A timeline of events in Italy and in Machiavelli’s life

1469 (May 3) – Niccolò Machiavelli is born

1475 – Bernardo Machiavelli receives Livy’s History of Rome from the printer Niccolò Tedesco o Alamanno as compensation for creating the index for the volume.

1478 – Pazzi conspiracy. An attempt by the Pazzi family to kill Lorenzo and Guiliano di Medici and usurp power fails as Lorenzo (later called il Magnifico) survives.

1486 – Bernardo puts Niccolò in charge of binding a number of his books, among them the Livy volume.

1489 – Poliziano publishes the first century of the Miscellanea.

1492 – (April 8 ) Lorenzo il Magnifico dies

(aug 11) Rodrigo Borgia is elected pope, becoming Alexander VI.

(Oct 12) Columbus lands on San Salvador.

1494 – Charles VIII of France marches into Italy

Piero di Medici gives up Pisa and Livorno, among other territories, to Charles in order to spare Florence.

Popular resentment boils over against the Medici because of this action. The Medici flee the city.

The Florence forms a republican government, in which Savonarola is influential.

The new government negotiates new terms with Charles, giving him safe passage through the city, but not giving up territory

Charles’ troops enter Florence.

1495 – Charles VIII enters Naples. An anti-French league is formed (Ludovico il Moro, the pope, Venice, Spain, and the Holy Roman Empire); after fighting the league’s forces at the Battle of Fornavo, King Charles barely manages to take his troops back to France.

1497 – Five Florentines, sympathetic to the Medici, are accused of conspiring to bring down the Republic and condemned to die. Although the new constitution specifies the right to appeal, Savonarola recommends that they be put to death (as they are political rivals). They are put to death without appeal and popular opinion begins to turn agains Savonarola. Charles VIII dies.

(Dec 2) In the name of the “Maclavellana familia” Niccolò writes to the Cardinal Giovanni Lopez, bishop of Perugia.

1498 – (Feb. 13) Marcello Virgilio Adriani succeeds Bartolomeo Scala as the Secretary of the First Chancery of the Florentine Republic.

(Apr. 7) Louis XII succeeds Charles VIII as kink of France.

(May 23) Without the backing of the Florentine people, Savonarola is vulnerable to the Church in Rome. He is excommunicated and burned at the stake.

(June 15) Niccolò enters public life. He becomes Chief of the Second Chancery, in part due to the support of Marcello Virgilio Adriani, Secretary of the First Chancery. As chief of the Second Chancery, Niccolò is Secretary to the Ten of Liberty and Peace, the commission which oversees military matters and foreign affairs. Niccolò is entrusted with keeping the Signoria and the Ten informed in military and political problems so they can make apprpriate and timely decisions.

1499 – Mar. – Niccolò’s first mission for the Ten: to Jacopo IV d’Appiano, lord of Piombino. July – Niccolò travels to Forlí, to the court of Caterina Sforza Riario. Cesare Borgia, Son of the Pope, Alexander VI, begins to build his dominion with conquests in Romagna. He also takes Forlí—and Florence does nothing to help Caterina Sforza. Florence attempts to retake Pisa. Mercenary troops, however, refuse to enter a breach in the Pisan walls. The condottieri, professional captains, are put to death for treason.

1500 – (May) Death of Bernardo Machiavelli.

(Jul) Niccolò & Francesco della Casa travel to the court of Louis XII. It is his first foreign commission, Florence seeks redress for the poor showing of French troops in the seige of Pisa.

(Oct) Cesare Borgia’s campaign: takes Pesaro, Rimini, Faenza (resists), Piombino

1501 – (Aug) Marries Marieta Corsini, with whom he will have seven children: Primerana, Bernardo, Lodovico, Piero, Guido, Bartolomeo, Baccina, and Totto.

(Sep.) Mission to Siena


(May) Primerana born.

Jun – Borgia takes Urbino.

Jun. – Niccolò is dispatched to the court of Cesare Borgia for the first time.

Sept – In Florence, the office of gonfalonier for life is established-Piero Soderini.

Oct 9 – Borgia’s lieutenants, fearing his ambition, rebel against him.

Oct 11?- Niccolò is dispatched to Borgia a second time.

Dec – Borgia kills Orsini, Vitelli, et al. at Senigallia.


Jan – Niccolò returns to Florence.

Oct. – Julius II becomes pope.

Nov. – Bernardo born.

Dec. – Without his father as Pope, and with Julius hostile to him, Cesare’s power base collapses. He is broght to Rome as a prisoner and disappears. Rumor has it that he has been killed by the Pope. He is never seen again.

1504First Decennial ( A chronicle in verse of the events in Florence in the decade 1494 to 1504)

1506 – Florence’s first militia is mustered, with Niccolò playing a significant role.

1512 – Return of the Medici to Florence.

Nov. – Niccolò is removed from government, barred from the Palazzo and forbidden to leave Florence for one year. MiH 32

1513 – From 12 Feb. to 13 Mar. Machiavelli is imprisoned in the Bargello and tortured on suspicion of being a supporter of a plot to assassinate Giovanni de’ Medici. 11 Mar. – Giovanni de’ Medici becomes Pope Leo X and grants an amnesty to those in jail under such suspicion, including our author.

1514Second Decennial (A successive chronicle covering the years 1505 to 1509; unfinished)

1513–c.1515The Prince


1517–1520 – Niccolò holds court in the walled gardens (the Orti Orcellari) of the Rucellai family. MiH pp 112–113, 367

1520The Mandragola
“Discursus” a proposal for a new constitution, presented to Giulio de’Madici (future pope Clement VII)

1521 May – The government and wool guild of Florence sends Niccolò to a meeting of the Chapter General of Minorite Friars at Carpi

Art of War

1522 – Younger brother Totto (a priest) dies.

1525Florentine Histories, begun in 1520, presented to Clement VII. Niccolò has brought it up to the death of Lorenzo de’Medici. It is well received by the Pope, who grants him a subsidy for its continuation. Further, Clement sends him to Romagna to advise Francesco Guicciardini, the Pope’s representative there, on raising papal troops in the region.

Clizia – Affair with Barbera.

1526–1527 – During the fight between the League of Cognac and the forces of the Holy Roman Emperor, The Pope, the Florentine Government, and the leutenant-general of the pontifical army all use Niccolò with their military forces for various missions of advice, reporting, and evaluation. He also is called upon to inspect the fortifications of Florence. He is appointed a new commission, the “Five Administrations of the [City] Walls,” his last official post.

1527 – May – second expulsion of the Medici from Florence. A new government

June 22 – Death of Niccolò Machiavelli