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House of Medici
Armorial of Medici
Armorial of Medici
Country Duchy of Florence, Grand Duchy of Tuscany, Duchy of Urbino, Duchy of Rovere[1], Duchy of Montefeltro[1]
Titles

Hereditary titles:

Elected ecclesiastic title:

Founder Cosimo de' Medici
Final ruler Gian Gastone de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Founding year 14th century
Dissolution 1743
Ethnicity Florentine, Italian (see details)
Cadet branches Princes of Ottaviano

The House of Medici (IPA: [ˈmɛ.di.tʃi]) was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house who first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici in the Republic of Florence during the late 14th century. The family originated in the Mugello region of the Tuscan countryside, gradually rising until they were able to found the Medici Bank. The bank was the largest in Europe during the 15th century, seeing the Medici gain political power in Florence — though officially they remained simply citizens, rather than monarchs. The Medici produced four Popes[3] of the Catholic Church and in 1531 the family became hereditary Dukes of Florence. In 1569, the duchy was elevated to a grand duchy after territorial expansion. They ruled the Grand Duchy of Tuscany from its inception until 1737, with the death of Gian Gastone de' Medici. The grand duchy witnessed degrees of economic growth under the earlier grand dukes, but by the time of Cosimo III de' Medici, Tuscany was both morally and fiscally bankrupt.

Their wealth and influence initially derived from the textile trade guided by the guild of the Arte della Lana. Like other signore families they dominated their city's government. They were able to bring Florence under their family's power, allowing for an environment where art and humanism could flourish. They fostered and inspired the birth of the Italian Renaissance along with other families of Italy, such as the Visconti and Sforza of Milan, the Este of Ferrara, and the Gonzaga of Mantua.

The Medici Bank was one of the most prosperous and most respected institutions in Europe. There are some estimates that the Medici family were the wealthiest family in Europe for a period of time. From this base, they acquired political power initially in Florence and later in wider Italy and Europe. A notable contribution to the profession of accounting was the improvement of the general ledger system through the development of the double-entry bookkeeping system for tracking credits and debits. This system was first used by accountants working for the Medici family in Florence.

Contents

History

Origins

Giovanni di' Medici, founder of the Medici bank.

The Medici family came from the agricultural Mugello region, north of Florence, being mentioned for the first time in a document of 1230.[citation needed]The origin of the name is uncertain, although medici is the plural of medico, meaning "medical doctor"[4]

Rise to power

It has been observed that the Medici family was connected to most other elite families of the time through strategic marriages, partnerships, or employment, as a result of which the Medici family had a position of centrality in the social network: several families had systematic access to the rest of the elite families only through the Medici, perhaps similar to banking relationships. This has been suggested as a reason for the rise of the Medici family.[5] Members of the family rose to some prominence in the early 14th century in the wool trade, especially with France and Spain. Despite the presence of some Medici in the city's government institutions, they were still far less notable than other outstanding families such as the Albizzi or the Strozzi. One Salvestro de' Medici was speaker of the woolmakers' guild during the Ciompi revolt, and one Antonio was exiled from Florence in 1396.[6] The involvement in another plot in 1400 caused all branches of the family to be banned from Florentine politics for twenty years, with the exception of two: from one of the latter, that of Averardo (Bicci) de' Medici, originated the Medici dynasty.

15th century

The Confirmation of the Rule by Domenico Ghirlandaio

Averardo's son, Giovani di Bicci, increased the wealth of the family through his creation of the Medici Bank, and became one of the richest men in the city of Florence. Although he never held any political charge, he gained strong popular support for the family through his support for the introduction of a proportional taxing system. Giovani's son Cosimo the Elder took over in 1434 as gran maestro, and the Medici became unofficial heads of state of the Florentine republic.[7]

"Cosimo, Piero, and Lorenzo, three successive generations of the Medici, ruled over Florence through the greater part of the fifteenth century, without altogether abolishing representative government, yet while clearly dominating it."[8] These three members of the Medici family had great skills in the management of such a "restive and independent a city" as Florence, but "when Lorenzo died in 1492, his son Piero proved quite incapable, and within two years he and his supporters were forced into exile [with] a republican government replac[ing] him."[8]

Piero de' Medici (1416–1469), Cosimo's son, stayed in power for only five years (1464–1469). He was called Piero the Gouty because of the gout that infected his foot, and it eventually led to his death. Unlike his father, Piero had little interest in the arts. Due to his illness, he mostly stayed at home bedridden, and therefore did little to further the Medici control of Florence while in power. As such, Medici rule stagnated until the next generation, when Piero's son Lorenzo took over. Piero's illegitimate son, Lenihanio, fled from Italy and lived in the Alps for 15 years.

Lorenzo de' Medici "the Magnificent" (1449–1492), was more capable of leading and ruling a city; however, he neglected the family banking business, leading to its ultimate ruin. To ensure the continuance of his family's success, Lorenzo planned his children's future careers for them. He groomed the headstrong Piero II to follow as his successor in civil leadership; Giovanni [9] (future Pope Leo X) was placed in the church at an early age; and his daughter Maddalena was provided with a sumptuous dowry when she made the politically advantageous marriage to a son of Pope Innocent VIII.[10] When Giuliano, Lorenzo's brother, was assassinated in church on Easter Sunday (1478), Lorenzo adopted his illegitimate son, Giulio de' Medici (1478–1535), the future Clement VII. Unfortunately, all Lorenzo's careful planning fell apart to some degree under the incompetent Piero II, who took over as the head of Florence after his father Lorenzo's death. Piero was responsible for the expulsion of the Medici from 1494-1512.

