Niccolo Machiavelli (aka Mandragola)
A slender man of medium height, with dark,
sparkling eyes, thin lips and dark hair. A sarcastic expression
continually playing upon his sharp features.
Born in May 1469 in Florence into a familly of moderate means,
little is known of Machiavelli's early life. In 1498, he was appointed
secretary and second chancellor of the city state Florence, in effect
becoming a senior civil servant whose job it was to serve the executive
committees of the government. This brought him, in the main, diplomatic
responsibilities, although he was also entrusted with administrative and
military errands. He remained in this job for 14 years until the downfall of
the republic in 1512.
Machiavelli's work took him on errands to many different countries. He
wasn't a great diplomat, but neither was he a poor one. His close personal
friendship with Florence's head of state, Soderini, meant that he was never
short of important diplomatic work. He also persuaded Florence officials
that a permanant milita should be set up and played a big part in the
running of it.
Little is known of the languages in which he was fluent, but in the
course his work he would have been required to know at least the basics of
English, French, Spanish and Latin, as well as his native Italian.
In 1512, the Medici returned and dismissed Machiavelli. A short time
later he was imprisoned and tortured on charges of conspiracy. Soon after,
he was set free and exiled to his home in the country. It was at this time
that his writing career began. His writings included 'The Prince,' a book
which tells of the ruthless, underhand tactics used by governments, based on
Machiavelli's observations of Cesare Borgia. The book was widely condemmed,
and Machiavelli was at one time identified with Satan himself. He died on
June 21 1527 of violent stomach trouble.
Although his image of a cold, calculating deceiver is perhaps a little
harsh, the general impression left of his life and works is of a man
withdrawn from the crowd, watching life go by and all the while observing,
trying to turn things to his advantage.
Manipulation of others, good communication skills, good observation
Would your character prefer a game of chess or a game of football?
Machiavelli would prefer chess to football.
If your character found a wallet in the street, would they return it?
Would he return a wallet? It depends. If the wallet belonged to a person he
could put into his debt by returning it, then he would.
Would your character be more likely to be the life of the party or
to quietly observe the goings-on?
He would definately observe the goings on at a party.
- Would your character be found on the top of a pyramid of people or
on the bottom?
In a pyramid of people, he would be just below the top. He would prefer to
be the power behind the throne rather than be in the throne himself.
Pretending to be your character, rank the following statements in order
of truth. Leave out statements that are false about your character.
d. I notice my surroundings
a. Other people listen to what I say
e. I love to read