History Creator / NiccoloMachiavelli

9th Sep '17 4:02:35 PM nombretomado
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However, one must be careful not to assume that Machiavelli was truly pro-democracy. In ''Discourses on Livy'', he takes the time to state that pure democracy isn't a great idea either, and the best form of government is one that combines democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy so that the different social classes can keep each other in check. On the other hand, the liberal movement which (openly or otherwise) adopted Machiavelli's philosophy more or less took the same opinion. Indeed, modern representative democracy would rather please Machiavelli, as it more or less reflects his ideals (a popularly-elected legislature is ''not'' a democracy as he understood it, but close enough to serve in the position in his three-in-one system;[[note]]To elaborate, Machiavelli considered Rome the model, and Rome was a single small republic that conquered and collected tribute from other city-states and thus could have a direct-democratic element in the city. The idea of ''representative'' government was essentially an English invention, and the idea that the territory of a republic could--indeed, ''should''--encompass thousands upon thousands of square miles was straight from the mind of UsefulNotes/JamesMadison--who, again, made no bones about his interest in Machiavelli.[[/note]] the modern investment of a great deal of power in [[AmericanPoliticalSystem directly-elected presidents]] and [[UsefulNotes/BritishPoliticalSystem indirectly-elected prime ministers]] is a pretty good approximation of his idea of "monarchy"; and both the role of less-representative upper legislative houses--like the US Senate and British Lords--and small, well-educated judicial courts are close to his concept of "aristocracy").

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However, one must be careful not to assume that Machiavelli was truly pro-democracy. In ''Discourses on Livy'', he takes the time to state that pure democracy isn't a great idea either, and the best form of government is one that combines democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy so that the different social classes can keep each other in check. On the other hand, the liberal movement which (openly or otherwise) adopted Machiavelli's philosophy more or less took the same opinion. Indeed, modern representative democracy would rather please Machiavelli, as it more or less reflects his ideals (a popularly-elected legislature is ''not'' a democracy as he understood it, but close enough to serve in the position in his three-in-one system;[[note]]To elaborate, Machiavelli considered Rome the model, and Rome was a single small republic that conquered and collected tribute from other city-states and thus could have a direct-democratic element in the city. The idea of ''representative'' government was essentially an English invention, and the idea that the territory of a republic could--indeed, ''should''--encompass thousands upon thousands of square miles was straight from the mind of UsefulNotes/JamesMadison--who, again, made no bones about his interest in Machiavelli.[[/note]] the modern investment of a great deal of power in [[AmericanPoliticalSystem [[UsefulNotes/AmericanPoliticalSystem directly-elected presidents]] and [[UsefulNotes/BritishPoliticalSystem indirectly-elected prime ministers]] is a pretty good approximation of his idea of "monarchy"; and both the role of less-representative upper legislative houses--like the US Senate and British Lords--and small, well-educated judicial courts are close to his concept of "aristocracy").
17th Jun '17 4:53:54 PM CurledUpWithDakka
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->''"Anyone who studies present and ancient affairs will easily see how in all cities and all peoples there still exist...the same desires and passions. Thus, it is an easy matter for him who carefully examines past events to foresee future events...But since these matters are neglected...or, if understood, remain unknown to those who govern, the result is that the same problems always exist in every era."''

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->''"Anyone who studies present and ancient affairs will easily see how in all cities and all peoples there still exist...the same desires and passions. Thus, it is an easy matter for him who carefully examines past events to foresee future events... But since these matters are neglected...neglected... or, if understood, remain unknown to those who govern, the result is that the same problems always exist in every era."''



Like many of that era, Machiavelli believed that AncientRome was the peak of human civilisation, particularly the Roman Republic, and he often uses its example to illustrate political points. Indeed, he can be seen as rejecting "Christian" ideas of thinkers like Augustine ---politics must be understood through a higher form of knowledge, private and public morals should be consistent, history is linear and purposeful etc----for "pagan" ones of thinkers like Aristotle---history is cyclical, politics must be understood on its own terms, states and leaders behave differently from private citizens. Interesting enough, this is a dichotomy that is still relevant today: compare the Clash of Civilizations and the End of History with Greco-Roman and Christian political thought, respectively.

