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A great and controversial name in the literary and political circle of all times is Nocolo Machiavelli. He was a highly dominant theoretician in politics of the early Renaissance. His profoundly thoughtful but disputable book The Prince definitely affected the thoughts of men and the courses of human events through a long range of years.

Machiavelli was born in Florence in 1469. Before he was thirty he was appointed Secretary to the governing body of the Florentine Republic. This office led to his being sent as an envoy to other Italian cities, as well as to the court of Louis XII of France. His most important mission occurred in 1502, when he was sent to represent Florence with Cesare Borgia, then at the height of his insolent and magnificent power. Machiavelli had an intimate knowledge of Cesare but held diverse opinions about him, both as a villain and as a saint. In his celebrated work The Prince, he is represented as a sort of model for the rulers by him. Machiavelli enjoyed patronage from Cesare but, after the fall of the latter, he lost his position, was imprisoned and tortured. After his release in humiliation, he retired to a small country estate, where he completed The Prince. His death occurred in Florence at the age of fifty eight.

Machiavelli's political theory evoked considerable interests and contrary views. "Machiavellian" has come to mean subtle, unscrupulous craft. But the common judgment on Machiavelli is not entirely justified. He was a realist, with no great belief in either God or man. He sets out in The Prince the principles of what is now generally described by the German word. "Realpo litik", the political principle that is of queen Elizabeth, Napoleon, and Bismark. Machiavelli was not an idealist. He was concerned not with men as they ought to be, but as they are. Francis Bacon was a great admirer of The Prince, and he said: " We are much beholden to Machiavelli and others that wrote what men do and not what they ought to do."


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