Niccolo Machiavelli was born on May 3, 1469 in Florence, Italy. He was a political philosopher, statesman, and court advisor. Starting out as a clerk, he quickly rose in the ranks because he understood balance of power issues involved in many of his diplomatic missions. His political pursuits quickly ended after he was imprisoned by the Medici family. He 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. He died on June 21, 1527 at the age of 58.