Niccolò Machiavelli was a historian, poet, musician, playwright and
diplomat -- in short what we have come to call a renaissance man --
but he is best remembered for his contributions to political philosophy
through his short treatise The Prince. Some have suggested that all
political theory is merely a footnote to Plato and Aristotle, but
Machiavelli comes up with some surprising twists unanticipated by the
classical thinkers. His guide to governing a state is the birth of
realpolitik, the moment at which philosophy sacrifices theoretical
niceties in order to meet immediate and practical needs. Sometimes
duplicitous or ruthless action is required in Machiavelli's universe.
Moral principles are subservient to the necessities of power politics.
Yet Machiavelli's value-free pragmatism inspired intense feelings
among supporters and detractors, and if some saw him as the most
savvy political thinker, others denounced him as an evil, malevolent
mastermind of tyranny and intrigue. But whether loved or hated,
Machiavelli was always read and studied, and still must be today,
when his tenets continue to hold sway over nations and regimes.
The text of The Prince in English translation can be found here
Visit www.emachiavelli.com for a rich array of web-based resources
And who says political theory can't be fun? Here is a quirky essay
linking The Prince to the Half-Blood Prince . . . yes a study of the
influence of Machiavelli on Severus Snape
is more insightful
be found in his
A MODERN TWIST
. . .
-- perhaps the
attempted to use
of the great
very overthrow of
the power politics
his The Modern
Prince from his