A/N - This part of my essay will be all about what Machiavelli wrote in the first 10 pages of book one. Now don't worry, I assure you that there will be plenty to talk about as Machiavelli makes some very good points in this segment, points that could relate to back then and even today.
Cosimo Rucellai called a meeting with five other people, all friends, to discuss a topic that seemed to be of interest to all of them - war. All six people were present at the meeting; Niccolò Machiavelli, Fabrizio Colonna, who was the commander of the Catholic Majesty's armies (Hapsburg Charles the first of Spain), and returning from the wars that had just ended in Lombardy (which, if you didn't know, is one of the 20 regions of France), was taking a few days to rest and met the Duke, among other gentlemen. Cosimo Rubella, a friend of Fabrizio's, had invited him to spend a day in his gardens because Cosimo and a few of his other close friends, Zanobi Buondelmonti, Battista Della Palla, and Luigi Alamanni, had recently become fascinated with the art of war, something that, being the commander of an army, Fabrizio would obviously know about. Fabrizio accepted the invitation, guessing there intentions but still went anyways, feeling that it would be a opportunity for him to enlighten Cosimo and his friends.
The meeting started very quickly, as introductions went by fast, "which generally are few and short among men of sense." and the subject of war was also brought up very quickly, and surprisingly, by Fabrizio. "and both the place and trees put me in mind of the King Of Naples." "If I were not afraid of giving offense, I would give you my opinion of these things. And yet I think none of you will be affronted at what is said among friends if free conversation, and said not with any design to vilify or deprecate (speak badly of or disapprove) such a taste, but for the sake of a little innocent argumentation." now, here Fabrizio is trying to make a sense of openness, that all arguments are to be regarded and no argument made by one man shall be questioned and ridiculed for his statement. The following statement was said latter, but goes to show that a sense of openness like I suggested was being created was in fact manifested. "it will be a great pleasure to give you all the satisfaction I can in such questions (on war) as you shall think fit to propose to me... Perhaps I, in turn, may now and then ask you a questions and receive a satisfactory answer in return."
"How much better, then, would those princes have done if they had endeavored (strive to do something) to imitate the ancients in bearing hardships and inconveniences, instead of giving themselves up to ease and indolence (disliking of work or effort), in preforming such exploits as were done in the sunshine and not in the shade, in following there example while they continued honest and wholesome, and not when they became dishonest and corrupt." Now, to fully understand what Fabrizio is meaning when he says this, we must go back to a previous statement, "who [The King of Naples] take much joy in planting groves and gardens, in the ancient manner." What he means by both statements is that even though if the King of Naples decided that he would use new practices to plant his gardens, he would not be as honest and wholesome as those who plant there gardens in the traditional way. "in the sunshine and not in the shade" "instead of giving themselves up to ease and indolence", all of this proves my point, as Fabrizio is saying that they would do better. Now, as a way to back myself up on this subject, Fabrizio's next sentence is the following. "For once these pleasures had distracted my fellow Romans, our country soon fell into ruin."
A conversation continues on how, why, and when they could incorporate the ways of the ancients into there everyday lives, and, as Cosimo seems to believe he thinks that Fabrizio is talking about living totally like the ancients, he brings up a very good social problem still in effect today. "Nevertheless, he found it impossible either for himself or for his sons to practice what he most approved." "For such was the corruption of the age in which he (Cosimo is referring to his grandfather, who was distressed with how he was forced to live in society) lived that if anyone had spirit enough to deviate in the slightest from the common customs and the manners if living in those times, he would have been laughed at and ridiculed by everybody." The social problem I'm saying that refers to is the common problem of gender stereotypes and roles, racism in general, and differences in beliefs. Examples like gay rights, how they are persecuted by being simply different, bronies, how they attract more than a few trolls just for watching a show, religious beliefs, which attract hate from people if you don't just believe what they believe in. This problem hasn't gone away over the centuries and I don't expect it to ever go away.
What Fabrizio is really talking about when he says "Imitating the ancients," is "to honor and reward virtù, not to scorn poverty; to value good order and discipline in their armies; to oblige citizens to love one another, to decline faction, and to prefer good to the public than any private interest." these principles "would be compatible enough in these times" which, if you think about it, they can still be compatible in THESE times, and with a little work could be implemented into the public, like Fabrizio is saying should happen. Fabrizio later goes to state that "nobody should gainsay or oppose them" and says that the good that will be done will "plant trees under the shade of which he may enjoy himself with greater pleasure, and more security, than we do here"
Things don't get very interesting with any new problems an solutions until page ten (yes, we've only gone 10 pages in!) where I'll leave you with a quote as food for thought : "such evils are caused by men who make mercenary warfare their sole occupation. You must now the proverb, "War makes thieves, and peace hangs them." When those who do not know how to get their bread any other way find no one who has occasion for their service, and do not themselves sufficient enough virtù to suffer honorably in poverty and obscurity, they are forced to resort to ways of supporting themselves that generally brings them to the gallows." (This quote was said by Fabrizio in response to the numerous raiding activity that was going on after the war)
Well, it seems that's all for this part. Congratulations, you've now got a gist of all the important things from the first ten pages of "The Art Of War".