The Fortune of Machiavelli's "Il Principe"
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The Prince was written in 1513, after Machiavelli had accumulated a formidable political experience. Italy had lost Lorenzo the Magnificent, and the disruption that followed brought the sack of Rome by the Landsknecht in 1527. Machiavelli died that same year, after witnessing what he had feared: at a time when nation states were created, Italy, being divided into principalities, would inevitably be crushed.
Machiavelli's work must be placed within this context, otherwise "The Prince" cannot be understood: the work is animated by the hope that the Italian potentates will become a nation-state on a par with other countries and avoid the humiliation of invasions. But no such Prince appeared, as Machiavelli had hoped, and Italy was occupied by foreign powers until 1861.