William J. Connell

Seton Hall University

The First Anti-Machiavellians:  Niccolo's Enemies

Abstract

 

Anti-Machiavellism did not begin with the posthumous publication of The Prince in 1531. Through much of his life Machiavelli was a controversial figure in Florence and elsewhere. Historical anthropologists have emphasized the role that enmity played in shaping identity in Renaissance Florence. Antagonism provided sharp definition where friendship was haracterized by less distinct gradations. Previous scholarship has devoted much attention to Machiavelli's friendships, above all with Francesco Vettori and Francesco Guicciardini, but this paper charts the antagonistic relationships that developed over the course of Machiavelli's career. It argues that these early enmities, the criticisms that ensued, and Machiavelli's response to them, prepared the ground for the Anti-Machiavellism (including the Machiavellian Anti-Machiavellism) of later periods.