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Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (1469-1527) to be arguably the most prominent political thinker of the Renaissance period.

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His best-known work, Il Principle (‘The Prince’), later led to his name ending up being synonymous v ruthless politics machinations.

To this day, the hatchet “Machiavellian” connotes politics deceit, scheming and also unscrupulousness.

Here room 10 facts around him.

1. The lived during a time of political turmoil

Machiavelli to be born top top 3 might 1469 in Florence before becoming a an elderly official in the Florentine Republic.

From 1487 he started working under a banker, until in 1498 the was called the chancellor and the chief executive officer that the federal government of Florence.

As chancellor, he had actually responsibilities in diplomatic and also military affairs during an era the tumultuous politics tragedy.


French troops under Charles VIII start Florence by Francesco Granacci (Credit: publicly domain).


In 1494, Italy was attacked by King Charles VIII of France and then later by Spain and Austria, resulting in practically 400 year of dominion by outsiders.

Machiavelli’s reasoning was defined by this upheaval. It was his dream the the divided Italian city-states would certainly unite under a strong leader to satisfy its threats on same terms.

2. He worked with Leonardo da Vinci

As a an elderly government official, Machiavelli used his strength to commission Leonardo da Vinci and appointed him Florence’s army engineer in 1502.

Leonardo left his article only 8 months after, yet it is believed that the 2 “seem come have come to be intimate” when they were both in Florence.


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A paint of Leonardo da Vinci by Francesco Melzi


Some historians think their relationship had actually a significant influence top top Machiavelli’s political thinking. His writings show up to be rife v idiosyncratic expression from Leonardo’s notebooks.

3. He was an adversary of the powerful Medici family

The Medici household – who were the de facto rulers that Florence – play a main role to machiavelli’s life and works.

When the Medicis to be ousted native the city in 1494, machiavelli primary worry was their potential return.

To save them in ~ bay, he looked after the recruitment and also training of an main Florentine militia. However his military was no complement for the Medicis, that were sustained by Rome’s papal forces.


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Machiavelli devoted ‘The Prince’ come Lorenzo de’ Medici, depicted here by Giorgio Vasari (Credit: Uffizi Gallery).


When the home of Medici retook Florence in 1512, Machiavelli to be deprived that office and also imprisoned under conspiracy charges.

While in jail, he was based on torture by the strappado – where a prisoner would certainly be hung by his wrists behind his back, and also then unexpectedly dropped in the direction of the floor, dislocating the shoulders and also tearing the muscles.

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4. He wrote ‘The Prince’ to reclaim his shed status

After shedding his job as a diplomat, Machiavelli strove to victory the favour of the Medicis.

He retirement to his estate and also turned come scholarship, devoting his time to studying the old Roman philosophers. By the finish of 1513, he had actually completed the first version the the political treatise that the would end up being known for.

Initially, Machiavelli committed ‘The Prince’ to Giuliano de’ Medici, however Giuliano passed away in 1516. The book was subsequently specialized to the younger Lorenzo di Piero de’ Medici, nephew of Lorenzo the Magnificent.

Machiavelli did not live to see if the succeeded; ‘The Prince’ was published in 1532, 5 year after his death at the age of 58.


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Engraved portrait of Machiavelli, from the Peace palace Library’s Il Principe (Credit: windy domain).


5. ‘The Prince’ is based on Cesare Borgia

The surname Borgia is synonymous with decadence, treachery and also ruthlessness – many exemplified through the daring and also bloodthirsty Cesare Borgia (1475-1507).

The illegitimate kid of Pope Alexander VI, Borgia worked to carve out what the hoped would be a kingdom for himself that would rival Venice and also Naples.


Cesare Borgia, as portrayed in ‘Portrait of Gentleman’ by Altobello Melone (Credit: Accademia Carrara).


His ambitions and also actions attractive the notification of Machiavelli, who invested time as an emissary in Borgia’s court, and who would write long reports around him.

Many historians take into consideration Borgia to it is in the incentive for ‘The Prince’. Machiavelli admired Borgia’s daring, treachery and also effectiveness in contrast to the frustratingly slow and also prudent Florentine republic.

6. Machiavelli was no amoral himself


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Statue of niccolò Macchiavelli through Lorenzo Bartolini (Credit: Jerbulon / CC).


‘The Prince’ may have got notoriety for its ruthlessness, yet Machiavelli thought in a simply government. As a civil servant, he had been just one of the republic’s staunchest defenders.

Although his writing openly encouraged politicians come cheat, bribe, threaten and even death if necessary, he acknowledged that without respect for justice, culture would collapse right into chaos.

7. ‘The Prince’ was only one of his works


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Cover page of 1550 version of machiavelli’s Il Principe.


Besides ‘The Prince’, Machiavelli also wrote treatises ~ above ‘The Discourses on Livy’, ‘The art of War’ and also ‘Florentine Histories’.

Apart from gift a novelist, he was additionally a translator, poet, playwright and also wrote comedies and carnival songs.

His poems had ‘Decennale Primo’ and ‘Decennale Secondo’ and also he penned the satirical pat La Mandragola (‘The Mandrake’).

8. It was banned by the Pope

Although duplicates of ‘The Prince’ had been circulated among Machiavelli’s friends, it to be not published until after ~ his death, through the permission that Pope Clement VII.

The papacy’s attitude towards his work-related soon chilled and it was condemned by both the Catholic and also Protestant churches.

In 1557, as soon as Pope Paul IV developed Rome’s an initial Index Librorum Prohibitorum (‘Index that Forbidden Books’), that made sure to encompass ‘The Prince’ because that its encourage of political and also moral corruption.

9. He became a theatrical stock character of evil

By the 16th century, Machiavelli’s name had found itself in the English language as an epithet for crookedness.

In Elizabethan theatre, it pertained to denote a dramatic type: the incorrigible schemer propelled by greed and also unbridled ambition.

In Christopher Marlowe’s 1589 beat ‘The Jew of Malta’, the personality of Machiavel says:

I counting religion however a childish toy, / and also hold there is no sin but ignorance.

In Shakespeare’s 1602 play ‘The merry Wives of Windsor’, a characters asks:

Am ns politic? Am ns subtle? Am ns a Machiavel?


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10. The is considered the father of contemporary political science

Machiavelli’s ideas had a profound affect on politics throughout the west world. After 500 years, his legacy proceeds in political life across the world.

‘The Prince’ was accused of having actually inspired Henry VIII’s defiance of the papacy. A copy was in the possession the the Spanish king and also Holy roman Emperor Charles V.

It was later on blamed for having actually incited Queen Catherine de’ Medici to order the massacre that 2,000 rebel Protestants at the St Bartholomew’s day massacre.


Machiavelli’s tomb in the Santa Croce Church in Florence (Credit: Gryffindor / CC).


He was likewise said come have directly influenced the starting fathers the the American Revolution.

Machiavelli to be the an initial political writer come separate national politics from morality, placing great emphasis on useful strategies over thoughtful ideas.

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Instead of focusing on what was ideal or wrong, he considered what needs to it is in achieved.