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Machiavellian Beginnings: It is Better to be Feared than Loved

Nicolo Machiavelli is born in Florence this year. He will rise quickly to prominence since he is a member of one of the major noble families. Florence is on the upswing, but Italy has been in conflict for decades. Factionalism within the city-states has caused such chaos that the people want a dictator to fix everything. When the Medici family falls from power, Machiavelli will flourish but when the Medici family returns, he will be considered "on the wrong side". He will ingratiate himself to the new ruler by writing a book of political advice entitled "The Prince." It will remain in print into the modern day. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Although history paints Machiavelli as a bad guy, what he promotes is a realistic approach to leadership. He suggests that it is better to be FEARED than to be loved but if that is all you get out of his writing, you have sold him short. It is bettered to be LOVED than feared, but if you can only have one or the other, choose FEAR because that is how to lead your troops. What is important is that they SHOULD NOT HATE you and that is the crux of the misunderstanding. It may be a problem with translation because there are no good English words for certain types of fear... like... what do you call it when you love and respect your father so much that you are afraid to disappoint him? Certainly that could be called fear, but it is not the fear of the whip. It is good to be afraid of some things. It is the beginning of wisdom. [4]

The Aztec Calendar Stone

Few images are more iconic of the Aztec civilization than the Sun Stone, the circular Aztec calendar with a face in the center. The exact date of its composition is unknown but it was commissioned some time during reign of the sixth Aztec Emperor. That Emperor takes the throne this year. (His name is a mouthful so let's skip over that part.) The Sun Stone weighs over 24 short-tons. (FYI... a short-ton is 2,000 pounds, U.S. measure.) The calendar was unknown to the Conquistadors because the Aztecs buried it, but it will be uncovered 300 years later while a plaza is under construction in Mexico City in 1790. [5] [6] [7] [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Aztec calendar was more of a religious device to know what ritual was to be performed on a particular day. Since ancient times tracking the sun as it moved across the horizon would mark when crops were to be planted. In Europe in the late 1400s, it was obvious that the Julian calendar had inaccuracies that would cause the months to drift relative to the seasons. If you ever wondered why December (which means "the 10th month") is the 12th month... now you know. The modern Gregorian calendar (with the leap year) was introduced in 1582 but it wasn't fully accepted until 1923 when the final European country approved the modern calendar. [9] [10]

Born to Find the Ocean Route to India

His name is Vasco da Gama. He is born this year in the Kingdom of Portugal. He will find the sea route around Africa to India. [11]

Born to be the First of the Sikh Gurus

Guru Nanak is the first of the Sikh Gurus and founder of Sikhism. He is born this year in Punjab, Pakistan. [12] [13]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1469, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. The Prince, Translated by W. K. Marriott. “"Nicolo Machiavelli, born at Florence on 3rd May 1469. From 1494 to 1512 held an official post at Florence which included diplomatic missions to various European courts. Imprisoned in Florence, 1512; later exiled and returned to San Casciano. Died at Florence on 22nd June 1527."” 
  2. Lorenzo de' Medici - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 18 November 2014.
  3. Niccolò Machiavelli - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 18 November 2014.
  4. Alex Shrugged Notes: Of course it is a biblical notion that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of God. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all they that do thereafter;" --Psalm 111, v. 10. JPS translation (1917).
  5. Staff writer Jaime (2013). Aztec calendar stone. Aztec-History.com. Retrieved on 18 November 2014. “"It was a massive carving, 3 feet thick, almost 12 feet across, and weighing almost 25 tones (22.5 tonnes). [...] Then, in 1790, renovations began on the central square (Zocalo) of Mexico City. On December 17th, the massive carving was unearthed, renewing interest in Mexico's ancient cultures."”
  6. Smith, Michael (2003). "The Aztec Sun Stone Known as the Aztec Calendar Stone", The Aztecs, 2, New Perspectives, Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO Inc.. Retrieved on 18 November 2014. “The so-called Aztec Calendar Stone was not a calendar, but instead most likely a ceremonial container or altar linked to the Aztec sun god, Tonatiuh, and its festivities. At its center is the image of the god Tonatiuh, within the sign Ollin, which means movement and represents the last of the Aztec cosmological eras, the Fifth Sun.” 
  7. Aztec calendar stone - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 18 November 2014.
  8. Axayacatl - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 18 November 2014.
  9. Gregorian calendar - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 19 November 2014.
  10. Alex Shrugged Notes: Dates used in this history section are not converted to the Gregorian calendar unless specifically noted. Time travelers beware.
  11. Vasco da Gama - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 19 November 2014.
  12. Guru Nanak - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 19 November 2014.
  13. Punjab, Pakistan - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 19 November 2014.

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