|Niccol? di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, author of the influential political treatise THE PRINCE, lived and worked for the majority of his life in his beloved Florence, Italy. At the age of 29, he entered public service as a secondary-level government chancellor. Machiavelli eventually gained more power, taking on duties in foreign affairs and defense, and voyaging to different parts of Europe on various missions. In 1512, the Medicis returned to power after having been in exile, and Machiavelli was relinquished from his position, imprisoned and tortured. After his ordeal, Machiavelli returned to a family estate near Florence, in poverty. Machiavelli wrote THE PRINCE (1513) during this period, as well as the majority of THE DISCOURSES ON LIVY (1531). Additionally, Machiavelli wrote poems, plays, and a large body of correspondence, including a multi-volume HISTORY OF FLORENCE (1532) and the dramatic comedy THE MANDRAKE (La Mandragola, 1518). Following the death of Duke Lorenzo de Medici, Machiavelli returned to public service in both a political capacity, and as the official historiographer of the republic. The word "Machiavellian" has come to be associated with the dishonorable methods a ruler may employ in attaining and maintaining power. Nevertheless, Machiavelli has influenced countless Western philosophers and rulers, and his contribution to ethical debates and political theory is significant.