Machiavelli, like other Renaissance authors, weaved philosophy into works of fiction, attacking the notion attributed to Plato’s Diotima that love (eros) is philosophy’s partner. Under veiled criticism, presented in four comic texts bound together by the theme of love, Machiavelli delivers his criticism of Diotima’s eros. He joins a long line of astute manipulators, like Numa and Savonarola, who presented difficult ideas to people unlikely to accept them except under cover of divine authority. My essay rests on the expanding body of scholarship on Machiavelli’s neglected literary works.

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