Facts About Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli is one of the most controversial and influential political thinkers that existed in the Italian Renaissance. He became especially famous after he published his masterwork “The Prince” in 1532. Here are some things you should know about him.

Niccolo Machiavelli Was At The Forefront of the Renaissance Power Struggles

Machiavelli was born in the Republic of Florence in 1469. Before he became a famous political theorist, he was a diplomat under the Florentine government. At 29, he became the Second Chancery and was in charge of the foreign relations of the city. He was also responsible for the training of officials in the militia. His army couldn’t match the Medici who had support from Rome’s papal militia. Medici took over Florence in 1512.

He Wrote The Prince to Regain His Status

As a diplomat, Machiavelli knew and observed the rules of war. After he lost his position as a diplomat he became a scholar. He put his time into studying Roman political philosophers and at the end of 1513, he was able to complete his work The Prince. This book was more of a handbook that offered tips for politicians who were power hungry and those with power who want to keep it. He dedicated the book to Medici hoping to join them. It is unknown if the book was ever read by his intended audience but his book was published five years after his death in 1532.

Machiavelli Compared Need For Love Over The Value Of Fear

One major lesson which Machiavelli’s book The Prince, passes across is the need for leaders to balance their quest for the love of their subordinates and inspiring their fear. According to Machiavelli, love and fear can hardly exist at the same time and if a leader is to choose between the two, he is safer to be feared.

The Prince Was Famous Because It Was Ruthless

Machiavelli’s book was popular because it was sold for the purpose of helping leaders to get anything at any cost. Other political thinkers did not totally embrace Machiavelli’s mercenary approach to statesmanship. Denis Diderot, a French Essayist described Machiavelli’s book as abhorrent and an art of tyranny. The polymath, David Hume described Machiavelli as a great genius who has defective reasoning.

Shakespeare Used The Term Machiavels as a Name For Villains

Machiavelli work was notorious up to the 16th century where his name made its way to the Elizabeth theatre. Its character was associated with breed and ambition in Christopher Marlowe, the Playwright’s villain in “A Sound Machiavill”. William Shakespeare also in one of his characters in The Merry Wives of Windsor asks a rhetorical question “Am I political? Am I subtle? Am I Machiavel?

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