Niccolo Machiavelli

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Date: 1469-1527

Region: Europe

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Literature


Machiavelli.jpg

Artist: Niccolo Machiavelli

Confronting Bodies: Pope Paul IV, Huguenot Gentillet, The Elizabethans

Dates of Action: 1555, 1575, 1602

Location: Italy, France

Description of Artwork: Discorsi 1503, Il Principe 1513

The Incident: 1555 Italy-Rome: Although Machiavelli had been the ambassador and advisor of Popes and Cardinals in his days, Pope Paul IV placed his works in the severest category of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, and Clement VIII made a fresh prohibition of a Lausanne edition of his Discorsi.

1576 France: Selected maxims from Il Principe translated into French, were attacked by the Huguenot Gentillet for their political views. Cesare Borgia was supposed to have been the "Prince". The author contended that "if all rulers were good, you ought to keep your word, but since they are dishonest and do not keep faith with you, you in return, need not keep faith with them."

1602 England: The Elizabethans derived from Gentillet their idea of and hostility for Il Principe.

Results of Incident: 1935 Italy: In Fascist thinking, Il Principe demonstrated disjointed Italy's need for an all-powerful dictator supported by a national army. Mussolini paid Machiavelli tribute by encouraging the distribution of Il Principe in thousands of cheap copies.

Source: Banned Books 387 B.C. to 1978 A.D., by Anne Lyon Haight, and Chandler B. Grannis, R.R. Bowker Co, 1978.