts owned by the National Library containing five autographed fragments of the De re militari. The manuscript from the library of the Strozzi family, acquired in 1786 by Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo, was assigned to the Magliabechiana Library and at the end of the nineteenth century was placed in its current location in the Banco Rari. The codex has bequeathed 89 cards that are numbered by hand in contemporary Arabic numerals in the top margin at the center of the sheet. The writing comes from a period when the text was still being processed and has additions and interventions; the writing, initially neat, becomes increasingly hurried, with corrections and marginal additions. There are also several spelling corrections by another hand, which confirm the theory of a language “review”, which the work would have been submitted to by “an appointed editor using Giunti typography”. The dialogue, probably composed between 1519 and 1520 and completed by Giovanni Gaddi at a later date on September 15th, 1520, is dedicated to Lorenzo di Filippo Strozzi and is set in the circle of friends of the Rucellai family, gathered at the famous Oricellari gardens, which Machiavelli also attended for several years. The protagonist of the dialogue, which is divided into seven books, is the Roman condottiero Fabrizio Colonna. As an expert man-at-arms now advanced in years, he expresses his convictions that the Italian military needs to be reformed, based on the Roman military model, but excluding the use of mercenary troops, who proved unreliable and harmful on several occasions. In the treatise, central themes of Machiavellian thought are recalled, which had already been discussed in previous works (Cagione dell’Ordinanza, The Prince, The Discourses), such as the condemnation of the use of mercenaries and the creation of a well-ordered and disciplined citizen militia, able at any moment to defend the territory from enemy attack. The author then proceeds with a close and detailed analysis of the techniques used by the Romans in the formation of the army (selection, training and armament of the soldiers), the disposition of the troops in battle, housings, fortifications, etc., suggesting precise and detailed rules for an effective defense strategy. In an appendix to the text Machiavelli drafts diagrams of military deployment, where the battalions are marked with a Greek letter and designs display the ideal arrangement of the army in a “standard battle”.

Caratteristiche tecniche

  • Formato cm 14×21,3
  • 196 pagine
  • Stampa fine art
  • Carta pergamena trattata a mano per il raggiungimento dello stato ottimale di invecchiamento
  • Legatura eseguita artigianalmente
  • Pelle fiore a concia naturale
  • Cucitura a mano
  • Incassatura su carta antica
  • Limited Edition: 699 copies
  • ISBN 9788890803345