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Like many of that era, Machiavelli believed that AncientRome was the peak of human civilisation, particularly the Roman Republic, and he often uses its example to illustrate political points. Indeed, he can be seen as rejecting "Christian" ideas of thinkers like Augustine ---politics Augustine--politics must be understood through a higher form of knowledge, private and public morals should be consistent, history is linear and purposeful etc----for purposeful, etc.--for "pagan" ones of thinkers like Aristotle---history Aristotle--history is cyclical, politics must be understood on its own terms, states and leaders behave differently from private citizens. Interesting enough, this is a dichotomy that is still relevant today: compare the Clash of Civilizations and the End of History with Greco-Roman and Christian political thought, respectively.
31st May '17 3:59:53 AM CrowTR0bot
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* {{Troll}}: A possible interpretation of his most well-known work, ''The Prince'', is that it was not only meant as satire, but was meant to screw with Prince Lorenzo. There are two ways this could work: 1) Machiavelli was making fun of the Prince by using the same flawed logic he believed tyrants used to subjugate their people; or 2) he was trying to convince the Prince to follow the book to the letter knowing that it would lead to a riot that would lead to his death. However, there is no proof that any of the Medicis actually read the book and Machiavelli didn't leave much behind that could clear up the matter. Therefore, there's no way to tell what his intent was when he wrote the treatise.

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* {{Troll}}: A possible interpretation of his most well-known work, ''The Prince'', is that it was not only meant as satire, but was meant to screw with Prince Lorenzo. There are two ways this could work: 1) Machiavelli was making fun of the Prince by using the same flawed logic he believed tyrants used to subjugate their people; or 2) he was trying to convince the Prince to follow the book to the letter [[SpringtimeForHitler knowing that it would lead to a riot that would lead to his death.death]]. However, there is no proof that any of the Medicis actually read the book and Machiavelli didn't leave much behind that could clear up the matter. Therefore, there's no way to tell what his intent was when he wrote the treatise.
26th Feb '17 12:26:37 AM MarkLungo
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* In ''Series/TheTimeTunnel'' episode "The Death Merchant", he's transported to UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar (specifically, the battle of Gettysburg) due to a technical fluke. He's depicted as a murderous sadist who regards war as a thrilling spectator sport as long as both sides are equally matched, so he tries to give the Confederates a large cache of gunpowder because they're the weaker opponent.
12th Feb '17 2:17:35 PM megarotic
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* WriteWhatYouKnow: Before he wrote ''The Prince'', Machiavelli had served in a number of governmental positions in the city of Florence (in fact, part of the reason he dedicated ''The Prince'' to the Medici might have been as a way to work his way into their good graces, as he lost his post when they came to power). Among those posts was head of the city militia, which gave him plenty of firsthand opportunities to develop his distrust of mercenaries.

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* WriteWhatYouKnow: Before he wrote ''The Prince'', Machiavelli had served in a number of governmental positions in the city of Florence (in fact, part of the reason he dedicated ''The Prince'' to the Medici might have been as a way to work his way into their good graces, as he lost his post when they came to power). Among those posts was head of the city militia, which gave him plenty of firsthand opportunities to develop his distrust of mercenaries.
12th Feb '17 2:15:19 PM megarotic
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* BeamMeUpScotty:
** He's quoted as saying that it's better for a ruler to be feared rather than loved in ''Literature/ThePrince''. To be fair he did say that, but only if you couldn't be both; it's best if you are feared ''and'' loved. Above all, you should make sure you're not ''hated'', as hatred overcomes fear of punishment. The actual point of the quote was to let the reader know that a Prince who is loved, but not feared, will be more readily betrayed by his subjects than a Prince who is feared, but not loved. Thus, fear without inspiring hatred is important to a Prince.
** Others mistakenly believe he said never to hire mercenaries. What he actually said was not to rely on mercenaries to protect your kingdom. This would not preclude hiring them to carry out small, covert missions on your behalf where deniability is an important consideration.
** He did ''not'' write that "the ends justify the means". That famous misquote is the result of a BlindIdiotTranslation. What he ''actually'' wrote was that one should consider the consequences before one acts.
3rd Dec '16 7:17:48 PM Xtifr
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'''Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavegli''' (1469-1527) was a Florentine writer, philosopher, and political theorist active at a time of great chaos and turmoil throughout Italy. He is best-known for writing ''Literature/ThePrince'', a handbook for the ruling Medici family on how to most effectively run a principality. Due to ''The Prince'' being his best-known work, coupled with the fact that [[MainstreamObscurity few who quote it have actually read it]], Machiavelli's name has become a byword for being a ruthless, manipulative, backstabbing bastard; so much so that in Creator/ChristopherMarlowe's ''Theatre/TheJewOfMalta'', Machiavelli is presented on stage as the narrator of the prologue, and the term ''Old Nick'' to refer to TheDevil may also be derived from his forename.

