He made a decisive step in philosophy, true. What is highly controversial about his person is his opinion on animals. He is often regarded as one who hindered the development of animal rights by asserting that animals have no soul but are mere automata. Whether he actually hold this view is discussed here:Descartes , the man who invented modern thinking
Is Viroli the only person who is calling Machiavelli bisexual? I've certainly never heard that assertion. I do know that, despite looking like a weasel, he was quite the ladies' man. Your mentioning of his promiscuity reminds me of a story he told in 1509 to one of his friends. Having not had sex in some time as he was away with his wife, he grew rather desperate and visited a washerwoman, who was also a prostitute. Wearing a towel over her hair and face, she managed to lure poor Machiavelli into her hovel, wherein a sordid series of events unfolded. I'd like to warn the more innocent or weak-stomached readers now to avert their eyes:The hypothesis of the Machiavelli biographer Maurizio Viroli about an alleged bisexuality of Machiavelli has no reliable basis. According to Viroli, he is said to have had a relationship with Riccio, a lover of M.'s homosexual friend Donato, which can be interpreted from two ambiguous letters, but does not have to be. In 1510 M. was anonymously accused of heterosexual sodomy, i.e. anal intercourse with a woman, which was punishable at the time of the Renaissance, mainly because this practice was considered ´Einstiegsdroge´ for forbidden homosexual anal intercourse, which at that time was punished in Florence with temporary banishment or fine. Oral sex was also forbidden, both with prostitutes and with the wife.
Superb, Niccolo. Now whenever I encounter The Prince or Discourses, the political philosophy isn't the first thing that comes to mind. Rather, I vividly and horrifically imagine poor Machiavelli throwing up on an ugly old woman.I was now completely terrified, however since I was alone with her in the dark, I gave her a good hump. Even though I found her thighs flabby, her genitals greasy and her breath stinking a bit, my lust was so desperate that I went ahead and gave it to her anyway... My God, she was so ugly that I almost dropped dead… a tuft of hair, half white and half black, the top of her head was bald which allowed you to see several lice taking a stroll… Her eyebrows were full of nits; one eye looked down and the other up. Her tear ducts were full of mucus… her nose was twisted into a peculiar shape, the nostrils were full of snot and one of them was half missing. Her mouth looked like Lorenzo de Medici’s, twisted on one side and drooling since she had no teeth to keep the saliva in her mouth. Her lip was covered with a thin but rather long moustache… [when she spoke, I heaved so much that] I vomited all over her. And so having paid her with the kind of money she deserved, I left.
Another biographer with similar speculations is Roberto Ridolfi (The Life of Niccolo Machiavelli, 1963). Part of the basis for this hypothesis is a letter by Machiavelli to his close friend Francesco Vettori, the Florentine ambassador in Rome. In this letter (5 January 1514) Machiavelli answers a request by Vettori ("voglio mi diciate vostra oppenione") whose guests Filippo Casavecchia and Giuliano Brancacci had confronted him with contradictory reproaches. The first, a gay, criticised that too many women were visiting Vettori´s house, while the other, a womanizer, complainted about too many gays in the house.Is Viroli the only person who is calling Machiavelli bisexual? I've certainly never heard that assertion.