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Niccol Machiavelli born in 1469 wrote The Prince during 1513 while living in political exile at his country house outside of Florence He had served as head of the second chancery of the Florentine republic but was dismissed after it fell in 1512 The Medici family was again ruling Florence and a Medici also sat on the papal throne in Rome Machiavelli tried unsuccessfully to use this treatise to gain an advisory appointment either to the papacy or the court of the Duke The Prince was published in 1532 five years after Machiavelli died The Prince aroused controversy from its first appearance and in 1559 joined the works of Erasmus and other humanist scholars on the papal Index of Prohibited Books As a guide to princely behavior the work falls into a genre common to the renaissance and to the classical periods As a work of humanist scholarship it shows a thorough grasp of classical writing style and draws examples from a wide variety of classical and biblical texts Yet to describe The Prince as belonging to either of these categories understates its power and originality Critics have praised Machiavelli for his sophistication clarity realism subtlety irony Some see his work as supporting a republican form of government by exposing the faults of princedoms and praise his ability to separate political from moral issues Other critics condemn him for being naive promoting fraud force and immorality in politics using beneficial ends to justify evil means and betraying republican ideals Each group of critics draws on the chapters of The Prince that are reproduced here to support its conflicting appraisals Important contemporary Machiavellian scholarship has emphasized the influence of humanist rhetoric on Machiavelli Q Skinner 1981 and the relevance of Machiavellis rhetoric to his political views V Kahn 1994 P Kain 1995 recently re-examined ethical ambiguities in The Prince and other works by Machiavelli The topics these authors discuss are closely related to an appraisal of
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