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"Tagliare a pezzi". Cesare Borgia tra rimandi biblici e fonte senofontea in Machiavelli


Only in tree parts of Machiavelli’s writings occurs a stark expression: «tagliare a pezzi». Two of them are in The Prince, the third one in Discorsi. Two of them concern ancient examples (Hiero and Clearchus), the other one a modern experience, the famous and violent episode in which Cesare Borgia executes his lieutenant Rimirro, a capital punishment that Machiavelli watched in Cesena. The essay tries to show how all of Machiavelli’s examples deal in a subtle way with a topical Machiavelli’s view – civil principality. From this discussion, a survey (or journey) between Machiavelli’s text and historical context begins, where some other striking questions are approached, such as the absence of Cesare Borgia in Discorsi (so sensational as neglected), the relationship between Machiavelli and Michelangelo linked by a ‘republican’ David, or the figure of pope Leo X, that would be, according to this essay, that «certain prince of present times, whom it is best not to name», and not, according to the common opinion, Ferdinand the Catholic.