3 May, 2021

Niccolo Machiavelli – philosopher and politician

Niccolò Machiavelli (Italian Niccolò Machiavelli), Italian political thinker, writer, historian, military theorist was born on May 3, 1469 in Florence in an impoverished noble family.

In 1498 he became secretary of the “Council of Ten” of the Florentine Republic, and carried out important diplomatic assignments. When the Medici family usurped power in Florence, Machiavelli fell into disgrace, in 1513 he was accused of conspiracy and arrested. Subsequently, the arrest was replaced by exile. While in exile at his country estate, Machiavelli wrote several works on philosophy, political history and the theory of military affairs.

The most significant are the treatise “On the Art of War” (1521), the book “Discourse on the first decade of Titus Livy” (1531) and “History of Florence” (1532). Worldwide fame was brought to him by the treatise “On the Sovereign” (“Prince”, 1532).

A convinced patriot, Machiavelli believed that all the troubles of Italy were due to fragmentation and civil strife, and saw the salvation of Italy only in the unlimited power of the sovereign, which did not take into account any requirements of morality and justice, the interests of the church and the welfare of his subjects.

The system of politics, which does not stop at anything to achieve the intended goal, was called Machiavellianism. Machiavelli shared the belief of most humanists in the creative potential of man. According to his concept, a strong personality is able to withstand random coincidences of circumstances, opposing them with his will and discernment. He believed that an outstanding person is able to withstand any blows of blind fate and create history. In his writings, he portrayed the then dominant system of dynastic politics as the only correct one. His books were a tremendous success among his contemporaries.

As a historian, he made a great contribution to the development of historiography. He looked for historical patterns, a deep causal connection of events and viewed history as a clash of “eternal” passions and interests, individuals and estates. He considered the political struggle to be the most important driving force of history, and the study of history was the way to predict.

“To find out what should happen, it is enough to trace what happened … This is due to the fact that all human affairs are done by people who had and will always have the same passions and therefore will inevitably have to give the same results.”

Died Niccolo Machiavelli in Florence on June 22, 1527