THE KINGDOM OP DARIUS, OCCUPIED BY ALEXANDER,
DID NOT REBEL AGAINST THE SUCCESSORS
OF THE LATTER AFTER HIS DEATH.
Considering the difficulties there are in holding a newly acquired state, some may wonder how it came to pass that Alexander the Great became master of Asia in a few years, and had hardly occupied it when he died, from which it might be supposed that the whole state would have rebelled. However, his successors maintained themselves in possession, and had no further difficulty in doing so than those which arose among themselves from their own ambitions.
I reply that the kingdoms known to history have been governed in two ways: either by a prince and his servants, who, as ministers by his grace and permission, assist in governing the realm; or by a prince and by barons, who hold their positions not by favour of the ruler but by antiquity of blood. Such barons have states and subjects of their own, who recognise them as their lords, and are naturally attached to them. In those states which are governed by a prince and his servants, the prince possesses more authority, because there is no one in the state regarded as a superior besides himself, and if others are obeyed it is merely as ministers and officials of the prince, and no one regards them with any special affection. Examples of these two kinds of government in our own time are the Turk and the King of France. All the Turkish monarchy is governed by one ruler, the others are his servants, and dividing his kingdom into "sangiacates," he sends to them various administrators, and changes or recalls them at his pleasure. But the King of France is surrounded by a large number of ancient nobles, recognised as such by their subjects, and loved by them; they have their prerogatives, which the king cannot deprive them of without danger to himself. Whoever now considers these two states will see that it would be difficult to acquire the state of the Turk; but having conquered it, it would be very easy to hold it.
The causes of the difficulty of occupying the Turkish kingdom are, that the invader could not be invited by princes of that kingdom, nor hope to facilitate his enterprise by the rebellion of those around him, as will be evident from reasons given above. Because, being all slaves, and bound, it will be more difficult to corrupt them, and even if they were corrupted, little effect could be hoped for, as they would not be able to carry the people with them for the reasons mentioned. Therefore, whoever assaults the Turk must be prepared to meet his united forces, and must rely more on his own strength than on the disorders of others; but having once conquered him, and beaten him in battle so that he can no longer raise armies, nothing else is to be feared except the family of the prince, and if this is extinguished, there is no longer any one to be feared, the others having no credit with the people; and as the victor before the victory could place no hope in them, so he need not fear them afterwards. The contrary is the case in kingdoms governed like that of France, because it is easy to enter them by winning over some baron of the kingdom, there being always some malcontents, and those desiring innovations. These can, for the reasons stated, open the way to you and facilitate victory; but afterwards, if you wish to keep possession, infinite difficulties arise, both from those who have aided you and from those you have oppressed. Nor is it sufficient to extinguish the family of the prince, for there remain those nobles who will make themselves the head of new changes, and being neither able to content them nor exterminate them, you will Jose the state whenever an occasion arises. Now if you will consider what was the nature of the government of Darius you will find it similar to the kingdom of the Turk, and therefore Alexander had first to completely overthrow it and seize the country, after which victory, Darius being dead, the state remained secure to Alexander, for the reasons discussed above. And his successors, had they remained united, might have enjoyed it in peace, nor did any tumults arise in the kingdom except those fomented by themselves. But it is impossible to possess with such ease countries constituted like France.
Hence arose the frequent rebellions of Spain, France, and Greece against the Romans, owing to the numerous principalities which existed in those states; for, as long as the memory of these lasted, the Romans were always uncertain of their possessions; but when the memory of these principalities had been extinguished they became, with the power and duration of the empire, secure possessions.
And afterwards the latter could, when fighting among themselves, draw each one with him a portion of these provinces, according to the authority he had established there, and these provinces, when the family of their ancient princes was extinct, recognised no other rulers but the Romans. Considering these things, therefore, let no one be surprised at the facility with which Alexander could hold Asia, and at the difficulties that others have had in holding acquired possessions, like Pyrrhus and many others; as this was not caused hy the greater or smaller ability of the conqueror, but depended on the dissimilarity of the conditions.