Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Biography

Niccolo Machiavelli Biography

Niccolo Machiavelli was a political philosopher, public official, diplomat and Italian writer, who was considered to be the father of modern political science, is also recognized as an important protagonist in the Italian Renaissance. He was born in Florence, Italy on May 3, 1469, and was the son of Bernardo Machiavelli and Bartolommea di Stefano Nelli.

In the year 1494, Machiavelli joined the public service, where he served as an official of important posts in Florence. At that time, he also served in military service. After working 4 years as secretary, he was appointed chancellor and secretary of the Second Chancellery.

For the year 1499, he had his first activity for Caterina Sforza, “my lady of Forli” in “The Prince” from where Machiavelli subtracted the moral:

“It is better to gain the confidence of people than to rely on force.”

In the year 1500, he was sent to France to convince Louis XII that the war against Pisa should continue.

After the death of Alexander VI in 1503, Niccolo Machiavelli was sent to observe the election of the successor and realized the maneuvers of César Borgia to choose Giuliano Della Rovere (Pope Julius II), one of the most fearful cardinals of the duke. Realizing that he was looking for a forced election, Machiavelli said:

For the year 1507, he was sent to Germany as a diplomat, with the aim of parleying with Emperor Maximilian I on the expansionist measures that he wanted to take. The emperor was surprised by the intelligence and eloquence of Machiavelli, so he decided not to invade Italian territories and even less Florence. On his passage through Germany, Machiavelli said:

“The Germans are a great military force, but they have and will have a very weak policy.”

Machiavelli also reported the constant failures of the emperor when he described him as a withdrawn man, without character and without enough arrests to carry out his plans or insist on the fulfillment of his orders. On September 1, 1512, the Medici returned to power, so Nicolás Machiavelli was revoked from public service on November 7 of the same year, ending his career as an officer.

After being dismissed from his post, he was arrested and tortured for belonging to a conspiracy against the Medici together with his friend Giovanni Battaini and 20 others. Later, the new pontiff Leon X interceded so that Machiavelli was freed, so he moved to his small house in San Casciano in Val di Pesa. He devoted himself to agriculture and livestock, learning from the workers, with whom he ate, played and talked, to feel good psychically. He also devoted himself to reading Dante, Petrarca, and Ovidio, from which he came up with ideas to carry out his works. Between the years 1513 and 1525 he wrote 8 books.

“The one who thinks that favors will make great characters forget past offenses deceives himself.”

Machiavelli wrote his second most important work in his bibliography entitled Discourses of the first decade of Livy, where he showed his true political vision and described as a better form of government a republic and not an absolute monarchy, among other important information.

In the year 1521, he received the amnesty. However, later he was again accused of being involved in a coup against the Medici. He was tortured and imprisoned for a shorter time. After obtaining freedom, he released a group of workers who had been kidnapped, in gratitude, the union of employees gave him a large amount of money; with a part of that money he bought a lottery ticket and managed to win 20,000 ducats, with which he was able to pay some debts.

He worked in the humanist academy of Bernardo Rucellai, where he translated the Greek work of Polybius, and thanks to that he compiled several ideas about the government of a republic.

Niccolo Machiavelli died on June 21 of the year 1527 in Florence, at the age of 58 years. His legacy was more successful in the centuries after his death than in the time in which he lived. He was characterized by defending the collectivity against individuality and never forgot the cruel and unique truth about politics and the rulers.

The historical thought of Machiavelli was evidenced mainly in the works: The life of Castruccio Castracani de Luca (1520) and History of Florence (Istorie Fiorentine, 1520-1525).



  • Speech on the court of Pisa: 1499.
  • Of the way di trattare i popoli della Valdichiana ribellati: 1502.
  • In the tenuto mode dal duca Valentino nell ‘ammazzare Vitellozzo Vitelli, Oliverotto da Fermo, etc.: 1502.
  • Discorso sopra la provisione del danaro: 1502.
  • Decennale cousin (poem): 1506.
  • Portrait of the court of Germany: 1508-1512
  • Decennale secondo: 1509
  • Portrait of the court of France: 1510
  • Discourses on the first decade of Livy, 3 volumes: 1512-1517
  • The Prince: 1513
  • Andria, comedy: 1517
  • The Mandrake, comedy in prose of five acts, with a prologue in verse: 1518
  • Della lingua (dialogue): 1514.Clizia, comedy in prose: 1525.
  • Belfagor arcidiavolo (novel): 1515.
  • Asino d’oro (poem) : 1517.
  • Of the art of war: 1519-1520.
  • Discorso Sopra il riformare lo Stato di Firenze: 1520
  • Summary of the court of the city of Lucca: 1520
  • The life of Castruccio Castracani: 1520.
  • History of Florence, 8 books: 1520-1525Historias Florentines: 1521-1525.

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