The Italian Almanac

Nicolo' Machiavelli

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Nicolo' Machiavelli

Nicolo' Macchiavelli (14691527)

Italian statesman, writer, and political theorist, born in Florence. Little is known of his early life, but he travelled on several missions in Europe for the Republic of Florence (14981512). On the restoration of the Medici, he was arrested on a charge of conspiracy (1513) and, though pardoned, was obliged to withdraw from public life. He devoted himself to literature, writing historical treatises, poetry, short stories, and comedies. His masterpiece is "Il Principe" (1532, The Prince), whose main theme is that all means may be used in order to maintain authority. It was condemned by the pope, and its viewpoint gave rise to the adjective "machiavellian", applied to people who get what they want by deceiving people by cunning. His writings were not published until 1782.