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The Medicis as portrayed in Benozzo Gozzoli’s “Procession of the Magi”: Machiavelli was thrown out of office by the Medici family in 1512  © Alinar/Rex Features

The Garments of Court and Palace: Machiavelli and the World that he Made by Philip Bobbitt (Atlantic, £22)

Niccolo Machiavelli: An Intellectual Biography by Corrado Vivanti (Princeton, £19.95)

It is exactly 500 years since Machiavelli wrote The Prince, yet he still continues to fascinate. Two new books have joined the more or less constant stream of works trying to interpret what he really meant,…

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