In the dangerous circumstances in which our city is placed, the time for delibration is past. Action must be taken... I have decided, with you approval, to sail for Naples immediately, believing that as I am the person against whom the activities of our enemies are chiefly directed, I may, perhaps, by delivering myself into their hands, be the means of restoring peace to our fellow-citizens. As I have had more honour and responsibility among you than any private citizen has had in our day, I am more bound than any other person to serve our country, even at the risk of my life. With this intention I now go. Perhaps God wills that this war, which began in the blood of my brother and of myself, should be ended by any means. My desire is that by my life or my death, my misfortune or my prosperity, I may contribute to the welfare of our city... I go full of hope, praying to God to give me grace to perform what every citizen should at all times be ready to perform for his country.

16th Century

This exile lasted only until 1512, however, and the "senior" branch of the family — those descended from Cosimo the Elder — were able to rule on and off until the assassination of Alessandro de' Medici, first Duke of Florence, in 1537. This century-long rule was only interrupted on two occasions (between 1494–1512 and 1527–1530), when popular revolts sent the Medici into exile. Power then passed to the "junior" Medici branch — those descended from Lorenzo the Elder, younger son of Giovanni di Bicci, starting with his great-great-grandson Cosimo I the Great. The Medici's rise to power was chronicled in detail by Benedetto Dei. Cosimo and his father started the Medici foundations in banking, manufacturing - including a form of franchises - wealth, art, cultural patronage, and in the Papacy that ensured their success for generations. At least half, probably more, of Florence's people were employed by them and their foundational branches in business.

However, the Medici remained masters of Italy through their two famous 16th century popes, Leo X and Clement VII, who were de facto rulers of both Rome and Florence. They were both patrons of the arts, but in the religious field they proved unable to stem the advance of Martin Luther's ideas. Another Medici became Pope: Alessandro Ottaviano de' Medici (Leo XI).

The most outstanding figure of the 16th century Medici was Cosimo I, who, coming from relatively modest beginnings in the Mugello, rose to supremacy in the whole of Tuscany, conquering the Florentines' most hated rival Siena and founding the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Cosimo purchased a portion of the island of Elba from the Republic of Genoa and based the Tuscan navy there. He died in 1574, succeeded by his elder surviving son Francesco. His inability to produce male heirs led to the succession of his younger brother, Ferdinando, upon his death in 1587. Francesco married Johanna of Austria, and had Eleonora de' Medici, Duchess of Mantua, and Marie de' Medici, Queen of France and of Navarre. Through the latter, every succeeding French monarch (bar the Napoleons) are descended from Francesco.

Ferdinando eagerly assumed the government of Tuscany. He commanded the draining of the Tuscan marshlands, built a road network in Southern Tuscany and cultivated trade in Leghorn.[12] To augment the Tuscan silk industry, he oversaw the planting of Mulberry trees along the major roads (silk worms feed on Mulberry leaves).[13] He shifted Tuscany away from Habsburg[14] hegemony by marrying the first non-Habsburg candidate since Alessandro de' Medici, Duke of Florence, Christina of Lorraine, a niece of Catherine de' Medici. The Spanish reaction was to construct a citadel on their portion of the island of Elba.[12] To strengthen the new Franco-Tucan alliance, he married his younger daughter, Marie, to Henry IV of France. Henry explicitly stated that he would defend Tuscany from Spanish aggression, but later reneged. Ferdinando was forced to marry his heir, Cosimo, to Maria Maddalena of Austria to assuage Spain (where Maria Maddalena's sister was the incumbent Queen consort). Ferdinando sponsored a Tuscan expedition to the New World with the intention of establishing a Tuscan colony. Despite all of these incentives to economic growth and prosperity, the population of Florence, at dawn of the 17th century, was a mere 75,000 souls, far smaller than the other capitals of Italy: Rome, Milan, Venice, Palermo and Naples.[15] Francesco and Ferdinando, due to lax distinction between Medici and Tuscan state property, are thought to be wealthier than their ancestor, Cosimo de' Medici, the founder of the dynasty.[16] The Grand Duke alone had the prerogative to exploit the state's mineral and salt resources. The fortunes of the Medici were directly tied to the Tuscan economy.[16]

17th Century

(from left to right) The Grand Duchess Maria Maddalena, The Grand Duke Cosimo II, and their elder son, the future Ferdinando II

Ferdinando, despite no longer being a cardinal, exercised much influence at successive conclaves. In 1605, Ferdinando succeeded in getting his candidate, Alessandro de' Medici, elected Pope Clement XI. He died the same month, but his successor, Pope Paul V, was also pro-Medici.[17] Ferdinando's pro-Papal foreign policy, however, had drawbacks. Tuscany was overcome with religious orders, all of whom were not obliged to pay taxes. Ferdinando died in 1609, leaving an affluent realm, however, his inaction in international affairs would have long-reaching consequences down the line.

In France, Marie de' Medici was acting as regent for her son, Louis XIII. Her pro-Habsburg policy was repudiated by Louis in 1617. She lived the rest of her life deprived of any polictical influence.

