The History of Florence

In 1520, Pope Leo X commissioned Machiavelli to write a history of Florence. In 1525, Machiavelli presented Pope Clement VII with eight books comprising the origin of Florence up to 1492. It comes as little surprise that Machiavelli would stop at that date since the two popes largely wished to have a tracing of the de Medici family, of which they were both members. Machiavelli had very unsatisfactory resources in his research, and his work largely represent a large accumulation of material, not necessarily all definitely factual. Machiavelli's History is largely a political history devoting essentially no space to any artistic or societal events. Machiavelli's commission was an important part of his return to Florentine society. After being expelled for his alleged participation in a plot to overthrow the Medici, Machiavelli had continuously attempted to show his usefulness. Machiavelli was rewarded when the good graces of the pope fell upon him. He became a negotiator for the wool guild, as well as work with the Franciscans and with other writings for members of the Medici. Machiavelli's History of Florence not only stands as a monumental literary work, but also as a vehicle that led to Machiavelli's reinstatement into Florentine society.

Machiavelli, Niccolo. The History of Florence. In Machiavelli: The Chief Works and Others, ed. Allan Gilbert. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1965.

Muir, D. Erskine. Machiavelli and His Times. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1936.