Dusty Quotations


Who is Niccolo Machiavelli?

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (/ˌmækiəˈvɛli/ MAK-ee-ə-VEL-eeUS also /ˌmɑːk-/ MAHK-, Italian: [nikkoˈlɔ mmakjaˈvɛlli]; 3 May 1469 – 21 June 1527), occasionally rendered in English as Nicholas Machiavel (/ˈmækiəvɛl/ MAK-ee-ə-velUS also /ˈmɑːk-/ MAHK-see below), was an Italian diplomat, author, philosopher and historian who lived during the Renaissance. He is best known for his political treatise The Prince (Il Principe), written in about 1513 but not published until 1532. He has often been called the father of modern political philosophy and political science

For many years he served as a senior official in the Florentine Republic with responsibilities in diplomatic and military affairs. He wrote comedies, carnival songs, and poetry. His personal correspondence is also important to historians and scholars of Italian correspondence. He worked as secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence from 1498 to 1512, when the Medici were out of power.

After his death Machiavelli’s name came to evoke unscrupulous acts of the sort he advised most famously in his work, The Prince. He claimed that his experience and reading of history showed him that politics have always been played with deception, treachery, and crime. He also notably said that a ruler who is establishing a kingdom or a republic, and is criticized for his deeds, including violence, should be excused when the intention and the result is beneficial to him. Machiavelli’s Prince has been surrounded by controversy since its release. Some considered it to be a straightforward description of the evil means used by bad rulers; many read in it evil recommendations to tyrants to help them maintain their power. Even into recent times, some scholars, such as Leo Strauss, have restated the traditional opinion that Machiavelli was a “teacher of evil”.

Machiavelli died on 21 June 1527 at the age of 58 after receiving his last rites. He was buried at the Church of Santa Croce in Florence. In 1789 George Nassau Clavering, and Pietro Leopoldo, Grand Duke of Tuscany, initiated the construction of a monument on Machiavelli’s tomb. It was sculpted by Innocenzo Spinazzi, with an epitaph by Doctor Ferroni inscribed on it. The Latin legend reads: TANTO NOMINI NULLUM PAR ELOGIUM (“So great a name (has) no adequate praise” or “No eulogy (would be) a match for such a great name” or “There is no praise equal to so great a name.”)

If you were born in the late 1900s, you might be familiar with Machiavelli due to the musical work of Tupac Shakur. You might have even talked yourself into believing that Machiavelli influenced 2Pac to fake his death and move of Cuba. You might even be patiently keeping an eye on Reddit for clues about his inevitable return. You might. Not me, though.

What does a 20th century American rapper have in common with a 15th century Italian diplomat? You can read about that HERE.