His successor, Cosimo II, reigned for less than 12 years. He married Maria Maddalena of Austria, with whom he had his eight children, including duchess of Parma, a grand duke of Tuscany, and an archduchess of Further Austria. He is best remembered as the patron of astrologer Galileo Galilei, whose 1610 treatise, Sidereus Nuncius, was dedicated to him.[18] He died of tuberculosis in 1621.[19]

As his successor, his elder son, Ferdinando, was not yet of legal maturity, Maria Maddalena and his grandmother, Christina of Lorraine, acted as regents. Their collective regency is known as the Turtici. Maria Maddelana's temperament was analogous to Christina's. Together, they aligned Tuscany with the Papacy; re-doubled the Tuscan clergy; and allowed the trial of Galileo Galilei to occur.[20] Upon the death of the last Duke of Urbino, instead of claiming the duchy for Ferdinando, who was married his granddaughter, and heiress, Vittoria della Rovere, they permitted it to be annexed by Pope Urban VIII. In 1626, they banned any Tuscan subject from being educated outside the Grand Duchy, a law later resurrected by Maria Maddalena's grandson, Cosimo III.[21] Harold Acton, an Anglo-Italian historian, ascribes the decline of Tuscany to them.[21]

Grand Duke Ferdinado was obsessed with new technology, and had several hygrometers, barometers, thermometers, and telescopes installed in the Pitti.[22] In 1657, Leopoldo de' Medici, the Grand Duke’s youngest brother, established the Accademia del Cimento; set up to attract scientists from all over Tuscany to Florence for mutual study.[23]

Tuscany participated in the Wars of Castro (the last time Medicean Tuscany proper was involved in a conflict) and inflicted a defeat on the forces of Urban VIII in 1643.[24] The treasury was so empty that when the Castro mercenaries were paid for the state could no longer afford to pay interest on government bonds. The interest rate was lowered by 0.75%.[25] The economy was so decrepit that barter trade became prevalent in rural market places.[24]

Ferdinando died on 23 May 1670 of apoplexy and dropsy. He was interred in the Basilica of San Lorenzo, the Medici's necropolis.[26] At the time of his death, the population of the grand duchy was 730,594 souls; the streets were lined with grass and the buildings on the verge of collapse in Pisa.[27]

Ferdinando's marriage to Vittoria della Rovere produced two children: Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and Francesco Maria de' Medici, Duke of Rovere and Montefeltro. Upon her death in 1694, her allodial possessions, the Duchies of Rovere and Montefeltro, passed to her younger son.

18th century: the fall of the dynasty

Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici, the last of the Grand Ducal line, in Minerva, Merkur und Plutus huldigen der Kurfürstin Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici (English: Minerva, Mercury and Pluto pay homage to the Electress Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici) after Antonio Bellucci, 1706
Cosimo III, the penultimate Medicean grand duke, in Grand Ducal reglia

Cosimo's reign was marked by a sharp conservative reaction. He persecuted the Jewish population of Tuscany[28] and imposed crippling taxes upon the populace.[29] Tuscany's decline climaxed in his reign. He married Marguerite Louise d'Orléans, a granddaughter of Henry IV of France and Marie de' Medici. This union was exceedingly discontent. It produced three children, notably Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici, Electress Palatine and the last Medicean grand duke of Tuscany, Gian Gastone de' Medici.

Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine, Anna Maria Luisa's spouse, successfully requisitioned the dignity Royal Highness for the Grand Duke and his family in 1691, despite the fact that they had no claim to any kingdom.[30] Cosimo frequently paid the Holy Roman Emperor, his nominal feudal overlord, exorbitant dues.[31] He sent munitions to the Emperor during the Battle of Vienna.

In 1705, the grand ducal treasury was virtually bankrupt and the population of Florence declined by 50%, and the population of the grand duchy as a whole by an estimated 40%.[32] The Medici lacked male heirs. Cosimo desperately tried to reach a settlement with the European powers. Tuscany’s legal status was very complicated, the area of the grand duchy formerly comprising of the Republic of Siena was technically a Spanish fief, while the territory of the old Republic of Florence was thought to be under imperial suzerainty. Upon the death of his first son, Cosimo contemplated restoring the Florentine republic, either upon Anna Maria Luisa's death, or on his own, if he predeceased her. The restoration of the republic would entail resigning Siena to the Holy Roman Empire, but, regardless; it was vehemently endorsed by his government. Europe largely ignored Cosimo’s plan, only England and the Dutch Republic gave any credence to it, and the plan ultimately died with Cosimo III in 1723.[33]

On 4 April 1718, England, France and the Dutch Republic (and later Austria) selected Don Carlos of Spain, the elder child of Elisabeth Farnese and Philip V of Spain, as the Tuscan heir. By 1722, the Electress was not even acknowledged as heiress, and Cosimo was reduced to spectator at the conferences for Tuscany's future.[34] On 25 October 1723, six days before his death, Grand Duke Cosimo disseminated a final proclamation commanding that Tuscany shall stay independent; Anna Maria Luisa shall succeed uninhibited to Tuscany after Gian Gastone; The Grand Duke reserves the right to choose his successor.[35] Alas, these stanzas were completely ignored and he died a few days later.

Gian Gastone despised the Electress for engineering his catastrophic marriage to Anna Maria Franziska of Saxe-Lauenburg, while she abhorred her brother's liberal policies; he repealed all of his father's anti-Semitic statutes. Gian Gastone revelled in upsetting her.[36] On 25 October 1731, a Spanish detachment occupied Florence on behalf of Don Carlos, who disembarked in Tuscany in December of the same year.[37]

The Ruspanti, Gian Gastone's decrepit entourage, loathed the Electress, and she them. Violante, Gian Gastone's sister-in-law, tried to withdraw the Grand Duke from the Ruspanti sphere of influence by organising banquets. His conduct at these was less than regal, he often vomited repeatedly into his napkin, belched, and regaled those present with inappropriate jokes.[38] Following a sprained ankle in 1731, he remained confined to his bed for the rest of his life. The bed, oft smelling of faeces, was occasionally cleaned by Violante.

