Machiavelli: Biography And Facts About History's Most Misunderstood Man

By | February 13, 2020

Before he was the world's most evil man, he was a diplomat

His name is connected with political leaders prone to playing 3-D chess, but was Machiavelli actually the conniving manipulator that we know him as? His most well-known work, The Prince, teaches that it's better to be feared than loved and that the ends justify the means. While most scholars take this book at face value, it's possible that Machiavelli was attempting to create a work of satire that got away from him. Was Niccolò Machiavelli a monster? Or was he just a realist? 

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Source: History Channel

Born on May 3, 1469, in Florence, Italy, Niccolò Machiavelli didn't come out of the womb decrying those who were born wealthy, but he did work his way into the diplomacy after the Medici family was exiled in 1494. Working for the government for 14 years, he observed the actions of people in power, how they treated one another, and how they treated him. After the Medici family was reinstalled as the leaders of Florence, he took part in a failed coup to keep them out, which led to Machiavelli getting bounced from the country. He was jailed, tortured, and banished to the countryside for more than a decade. 

Machiavelli was one lusty bureaucrat 

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Source: British Literature

Machiavelli's antics in Italy were saucy to say the least. Sure, he had a wife and children, but he was a straight-up horn dog, even for a 14th-century politician. He had multiple mistresses, and he didn't even try to hide them. His letters were filled with nasty remarks about sex workers and one-night stands. He wrote of one woman:

[She had] a tuft of hair, half white and half black, the top of her head was bald which allowed you to see several lice taking a stroll… Her eyebrows were full of nits; one eye looked down and the other up. Her tear ducts were full of mucus… Her nose was twisted into a peculiar shape, the nostrils were full of snot and one of them was half missing. Her mouth looked like Lorenzo de Medici's, twisted on one side and drooling since she had no teeth to keep the saliva in her mouth. Her lip was covered with a thin but rather long mustache.

One of his favorite mistresses was actress Barbera Raffacani Salutati, a singer he wrote about in the poem "Bárbera." He was so into her that he instructed a friend in Rome:

Barbera is there in Rome; if you can do her any service, I commend her to you, for she gives me far more concern than does the emperor.