Author

Niccolò Machiavelli cover

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Niccolò Machiavelli

Italian politician, writer and author (1469-1527)

1469   -   1527

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movement: High Renaissance
country of citizenship: Republic of Florence
languages spoken, written or signed: Italian, Tuscan
educated at: University of Florence
occupation: writer, politician, historian, philosopher, political theorist, military theorist, translator, poet, diplomat, playwright

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (; Italian: [nikkoˈlɔ mmakjaˈvɛlli]; 3 May 1469 – 21 June 1527) was an Italian diplomat, philosopher, and historian who lived during the Renaissance. He is best known for his political treatise The Prince (Il Principe), written about 1513. He has often been called the father of modern political philosophy and political science.For many years he served as a senior official in the Florentine Republic with responsibilities in diplomatic and military affairs. He wrote comedies, carnival songs, and poetry. His personal correspondence is also important to historians and scholars of Italian correspondence. He worked as secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence from 1498 to 1512, when the Medici were out of power. Machiavelli's name came to evoke unscrupulous acts of the sort he advised most famously in his work, The Prince. He claimed that his experience and reading of history showed him that politics have always been played with deception, treachery and crime. He also notably said that a ruler who is establishing a kingdom or a republic, and is criticized for his deeds, including violence, should be excused when the intention and the result is beneficial. Machiavelli's Prince has had a mixed reaction. Some considered it a straightforward description of the evil means used by bad rulers; others read in it evil recommendations to tyrants to help them maintain their power. Even into recent times, some scholars, such as Leo Strauss, have stated that the opinion that Machiavelli was a "teacher of evil" should be taken seriously.The term Machiavellian often connotes political deceit, deviousness, and realpolitik. Even though Machiavelli has become most famous for his work on principalities, scholars also give attention to the exhortations in his other works of political philosophy. While much less well known than The Prince, the Discourses on Livy (composed c. 1517) has been said to have paved the way of modern republicanism. It has also significantly influenced authors who have attempted to revive classical republicanism, including Hannah Arendt.
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