4 Answers

  1. I recommend the book “Machiavelli's Riddle”by Fyodor Burlatsky. It contains a detailed and very detailed answer to your question. It is very difficult to answer it briefly, there are too many important nuances, and I would have to write an article.

  2. I personally wouldn't say that Machiavelli was telling the obvious things.

    He just analyzed the experience of his contemporaries and predecessors and showed the patterns.

    In addition, the “Sovereign” is very specific, in it he gives a set of situations and explains how a good sovereign should act in them.

  3. He influenced almost all the politicians of his time. First, Machiavelli's achievement is that people finally understood the practical disparity between religion and politics. That is, Machiavelli secretly explained to people even before Marx that politicians (then Popes) use religion as a lever to put pressure on people.

    In The Sovereign, he described the entire reality of political life that exists to this day. After all, he was a government employee, so he saw and understood everything, thanks to his brilliant analytical abilities. Machiavelli is also credited with false opinions, allegedly he is a supporter of” cynicism “” fraud”, but after reading his works – you understand that this is not so. A great man, that's more to say…

  4. Oh, it was about my dissertation. So I can't keep silent, as they say.�

    The debate about Machiavelli's influence on contemporaries has been going on for many years. And it doesn't have a definite answer, of course. But let's try to sort everything out in order.

    1) The most banal. It should be understood that the book “The Sovereign” is not the only work of the philosopher. Also known are the works “History of Florence” and “Discourses on the first Decade of Titus Livy”. In these books, he expounds completely different political views. The Sovereign was a short-lived book, necessary for Machiavelli to return to Florence, where the Medici ruled and from which he was forced to leave.

    2) The popularity of the “Sovereign” among contemporaries is quite controversial. �On the one hand, the book has been “on the shelf” for almost 20 years. That is, written in 1513, it was first published in 1532. And many people then perceived it as something indecent. On the other hand, this book can be found on the shelves of many rulers of that time. It was, for example, in the student library of young Philip II of Spain. �

    3) Influencing society as a whole was quite difficult at the time. The fact is that books were still very expensive at that time. There were very few people reading.�

    4) About what and who did it and how. The very fact that Machiavelli systematizes the experience of Italian political life at the end of the 15th century, constantly referring to the experience of one tyrant or another, suggests that the techniques described by him were used. Aragonese King Ferdinand the Catholic in his old age recalled that he managed to deceive his opponents more often than his opponents deceived him. However, Machiavelli's generalizations are highly controversial. And, most importantly, they work mainly on Italian material.

    5) About religion was mentioned above. I can't agree with that. If the disparity between religion and politics had been proved in 1532, the Schmalkalden Wars of Catholics and Protestants in Germany would not have happened in 1555, France would not have been torn apart by Religious wars from 1562 to 1598, the bloody massacre in the Netherlands would not have begun in 1568, and, finally, there would not have been the last war for the faith – the Thirty Years ' War (1618-1648).�

    6) Now about idealism in politics in general. Here, too, we are faced with the fact that it has not been overcome at all. You can even say the opposite. The politics of the Spanish Habsburgs (those of Philip II, who had the book “The Sovereign” as a child, see point 2) are steeped in political idealism in the spirit of the Catholic mission. Moreover, the New Age is a time of revolutions, first of all. The Dutch Revolution, the Glorious Revolution in England, the American Revolution, the Great French Revolution, the subsequent revolutions in France, the German states, the Italian War of Liberation, and finally the three Russian revolutions. All these events are connected precisely with idealistic politicians (now this is not a positive or negative characteristic, but only a statement of the fact that they acted not on the basis of momentary interest, but on the basis of some large-scale idea). In principle, the politics of idealism are still alive today and Machiavelli did nothing with it.

    7) Finally, we must understand that Machiavelli was only one of MANY authors of his time who discussed the political structure. In Spain, for example, the philosopher Antonio de Guevara worked, defending radically different political views, emphasizing the role of the stoic ideal of politics. The Italian Baldassare Castiglione also wrote a very famous book at that time, The Courtier. The famous Erasmus of Rotterdam wrote, addressing Charles V, the famous work “Education of a Christian sovereign”, where he presented a picture of power-service, and not the power of the goal. Well, also “Utopia” by Thomas More, written in 1516. Perhaps, in reality, it had an even greater influence on the subsequent development of Europe than the”Sovereign”.

Leave a Reply