In 1736, following the War of the Polish Succession, Don Carlos was disbarred from Tuscany, and Francis III of Lorraine was made heir in his stead.[39] In January 1737, the Spanish troops withdrew from Tuscany, and were replaced by Austrians.

Gian Gastone expired on 9 July 1737, surrounded by prelates and his sister. Anna Maria Luisa was offered a nominal regency by the Prince de Craon until the new Grand Duke could peregrinate to Tuscany, but declined.[40] Upon her brother's death, she received all the House of Medici's allodial possessions.

Anna Maria Luisa signed the Patto di Famiglia on October 31, 1737. In collaboration with the Holy Roman Emperor and Grand Duke Francis of Lorraine, she willed all the personal property of the Medici to the Tuscan state, provided that nothing was ever removed from Florence.[41]

The "Lorrainers", as the occupying forces were called, were popularly loathed. The Regent, the Prince de Craon, allowed the Electress to live unperturbed in the Pitti. She occupied herself with financing, and overseeing, the construction of the Basilica of San Lorenzo, started in 1604 by Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, to the tune of 1,000 crowns per week.[42]

She donated much of her fortune to charity; £4,000 a month.[43] On 19 February 1743, Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici, Dowager Electress Palatine, breathed her last. The Grand Ducal line of the House of Medici died with her. The Florentines grieved her.[44] She was interred in the crypt that she helped to complete, San Lorenzo.

The extinction of the Medici dynasty and the accession in 1737 of Francis Stephen, duke of Lorraine and husband of Maria Theresa of Austria, led to Tuscany's temporary inclusion in the territories of the Austrian crown. It became a secundogeniture of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty, who were deposed for the Bourbon-Parma in 1801 (themselves deposed in 1807), restored at the Congress of Vienna; Tuscany became a province of the United Kingdom of Italy in 1861.

Legacy

The family of Piero de' Medici portrayed by Sandro Botticelli in the Madonna del Magnificat.

The biggest accomplishments of the Medici were in the sponsorship of art and architecture, mainly early and High Renaissance art and architecture. The Medici were responsible for the majority of Florentine art during their reign. Their money was significant because during this period, artists generally only made their works when they received commissions in advance. Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici, the first patron of the arts in the family, aided Masaccio and commissioned Brunelleschi for the reconstruction of the Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence in 1419. Cosimo the Elder's notable artistic associates were Donatello and Fra Angelico. The most significant addition to the list over the years was Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564), who produced work for a number of Medici, beginning with Lorenzo the Magnificent, who was said to be extremely fond of the young Michelangelo, inviting him to study the family collection of antique sculpture.[45] Lorenzo also served as patron to Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) for seven years. Indeed Lorenzo was an artist in his own right, and author of poetry and song; his support of the arts and letters is seen as a high point in Medici patronage.

Medici family members placed allegorically in the entourage of a king from the Three Wise Men in the Tuscan countryside in a Benozzo Gozzoli fresco, c. 1459.

After Lorenzo's death the puritanical Dominican friar, Girolamo Savonarola rose to prominence, warning Florentines against excessive luxury. Under Savonarola's fanatical leadership, many great works were "voluntarily" destroyed in the Bonfire of the Vanities (February 7, 1497). The following year, on May 23, 1498, Savonarola and two young supporters were burned at the stake in the Piazza della Signoria, the same location as his bonfire. In addition to commissions for art and architecture, the Medici were prolific collectors and today their acquisitions form the core of the Uffizi museum in Florence. In architecture, the Medici are responsible for some notable features of Florence; including the Uffizi Gallery, the Boboli Gardens, the Belvedere, and the Palazzo Medici.

Later, in Rome, the Medici Popes continued in the family tradition of patronizing artists. Pope Leo X would chiefly commission works from Raphael. Pope Clement VII commissioned Michelangelo to paint the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel just before the pontiff's death in 1534.[46] Eleanor of Toledo, princess of Spain and wife of Cosimo I the Great, purchased the Pitti Palace from Buonaccorso Pitti in 1550. Cosimo in turn patronized Vasari who erected the Uffizi Gallery in 1560 and founded the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno – ("Academy of the Arts of Drawing") in 1563.[47] Marie de' Medici, widow of Henry IV of France and mother of Louis XIII, is the subject of a commissioned cycle of paintings known as the Marie de' Medici cycle, painted for the Luxembourg Palace by court painter Peter Paul Rubens in 1622-23.

Although none of the Medici themselves were scientists, the family is well known to have been the patrons of the famous Galileo Galilei, who tutored multiple generations of Medici children, and was an important figurehead for his patron's quest for power. Galileo's patronage was eventually abandoned by Ferdinando II, when the Inquisition accused Galileo of heresy. However, the Medici family did afford the scientist a safe haven for many years. Galileo named the four largest moons of Jupiter after four Medici children he tutored, although the names Galileo used are not the names currently used.

