Naval War College Review

Article Title

The Art of War,


Carnes Lord


Machiavelli’s classic, if now rarely read, The Art of War was probably the single most popular military treatise in Eu- rope prior to Jomini—Clausewitz was a professed admirer. At first sight, this book, with its appar- ent attempt to revive the infantry- centered military organization of the imperial Roman legions, seems hope- lessly irrelevant to present concerns. Even within its historical setting (it was originally published in 1521), Machiavelli’s work is often dismissed today for its alleged failure to appreci- ate the social and technological trends—particularly the growing im- portance of gunpowder—underpinning the “revolution in military affairs” of the sixteenth century.