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.