Niccolò 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 class...