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by Niccolo Machiavelli,  Leslie J. Walker (Translator), Bernard Crick (Editor)

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469 - 1527)

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The Prince

Niccolo's Smile : A Biography of MachiavelliNiccolo's Smile : A Biography of Machiavelli by Maurizio Viroli, Antony Shugaar (Translator)

In Niccolò's Smile, Maurizio Viroli brings to life the fascinating writer who was the founder of modern political thought. Niccolò Machiavelli's works on the theory and practice of statecraft are classics, but Viroli suggests that his greatest accomplishment is his robust philosophy of life-his deep beliefs about how one should conduct oneself as a modern citizen in a republic, as a responsible family member, as a good person. On these subjects Machiavelli wrote no books: the text of his philosophy is his life itself, a life that was filled with paradox, uncertainty, and tragic drama.

Here is an extraordinary man in all his complexity and brilliance-a vivid narrative of Machiavelli's loves and friendships, the rewards and perils of being an adviser to princes, his travels and adventures, and the challenges and dangers of both his youth and his old age.  Machiavelli was a charming figure who was both famous and powerless, both loved and reviled; we see him here for the first time not as an intimidating, cynical icon of European political thought but as a subtle, modern, and sagacious man whose smile captivated his friends, disarmed his foes and preserved his inviolable personal freedom.

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The Prince

E-text translated by W. K. Marriott, Rendered into HTML by Jon Roland of the Constitution Society.  This text was written c. 1505, published in 1515.


Machiavelli Biography

From Steven Kreis, 


The father of modern political theory, Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, was born at Florence, May 3, 1469, saw the troubles of the French invasion (1493), when the Medici fled, and in 1498 became secretary of the Ten, a post he held until the fall of the republic in 1512. He was employed in a great variety of missions, including one to the Emperor Maximilian, and four to France. His dispatches during these journeys, and his treatises on the Affairs of France and Germany, are full of far-reaching insight. On the restoration of the Medici, Machiavelli was involved in the downfall of his patron, Gonfaloniere Soderini. Arrested on a charge of conspiracy in 1513, and put to the torture, he disclaimed all knowledge of the alleged conspiracy. Although pardoned, he was obliged to retire from public life and devoted himself to literature...


Landmarks in Critical Thinking Series: Machiavelli's The Prince

Merrilee H. Salmon


Niccolò Machiavelli, born in 1469, wrote The Prince during 1513 while living in political exile at his country house outside of Florence. He had served as head of the second chancery of the Florentine republic, but was dismissed after it fell in 1512. The Medici family was again ruling Florence, and a Medici also sat on the papal throne in Rome. Machiavelli tried unsuccessfully to use this treatise to gain an advisory appointment either to the papacy or the court of the Duke. The Prince was published in 1532, five years after Machiavelli died...


Niccolò Machiavelli -- Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy


The first great political philosopher of the Renaissance was Nicolo Machiavelli (1469-1527). His famous treatise, The Prince, stands apart from all other political writings of the period insofar as it focus on the practical problems a monarch faces in staying in power, rather than more speculative issues explaining the foundation of political authority. As such, it is an expression of realpolitik, that is, governmental policy based on retaining power rather than pursuing ideals...


Niccolò Machiavelli  -- Encarta Encyclopedia 


Machiavelli's formulation of the historical principles inherent in Roman government may be found in his Discourse on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius (1531; trans. 1636), a commentary on the History of Rome by the Roman historian Livy. In this study Machiavelli departs from medieval theocratic concepts of history, ascribing historical events to the demands of human nature and the effects of chance. Among his other works are Dell'arte della guerra (On the Art of War, 1521), which describes the advantages of conscripted over mercenary troops. The Istorie Fiorentine (History of Florence, 1525) interprets the chronicles of the city, in terms of historical causality. Machiavelli was also the author of the biography Vita di Castruccio Castracani (Life of Castruccio Castracani, 1520), a number of poems, and several plays, of which the best known is Mandragola (The Mandrake, 1524), a biting satire on the corruption of contemporary Italian society. Many of his writings anticipated the growth in succeeding periods of strong nationalistic states...


Niccolò Machiavelli and the Early Modern Renaissance

Richard Hooker


His life spanned the greatest period of cultural achievement in Florence to its ultimate downfall. This period was marked by political instability, fear, invasion, intrigue, and high cultural achievement as the tiny states of Italy, including the Papal States, were pulled into the politics and wars of Europe by the immense gravity of two large states, Spain and France. His life began at the very start of this process: in 1469, when Ferdinand and Isabella married and through this marriage created a new, large kingdom of Spain composed of Castile and Aragon, Machiavelli was born to a wealthy Florentine lawyer. In his lifetime, he would see the efflorescence of Florentine culture and political power under the brilliant political genius of Lorenzo de'Medici. He would also see the twilight of the Medici power as Lorenzo's son and successor, Piero de'Medici, was thrown from power by the Dominican monk, Savonarola, who set up a true Florentine Republic. When Savonarola, fanatic about reform, was himself thrown from power and burned, a second Republic was set up under Soderini in 1498. Machiavelli was the secretary of this new Republic, an important and distinguished position. The Republic, however, was crushed in 1512 by the Spanish who installed the Medici's as rulers of Florence once again...


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