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. For the next fourteen years, Machiavelli engaged in a flurry of diplomatic activity on behalf of Florence, travelling to the major centers of Italy as well as to the royal court of France and to the imperial curia of Maximilian.
We have letters, dispatches, and occasional writings that testify to his political assignments as well as to his acute talent for the analysis of personalities and institutions. Florence had been under a republican government sincewhen the leading Medici family and its supporters had been driven from power.
During this time, Machiavelli thrived under the patronage of the Florentine gonfaloniere or chief administrator for lifePiero Soderini. Machiavelli was a direct victim of the regime change: His retirement thereafter to his farm outside of Florence afforded the occasion and the impetus for him to turn to literary pursuits.
The first of his writings in a more reflective vein was also ultimately the one most commonly associated with his name, The Prince. Written at the end of and perhaps earlybut only formally published posthumously inThe Prince was composed in great haste by an author who was, among other things, seeking to regain his status in the Florentine government.
Many of his colleagues in the republican government were quickly rehabilitated and returned to service under the Medici.
He wrote verse, plays, and short prose, penned a study of The Art of War published inand produced biographical and historical sketches. Most importantly, he composed his other major contribution to political thought, the Discourses on the Ten Books of Titus Livy, an exposition of the principles of republican rule masquerading as a commentary on the work of the famous historian of the Roman Republic.
Unlike The Prince, the Discourses was authored over a long period of time commencing perhaps in or and completed in oralthough again only published posthumously in The book may have been shaped by informal discussions attended by Machiavelli among some of the leading Florentine intellectual and political figures under the sponsorship of Cosimo Rucellai.
Near the end of his life, and probably as a result of the aid of well-connected friends whom he never stopped badgering for intervention, Machiavelli began to return to the favor of the Medici family.
Other small tasks were forthcoming from the Medici government, but before he could achieve a full rehabilitation, he died on 21 June Analyzing Power It has been a common view among political philosophers that there exists a special relationship between moral goodness and legitimate authority.
Many authors especially those who composed mirror-of-princes books or royal advice books during the Middle Ages and Renaissance believed that the use of political power was only rightful if it was exercised by a ruler whose personal moral character was strictly virtuous.
Thus rulers were counseled that if they wanted to succeed—that is, if they desired a long and peaceful reign and aimed to pass their office down to their offspring—they must be sure to behave in accordance with conventional standards of ethical goodness. In a sense, it was thought that rulers did well when they did good; they earned the right to be obeyed and respected inasmuch as they showed themselves to be virtuous and morally upright.
It is precisely this moralistic view of authority that Machiavelli criticizes at length in his best-known treatise, The Prince. For Machiavelli, there is no moral basis on which to judge the difference between legitimate and illegitimate uses of power.
Rather, authority and power are essentially coequal: The Prince purports to reflect the self-conscious political realism of an author who is fully aware—on the basis of direct experience with the Florentine government—that goodness and right are not sufficient to win and maintain political office.
Machiavelli thus seeks to learn and teach the rules of political power. For Machiavelli, power characteristically defines political activity, and hence it is necessary for any successful ruler to know how power is to be used. Only by means of the proper application of power, Machiavelli believes, can individuals be brought to obey and will the ruler be able to maintain the state in safety and security.
Nowhere does this come out more clearly than in his treatment of the relationship between law and force. Machiavelli acknowledges that good laws and good arms constitute the dual foundations of a well-ordered political system.The implication of his title is that the idealized Prince Charming is a mere fairy tale.
Machiavelli was excommunicated for espousing his views, but his arguments had a profound effect on Renaissance attitudes toward government. Niccolò Machiavelli was one of the most influential political theorists of Western philosophy.
His most read treatise, The Prince, turned Aristotle’s theory of virtues upside down, shaking the European conception of government at its foundations.
Machiavelli is most famous for a short political treatise, The Prince, written in but not published until , five years after his death. Although he privately circulated The Prince among friends, the only theoretical work to be printed in his lifetime was The Art of War, which was about military science.
Niccolo Machiavelli was born in Florence, Italy, in , in a modest means of family. His father was a jurist.
He could not get proper education during his childhood, under the direction of his father he studied the Latin Classics, especially on Roman history.
In "The Prince," Niccolo Machiavelli provides guidance through the description of a system of relationships between a new prince and his principality. CLASSIC COMMUNICATION INCREASINGLY, the five-century-old ideas of Niccolo Machiavelli regarding . Click to read more about The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli.
LibraryThing is a cataloging and social networking site for booklovers A Theologico-Political Treatise and A Political Treatise (Dover Philosophical Classics) by Benedict de Spinoza ; 0 3. The Prince - Niccolo Machiavelli (Sparknotes) by Niccolò Machiavelli/5().