|Niccolo Machiavelli (1469- 1527) by George Stuart|
Renaissance Italy is credited by many for bringing the Europe out of the Dark Ages. The period around the beginning of the 16th century was particularly interesting to George Stuart. While art and science flourished in the northern City States, the collision of politics, power and religion was leaving Italy, and most of Europe in a constant state of war and turmoil.
Nothing in politics was simple and little was as it seemed or represented. Alliances were made and broken, princes rose and fell, armies marched pillaged nearly everywhere.
|"The Prince," the most famous job application'?|
Machiavelli avoided politics, and could speak to all sides of contemporary issues. In his writings however, Machiavelli favored a Florence as republic over a principality.
One gets the feeling from Unger's book that Machiavelli was fascinated by the art of diplomacy - or the lack there of - in the foreign affairs of Florence. Yet his thinking on the topic seems clearly objective and rational. Indeed, one gets the feeling he was as exacting and cautious as if a medieval philosopher dissecting a rare insect.
When Florence returned to De Medici control, Machiavelli lost his position. He then wrote The Prince to prove his worth to the reinstated De Medici family and gain their favor. In spite of some connections within the De Medici family, he was not accepted. Perhaps in the end he was too republican. Only after his death did friends publish The Prince - and the rest is history!