BE FEARED | The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

When discussing whether it is better to be feared or loved, Machiavelli talks of two great military leaders: the Roman General Scipio Africanus and the Carthaginian General Hannibal.

Scipio was seen as a great commander and was held in high esteem by his men, but even though they respected him, they did not fear him. Machiavelli said that one of the implications of having such a reputation was that Scipio was limited in the range of actions available to him. Some military and political strategies and tactics he could not use as it would damage his reputation, which was seen as spotless among his soldiers and the wider population.

While he was in Spain, the troops under Scipio’s command, rebelled. This mutiny occured because of the discipline being too slack, rather than too tough. Scipio was not willing to punish them for their behaviour.