Tuesday, May 3, 2022

May 3: Niccolo Machiavelli, Italian Renaissance author


Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was an Italian Renaissance diplomat, author, philosopher, and historian best known for The Prince (Il Principe), written about 1513 but not published until 1532. He also wrote comedies, songs, and poetry, but in most people's minds he was a ruthless political animal who advocated the unscrupulous acts in The Prince. One of his leadership maxims was, "It is better to be feared than to be loved"; he claimed that throughout the course of  history, politics had always been played with deception, treachery, and criminal acts: any action could be excused if it benefited the ruler. Some are unsure whether Machiavelli believed these things and was recommending them to rulers, or perhaps was just publicizing them as a warning to an unwary public. Some even see them as satire, a serious jester's slap at bad rulers. In any case, the term "Machiavellian" has come to describe these cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous actions.


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