Niccolo Machiavelli handwritten letter

A 1516 letter by the legendary Florentine diplomat and writer Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) is to auction at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury in London.

It's valued at £6,000-8,000 ($9,036-12,049) ahead of a March 31 sale in London.

Niccolo Machiavelli 1516 letter

Machiavelli was a renaissance era Florentine diplomat and writer

It's addressed to Paolo Vettori, commander of the papal navy, and dates to October 10, 1516. It relates to a previously undocumented visit by Machiavelli to Livorno in Tuscany.

Machiavelli is best remembered for his seminal masterpiece The Prince (circa 1513), one of the first works of philosophy ever published in Europe.

The book is addressed to an unnamed prince and offers instruction on how to rule. Machiavelli is not above using immoral and underhand tactics to ensure survival and stability. This led to the adoption of the term "Machiavellian" to describe politicians who adopt this strategy, while "Old Nick" entered common parlance as a nickname for the Devil.

The age of the lot, combined with Machiavelli's infamy and importance to the development of Western thought, is likely to ensure a strong hammer price at auction.

The sale will also include two letters from Werner Karl Heisenberg (1901-1976) to Samuel Goudsmit on the discovery of electron spin (a key principle in quantum physics).

The lot is valued at £4,000-6,000 ($6,024-9,036). 

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