It goes without saying that one has to be extraordinary in order to have a lasting effect on history, and there is no doubt about the extraordinary nature of Niccolo Machiavelli, who excelled in everything he did. He is remembered as a politician, philosopher, historian, diplomat, writer, poet, and playwright from Italy, whose works are now attributed to the Renaissance period.
Niccolo, who for a long time was also a high official of the Florentine Republic, is one of the revered voices of the Renaissance period and was responsible for military and diplomatic affairs. As secretary of the second chancellery of the Republic of Florence between 1498 and 1512, he found himself in the unique position of witnessing the loss of power by the Medici. His most popular work, The Prince, was written in 1513 when he was banned from the city’s affairs. He is popular because he wrote many songs, carnivals, comedies, and poems.
Niccolò Machiavelli – Biography
The legendary Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli lived for 58 years, from May 3, 1469 to June 21, 1527, and was born of Bernardo di Niccolo di Niccolo Machiavelli, a lawyer, and Bartolomea di Stefano Nelli. Born and raised in Florence, he learned Latin, rhetoric and grammar.
Niccolo was his father’s first son and was born at a time when various wars were ravaging the country, especially wars instigated by the popes against Italian states. This may have influenced his distrust of the Church and its leadership. After the Medici lost their influence in Florence, Machiavelli was then appointed to an office of the second chancellery, a writing position that gave him the responsibility of preparing official documents for Florentines. He then became secretary of the Dieci di Liberta e Pace.
In 1502 Niccolo Machiavelli married Marietta Corsini; the two remained together until his death. Together they had four sons and two daughters.
What Was He Famous or Known For?
Niccolo Machiavelli was involved in many diplomatic missions. He traveled widely, which gave him the privilege and opportunity to observe leaders and broaden his horizons. His experiences shaped his writings, especially the most popular of his works.
Between 1502-03, Niccolo Machiavelli saw first-hand the brutal state-building methods of Pope Alexander VI and his son Cesare Borgia, who fought to take possession of a large part of central Italy. The Borgias used the pretext of defending the interests of the Church as justification for their actions. Machiavelli was then responsible for the Florence militia between 1503-06.
Citizens were employed in the military during his time because of his distrust of mercenaries. He believed that they were unpredictable, unpatriotic, unreliable, and fickle when it came to loyalty. He was successful for a while, until the Medicis, with the support of Pope Julius II, defeated the Florentine troops and returned to power. All these experiences influenced Niccolo Machiavelli in his political postulates and writings.
Niccolo was and still is known for his book The Prince. He was called the father of modern politics. The book “was banned by the Catholic Church, and some critics saw the book negatively because of its controversial position.
The book contains several maxims about politics and is directed at a “prince”, not in a general or hereditary sense, but in the creation of a new leader/prince. It emphasizes how a typical hereditary and new prince will retain power. For the “hereditary prince”, the interests of some institutions that the people are accustomed to must be balanced. The “new prince”, on the other hand, must first stabilize and get used to his new power in order to build a political structure that will last.
Machiavelli also stressed that private and public morality must be understood in order to govern effectively. And that security and stability can be achieved through moral corruption.
In The Prince, Niccolo argued that a leader should not be unduly concerned about his or her reputation and that the willingness to act and behave immorally at the right time is a quality that a good leader should possess.
The most controversial of his maxims is that a ruler is better feared than loved. He believes that a beloved ruler retains power through a sense of duty, while a feared ruler retains authority through fear of punishment. Critics have concluded from this that Niccolo Machiavelli believed in the principle that “the end justifies the means. He emphasized the occasional need for deception, brute force, and sometimes the extermination of the noble family to contain any challenge to the prince’s authority.
Despite the controversial character of the book, Niccolo Machiavelli left a lasting impression on politics and history.