The Artist, the Philosopher, and the Warrior
The Intersecting Lives of Da Vinci, Machiavelli, and Borgia and the World They Shaped
By Paul Strathern
(Bantam, Hardcover, 9780553807523, 456pp.)
Publication Date: September 29, 2009
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The Renaissance was a child of many fathers—none more important than the three iconic figures whose intersecting lives provide the basis for this astonishing work of narrative history: Leonardo Da Vinci, Niccolo Machiavelli and Cesar Borgia. Each could not have been more different. They would meet only for a short time in 1502 but the events that transpired, would significantly alter their perceptions—and the course of Western history.
In 1502, Italy was riven by conflict, with the city of Florence as the ultimate prize. Machiavelli, the consummate political manipulator, attempted to placate the savage Borgia by volunteering the services of Da Vinci as Borgia's chief military engineer. That autumn, the three men embarked together on a brief, perilous, and fateful journey through the mountains, remote villages and hill towns of the Italian Romagna—the details of which were revealed in Machiavelli's often-daily dispatches and Da Vinci's meticulous notebooks.
In a book that is at once a gripping adventure story and a trenchant analysis of how men make history, The Artist, the Philosopher and the Warrior limns each man's personality, their interactions, and the forces that shaped their world. Superbly written, meticulously researched, here is a work of narrative genius—whose subject is the very nature of genius itself.