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During the Renaissance period, the Italian diplomat and philosopher, Niccolò di Bernardo Dei Machiavelli, popularly known as Niccolò Machiavelli was born. His magnum opus, or best known work, was The Prince, which was written in 1513. Since then, he has been known as the father of modern political philosophy and political science.
See the fact file below for more information on the Niccolò Machiavelli or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Niccolò Machiavelli worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Niccolò Machiavelli was born on May 3, 1469 in Florence, Italy.
- Florence was known at the time as the Republic of Florence.
- His influences were Xenophon, Plutarch, Petrarch, Tacticuw, Polybius, Sallust, Livy, Thucydides, and Dante Alighieri.
- He influenced other major philosophers like Francis Bacon, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Barouch Spinoza, and Friedrich Nietzche.
MACHIAVELLI’S EARLY YEARS
- Niccolò was the third child and first son of a lawyer named Bernardo di Niccolò Machiavelli and his wife Bartolomea di Stefano Nelli.
- It was believed that the Machiavellis descended from the marquesses of Tuscany.
- As a result, his family were prominent, as they hold Florence’s most important offices, but his father was one of the family’s poorest members.
- The time when Niccolo was born was an era of conflict, as popes were waging wars against Italian city-states. It was also the time when various countries’ power declined, and France, Spain, and the Holy Roman Empire fought each other for influence and control.
- In his early years, Niccolo was taught grammar, rhetoric, and Latin.
- Although Florence was one of the centers of Greek scholarship in his time, it is believed that Niccolo was not taught Greek.
- It is also believed that the library Bernardo kept for Niccolo helped him to flourish in his education.
MACHIAVELLI’S DIPLOMATIC CAREER
- Florence temporarily declined in 1498, when the Medici family was exiled.
- Niccolo, who was then aged 29, served as a diplomat for 14 years.
- He was put in charge of the Republic of Florence’s foreign affairs.
- In the early 16th century, Machiavelli handled several diplomatic missions.
- He was sent to Pistoia to negotiate with and pacify the leaders of two opposing factions. These factions caused riots in 1501 and 1502.
- However, the leaders failed to reconcile, and were banished from the city. The outcome still favored Machiavelli.
- He observed the brutal leadership and state-building methods of Cesare Borgia from 1502 to 1504.
- This was the time when Borgia and his father, Pope Alexander VI, were trying to dominate a large part of Central Italy.
- Borgia, who was using the Church to justify his motivation and other events to the court of Louis XII and the Spanish court, influenced Machiavelli’s writing, including his best known work, The Prince.
- Niccolo gained a reputation for being a devious worker who broke his associates’ expectations for his shamelessness.
- One of his vital tasks was being responsible for organizing the Florentine militia.
- Between 1503 and 1506, Niccolo’s trust for the mercenaries crumbled, as he deemed them to be uninvested in war, fickle, and unreliable. As a result, he staffed the army with citizens.
- In 1509, after his militia experienced consecutive success, Florentine citizen-soldiers defeated Pisa in 1509.
- However, they were defeated in August 1512 when the Medici family used Spanish troops in a battle at Prato.
- The following year, the Florentine City-state was dissolved.
- Machiavelli was jailed and tortured as the Medici accused him of a conspiracy against them. He denied involvement and was released three weeks later.
- After that, Machiavelli retired to his farm estate in Sant’Andrea in Percussina. There, he spent his remaining time and energy writing political treatises.
- He also participated in intellectual groups in Florence where he wrote several plays and poems.
- On June 21, 1527, at the age of 58, Niccolo Machiavelli died after receiving his last rites, the last prayers given to an individual shortly before death.
- Niccolo was buried at the Church of Santa Croce in Florence.
- “TANTO NOMINI NULLUM PAR ELOGIUM” was written in his epitaph, which translates to “So great a name has no adequate praise”.
MACHIAVELLI’S MAJOR WORK: THE PRINCE
- The official printed version of this book was published in 1532, five years after Machiavelli’s death.
- The Medici Pope, Clement VII, said “long before then, in fact since the first appearance of The Prince in manuscript, controversy had swirled about his writings”. This is due to the fact that The Prince is also Machiavelli’s most controversial work.
- In the book, Machiavelli proposed that behavior deemed immoral, such as deceit and murder, was normal and even effective in politics.
- Machiavelli also encouraged leaders to engage in evil when necessary for political gain.
Niccolò Machiavelli Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Niccolò Machiavelli across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Niccolò Machiavelli worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Niccolò Machiavelli, the Italian diplomat and philosopher, who was born during the Renaissance period. His magnum opus, or best known work, was The Prince, which was written in 1513. Since then, he has been known as the father of modern political philosophy and political science.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Niccolò Machiavelli Facts
- Brief Biography
- Truth or Trash?
- Diplomat vs. Philosopher
- Sequencing Events
- Themes in The Prince
- The Prince Quotes
- Traits of the Prince
- Finest Philosophers
- Renaissance Collage
- My Own Philosophy
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