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Niccolò Machaivelli

1469 - 1527 (58)



Career senior Florentine administrator - Secretary for War, the Interior etc, but then excluded from the circles of (briefly restored Medici) government and forced into premature retirement in 1513.  He became an author and dramatist (and wine maker - his estate to the south-west of Florence still flourishes and also houses the headquarters of the Chianti Classico wine consortium), and is now much more widely known than nearly all of of his contemporaries because of his authorship of "The Prince" - a do it yourself guide for rulers who wanted to manipulate people effectively in order to advance their own interests (and the first such book in Europe to treat politics and ethics as being separate and not necessarily linked).  In fact there's not many people in history whose names become well known adjectives.


"The Prince" is preceded by a shamelessly grovelling two page dedication to Lorenzo, (de'Medici) Duke of Urbino and grandson of Lorenzo il Magnifico (which was really a plea by Machiavelli for unbanishment and reinstatement in the government of Florence, which was ignored).  The book itself was actually modelled on the even more awful  and unattractive Cesare Borgia, son of the Spanish Pope Alessandro VI and brother of Lucrezia.  Lorenzo was also the father of Caterina, Queen Consort and Regent of France




Left:  Wooden Bust in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence


Right:  Portrait copy (original unknown) by Cristofano dell'Altissimo in the Uffizi, Florence


Below: This portrait is also by dell'Altissimo and can be seen in the Galleria Doria Pamphilj in Rome.  In those days hats were made to last!






Above and right (reverso): Santi di Tito, posthumous portrait of Machiavelli (in the Cancelleria, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence) 


Far right:  Unknown Artist,  the Execution of Savonarola in the Piazza della Signora, Florence, on 23 May 1498 (in the Convent of San Marco, Florence)


Link to Maps of Machiavelli's Italy




Books about Florence, the Italian Renaissance and Later Middle Ages



Machiavelli's tomb in Santa Croce, Florence



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