Machiavelli, considered one of the most politically controversial men of his time, was an Italian philosopher who propagated some truly controversial schools of thought that were still being discussed long after his death. As he lived in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, he was so influential during his time that today, given the way his writings influenced and shared social and political views, he is in various ways considered the father of modern political philosophy and political science.
Machiavelli was a very talented man who was not only a philosopher and politician but also a diplomat, humanist, historian, writer, poet, and playwright. He is known for writing several comedies as well as carnival songs that delighted audiences in his time. The many historical documents he wrote are highly valued by modern historians today. He is best known for his political treatise “The Prince”, in which he wrote some of his most controversial theories.
Machiavellian legacies have been discussed for hundreds of years. We were able to find out some facts about his life for your reading pleasure. See further to learn more about him.
Who Was Machiavelli?
Machiavelli was born on 3 May 1469 and died on 21 June 1527 at the age of 58. During this time he worked hard to establish himself thoroughly as one of the most symbolic political thinkers of his time. For the record, although he is now known more simply as Machiavelli, his real birth name is actually Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli or simply Niccolò Machiavelli.
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Machiavelli was born in Florence, a popular city in Italy, the son of a father named Bernardo di Niccolò Machiavelli, a prominent lawyer, and a mother identified as Bartolomea di Stefano Nelli. Machiavelli was the third child of his parents and the first son of the family.
In his childhood, he received lessons in Latin, rhetoric, and grammar. However, there is no evidence that he learned Greek, although Florence was one of the centers of Greek scholarship in Europe as a child.
When Machiavelli was born, Florence was under the rule of the Medici, an Italian banking family and political dynasty that ruled the city for up to 60 years. However, in 1494, when Machiavelli was about 25 years old, Florence restored republican rule and expelled the Medici. Shortly afterward, in 1498, Machiavelli was appointed secretary of the Second Chancellery, a secretarial office at the time. He held this position until 1512.
This appointment gave Machiavelli the authority to oversee the creation of official Florentine government documents. He also carried out several diplomatic missions and began to gain importance in Florence. In fact, he is said to have been responsible for the Florentine militia.
But just when things seemed to be going perfectly for Machiavelli, everything collapsed in 1512 when the Medici took power again. The Medici, supported by Pope Julius II, pushed into power with Spanish troops. They subsequently dissolved the Republic and Machiavelli lost his job. In 1513, a year after losing his job, he was accused of conspiracy and quickly put in prison. He was severely tortured for about three weeks but was eventually released after he repeatedly denied the charges against him.
After Machiavelli’s release, he retreated to his estate and temporarily disappeared from view. During this time he devoted himself to the study and writing of many political treatises, which have now made him very popular throughout the world and have also given him a place in the intellectual development of political philosophy and political behavior.
During his lifetime he was married to a woman named Marietta Corsini and had six children, four sons, and two daughters.
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What Was Machiavelli Famous For?
Machiavelli was a very famous person in his time and won the hearts of many people with his talent and hard work. It is known that he had written a number of comedies that were performed in Florence. He also composed many carnival songs, which were usually the focus of the celebrations. Machiavelli was also a poet who wrote many poems that expressed his thoughts on politics and life in general. He also wrote plays and other works. These plays were very popular in his time and made him highly praised.
Machiavelli is best known for his political ideas, which he presented without hesitation in writing or by other means. During his time studying political trends and ideas, he wrote one of his most famous treatises entitled “The Prince”, which contains some of his most controversial views. Today he is best known for this treatise.
Machiavelli’s principles, especially those outlined in “The Prince”, praised the use of treachery and annoying tricks to cling to power. He tried to explain that horrible deeds such as the killing of innocent people, as well as other immoral behaviors such as dishonesty, are normal actions and are very effective in politics.
His book “The Prince” was written in simple words to teach unscrupulous politicians how they can deceive their people through ruthless actions and selfish, cunning tricks and cling to power by all means. This inspired the term “Machiavellian”, which is now considered the term for political deception and underhandedness.
Machiavellian theories were not well received by everyone. He was denounced by many people who condemned him for giving evil advice to tyrants to help them stay in power.
However, another, lesser-known treatise that he wrote, “Discourse on Livy,” is now credited with paving the way for modern republicanism.