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Niccolo Machiavelli, best known now for The Prince (1532), was an Italian philosopher, diplomat, and musician. Born near Florence, he served the government as a clerk and ambassador. From 1503 - 06, he led the Florentine militia and was responsible for the defense of the city, but in 1513, after a shift in power, he was arrested, tortured, and exiled. After his release, he returned to his estate to concentrate on his writing.