"The Prince" is a 16th Century how-to book on running a country written by Niccolo Machiavelli. Published five years after his death in 1513,"The Prince" was written as a satire by Machiavelli while he was exiled from his home … [Read more...] about The Prince
Niccolo Machiavelli was born in Florence, Italy in 1469. Little is known about his childhood except that he was the son of a lawyer and read widely in the Latin and Italian classics. Machiavelli lived during the "Golden Age" of Lorenzo de Medici 's, (or, as he is commonly known, "Lorenzo the Magnificent") rule of the state of Florence. It was an exciting but troubled time.
In 1498, four years after the invasion Italy by Charles VIII of France and the expulsion of the Medici, Machiavelli was elected secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence which oversaw foreign and military affairs. During the fourteen years that he held the office he was sent by the government of Florence on twenty-four diplomatic missions to speak with leaders of other Italian city-states, the King of France and the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian. These missions, crucial to Florence's survival in this age of intrigue among the city-states, gave him a chance to observe other governments and rulers. He especially admired Cesare Borgia (1476-1507) the bold and diplomatically shrewd Italian cardinal and military leader whose adept use of fraud, cruelty and self-reliance, along with his utilization of native troops, made him the primary model for Machiavelli's "The Prince".
In 1512, the French army re-invaded Italy, causing frightened Florentines to ask the Medici family to return. In the Battle of Ravenna, the French were defeated but the Spanish troops entered Florence, destroyed the republic and reinstated the Medici. Machiavelli, like many other anti-Medici liberals associated with the government of the republic, was jailed, then exiled. Retiring to his villa near San Casciano, he wrote his most famous books, "The Prince" (1513), "The Discourses" (1520) and a first-rate comedy called "Mandragola" (1524).
Machiavelli died at the age of 58 in 1527. He was buried in Florence at the Church of Santa Croce. His books and name live on today. His satire, "The Prince" is still so commonly read and acknowledged that the term "Machiavellian" has come to mean the art of using deception and duplicity to gain control in a business or political setting.