How a ruler should be both a lion and a fox

Living from toNiccolo Machiavelli saw what we now consider the height of the Italian Renaissance--a period that produced some of Italy's greatest achievements in the arts and sciences, but that also produced horrible scandals and the establishment of foreign domination over the peninsula. Brought up while members of the powerful Medici family were masters of Florence, he studied the classics and learned to read and write in Latin.

How a ruler should be both a lion and a fox

Grievously injured, the king was taken to the city of Aalborg, whereto he had already summoned a number of Jutish councilors of the realm. After a few days, Hans, the second of the Oldenburg dynasty, king of Denmark, Norway and Sweden committed his soul to God, and died.

He had fought the Swedes and won, successfully restoring the Kalmar Union. He had fought the peasant republic of Dithmarschen in the Battle of Hemmingstedt, and suffered a crushing defeat. On the left panel, Balthazar, true to renaissance tradition, is depicted as a young moor observing the holy family, holding his gift of Myrrh.

In the central panel, the holy family receives the adoration of Caspar in the likeness of King Hans Ikneeling in prayer before the Infant Christ, who smilingly reaches out for the old man. In the middle the coat of arms of the house of Oldenburg is shown. His father had governed the realm in a remarkably headstrong way, disregarding his accession charter and placed commoners and burghers as fief holders at important royal castles, a right to office usually and legally reserved for those belonging to the nobility.

Despite the fact that the royal council on three occasions had sworn to make Christian their king after his father, the assembled lords refused outright to proclaim him ruler before a new accession charter had been formulated and the remainders of the council and estates had been heard[1].

How a ruler should be both a lion and a fox

After a heated exchange, the two parties split in anger. Both brothers had thus occupied important positions within the administration, but their unwavering support was a rarity. The constitutional precedent was clear.

No king could be elected until he had signed an accession charter, formulated in concert with the councilar nobility and church prelates. Consequently, the lesser nobility and the councils of all three union realms were issued a summons, to appear in Copenhagen in the summer of to negotiate the terms of a new charter.

Although the commoners and burghers had received the handsome and strapping-looking[3] prince ecstatically[4] upon his return from Norway, the high nobility had good cause to be alarmed at the prospect of Christian assuming the throne.

He had all but obliterated the Norwegian council of the realm as an independent political entity and brought the strong-willed Norwegian church to heel by outright imprisoning a bishop of the church who stood in his way.

King Hans too, had flaunted the constitutional restraints placed upon him by his own charter, and now it seemed his as if his son would follow in his footsteps at a marching pace. The city of Copenhagen had in the course of the 15th century evolved into a respectable royal and national capital thanks to its location in the centre of the Danish realm.

However, to the chagrin of the conspirators, the skillful political operator Frederick rejected the proposal of the conspirators, who instead joined forces with the second oppositional grouping: Gunnersen had risen to his high office as the leader of the Scandinavian church from a remarkably lowborn background his father had been a mere provincial bellringer in Halland with the support of king Hans.

Fiefs were the building blocks of power politics in late-medieval Scandinavia and the control of these were consequently of immense economic and political importance.

Christian was forced to accept the removal of the commoner castellans, marking an important win for the councilar opposition, but the prince conceded graciously and without much fuss, persuaded in part by his own noble supporters and friends[7].

Although he himself had lived at the home of a prominent Copenhagen trader as a child, and consequently held the burghers and commoners in high regard as possible allies of the crown, the prince understood full well the tactical necessity of placating the council of the realm.

Although the burgher fief-holders were utterly dependent on the crown for their advancement and thus only owed the king their loyalty, it would be a small loss for the king to replace one supporter with another of a higher social standing.

Danish fiefs and hundreds ca. Although inherently feudal in nature, they were not as a rule passed on within certain families, but enfeoffed as a result of a tangible service rendered by a nobleman. Generally speaking the various fiefs fell into four broad categories: The fief-holder served as a royal appointed official who received a previously agreed upon salary in exchange for his service.

In place of paying an interest rate, the crown pledged the income of the fief to the creditor until the debt had been paid. However, the most worrisome demand by the councilar opposition was the enlargement of their jus resistendi - their right to resist a prince governing against his promises and the stipulations of his accession charter.

Under the constitutional guidance of archbishop Gunnersen, the council of the realm now demanded that the king promised: However, the article had some serious flaws, as it did not stipulate which institution should be the judge of exactly what constituted a breach of the charter.

In a political reality without institutional restraints, the only judge was raw unmitigated military power. Nevertheless, Christian was presented with a fait-accompli. Accept the charter or face the prospect of civil war against the council and a possible pretender. Chaos in Denmark would leave the flood-gates open and likely mean the damnation of the three state union, the golden calf of the House of Oldenburg.

Thus, Christian had little to no choice. The council had the constitutional high-ground and if he were to advance the cause of the crown, he would, at any rate, first have to wear it. With his scribes, squires and friends around him, the prince agreed to the radical stipulations[10] of the charter, and affixed his seal to the document above those of 29 Danish and 7 Norwegian councillors.

On the 22nd of Julyfive months and two days after the death of his father, the matter of the succession had finally been settled. The Swedish delegates, however, had made excuses and pleaded that their orders from Stockholm had not included instructions as to how to act in relation to drawing up an accession charter.

Still, the prince was now the legally elected king of Denmark and Norway, rightfully chosen king of Sweden, king of the Wends and the Goths, Duke of Schleswig, Holstein and Stormarn as well as Count of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst - the issue of the Swedish succession would have to be postponed for the immediate future.

He needed to be crowned. And he needed a wife. He led a vicious feud with the Scanian nobility which culminated in the killing of the Steward of the Realm, Poul Laxmand if you played Denmark in EU IV, you might have seen an event relating to this murder.Both of these absolute monarchs managed to establish religious tolerance, create foreign and domestic policies, as well as stabilizing the economies of France and England, respectively.

Machiavelli’s theory of an ideal ruler acting “like a lion” and “like a fox”, demonstrates how a monarch needs to be powerful and dominant, yet shrew and wise in order to be successful.

Essay Topic 1: A Lion and a Fox In Machiavelli’s literary work The Prince, he suggests that an ideal ruler should behave “like a lion” and “like a fox” in order. The ruler needs to be a strong lion to scare off the wolves but also a cunning fox to recognise the traps that the lion might fall into.

How a ruler should be both a lion and a fox

We are very far here from the simplistic idea that “the ends justify the means”, a phrase that does not appear in the book – a Machiavellianism . For Machiavelli, a good ruler is like a chimera, a mix between the Lion and the might be enough to be a good ruler. In order to be a good person, though, you need to add a third creature to the hybrid mix.

A good person should be like the Lion, and like the . Lion and the Fox Metaphor in Machiavelli's The Prince Whereas Niccolo Machiavelli wrote about how a society should be ruled in ‘The Prince.’ Both works paint a portrait of leadership and laws, as well as life and society. Many people have offered their views on how a prince or ruler should behave and govern.

However many people. By adapting to his surroundings, he must use his lion-like ferocity to frighten away the wolves that come to challenge his livelihood, while also using adopting fox-like instincts to avoid traps. These analogies should be lost on no one – a ruler should use both tactics to thwart the aims of his adversaries, and break his promises if necessary.

Niccolo Machiavelli quotes