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'''Niccolò Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavegli''' Machiavegli (1469-1527) was a Florentine writer, philosopher, and political theorist active at a time of great chaos and turmoil throughout Italy. He is best-known for writing ''Literature/ThePrince'', a handbook for the ruling Medici family on how to most effectively run a principality. Due to ''The Prince'' being his best-known work, coupled with the fact that [[MainstreamObscurity few who quote it have actually read it]], Machiavelli's name has become a byword for being a ruthless, manipulative, backstabbing bastard; so much so that in Creator/ChristopherMarlowe's ''Theatre/TheJewOfMalta'', Machiavelli is presented on stage as the narrator of the prologue, and the term ''Old Nick'' to refer to TheDevil may also be derived from his forename.
2nd Aug '16 9:56:26 AM JamesAustin
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->''Anyone who studies present and ancient affairs will easily see how in all cities and all peoples there still exist...the same desires and passions. Thus, it is an easy matter for him who carefully examines past events to foresee future events...But since these matters are neglected...or, if understood, remain unknown to those who govern, the result is that the same problems always exist in every era.''

to:

->''Anyone ->''"Anyone who studies present and ancient affairs will easily see how in all cities and all peoples there still exist...the same desires and passions. Thus, it is an easy matter for him who carefully examines past events to foresee future events...But since these matters are neglected...or, if understood, remain unknown to those who govern, the result is that the same problems always exist in every era.''"''
2nd Aug '16 9:52:37 AM JamesAustin
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Hegel argued that it was written for a certain time and certain locale and to judge it based on contemporary morality and from the perspective of someone living in a unified nation state was unfair. Since the mid-twentieth century, the most common interpretation of ''The Prince'' is that it simply describes as Francis Bacon said, "what men do, and not what they ought to do" and that it is the first true work to deal with politics as a branch of science and not ethics. Another unfair misinterpretation of Machiavelli is seeing him as someone who wrote for the benefit of [insert favorite mass murdering tyrant here]. This is unfair to Machiavelli considering that someone like Hitler doesn't need a centuries dead philosopher to give him permission to go on a murderous rampage, whereas a democratic leader with a strong moral compass like Abe Lincoln or Winston Churchill might have doubts about what their duties as a leader are. And, for that matter, Machiavelli would probably have approved of pragmatic democratic statesmen like [[UsefulNotes/RichardNixon Nixon]] or [[Creator/BenjaminDisraeli Disraeli]] more than insane ideologues like Hitler or Stalin.

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Hegel argued that it was written for a certain time and certain locale and to judge it based on contemporary morality and from the perspective of someone living in a unified nation state was unfair. Since the mid-twentieth century, the most common interpretation of ''The Prince'' is that it simply describes as Francis Bacon said, "what men do, and not what they ought to do" and that it is the first true work to deal with politics as a branch of science and not ethics. Another unfair misinterpretation of Machiavelli is seeing him as someone who wrote for the benefit of [insert favorite mass murdering tyrant here]. This is unfair to Machiavelli considering that someone like Hitler doesn't need a centuries dead philosopher to give him permission to go on a murderous rampage, whereas a democratic leader with a strong moral compass like Abe Lincoln or Winston Churchill might have doubts about what their duties as a leader are. And, for that matter, Machiavelli would probably have approved of pragmatic democratic statesmen like [[UsefulNotes/RichardNixon Nixon]] or [[Creator/BenjaminDisraeli [[UsefulNotes/BenjaminDisraeli Disraeli]] more than insane ideologues like Hitler or Stalin.
2nd Jul '16 2:08:41 PM Eilevgmyhren
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* He is the main character in the ([[DoorStopper rather long]]) Norwegian play ''Towards Carnival'', written in 1915, telling the story of Machiavelli and his contemporaries from the death of Savonarola to the time he wrote ''The Prince''.
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