An Unlikely Prince: The Life and Times of Machiavelli by Niccolo Capponi

By Niccolo Capponi

In this compelling new biography, historian Niccolò Capponi frees Machiavelli (1469–1527) from centuries of misinterpretation. Exploring the Renaissance urban of Florence, the place Machiavelli lived, Capponi finds the guy at the back of the legend. a posh portrait of Machiavelli emerges—at as soon as a brilliantly skillful diplomat and a woefully inept liar; a pointy philosopher and an impractical dreamer; a hardnosed powerbroker and a risk-taking gambler; a calculating propagandist and an imprudent jokester.

Capponi’s intimate portrait of Machiavelli unearths his habit as completely un-Machiavellian, his imaginative and prescient of the realm as constrained through his very provincial outlook. after all, Machiavelli used to be pissed off by means of his personal political mess ups and totally baffled by way of the good fortune of his booklet The Prince.

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Additional info for An Unlikely Prince: The Life and Times of Machiavelli

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We hear from him about the war of 1478-1479 only because he agreed to house, in Florence, a female relative of one of his tenants, who wished to remove her from the possible unfriendly clutches of, in this case, friendly soldiery passing through the area of Sant’Andrea in Percussina. True to his rather parsimonious nature, Ser Bernardo insisted she should pay for her board, giving her a free bed in exchange for some domestic help. Ser Bernardo, while aware of his own social position, did not recoil from dealing directly with social inferiors.

Charles VIII entered Naples at the end of February 1495, but his success caused Venice, the pope, Milan, Spain, and the emperor to form an alliance, called the League of Venice (or the Holy League). Fearful of being trapped in southern Italy, Charles retreated north, leaving a strong contingent to guard his new conquests. The league’s troops confronted the French at Fornovo on July 6, 1495, and although Charles managed to extricate himself with his army largely intact (the biggest loss being, probably, his love letters, read and gleefully published by their captors), it became clear that the Valois hold on Naples was tenuous, to say the least.

Indeed, Niccolò always considered himself first and foremost a man of letters rather than a political theorist. ” In addition, the sums Ser Bernardo spent for the marriage of his daughter Primavera in 1483 to Giovanni di Francesco Vernacci were modest in comparison to what other people would fork out for a daughter’s nuptials. Be that as it may, it was quite a financial burden for the elder Machiavelli. It is possible that Niccolò resented the elder Machiavelli’s preference for engaging in erudite discussion instead of seeking greater affluence for his family.

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