Saturday, 27 February 2016

The Medici Family

Hi Everyone, 
For History, we were looking at the Medici family, so I though that I would write a bit about them for you. Hope you enjoy!

The Medici family first came to Florence in the 12th century, when the family from a Tuscan village called Cafaggiolo moved to Florence. They rose to power after they began their bank called the Medici Bank that, during the 15th century, was the largest in Europe.

The Medici family ruled under many titles, such as the
·      Grand Duke of Tuscany
·      Duke of Florence
·      Prince of Ottajano
·      Duke of Urbino
·      Duke of Nemurs
·      Marquess of Castellina and
·      Pope.
Under these many roles, they managed to rule Florence for around 3 centuries.

The family that held power in Florence prior to the Medici’s were the Albizzi family. The powerful Albizzi’s exiled Cosimo de Medici in 1433, but a year later, a Signoria was signed by the guilds in favour of the Medici’s, and Cosimo returned to Florence, where he was the head of one of the, now, most powerful families in Florence. However, Cosimo and Lorenzo rarely held official positions, but were no doubt in charge and were the heads of the family in their own time.

Through arranged marriages, the Medici’s made sure they held prominent roles in the society of Florence like that of Lorenzo de Medici’s daughter, Maddalena to the son of Pope Innocent VIII, however, these marriages were not enough to help Piero, Lorenzo’s son, who seemed quite terrible at doing what his Great-grandfather, grandfather and father did, in ruling over Florence. This is why he was nicknamed Piero the Unfortunate, and two years into his rule, he and his supporters were forced into exile, and were replaced once again by a republic government.

The Generations

Cosimo started the political ruling of the Medici family over Florence after his father, Giovanni di Bicci de Medici brought fame and wealth to the family, partly due to the introduction of the proportional taxing system, a fixed tax rate. In 1434, when Cosimo succeeded his father, the Medici held the unofficial heads of Florence.

Piero the Gouty lived from 1416 to 1469, but only ruled Florence for five years. This is due to his death mainly from gout, leading to his nickname of Gouty. Unlike Cosimo, Piero was not a patron of the arts, and did not greatly influence the rule or wealth of the family. This was mainly
due to the fact that he was always bedridden. Piero who held the title of Lord of Florence,  also had an illegitimate son, called Lenihanio fled from Italy to the Alps, where he lived for 15 years.

Lorenzo the Magnificent lived from 1449 to 1492,  and died at the age of 43. He was the best in the family at ruling Florence, but did not strengthen the banking side of his family, leading to the banks, downfall. His son, Piero II was groomed to succeed him, and be a                                                            great leader, but was a failure, and after two years, was forced into exile. Another of his son’s, Giovanni, was to be Pope Leo X.
Lorenzo lived in a time of assassination, and one was attempted on him and his brother, but they only killed his brother. Lorenzo got away, injured, from the Mass service where the assassination took place, but his brother, Giuliano, was killed and stabbed 23 times. This brutal attempt on the Medici’s life meant that Lorenzo had to take revenge, which he did, and he had the archbishop and a member of the family that made the assassination killed. This revenge angered the Pope of the time, Pope Sixtus IV, who also held a part of the assassination, as Lorenzo had killed a member of the church. The result of this deed was excommunication, essentially meaning that the Pope blocked God from Lorenzo.

There were many reasons for the assassination attempt. The family that made the attempt, the Pazzi, were rival banking families, and wished to take down the Medici influence that made their bank so strong. The Pope als had had some disagreements with the Medici’s. That is why the Pope, while not officially, agreed to let the assassination attempt happen.


Richard Mills