Titles

Designation and details

List of heads of the Medici

Signore in the Republic of Florence

Portrait Name From Until Relationship with predecessor
Cosimo di Medici (Bronzino).jpg Cosimo de' Medici
(Pater Patriae)
1434 1 August 1464 son of Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici who was not as prominently involved in Florentine politics, rather more involved in the financial area.
Piero di Cosimo de' Medici.jpg Piero I de' Medici
(Piero the Gouty)
1 August 1464 2 December 1469 eldest son of Cosimo de' Medici.
Lorenzo de Medici.jpg Lorenzo I de' Medici
(Lorenzo the Magnificent)
2 December 1469 9 April 1492 eldest son of Piero I de' Medici.
Agnolo Bronzino - Piero il Fatuo.jpg Piero II de' Medici
(Piero the Unfortunate)
9 April 1492 8 November 1494 eldest son of Lorenzo the Magnificent. Overthrown when Charles VIII of France invaded as a full republic was restored, first under the theocracy of Girolamo Savonarola and then statesman Piero Soderini.
Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici.jpg Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici 31 August 1512 9 March 1513 brother of Piero the Unfortunate, second son of Lorenzo the Magnificent. Elected to the Papacy, becoming Pope Leo X.
Giuliano de' Medici duca di Nemours.jpg Giuliano de' Medici, Duke of Nemours 9 March 1513 17 March 1516 brother of Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici, third son of Lorenzo the Magnificent.
Duke-Lorenzo.jpg Lorenzo II de' Medici, Duke of Urbino 17 March 1516 4 May 1519 nephew of Giuliano de' Medici, Duke of Nemours, son of Piero the Unfortunate.
Portrait of Giulio de Medici (1478 - 1534) Pope Clement VII.jpg Cardinal Giulio de' Medici 4 May 1519 19 November 1523 cousin of Lorenzo II de' Medici, Duke of Urbino, son of Giuliano de' Medici who was the brother of Lorenzo the Magnificent. Elected to the Papacy, becoming Pope Clement VII.
Ippolito de' Medici.jpg Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici 19 November 1523 24 October 1529 cousin of Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, illegitimate son of Giuliano de' Medici, Duke of Nemours.

Duke of Florence

Portrait Name From Until Relationship with predecessor
Allessandro-the-moor.jpg Alessandro de' Medici, Duke of Florence
(il Moro)
24 October 1529 6 January 1537 cousin of Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici, illegitimate son of Lorenzo II de' Medici, Duke of Urbino or Pope Clement VII. Acting signore during imperial Siege of Florence, made Duke in 1531. Assassinated.

Grand Dukes of Tuscany

Portrait Name From Until Relationship with predecessor
Cosimo Grand Duke.jpg Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany 6 January 1537 21 April 1574 distant cousin of Alessandro de' Medici, son of Giovanni dalle Bande Nere. dei Popolani line descended from Lorenzo the Elder, brother of Cosimo de' Medici. Duke of Florence, 1537—1569, until being made Grand Duke of Tuscany.
Francesco I De Medici (by Bronzino).jpg Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany 21 April 1574 17 October 1587 eldest son of Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.
Ferdinando i de' medici 12.JPG Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany 17 October 1587 17 February 1609 brother of Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, son of Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.
CosimoIIMedici1.jpg Cosimo II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany 17 February 1609 28 February 1621 eldest son of Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.
YoungferdinandoII.jpg Ferdinando II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany 28 February 1621 23 May 1670 eldest son of Cosimo II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.
Grand Duke CosimoIII of Tuscany by van Douven.jpg Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany 23 May 1670 31 October 1723 eldest son of Ferdinando II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.
Giangastone de' Medici.jpg Gian Gastone de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany 31 October 1723 9 July 1737 second son of Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.

See also

Sources

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d Acton, p 208
  2. ^ Booth, p 163
  3. ^ "Medici Family - - Encyclopædia Britannica". Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/372380/Medici-family. Retrieved 27 September 2009. 
  4. ^ The name in Italian is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable /ˈmɛ .di.tʃi/ and not on the second vowel.How to say: Medici,BBC News Magazine Monitor. In American English, MED-uh-chee.
  5. ^ Padgett, John F.; Ansell, Christopher K. (May 1993), "Robust Action and the Rise of the Medici, 1400–1434", The American Journal of Sociology 98 (6): 1259–1319, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2781822?seq=18 . This has led to much more analysis.
  6. ^ Machiavelli, Niccolò, The Florentine history written by Niccolò Machiavelli, Volume 1, pp. 221, http://books.google.com/books?id=5Q9ynqj6brwC&lpg=PA221&ots=8gftV8bAzA&dq=%22antonio%20de%20medici%22%201396%20exile&pg=PA221#v=onepage&q=&f=false .
  7. ^ Bradley, Richard (executive producer). (2003). The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance (Part I). [DVD]. PBS Home Video. http://www.pbs.org/empires/medici/. 
  8. ^ a b The Prince. Niccolo Machieavelli. A Norton Critical Edition. Translated and edited by Rober M. Adams. New York. W.W. Norton and Company, 1977. p. viii (Historical Introduction).
  9. ^ 15th century Italy
  10. ^ Hibbard, pp. 177, 202, 162.
  11. ^ Hibbert, The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall, 153.
  12. ^ a b Hale, p 150
  13. ^ Hale, p 151
  14. ^ Austria and Spain were ruled by the House of Habsburg; the two are interchangable terms for the Habsburg domains in the time period in question
  15. ^ Hale, p 158
  16. ^ a b Hale, p 160
  17. ^ Hale, p 165
  18. ^ Strathen, p 368
  19. ^ Hale, p 187
  20. ^ Acton, p 111
  21. ^ a b Acton, p 192
  22. ^ Acton, p 27
  23. ^ Acton, p 38
  24. ^ a b Hale, p 180
  25. ^ Hale, p 181
  26. ^ Acton, p 108
  27. ^ Acton, p 112
  28. ^ Acton, pp.140-141
  29. ^ Acton, p 185
  30. ^ Acton, p 182
  31. ^ Acton, p 243
  32. ^ Strathern, p 392
  33. ^ Hale, p 191
  34. ^ Acton, p 175
  35. ^ Acton, pp. 275-276
  36. ^ Acton, p 280
  37. ^ Acton, p 297
  38. ^ Acton, p 188
  39. ^ Acton, p 301
  40. ^ Acton, p 304
  41. ^ "ANNA MARIA LUISA DE' MEDICI - ELECTRESS PALATINE". http://www.yourwaytoflorence.com/anna-maria-luisa-de-medici.htm. Retrieved 3 September 2009. 
  42. ^ Acton, p 209
  43. ^ Acton, p 310
  44. ^ Acton, p 309
  45. ^ Howard Hibbard, Michelangelo (New York: Harper and Row, 1974), p. 21.
  46. ^ Hibbard, p. 240.
  47. ^ Official site of the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno of Florence, Brief History (it. leng.)[1]

