500-yr-old arrest warrant for 'The Prince' author Niccolo Machiavelli discovered

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 25, 2013 09:30 hrs

A British academic has discovered the 500-year-old arrest warrant for famed Italian Renaissance man Niccolo Machiavelli, one of the world's most influential political writers.

The historic document was found in Florence's state archives and marks the turning point in Machiavelli's life that would inspire him to write his famous political treatise "The Prince," the New York Daily News reported

Professor Stephen J. Milner of the University of Manchester found it while researching Florentine town criers in the 15th to early 16th centuries.

The proclamation on Feb. 19, 1513, stated Florentines had one hour to surrender any information regarding the whereabouts of Machiavelli or anyone who may be hiding him to authorities.

Milner also found a document describing Florentine authorities paying four horsemen to ride through the streets in search of Machiavelli and the subsequent reward they would receive for his capture.

Machiavelli was an Italian historian, writer, playwright, politician and philosopher. He became a wanted man when the power of the Florentine government changed hands and his name was linked to a conspiracy to overthrow the returning Medici family.

Machiavelli was exiled from Florence and lived in poverty until his death in 1527.

He wrote "The Prince" - and dedicated the publication twice to members of the Medici family - in an effort to fall into their good graces so he may return to the city.

"The Prince" is regarded as one of the first works of modern political philosophy and argues the end justifies the means - that it is reasonable to sacrifice one's virtues to maintain power.

The City of Florence held a reenactment of the proclamation reading on Feb. 19 to mark the 500th anniversary of Machaivelli's arrest and his publication of "The Prince." (ANI)

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