When Martin Luther was born (May 3, 1483), Machiavelli was already 12 years old (b. November 10, 1469). Machiavelli wrote The Prince in 1513. Four years later, Luther would post his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg.
John Calvin was born on July 10, 1509, in Noyon, France. He was four when The Prince was written and seven when Luther posted the 95 Theses.
Machiavelli died on June 21, 1527 (at 58). Luther on February 18, 1546 (at 62). Calvin on May 27, 1564 (at 54).
Was The Prince a satire? Perhaps. I don’t know. At any rate, it was the result of what Machiavelli calls “the knowledge of the actions of great men, acquired by long experience in contemporary affairs, and a continual study of antiquity.”
It did make for some interesting discussion on leadership.