Biography Relatively little is known for certain about Machiavelli's early life in comparison with many important figures of the Italian Renaissance the following section draws on Capponi and Vivanti He was born 3 May in Florence and at a young age became a pupil of a renowned Latin teacher, Paolo da Ronciglione. It is speculated that he attended the University of Florence, and even a cursory glance at his corpus reveals that he received an excellent humanist education. It is only with his entrance into public view, with his appointment as the Second Chancellor of the Republic of Florence, however, that we begin to acquire a full and accurate picture of his life.
Niccolo Machiavelli, The father of modern political theory, Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, was born at Florence, May 3,saw the troubles of the French invasionwhen the Medici fled, and in became secretary of the Ten, a post he held until the fall of the republic in 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 inand 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. It was not until that he was commissioned by Leo X to draw up his report on a reform of the state of Florence. In he was employed in diplomatic services and as historiographer.
After the defeat of the French at PaviaItaly was helpless before the advancing forces of the Emperor Charles V and Machiavelli strove to avert from Florence the invading army on its way to Rome.
In May the Florentines again drove out the Medici and proclaimed the republic -- but Machiavelli, bitterly disappointed that he was to be allowed no part in the movement for liberty, and already in declining health, died on June Through misrepresentation and misunderstanding his writings were spoken of as almost diabolical, his most violent assailants being the clergy.
The first great edition of his works was not issued until From that period his fame as the founder of political science has steadily increased. His literary works comprise an imitation of the Golden Ass of Apuleius, an essay on the Italian language, the play Mandragola, and several minor compositions.
He also wrote Seven Books on the Art of War. The greatest source of Machiavelli's reputation is, of course, The Prince The main theme of this short book is that all means may be resorted to for the establishment and preservation of authority -- the end justifies the means -- and that the worst and most treacherous acts of the ruler are justified by the wickedness and treachery of the governed.
See the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for a sound biography of Machiavelli. Although the envious nature of men, so prompt to blame and so slow to praise, makes the discovery and introduction of any new principles and systems as dangerous almost as the exploration of unknown seas and continents, yet, animated by that desire which impels me to do what may prove for the common benefit of all, I have resolved to open a new route, which is not yet been followed by any one, and may prove difficult and troublesome, but may also bring me some reward in the approbation of those who will kindly appreciate my efforts.
And if my poor talents, my little experience of the present and insufficient study of the past, should make the result of my labors defective and of little utility, I shall at least have shown the way to others, who will carry out my views with greater ability, eloquence, and judgment, so that if I do not merit praise, I ought at least not to incur censure.
When we consider the general respect for antiquity, and how often -- to say nothing of other examples -- a great price is paid for some fragments of an antique statue, which we are anxious to possess to ornament our houses with, or to give to artists who strive to imitate them in their own works; and when we see, on the other hand, the wonderful examples which the history of ancient kingdoms and republics present to us, the prodigies of virtue and of wisdom displayed by the kings, captains, citizens, and legislators who have sacrificed themselves for their country, -- when we see these, I say, more admired than imitated, or so much neglected that not the least trace of this ancient virtue remains, we cannot but be at the same time as much surprised as afflicted.
Though more so as in the differences which arise between citizens, or in the maladies to which they are subjected, we see the same people have recourse to the judgments and remedies prescribed by the ancients. The civil laws are in fact nothing but decisions given by their jurisconsults, and which, reduced to a system, direct our modern jurists in their decisions.
And what is the science of medicine, but the experience of ancient physicians, which their successors have taken for their guide? And yet to found a republic, maintain states, to govern a kingdom, organize an army, conduct a war, dispense justice, and extend empires, you'll find neither prince, nor republic, nor captain, nor citizen, who has recourse to the examples of antiquity!
This neglect, I am persuaded, is due less to the weakness to which the vices of our education have reduced the world, than to the evils caused by the proud indolence which prevails in most of the Christian states, and to the lack of real knowledge of history, the true sense of which is not known, or the spirit of which they do not comprehend.
Thus the majority of those who read it take pleasure only in a variety of the events which history relates, without ever thinking of imitating the noble actions, deeming that not only difficult, but impossible; as though heaven, the sun, the elements, and then had changed the order of emotions and power, and were different from what they were in ancient times.
Wishing, therefore, so far as in me lies, to draw mankind from this error, I have thought it proper to write upon those books of Titus Livius that have come to us entire despite the malice of time; touching upon all those matters which, after a comparison between the ancient and modern events, may seem to me necessary to facilitate their proper understanding.
In this way those who read my remarks may derive those advantages which should be the name of all study of history; and although the undertaking is difficult, yet, aided by those who have encouraged me in this attempt, I hope to carry it sufficiently far, so that but little may remain for others to carry it to its destined end.
Modern Library,pp.Modern Political Theory; Social & Political Philosophy; Utopian Thought; Religion. Ancient Greek; Machiavelli: Selected Political Writings. Niccolo Machiavelli Wootton’s Machiavelli does just that when the occasion demands: renderings of that most problematic of words, virtù, are in each instance followed by the Italian).
The Existence and Writings of Nicolo Machiavelli, the Founder of Contemporary Political Theory Nicolo Machiavelli was born on, may 3,, in Florence, Italy. Machavelli was the founder of modern day political theory; he was the earliest great political philosopher of the Renaissance.
Nicolo Machiavelli and John Locke to Political Thought In political thought, there have been many people that have progressed political theory.
Nicolo Machiavelli and . Niccolo Machiavelli Essay. Leadership Styles: Niccolo Machiavelli And Dr. Martin Luther King diplomat and humanist. Following his career as an official in the Florentine Republic, Machiavelli was a founder of modern political science and political ethics.
I intend to examine his perception of morality based on his political writings. Certainly, Machiavelli contributed to a large number of important discourses in Western thought—political theory most notably, but also history and historiography, .
Jul 21, · Niccolò Machiavelli can be considered the father of modern political science, and his book The Prince one of the first works of modern political philosophy (if not just modern philosophy).1/5.