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Castruccio Castracani

Virtue is an individual’s ability to seize opportunity within their surrounding environment. Machiavelli portrayed Castruccio Castracani as using various qualities throughout his life that enabled him to define his own virtue. From a young age Castracani demonstrated a physical prowess that was unmatched by his peers and expressed interest in literature pertaining to heroes and war. Under the tutelage of Messer Francisco Guinigi, he became an elite horseman. In their first battle together, they came home victorious with Castracani being praised as a hero of war. He was loved by Lucca for being respectful, modest, and courteous, while his notoriety as a warrior caused others to fear him as a tyrant. Qualities that constitute the virtue of Castruccio Castracani and led to his success are his intelligence, his ability to be cunning when necessary, and his ability to manipulate his reputation to make others fear and respect him.

The first example of virtue that Castracani displays is his intelligence. Through his many experiences in battle he demonstrated his brilliance as a military strategist.. Taking charge in the battle against the Guelphs, he fooled his enemies by delaying his army’s arrival, leaving the Guelphs to believe they had already won (Machiavelli, 11). Come time for battle, he observed the enemy’s formation and decided to place his strong soldiers on the outside while the enemy put their strong in the middle. Instructing the middle of his cavalry to go slow and the outside to charge, the middle warriors never reached each other so his strongest were fighting the enemy’s weakest. Blocking the enemy’s best soldiers from ever getting to the line of battle, Castracani forced them to retreat resulting in a victory for his ...

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...ader. Putting his intelligence to use lead him to an extremely impressive record in battle where he was never defeated by an opponent until the weather was the only opponent that defeated him. The virtue of his reputation makes him either feared or respected by everyone around him. Deceiving people who he associated with lead him to conquer new lands and overthrow other leaders without them even realizing that they were at stake of a battle with Castracani. Had he not built these virtues he would not have had as much success in battle, not have been able to get people to listen to him and would have never become such an effective and intimidating leader.

Works Cited

Machiavelli, Niccolò, and Andrew Brown. Life of Castruccio Castrani: Related by Niccolò

Machiavelli and Sent to Zanobi Buondelmonte and Luigi Alamanni, His Dearest Friends. London: Hesperus, 2003.

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