The Life of Niccolo Machiavelli

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The Life of Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli was born to Bernado di Niccolo di Buoninsegan and Bartolomea de Nelli in Florence on May 3, 1469. He was the third child, preceded by two sisters, Primavera and Margherita. Totto, Niccolo's younger brother was born in 1475. The family lived off modest means, with Bernado being a doctor of law. Although the family did not posses enormous wealth it is said that Bernado owned a decent amount of land and also received an inheritance from Totto Machiavelli, from whom he named his last child.

There are very few facts that are known about Niccolo's childhood. It is noted that he began to study Latin under Maestro Matteo at the age of seven. His interest in study stemmed from his father's passion to learn while his ability to write came from his mother's uncanny gift of poetry. Although 'it is questioned as to whether Niccolo intended himself to be a educated man, let alone in politics, it seems that his ability to learn was instrumental in the formation of his future interest in government' (Ridolfi, 3-4).

The streets of Florence also acted as a classroom for Niccolo. Often great discussions about commerce and world politics were held in the town square. It has been said that Niccolo would not only listen to the conversations but partake as much as possible. He himself understood the importance of being exposed to such things at an early age when he later wrote "cannot help but make an impression on a young man, which will guide his actions for the rest of his life" (Ridolfi, 4).

More is known about Machiavelli after 1498, when at the age of twenty nine he was Second Chancellor (secretary) for the Florence government. This is actually the same year that the...