About Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (3 May 1469 – 21 June 1527) was a philosopher, writer, and Italian politician and is considered one of the main founders of modern political science. As a Renaissance Man, he was a diplomat, political philosopher, musician, poet and playwright, but, foremost, he was a Civil Servant of the Florentine Republic. In June of 1498, after the ouster and execution of Girolamo Savonarola, the Great Council elected Machiavelli as Secretary to the second Chancery of the Republic of Florence.

Like Leonardo da Vinci, Machiavelli is considered a typical example of the Renaissance Man. He is most famous for a short political treatise, The Prince, a work of realist political theory, however, both it and the more substantive republican Discourses on Livy went unpublished until the 1530s — after Machiavelli's death. Although he privately circulated The Prince among friends, the only work he published in his life was The Art of War, about high-military science. Since the sixteenth century, generations of politicians remain attracted and repelled by the cynical (realist) approach to power exposited in The Prince, the Discourses and the History. Whatever his personal intentions (still debated today), his surname yielded the modern political words "Machiavelli" (a person of acute and scheming intelligence) and Machiavellianism (the use of cunning and deceit in politics or generally).

The patronage in his life (1)

In 1512, Machiavelli wrote his two major works, The Prince and Discourses on Livy and He dedicated The Prince to Lorenzo di Piero de Medici to gain his favor. In 1520, Cardinal Giulio employed Machiavelli and the cardinal agreed to have Machiavelli elected official historiographer of the republic, a post to which he was appointed by the University of Florence in November 1520 with a salary of 57 gold florins a year, later increased to 100.

The patronage in his life (2)

In the meantime, Machiavelli was commissioned by the Medici pope Leo X to write a discourse on the organization of the government of Florence. After the death of Pope Leo X in 1521, Cardinal Giulio who remained sole master of Florence, was more inclined to reform the city’s government and sought out the advice of Machiavelli, who replied with the proposal he had made to Leo X. Machiavelli was employed by the cardinal as the official historian of the republic later of that year with a salary of 57 in 1520. In 1523, following the death of Pope Adrian VI, the cardinal became Pope Clement VII, and Machiavelli worked with renewed enthusiasm on an official history of Florence. In June 1525, he presented his Florentine Histories to the pope, receiving in return a gift of 120 ducats

[Source: Wikipedia]


Niccolò Machiavelli

The Medici family crest/coat of arms, on a building in Florence, Italy