Machiavelli and Renaissance Italy

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Reduced to poverty, Machiavelli sought refuge in the little property near Florence that he had inherited from his father. There he employed his leisure in writing, between spring and autumn , his two most famous works, The Prince Il principe and a large part of the Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio. In a famous letter to his friend Francesco Guicciardini, historian and Florentine diplomat, Machiavelli described how he spent his days:.

When evening comes, I return home [from work and from the local tavern] and go to my study. On the threshold I strip naked, taking off my muddy, sweaty workaday clothes, and put on the robes of court and palace, and in this graver dress I enter the courts of the ancients and am welcomed by them, and there I taste the food that alone is mine, and for which I was born.


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And there I make bold to speak to them and ask the motives of their actions, and they, in their humanity, reply to me. And for the space of four hours I forget the world, remember no vexation, fear poverty no more, tremble no more at death; I pass indeed into their world. During this time Machiavelli also wrote the comedy The Mandrake Commedia di Callimaco e di Lucrezia, later La Mandragola , satirizing the wickedness and corruption of men, particularly of the clergy.

Machiavelli hoped in vain that The Prince, dedicated to Lorenzo de' Medici, ruler of Florence from , would gain him an official position that would support his family and satisfy his desire for action.

Niccolo Machiavelli

He was presented to the Cardinal by Lorenzo Strozzi, to whom in gratitude he dedicated the dialogue Dell'arte della guerra which is complementary to his two political treatises. The cardinal first sent Machiavelli to Lucca on a matter of small importance. Finally the cardinal agreed to have Machiavelli elected official historiographer of the republic, a post to which he was appointed by the University of Florence in November with a salary of 57 gold florins a year, later increased to Under the terms of his contract, Machiavelli was permitted to undertake additional employment.

In the meantime, he was to compose for the Medici Pope Leo X a Discorso on the organization of the government of Florence after the death of Duke Lorenzo; in this he boldly advised the Pope to restore the city's ancient liberties. Shortly after, in May , he was sent to the Franciscan chapter at Carpi. In June , Machiavelli presented the pope with eight books of the Istorie fiorentine, his official history of Florence, and received florins and encouragement to continue the work.

Machiavelli and Renaissance Italy - John Rigby Hale - Google книги

In April Machiavelli was elected secretary of a five-man body responsible for superintending the fortifications of Florence. Next, Machiavelli went with the army to join Francesco Guicciardini, the pope's lieutenant, against the Holy Roman emperor Charles V, until the sack of Rome by the emperor's forces brought the war to an end in May Since Florence had cast off the Medici and regained its freedom, Machiavelli on his return hoped to be restored to his old post in the chancery, but his loyalty to his native Florence was ignored because of his cooperation with the Medici.

Following this disappointment, Machiavelli fell ill and died within a month. His resting place is unknown; however, a cenotaph in his honor was placed at the Church of Santa Croce in Florence. Machiavelli was born into a tumultuous era, one that saw popes leading armies and wealthy city-states of Italy falling one after another into the hands of France , Spain , and the Holy Roman Empire. It was a time of constantly shifting alliances, mercenaries who changed sides without warning, governments rising and falling in the space of a few weeks, and the rise of Lutheranism. Surrounded by these circumstances, Machiavelli turned his penetrating mind to analyzing the successes and failures he saw around him.


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The reports that he wrote on France , Germany , and Rome in his capacity as chancellor showed more occupation with political theory and concepts than with actual details. Wherever he went, Machiavelli observed the activity around him in terms of its ultimate outcome. His two most famous works, The Prince and a large part of the Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy were both written in during a period of unemployment.

Machiavelli's best known work is The Prince , a practical guide to the exercise of power over a Renaissance principality. It was written in hopes of securing the favor of the Medici family and was therefore deliberately provocative. Machiavelli argued that the character and ability of the leader determined the success of the state in the face of unpredictable fortune. He described various means by which a prince could gain and retain control of his kingdom, evaluating each in terms of how well it would strengthen the position of the prince while serving the public interest.

He focused primarily on what he called the principe nuovo or "new prince," under the assumption that a hereditary prince needed only to carefully maintain the institutions that the people are used to; a new prince had the much more difficult task of stabilizing his new found power and building a structure that would endure.