References

  • Hibbert, Christopher (1975). The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall. Morrow. ISBN 0688003397. 
  • Miles J. Unger, Magnifico: The Brilliant Life and Violent Times of Lorenzo de Medici, (Simon and Schuster 2008) is a vividly colorful new biography of this true "renaissance man", the uncrowned ruler of Florence during its golden age
  • Christopher Hibbert, The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall (Morrow, 1975) is a highly readable, non-scholarly general history of the family
  • Ferdinand Schevill, History of Florence: From the Founding of the City Through the Renaissance (Frederick Ungar, 1936) is the standard overall history of Florence
  • Cecily Booth, Cosimo I, Duke of Florence, 1921, University Press
  • Harold Acton, The Last Medici, Macmillan, London, 1980, ISBN 0-333-29315-0
  • Paul Strathern, The Medici—Godfathers of the Renaissance (Pimlico, 2005) is an informative and lively account of the Medici family, their finesse and foibles—extremely readable, though with few typographical errors.
  • Lauro Martines, April Blood—Florence and the Plot Against the Medici (Oxford University Press 2003) a detailed account of the Pazzi Conspiracy, the players, the politics of the day, and the fallout of the assassination plot . Though accurate in historic details, Martines writes with a definite 'anti-Medici' tone.
  • Accounting in Italy
  • Herbert Millingchamp Vaughan, The Medici Popes. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1908.
  • Jonathan Zophy, A Short History of Renaissance and Reformation Europe, Dances over Fire and Water. 1996. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2003.
  • Villa Niccolini (Camugliano), Villa Niccolini, is one of the Medici's tuscany villa previously called Villa Medicea di Camugliano, Villa Niccolini is located east from Ponsacco, near a little feudal village, Camugliano.

Further reading

  • Jean Lucas-Dubreton, Daily Life in Florence in the Time of the Medici.

External links

House of Medici
New title Ruling house of the Duchy of Florence
1533–69
Elevated to Grand Dukes of Tuscany
New title
Elevated from Duchy of Florence
Ruling house of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany
1569–1737
Succeeded by
House of Lorraine

House of Medici
Country Duchy of Florence, Grand Duchy of Tuscany
Titles
Founder Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici
Final ruler Gian Gastone de' Medici
Founding year 1360
Dissolution 1737
Ethnicity Florentine

The Mèdici family was a powerful and influential Italian family from Florence, from the 14th to 18th century. The family's members included three popes - Leo X, Clement VII, and Leo XI, numerous rulers of Florence - notably Lorenzo the Magnificent, patron of some of the most famous works of Renaissance art and many women too, like Catherine de Medici, Queen of France, and Marie de Medici, another Queen Consort of France. Later members of the Spanish, French and English royalty were likewise descended from this family.

Their wealth and influence initially derived from the textile trade guided by the guild of the Arte della Lana. Like other signore families they dominated their city's government. They were able to bring Florence under their family's power, allowing for an environment where art and humanism could flourish. They fostered and inspired the birth of the Italian Renaissance along with other families of Italy, such as the Visconti and Sforza of Milan, the Este of Ferrara, and the Gonzaga of Mantua.

The Medici Bank was one of the most prosperous and most respected institutions in Europe. There are some estimates that the Medici family were the wealthiest family in Europe for a period of time. From this base, they acquired political power initially in Florence and later in wider Italy and Europe. A notable contribution to the profession of accounting was the improvement of the general ledger system through the development of the double-entry bookkeeping system for tracking credits and debits. This system was first used by accountants working for the Medici family in Florence.

