Portrait of Niccolò Machiavelli by Santi di Tito 

Five hundred years ago, on December 10, 1513, Niccolò Machiavelli wrote a letter to a friend in Rome describing one day in his life as an exile from Florence and remarked casually that he had just completed writing The Prince. This momentous book, together with its companion, the Discourses on Livy, neither published until after his death, announces an enterprise affecting all human beings today: the creation of the modern world.

Machiavelli is famous for his infamy, for being “Machiavellian,” but his importance is almost universally underestimated. The extent...

 

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