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Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (May 3, 1469 – June 21, 1527) was an Italian diplomat, political philosopher, musician, poet, and playwright. He is a figure of the Italian Renaissance and a central figure of its political component. Machiavelli is best known for his books on realist political theory (The Prince) and on republicanism (Discourses on Livy). The Prince advises rulers how to hold onto power. Many of the author's suggestions are morally questionable. From this came the term, Machiavellian. These two written works, plus his History of Florence commissioned by the Medici family, were published four years after his death in 1531. After the ousting and execution of Savonarola, the Great Council elected Machiavelli as the second chancellor of the Republic of Florence in June of 1498. He died in San Casciano, near Florence, in 1527.

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