Contents

History

Origins

The Medici family came from the agricultural Mugello region, north of Florence, being mentioned for the first time in a document of 1230.[citation needed]The origin of the name is uncertain, although medici is the plural of medico, meaning "medical doctor"[1]

Rise to power

It has been observed that the Medici family was connected to most other elite families of the time through strategic marriages, partnerships, or employment, as a result of which the Medici family had a position of centrality in the social network: several families had systematic access to the rest of the elite families only through the Medici. This has been suggested as a reason for the rise of the Medici family.[2] Members of the family rose to some prominence in the early 14th century in the wool trade, especially with France and Spain. Despite the presence of some Medici in the city's government institutions, they were still far less notable than other outstanding families such as the Albizzi or the Strozzi. One Salvestro de' Medici was speaker of the woolmakers' guild during the Ciompi revolt, and one Antonio was sentenced to death in 1396. The involvement in another plot in 1400 caused all branches of the family to be banned from Florentine politics for twenty years, with the exception of two: from one of the latter, that of Averardo (Bicci) de' Medici, originated the Medici dynasty.

Averardo's son, Giovani di Bicci, increased the wealth of the family through his creation of the Medici Bank, and became one of the richest men in the city of Florence. Although he never held any political charge, he gained strong popular support for the family through his support for the introduction of a proportional taxing system. Giovani's son Cosimo the Elder took over in 1434 as gran maestro, and the Medici became unofficial heads of state of the Florentine republic.[3]

; Lorenzo de' Medici (1449 – 1492) stands in the center, flanked by Antonio Pucci and Francesco Sassetti with his youngest son.]]

The "senior" branch of the family — those descended from Cosimo the Elder — ruled until the assassination of Alessandro de' Medici, first Duke of Florence, in 1537. This century-long rule was only interrupted on two occasions (between 1494–1512 and 1527–1530), when popular revolts sent the Medici into exile. Power then passed to the "junior" branch — those descended from Lorenzo the Elder, younger son of Giovanni di Bicci, starting with his great-great-grandson Cosimo I the Great. The Medici's rise to power was chronicled in detail by Benedetto Dei. Cosimo and his father started the Medici foundations in banking, manufacturing - including a form of franchises - wealth, art, cultural patronage, and in the Papacy that ensured their success for generations. At least half, probably more, of Florence's people were employed by them and their foundational branches in business.

15th century

Piero de' Medici (1416-1469), Cosimo's son, stayed in power for only five years (1464-1469). He was called Piero the Gouty because of the gout that infected his foot, and it eventually led to his death. Unlike his father, Piero had little interest in the arts. Due to his illness, he mostly stayed at home bedridden, and therefore did little to further the Medici control of Florence while in power. As such, Medici rule stagnated until the next generation, when Piero's son Lorenzo took over.

Lorenzo de' Medici "the Magnificent" (1449-1492), was more capable of leading and ruling a city; however, he neglected the family banking business, leading to its ultimate ruin. To ensure the continuance of his family's success, Lorenzo planned his children's future careers for them. He groomed the headstrong Piero II to follow as his successor in civil leadership; Giovanni (future Pope Leo X) was placed in the church at an early age; and his daughter Maddalena was provided with a sumptuous dowry when she made the politically advantageous marriage to a son of Pope Innocent VIII.[4] When Giuliano, Lorenzo's brother, was assassinated in church on Easter Sunday (1478), Lorenzo adopted his illegitimate son, Giulio de' Medici (1478-1535), the future Clement VII. Unfortunately, all Lorenzo's careful planning fell apart to some degree under the incompetent Piero II, who took over as the head of Florence after his father Lorenzo's death. Piero was responsible for the expulsion of the Medici from 1494-1512.

However, the Medici remained masters of Italy through their two famous 16th century popes, Leo X and Clement VII, who were de facto rulers of both Rome and Florence. They were both patrons of the arts, but in the religious field they proved unable to stem the advance of Martin Luther's ideas. Another Medici became Pope: Alessandro Ottaviano de' Medici (Leo XI).

The most outstanding figure of the 16th century Medici was Cosimo I, who, coming from relatively modest beginnings in the Mugello, rose to supremacy in the whole of Tuscany, conquering the Florentines' most hated rival Siena and founding the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

portrayed by Sandro Botticelli in the Madonna del Magnificat.]]

Art and architecture

The biggest accomplishments of the Medici were in the sponsorship of art and architecture, mainly early and High Renaissance art and architecture. The Medici were responsible for the majority of Florentine art during their reign. Their money was significant because during this period, artists generally only made their works when they received commissions in advance. Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici, the first patron of the arts in the family, aided Masaccio and commissioned Brunelleschi for the reconstruction of the Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence in 1419. Cosimo the Elder's notable artistic associates were Donatello and Fra Angelico. The most significant addition to the list over the years was Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), who produced work for a number of Medici, beginning with Lorenzo the Magnificent, who was said to be extremely fond of the young Michelangelo, inviting him to study the family collection of antique sculpture.[5] Lorenzo also served as patron to Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) for seven years. Indeed Lorenzo was an artist in his own right, and author of poetry and song; his support of the arts and letters is seen as a high point in Medici patronage.

in the Tuscan countryside in a Benozzo Gozzoli fresco, c. 1459.]]

After Lorenzo's death the puritanical Dominican friar, Girolamo Savonarola rose to prominence, warning Florentines against excessive luxury. Under Savonarola's fanatical leadership, many great works were "voluntarily" destroyed in the Bonfire of the Vanities (February 7, 1497). The following year, on May 23, 1498, Savonarola and two young supporters were burned at the stake in the Piazza della Signoria, the same location as his bonfire. In addition to commissions for art and architecture, the Medici were prolific collectors and today their acquisitions form the core of the Uffizi museum in Florence. In architecture, the Medici are responsible for some notable features of Florence; including the Uffizi Gallery, the Boboli Gardens, the Belvedere, and the Palazzo Medici.

