Political philosopher, statesman and court advisor Niccolo Machiavelli was born on May 3, 1469 in Florence, Italy. Starting out as a clerk, Machiavelli quickly rose in the ranks because he understood balance of power issues involved in many of his diplomatic missions. Machiavelli's political pursuits quickly ended after he was imprisoned by the Medici family. Machiavelli is best known for "The Prince," his guide to power attainment and cutthroat leadership. He also wrote poetry and plays, including a comedy named "Mandragola." Niccolo Machiavelli died on June 21, 1527 in Florence.