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Machiavelli sought a leader who could redeem Italy by overcoming political corruption, the weakness of the Italian states, and the threat of foreign conquest. These difficult circumstances did not allow for weakness or error. The practical techniques which Machiavelli recommended in The Prince were suited to the times and took the reality of human nature into account.

From the SparkNotes Blog

Machiavelli remarked that if mankind had not been wicked, he would not have proposed certain cynical precepts. He longed for a society of good and pure men, seeking it in ancient times and in the less civilized nations, which he believed to be less corrupt. The prince was to be publicly above reproach, but might be required to do evil things in private, in order to maintain his position and the stability of the state.

Renaissance Machiavelli

Though Machiavelli himself had deep religious feelings, in The Prince he subordinated religion to the needs of the state and made it into a political tool. The Roman Catholic Church put the work in its Index Librorum Prohibitorum and it was viewed in a negative light by many humanists, including Erasmus.

A careless reading of The Prince could easily lead one to believe that its central argument is that "the ends justify the means"; that any evil action can be justified if it is done for a good purpose. Machiavelli, however, limited the circumstances under which an evil action could be justified.

First, he specified that the only acceptable end was the stabilization and health of the state; individual power for its own sake was not an acceptable end and did not justify evil actions.

Machiavelli As A Renaissance Man

Second, Machiavelli did not dispense entirely with morality nor advocate wholesale selfishness or degeneracy. Instead he clearly laid out criteria for the acceptability of a cruel action it must be swift, effective and short-lived. The term "Machiavellian" was used by some of Machiavelli's contemporaries in the introductions of political tracts of the sixteenth century that promoted "just" reasons of state, most notably those of Jean Bodin and Giovanni Botero.

The pejorative term "Machiavellian" is used today to describe one who deceives and manipulates others for gain, and judges the importance of actions by how well they achieve the desired result. The main object of debate was Machiavelli's attitude toward conventional moral and religious standards of human conduct, which some considered to be immoral.

Some readers have construed The Prince as a work of satire. Jean-Jacques Rousseau long ago remarked that the real lesson of The Prince is to expose, rather than celebrate, the immorality of one-man rule. Garrett Mattingly pronounced Machiavelli the supreme satirist, pointing out the foibles of princes and their advisers, and pointed out that Machiavelli later wrote biting popular stage comedies. Mary Deitz asserted that Machiavelli's advice was actually a trap designed to undo the ruler if the advice were taken seriously and followed.

The Prince speaks with equal disdain and admiration about the condition of the contemporary church and its pope Machiavelli , 29, 44—46, 65, 91— Others portray Machiavelli as a man of conventional piety, prepared to respect the external rites of worship but not deeply devoted to the tenets of Christian faith. R Collier Books.

In good all round condition. Dust Jacket in good condition. Please note the Image in this listing is a stock photo and may not match the covers of the actual item,grams, ISBN Cover design by Germanico Facetti. Set in Linotype Pilgrim. Contents: 1. Machiavelli: some preliminary remarks. The first lessons: Four formative years: Pisa and the militia: The German mission and the fall of Pisa: Defeat and dismissal: The setting of 'The Prince': The Oricellari gardens - The discourses and literar works: Machiavelli's last years: Appendix: Machiavelli's works, there dates and the Italian titles of works referred to in English in the Text.

With 2 maps, bibliography and index. Used - Good. Ships from the UK. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Your purchase also supports literacy charities. The English Universities Pre. Hardcover; fading and shelf wear to exterior; fading to pages; otherwise in very good condition with clean text and tight binding. Dust jacket shows f ading, light soiling, and edge wear.

Penguin Books, R Macmillan. NY: Macmillan, nd Tan cloth. Illustrated in color and black and white. The English Universities Press Ltd They are at least reading copies, complete and in reasonable condition, but usually secondhand; frequently they are superior examples. Ordering more than one book will reduce your overall postage costs. Seller: Hard To Find Books. Collier Books, Disclaimer:A copy that has been read, but remains in clean condition.

All pages are intact, and the cover is intact. The spine may show signs of wear.

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