"Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.
Niccolò Machiavelli wrote The Prince—a book on the ruthless acquisition of power and governance of the State—with the intention of appeasing Lorenzo de’ Medici, the ruler of Florence, in the hope of resuscitating his political career. Often referred to as Machiavelli’s ‘job application’ in disguise, The Prince foregrounded the contrasting aspects of virtue and vice: virtue is not always an admirable trait and vice is not always detrimental to society. He presented an ‘unsentimental’ analysis of human behaviour and justified acts of immorality, deceit and deviousness to control a State.
Written in 1513, shortly after Machiavelli was exiled from Florence, The Prince was posthumously published in 1532. Prohibited by the Court of Rome, The Prince was also banned by the Catholic Church.
By early 1600s, William Shakespeare used ‘Machiavel’ as a term to describe an unscrupulous, devious and scheming person in his works.
Even today, ‘Machiavellian’ means everything evil."
About Niccolo Machiavelli
3 May 1469 in Florence, Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was a historian, diplomat, politician, philosopher, humanist, and writer. Regarded as the
founder of modern political science, Machiavelli lived in the turbulent times
of power struggles among European states and the Holy Roman Empire.
The young Machiavelli became a diplomat after the temporary fall of
Florence’s ruling Medici family in 1494. From 1498 to 1512, he served as
secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence. Between 1503
and 1506, Machiavelli was responsible for the Florentine militia. In 1509,
under his tutelage, Florentine citizen soldiers defeated Pisa. After his
plans to organise a Florentine militia against the return of the Medici
family to power in 1512 were unearthed, Machiavelli was banished from
politics and thrown into prison. It was during this time that he earned the
reputation for being shrewd and ruthless. In fact, the term ‘Machiavellian’
is often associated with deviousness and political deceit.
After the death of Pope Julius II in 1513, the son of Lorenzo de’ Medici
became Pope Leo X. Machiavelli hoped that by dedicating his most renowned
work— The Prince—to Lorenzo de’ Medici, he would obtain an office that would
help him return to public life. Alas, that was not to be.
Machiavelli’s other seminal works include On the Art of War (1521), ‘The
Mandrake’ (1524) and Discourses on Livy which was published posthumously in
1531. He also wrote carnival songs, comedies and poetry.
Following a period of illness, Machiavelli died on 21 June 1527, aged 58.