Niccolò Machiavelli was born in Florence on May 3, 1469 and died in Florence on June 21, 1527. He was a philosopher, statesman, and political theorist and is often referred to as the "father of modern political theory".
Niccolò Machiavelli wrote his first work in 1499 entitled, Discorso sopra le cose di Pisa (Discourse on Pisa), and in 1502, Discorso sopra la provisione del danaro (Discourse about the Provision of Money). In the same year as the latter treatise, Niccolò Machiavelli also completed the short treatise Del modo di trattare i sudditi della Valdichiana ribellati (On the Way to Deal with the Rebel Subjects of the Valdichiana). Other early works of Niccolò Machiavelli include the political analyses Ritratti delle cose dell' Alemagna (Portrait of the affairs of Germany, 1508-1512) and Ritratti delle cose di Francia (Portrait of the affairs of France, 1510).
In 1513 he wrote his most famous piece Il Principe (The Prince). The book caused a great controversy, as it was "simply" a study on how to acquire and maintain power.
Yet, perhaps more than that, the main aim of the Il Principe is a critique of traditional moral norms and ideologies regarding the exercise of power. Niccolò Machiavelli argues that a ruler should not care about these norms (or laws in general) and should only be concerned with authority and power, which are equal, and war.
Machiavelli's Dell'arte della guerra (The Art of War), written between 1519 and 1520, continues with many of his "republican" ideas. In this work, the only political work published during his lifetime, he essentially gives instructions on how to acquire and maintain military force and argues that the liberty of a state (and of its citizens) requires the military preparedness of the citizens.
Niccolò Machiavelli also worked as a translator and wrote a novel Belfagor arcidiavolo (1527), several poems, and three plays: Mandragola (1518; The Mandrake, 1518), Clizia (1525), and Andria (1517). When in Lucca in 1520, he wrote a few pieces La vita di Castruccio Castracani da Lucca (The Life of Castruccio Castracani of Lucca). In that same year, Niccolò Machiavelli was also made the official historian of Florence by Pope Leo X and was commissioned to write the Istorie fiorentine (History of Florence). Five years later it was completed and he presented the work to Pope Clement VII in 1525 who rewarded him with a stipend.
Though relatively unrecognised during his lifetime, his influence on political science can hardly be overestimated. He influenced such thinkers as Thomas Hobbes, Francis Bacon and Antonio Gramsci, and among the many philosophers, Baruch Spinoza and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, were among his biggest defenders.
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