Niccolo Machiavelli

In both the Prince and the Discourses, Machiavelli has a lot to say, both positive and negative, about religion and its role in politics. What do you think Machiavelli’s ultimate opinion about religion is? Do you think Machiavelli cares about the content of religion (beliefs, practices, etc.), or is he more interested in its political utility? In doing your analysis, make sure to treat his comparison of ancient Roman religion and Christianity; the role of religion for the people vs. its role for the ruler/Prince; and be clear, if necessary, about the distinction he makes between christianity as a system of beliefs and as a set of hierarchical institutions (i.e, Christianity as embodied by the papal led church in Rome).