“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are”*…
Most familiar today as the godfather of Realpolitik and as the eponym for all things cunning and devious, the Renaissance thinker Niccolò Machiavelli also had a lighter side, writing as he did a number of comedies. Christopher S. Celenza looks at perhaps the best known of these plays, Mandragola [The Mandrake Root], and explores what it can teach us about the man and his world…
More at “Machiavelli, Comedian.”
* Niccolò Machiavelli
As we ponder power, we might recall that it was on this date in 1515 that Thomas Wolsey was invested as a Cardinal. Henry VIII became King of England in 1509; Wolsey became the King’s almoner. Wolsey’s affairs prospered, and by 1514 he had becomeLord Chancellor, the King’s chief adviser– the controlling figure in virtually all matters of state, and extremely powerful within the Church. (His elevation to Cardinal gave him precedence even over the Archbishop of Canterbury.)
He fell from the King’s graces after failing to negotiate an annulment of Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon and was stripped of his government titles. He retreated to York to fulfill his ecclesiastical duties as Archbishop of York, a position he had nominally held but had neglected during his years in government. He was recalled to London to answer to charges of treason—a common charge used by Henry against ministers who fell out of favor—but died en route of natural causes.