Although the Italian writer and diplomat Niccolo Machiavelli was particularly well known for one significant work, the truth of the matter is that his life was a fascinating one. His work as an author, a diplomat, and a thinker had a significant impact upon the world. Some would say that in order to appreciate what is perceived as his greatest accomplishment, one should look at some of his additional achievements.
1. He Was Born During A Time Of Great Chaos In Italy
When he was born May 3rd 1469 in Florence, Italy was mired in chaos. Not only was the nation split up into four rival city-states, but the political weakness of this state put Italy at the mercy of several other European countries.
2. He Was Born Into Nobility, But Not Wealth By Any Means
Although Machiavelli was born into nobility, his family was not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. His father worked as a lawyer and landowner. He drew enough in the way of a salary to be able to support Niccolo, his siblings, and his mother. One of the most significant things he received from his family, beyond the status of nobility, was a great love of books. This is a love that would keenly influence Machiavelli later on in life.
3. He Gained Valuable Experience Working For A Banker
A number of accounts suggest that Machiavelli spent a number of a number of years during his youth in the service of a Florentine banker. While this is a matter of speculation, those who believe Machiavelli did indeed work in this capacity gained valuable experience in doing so. It would naturally stand to reason that Machiavelli gained a great deal of insight into politics, human nature, and other items of note that would later shape his greatest work.
4. He Became A Chancellor
During 1498, Machiavelli was made chancellor and secretary of the 2nd chancellery of the Florentine Republic. This was a government in Florence in which the leaders were elected to their positions by the people. His work in this field included carrying out the policies of his bosses, writing letters in the name of diplomacy, reading reports, writing reports, and maintaining accurate notes.
5. He Carried Out A Number Of Diplomatic Missions
During his time as a chancellor, Machiavelli carried out a number of diplomatic missions on behalf of his nation. In fact, over the course of his career, it is believed that he carried out somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty-three missions. These visits to foreign states had varying degrees of success, but there is no question that Machiavelli did well as a diplomat. He made four trips to France, in addition to a pair of visits to the court of Rome.
6. He Married Well And Had Lots Of Kids
In 1502, Machiavelli wed Marietta Corsini. They would have six children together, which included four sons and two daughters. In fact, it would later be his grandson Giovanni Ricci who would be responsible for saving a great many of his grandfather’s writings.
7. He Helped Organize A Militia
Before Machiavelli lost his position as chancellor, he first played a vital role in creating a militia. This group of citizens endeavored to protect the Florentine Republic. Unfortunately, a Spanish army made their way to Tuscany, and completely overcame Prato. As a response to this, the people returned the Medici family to power in the region. This would quickly spell trouble for Machiavelli.
8. He Lost His Position Of Responsibility
Although Machiavelli was hardly powerful, he did have a certain measure of responsibility within the community. Once the Medici family regained power, Machiavelli quickly found himself out of the job. Even worse, he found himself subject to imprisonment, torture, and more. When he found it impossible to secure a new job, he decided to turn to writing as a vocation. Given his great love of literature, particularly the classics, this move certainly made a great deal of sense.
9. He Wrote His Most Famous Work
During this grim point in his life and career, Machiavelli would write The Prince. This complex, endlessly compelling work drew from the man’s love of both history and politics. The mediation on the notion of man’s freedom vs man’s fate would go on to become enormously influential. The book has proven to be particularly appealing to those who want to develop a cunning, ruthless mindset, in order to achieve success in politics or in anything else. The book was eventually condemned by Pope Clement VIII.
10. He Wrote Several Other Works
Beyond The Prince, Machiavelli wrote several other notable works in his lifetime. Amongst these was the treatise On the Art of War. These works lend themselves significantly to the notion that Machiavelli is the father of modern political theories. He died on June 21st, 1527 outside of Florence.