Machiavelli as a Humanist

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A humanist is defined as one who is concerned with the interests and welfare of humans. Niccolo’ Machiavelli can be thought of as a humanist. Although opinions on this differ greatly depending on whom you speak with. Machiavelli’s life consists of so many examples and lessons that he has learned throughout his life. Through my paper, I intend to examine his perception of morality based on his political writings and life experiences. Niccolo’ Machiavelli was born on May 3, 1469 and died in 1527. Although we do not know much about his early life, we know that he was educated according to the humanist ideals of the Renaissance. He was trained at an early age by a latin teacher named Paolo da Ronciglione. He spent his youth in the…show more content…
He used the term virtu’ in his book “The Art of War” which is a dialogue on military affairs. It describes the great ability of a general who is able to adapt to various battlefield conditions as they present themselves. It is said that the most vilified of political thinkers is also the one of whom it has been said that he concentrated all his real and supreme values in what he called virtu’. 6 What he meant by this was that a prince would have to develop a different psychology than what he is used to. The “new” prince is “prepared to vary his conduct as the winds of fortune and changing circumstances constrain him and not deviate from the right conduct if possible, but be should be capable of entering upon a path of wrong doing when it becomes necessary”. 7 Some ninety years ago Villari said that Machiavelli always use the word virtue in the sense of courage and energy both for good and evil. To Christian virtue in its more general meaning, he rather applied the term goodness, and felt much less admiration for it than for the pagan virtue that was always fruitful of glory. 2 Although the political life of Niccolo Machiavelli is quite interesting when analyzing his views on government and religion, his personal life and experiences were equally a representation of him as a humanist. He was described by some as never offensive and possessing a genuine understanding of human weakness. Niccolo formed a quite
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