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News: March/April 2013

Machiavelli ‘wanted notice’ found • Rats swapping sense data via the internet • Ronald Dworkin dead — News reports by Sue Roberts

You’re Nicked!

Stephen Milner, who is Professor of Italian at the University of Manchester, recently made a startling discovery while he was researching records of medieval town criers in the state archives in Florence. He found a page with the original 1513 ‘wanted notice’ calling for the apprehension of one Niccolò di Bernardo Machiavelli. The arrest of the controversial diplomat and political theorist (whose name gave the English language such terms as ‘Machiavellian’ and ‘Old Nick’) was ordered by the Medici family after they seized power in Florence and he was unfairly implicated in a failed plot to remove them. (If he had really been involved, it probably wouldn’t have failed!). He was tortured and then spent the next year under house arrest in a secluded farmhouse, during which time he wrote his masterpiece of realpolitik, The Prince.

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