Niccolò Machiavelli was born on May 3, 1469 to a wealthy family in Florence, Italy. At the time of his birth Florence was an important city because of the banking business of the Medici. Machiavelli became a diplomat and was introduced to kings and popes.
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He worked behind the scenes to keep the Medici from returning to power. He wasn’t successful, however. He then decided to promote himself for a position in Giovanni de’ Medici’s new administration. That was also a failure. He was jailed and then exiled for life. During his exile Machiavelli spent his time drinking and writing. He was set to return to Florence after the Medici were once again exiled but took ill and died June 22, 1527.
Machiavelli wrote one of the most well-known books of the 16th century in 1513. It was called ‘The Prince ‘and was thought to have been based on Cesare Borgia’s life and adventures. There is a chapter added to the end of the book that was written by Machiavelli specifically about Cesare. Machiavelli also spent a few months at Cesare Borgia’s court in France as an ambassador and witnessed many of the actions Cesare Borgia was famous for. The book was dedicated to Lorenzo di Piero de ’Medici. This was probably a way for Machiavelli to endear himself with the Medicis after his treachery. This literature drew criticism, however, and led to it being denounced by Pope Clement VIII.
‘The Prince’ seems to argue against humanism, which are the ideals that brought the Renaissance to life in Florence. It has advice for princes such as,
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