Niccolo Machiavelli

Topics: Humanism, Political philosophy, The Prince Pages: 3 (798 words) Published: April 17, 2006
From Niccolo Machiavelli's farm near San Casciano he wrote The Prince (1513) which has been described as depicting Renaissance humanism, where secularism, history, and intellectual freedom are all stressed. This essay will maintain this notion by exploring the definition of humanism and exploring the text of Niccolo Machiavelli to see if his work, The Prince, does sustain the characteristics of humanism. The most important characteristics of Renaissance humanism that will be examined include secularism, the importance of history, and intellectual freedom. Humanism as a system of thought focuses on humans and their values, capacities, and worth. This will be mentioned on the section discussing intellectual freedom. More specifically Renaissance humanism was a cultural and intellectual movement that emphasized secular concerns because of the rediscovery and fascination of the literature, art, and civilization of ancient Greece and Rome. This will be discussed on the section about the importance of history and secularism. Machiavelli does not discuss supernatural matters in his book The Prince. This is characteristic of humanism in that secular material is the focus.. Machiavelli's work also reveals a strongly secular effort. Machiavelli never mentions the soul, the devil, hell, or any distinction between this life and the next. Machiavelli says, "A prince, therefore, must have no other object or thought, nor acquire skill in anything, except war, its organization, and its discipline. The art of war is all that is expected of a ruler…" Many people during the Renaissance would argue that it is important for a prince to be strong of faith or to be placed into his position by something of divine nature. "The ethical side of a prince's activity—how a ruler out to behave based on Christian more principles—was the focus of many late medieval treatises on politics. Machiavelli bluntly contradicted this approach…" Machiavelli, being a humanist, does not mention religion;...

Bibliography: Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince. Translated by George Bull. New York: Penguin Books, 2003.
Spielvogel, Jackson. Western Civilization. 6th ed. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006
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