Niccolo Machiavelli


Advanced Search

Niccoló Machiavelli (1469-1527), Italian political thinker and historical figure best remembered for his masterpiece, The Prince (written in 1513, but published posthumously in 1532). Machiavelli is considered one of the great early analyzers of political power.

Niccolo Machiavelli was born on May 3, 1469, in Florence, Italy. His father, Bernardo belonged to an impoverished branch of an influential old Florentine family. Bernardo was a lawyer and he had a small personal library that included books by Greek and Roman philosophers and volumes of Italian history. Bernardo died in 1500, Machiavelli's mother, Bartolomea de' Nelli, had died in 1496.

As a thinker Machiavelli belonged to an entire school of Florentine intellectuals concerned with an examination of political and historical problems. His important writings were composed after 1512 when he was accused of conspiracy in 1513. The Medici family had returned to power and had ended the Florentine Republic. Lorenzo de' Medici fired Machiavelli who had held the office of Secretary under the previous government. He was suspected of plotting against the Medici, jailed, even tortured, and exiled. Machiavelli found himself unemployed after years of patriotic service, and spent most of his remaining years in producing his major works. He achieved some fame as a historian and playwright, but with The Prince he hoped to regain political favor. It tells how to gain, maintain, and centralize power.

In 1519 Machiavelli was partly reconciled with the Medici and he was given various duties, including writing a history of Florence. When the Medici was deposed in 1527 Machiavelli hoped for a new government post. However, now the republican government distrusted him for his previous association with the Medici.

Machiavelli's political writings became more widely known in the second half of the 16th century. When considered dangerous, they were placed in 1564 on the Church Index of officially banned books. Machiavelli's best known works are Discorsi Sopra La Prima Deca Di Tito Livio (1531, Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius) The Mandrake(1528) a satirical play and Il Principe (1532, The Prince), whose main theme is that all means may be used in order to maintain authority. The Prince was condemned by the Pope and its viewpoints gave rise to the well-known adjective machiavellian, a synonym for political maneuvers marked by cunning, duplicity, or bad faith. This interpretation of Machiavelli's thought is now being challenged on the grounds that it does not take into account any of his works other than The Prince and does not consider the political situation in Italy when he was writing.

From 1521 to 1525, Machiavelli was employed as a historiographer. Niccolo Machiavelli died in Florence on June 21, 1527.

The above biography is copyrighted. Do not republish it without permission.

Recent Forum Posts on Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli

Does anyone know how Machiavelli's writings affected our world/country's systems of government?


Boring list of battles or fascinating textbook?

The Prince may seem intimidating at first glance and even at the second but has anyone noticed further significance to the work? Why did it exist so long in the international literary eye? I would argue that it claims importance due to not how many battles Machiavelli can list off but what it teaches not only on the battlefield and political realm but serves also as a psychology textbook in saying "this is how the masses think and this is how a leader responds in such and such a case." In this context, strange as it may seem, one can apply its principles to the classroom, to family, and the rest, inserting the aspect of love along with stratagem, which Machiavelli of course for the most part leaves out. Yours in soul and mind, Isidro


Mandragola

Hello everybody.Let me introduce myself: I'm a little boy from Vietnam.I love Literature and I want to read the famous works of the world,but my English isn't good enough.So I practice Reading skill as much as possible and I decide to register in our forum.I find this Forum is wonderful. My first question is about "Mandragola" by Machiavelli.many people said that this is the greatest comedy of Italian Literature.Is it true?And how can i compare this comedy whith the ones by Moliere?


the political situation in The Prince

My question is, what were the political situations, which prompted Machiavelli to write the Prince? its hard to decipher. I mean, I know that at the time, Italy was humiliated because so many others from foreign countries were coming in and ruling their states. but what were the problems besides that?


Tenets in The Prince ?

Does anyone know exactly what a tenet is, or an example of one that can be found in Niccolo Machiavelli's, The Prince ?


The art of war

The art of war by Niccolo Machiavelli.


Post a New Comment/Question on Machiavelli

Quizzes on Niccolo Machiavelli

No quizzes available to take yet.

Please submit a quiz here.


Related links for Niccolo Machiavelli

Here is where you find links to related content on this site or other sites, possibly including full books or essays about Niccolo Machiavelli written by other authors featured on this site.

    Sorry, no links available.






Art of Worldly Wisdom Daily
In the 1600s, Balthasar Gracian, a jesuit priest wrote 300 aphorisms on living life called "The Art of Worldly Wisdom." Join our newsletter below and read them all, one at a time.
Email:
Sonnet-a-Day Newsletter
Shakespeare wrote over 150 sonnets! Join our Sonnet-A-Day Newsletter and read them all, one at a time.
Email: