Fox and Lion

Hello God!

Thank You for a wonderful time we are spending our lives in. We live in fantastic time when we have a possibility to learn Renaissance, to walk in Florence and to share our impressions worldwide immediately. We are lucky to live now.

“The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves,” Machiavelli wrote in “The Prince”.  “It’s a handbook for gangsters.” Francis Bacon said about Machiavelli’s “The Prince”.

The Lion’s side of Machiavelli is well known. But what about fox’s side?


Fifteenth-century Florence was an exciting place to be. Renaissance is blooming and beauty is the ruler. Nicollo Machiavelli is a student of human nature, “a witty man and a very ordinary husband and father who enjoyed love affairs and filles de joie,” Miles Unger writes in “Machiavelli: A biography”.

O,la,la it seems we see a fox’s side in him!


Everyone knows Niccolo Machiavelli’s status as a great politician, but few are also aware that he was a first-rate playwright and satirist.


His play Mandragola (probably written around 1519) is one of the outstanding comedies of the Italian Renaissance stage.


The plot centers around a wealthy doctor of law, Nicia, and his beautiful wife Lucrezia. Callimaco, a young man, hears about Lucrezia’s beauty, and decides that he wants to become her lover. He learns of the couple’s inability to produce a child, so (with the help of his servant Ligurio), he disguises himself as a doctor and informs Nicia that he can produce a potion from the mandrake plant that, if taken by Lucrezia, will enable her to conceive. However, as Callimaco warns Nicia, the first man to have sexual intercourse with her will die from the effects of the potion. Luckily, Callimaco knows a man who will consent to have sex with her and bear the punishment of death. Nicia consents, and (along with Frate Timoteo) persuades Lucrezia to do the same. Callimaco disguises himself yet again, and is able to have his way with her.


The play is a brilliant comedy. It is also amazing to learn that it was performed successfully in 1520 before Pope Leo X in Rome.  The fact that the play celebrated sex and seduction, and totally ridiculed the clergy as frauds, bothered him not at all.  In fact, the Pope liked it so much that he asked Cardinal Giulio de Medici to award Machiavelli a commission as a writer.


For a good summer night I would like to recommend the movie “La mandragola” (1965) by Albertto Lattuada. The film quite deservedly was Oscar nominated for Costume Design but also deserved a nod for its excellent cinematography. You will enjoy it, I promise!

Thank you for living your moment with me now.

2 thoughts on “Fox and Lion

  1. Beautiful experience and photographs, too. I am in awe of your recommending an older movie, also! Thanks, I will check out the library to see if they have it or any other real Italian movies. Arriverderci, bebe!

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