Bio: Nicolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was born to one of the poorest members of one of the most prominent Florentine families. He taught himself much of what he learned; his father could only afford poor tutors. Nonetheless, Machiavelli was appointed to a position in the Florentine Republic government office which directed foreign affairs. During his rise to power, he observed political machinations and both the strong and the weak grasping at power. Machiavelli was sent as an emissary to the Prince Cesare Bogia who was then trying to consolidate power in central Italy. He admired Borgia's resolute, cunning ruthlessness but not the man himself. As his power increased, he convinced the gonfalinier (city chief) to form an army which he then administered. This was a radical change. Most city-states used paid mercenaries who were of suspect loyalty. Machiavelli fought in several successful battles and based his book On the Art of War (1560) on these experiences. Machiavelli traveled as an emissary to other Italian city-states, France, Switzerland, Germany, and the Holy See, carefully noting successful strategies in government. Machiavelli fell from power with the government when the Medici regained control of Florence. His political career ruined, he returned to his father's property and began to write. He published two books The Prince (1513) and the Discourse on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius (1513) as a foundation of a new political science.
Machiavelli wanted to bind Italian city-states together and reduce the threat of foreign conquest. He new only a powerful person, a grand prince and redeemer would have the skills for the task. Such a ruler, he felt, would not be bound by traditional ethics and would only be bound by the rules that insured a powerful state. At a time when the Catholic Church had more power than many states, Machiavelli advocated the supremacy of the state. He thought that religion was important but should be used as a tool. This gained him many enemies. The Prince was the first book in a new school of thought, the philosophy of history. He was the first to write that human nature does not change and that history is cyclical. It was also the first book which addressed practical issues a ruler faced to stay in power, rather than a discussion of the right to power. "The Prince" is best known today because of its shorter length and vivid imagery. Machiavelli tried again and again to regain a place in the government but was continually rebuffed. He gained some favor by dedicating his ten-volume History of Florence (1525) to Pope Clement VII. When the Medici where expelled from the city in 1527, Machiavelli was denied his bid to regain power yet again. Machiavelli also wrote The Mandrake (1518), a satiric play about corruption. Machiavelli loved to shock Floriantians and he presented himself as a wicked libertine and gained a reputation for immorality, which wasn't really true. During the Catholic Counter-Reformation, the word Machiavellianism was coined as an attack on the Italian by the French.
when new books by Niccolo Machiavelli are released.