Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
JoAnn Danelo Barbour
One of the outstanding figures of the Renaissance, Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527), civil servant, statesman, playwright, historian, and political philosopher, is most famous for his treatise The Prince , which has become a cornerstone of modern political philosophy. Machiavelli began his political career in the Florentine republic as a clerk to the second chancellor at the age of 25 when the ruling Medicis were overthrown. Once he became second chancellor and secretary, a position comparable to secretary of state and defense secretary, he traveled on diplomatic missions to various Italian city-states, France, and Spain; he met many of the important politicians of the day, including Cesare Borgia. In 1506 he helped the Florentine ruler Soderini with a plan to reorganize the military; subsequently, when the Medici family regained power in 1512, Machiavelli was dismissed from office, briefly imprisoned, tortured, and permanently removed from public life. He was exiled from Florence, retired, ...