1469–1527 - Italian
Political philosopher and author. His first name, Nick, became a synonym for the devil, as in "the old Nick" in us. His last name became synonymous with guileful and unprincipled behavior. Some would say that he deserved all this because he openly counseled rulers to behave in evil ways. Others say that he earned so much opprobrium because he was the first writer in world history to describe the world as it is, not as we would wish it to be. In this latter view, Machiavelli is considered the founder of modern social science.