Aquinas and Machiavelli were in essence political philosophers who made a great impact on politics in their time, they also interpreted the characteristics that a ruler should possess in order to gain power and sustain the realm. Even though their perspectives were different both made a significant impact in the way politic was conceived in that time. This essay will first, specifies the history and compare Aquinas and Machiavelli viewpoints about the characteristics that a ruler should possess and second, it will show why Machiavelli's ideas are the most suitable in order to gain power and maintain a stable state.
First, Thomas Aquinas was an Italian Dominican friar and Catholic priest who was influential philosopher and theologist. He reinterpreted Aristotle's philosophy into Christian framework, and made it the base of Christian church. Aquinas though that because human beings are created in the image and likeness of God and God is good; therefore, Human beings have the inclination towards good. Canning (2013, pp.110; 112). Based on this argument, Aquinas affirms that the ruler (price) must have virtues and the most virtuous man should be the one who govern Skirbekk and Gilje (2000, p.126). Hence, Aquinas wrote about what a price should do and avoid in order to gain power and maintain an stable state.
Once the most virtuous man has been selected to be the ruler, he should avoid falling into tyranny, desiring glory or temporal goods as a reward for his command; instead he should look for an eternal reward given by God. According to Cicero in the book "De Officiis", people should evade the appetite for glory, since it eradicates the liberty of spirit; the desire for glory makes people to be arrogant, deceptive and takes away the greatness of soul and nothing is more appropriate for a ruler who is appointed to achieve good purposes than greatness of soul (Aquinas Kingship extract 8).