By Christopher Celenza
"Machiavellian”—used to explain the ruthless crafty of the power-obsessed and the pitiless—is by no means intended as a praise. however the guy whose identify turned shorthand for all that's grotesque in politics was once extra enticing and nuanced than his recognition indicates. Christopher S. Celenza’s Machiavelli: A Portrait gets rid of the varnish of centuries to bare not just the hardnosed political thinker however the expert diplomat, discovered commentator on old historical past, comedian playwright, tireless letter author, and thwarted lover.
Machiavelli’s place of birth used to be the epicenter of the Italian Renaissance within the 15th century, a spot of exceptional inventive and highbrow attainments. yet Florence was once additionally riven by means of amazing violence. battle and public executions have been commonplace—Machiavelli himself used to be imprisoned and brutally tortured on the behest of his personal executive. those reviews left a deep influence in this prepared observer of strength politics, whose masterpieces—The Prince and The Discourses—draw all over the place at the hard-won knowledge received from navigating a treacherous global. yet like a lot of Machiavelli’s fellow Florentines, he additionally immersed himself within the Latin language and knowledge of authors from the classical earlier. And for all of Machiavelli’s indifference to faith, vestiges of Christianity remained in his inspiration, in particular the desire for a redeemer—a prince who would supply the soundness so infrequent in Machiavelli’s worldly adventure.
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Additional resources for Machiavelli: A Portrait
These hardbitten men conquered a number of cities in the Romagna and the Marches. Meanwhile, his rapacity increasing, Cesare took to the south with the aid of French forces and ousted the leaders of Naples and Capua. Then Cesare headed back north to the Marches, capturing Urbino and Camerino. It was now clear that his ambitions outstripped his original aims, so much so that some of his hired condottieri began to suspect that they too would become his targets. Machiavelli was present at Cesare Borgia’s traveling court for parts of the years 1502 and 1503 and was an eyewitness to some of the events that gained Cesare his reputation for bloodthirstiness.
The result was that, when Pope Julius II, Venice, the duke of Ferrara, and Ferdinand the Catholic of Spain formed a “Holy League” against French interests and decided in 1512 to work to restore the Medici to Florence, trouble was inevitable for the Soderini government. By August 31, 1512, after the Spanish had sacked Florence’s nearby subject city, Prato, Soderini was compelled to abdicate, fleeing to what is now southern Croatia. Thereafter things happened quickly in Florence, as the Medici and their allies effected what was termed a mutatione— or “change”—of government.
As for Cesare and Alexander, their hope was to set up a large state in northeastern Italy, with Cesare at the head. At first 36 Machiavelli Cesare had Swiss troops sent by the king of France, and with them at his service he successfully conquered Imola and Forlì, key towns relatively close to Bologna. Then in 1500 Pope Alexander created twelve new cardinals. S. president, cardinals then were often named because of the financial support they could offer the pope. The revenues provided by these new cardinals afforded Pope Alexander the ability to hire a series of condottieri along with their associated small armies, so that they could work together with Cesare.