He seeks always to abase the powerful in order to secure his own position; he kills or causes misfortunes to befall those most distinguished for their possessions or nobility or intellect or other virtues; the wise he considers without reputation and makes mock of them to destroy their fame so that they will not be followed. He wants to have the citizens for his servants, not his partners; he prohibits them from convening and gathering together so that they will not make alliance together for fear that they might plot against him […]

He has the friendship of lords and great foreign dignitaries because he considers his own citizens to be his adversaries and is always afraid of them; therefore, he seeks to fortify himself against them by means of these foreigners. He wants his own government to be behind the scenes, seeming outwardly not to govern at all and making his accomplices say that he does not want to alter the city’s government but to preserve it; therefore, he seeks to be trusted as the protector of the common good and shows mercy in small matters, sometimes giving audience to boys and girls or to poor people […]

He raises up evil men who would be punished by justice without his protection so that in defending him they defend themselves, but if perchance he should elevate some good and wise man, he does so to show the people that he is a lover of virtue; nonetheless, he always keeps an eye on such good and wise men and does not place any trust in them but handles them in such a way that they cannot do him any harm. […]

All good laws he cunningly seeks to corrupt because they are contrary to his unjust government, and he constantly makes new laws to suit his own aims. In every office and magistracy within the city as well as without, he has someone who watches and reports to him everything that is said and done, and who, on his own part, gives direction to certain officials as to how they are to act; thus he is the refuge of all evildoers and the exterminator of the just. Above all else he is vindictive […]

To uphold his reputation he rarely gives audiences, and many times he attends to his own pleasures and makes the citizens stand outside waiting for him, and when he does come, he gives them short shrift and ambiguous responses. He want to be understood by gestures, because it seems that he is ashamed to want and to ask for things which are evil in and of themselves or to reject the good, and so he speaks in clipped phrases which have the appearance of good, but he wants their underlying meaning to be understood […]

He tolerates sodomy (Savonarola, ‘Treatise on the Rule and Government of the City of Florence’, II.2)