Later, in Rome, the Medici Popes continued in the family tradition of patronizing artists. Pope Leo X would chiefly commission works from Raphael. Pope Clement VII commissioned Michelangelo to paint the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel just before the pontiff's death in 1534.[6] Eleanor of Toledo, princess of Spain and wife of Cosimo I the Great, purchased the Pitti Palace from Buonaccorso Pitti in 1550. Cosimo in turn patronized Vasari who erected the Uffizi Gallery in 1560 and founded the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno – ("Academy of the Arts of Drawing") in 1563.[7] Marie de' Medici, widow of Henry IV of France and mother of Louis XIII, is the subject of a commissioned cycle of paintings known as the Marie de' Medici cycle, painted for the Luxembourg Palace by court painter Peter Paul Rubens in 1622-23.

Although none of the Medici themselves were scientists, the family is well known to have been the patrons of the famous Galileo Galilei, who tutored multiple generations of Medici children, and was an important figurehead for his patron's quest for power. Galileo's patronage was eventually abandoned by Ferdinando II, when the Inquisition accused Galileo of heresy. However, the Medici family did afford the scientist a safe haven for many years. Galileo named the four largest moons of Jupiter after four Medici children he tutored, although the names Galileo used are not the names currently used.

Notable members

See also

References

  1. ^ The name in Italian is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable /ˈmɛ .di.tʃi/ and not on the second vowel.How to say: Medici,BBC News Magazine Monitor. In American English, MED-uh-chee.
  2. ^ Padgett, John F.; Ansell, Christopher K. (May 1993), "Robust Action and the Rise of the Medici, 1400–1434", The American Journal of Sociology 98 (6): 1259–1319, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2781822?seq=18 . This has led to much more analysis.
  3. ^ Bradley, Richard (executive producer). (2003). The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance (Part I). [DVD]. PBS Home Video. http://www.pbs.org/empires/medici/. 
  4. ^ Hibbard, pp. 177, 202, 162.
  5. ^ Howard Hibbard, Michelangelo (New York: Harper and Row, 1974), p. 21.
  6. ^ Hibbard, p. 240.
  7. ^ Official site of the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno of Florence, Brief History (it. leng.)[1]

Text

  • Miles J. Unger, Magnifico: The Brilliant Life and Violent Times of Lorenzo de Medici, (Simon and Schuster 2008) is a vividly colorful new biography of this true "renaissance man", the uncrowned ruler of Florence during its golden age
  • Christopher Hibbert, The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall (Morrow, 1975) is a highly readable, non-scholarly general history of the family
  • Ferdinand Schevill, History of Florence: From the Founding of the City Through the Renaissance (Frederick Ungar, 1936) is the standard overall history of Florence
  • Paul Strathern, The Medici—Godfathers of the Renaissance (Pimlico, 2005) is an informative and lively account of the Medici family, their finesse and foibles—extremely readable, though very homophobic and full of typographical errors.
  • Lauro Martines, April Blood—Florence and the Plot Against the Medici (Oxford University Press 2003) a detailed account of the Pazzi Conspiracy, the players, the politics of the day, and the fallout of the assassination plot . Though accurate in historic details, Martines writes with a definite 'anti-Medici' tone.
  • Accounting in Italy
  • Herbert Millingchamp Vaughan, The Medici Popes. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1908.
  • Jonathan Zophy, A Short History of Renaissance and Reformation Europe, Dances over Fire and Water. 1996. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2003.
  • Villa Niccolini (Camugliano), Villa Niccolini, is one of the Medici's tuscany villa previously called Villa Medicea di Camugliano, Villa Niccolini is located east from Ponsacco, near a little feudal village, Camugliano.

Documentaries

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

MEDICI, the name of a family renowned in Italian history for the extraordinary number of statesmen to whom it gave birth, and for its magnificent patronage of letters and art. They emerged from private life and rose to power by means of a very subtle policy that was persistently pursued from generation to generation. The origin of the family is buried in obscurity. Some court historians indeed declare it to have been founded by Perseus, and assert that Benvenuto Cellini's bronze Perseus holding on high the head of Medusa was executed and placed in the Loggia dei Lanzi at Florence to symbolize the victory of the Medici over the republic. But this only proves that the real origin of the family is unknown, and equally unknown is the precise signification of the Medicean arms - six red balls on a field of gold.

The name appears in Florentine chronicles as early as the close of the 12th century, although only casually mentioned in connexion with various offices of the republic. The first of the family to be a distinct figure in history was Salvestro dei Medici, who, in 1378, took an active part in the revolt of the Ciompi - so called because it was led by a wool-carder (ciompo), one Michele di Lando, and because the chief share in it was taken by the populace, who held the reins of government for some time, and sought to obtain extended political rights. Although Michele di Lando was the nominal chief of the revolt, Salvestro dei Medici was its real leader. The latter, although a member of the greater gilds, had joined the lesser and sought to be at their head, in order to lay the foundation of his own power and that of his kindred by attacking the Albizzi, who were the leading men of the greater gilds. The victory of the Ciompi, however, was brief, for the excesses of the lower classes brought about a reaction, in which they were crushed, and Michele di Lando sent into banishment. Nevertheless the lesser gilds had gained some ground by this riot, and Salvestro dei Medici the great popularity at which he had aimed. His policy during that period had traced the sole possible road to power in liberty-loving Florence. This was the road henceforth pursued by the Medici.

On Salvestro's death in 1388 the Albizzi repossessed themselves of the government, and conducted the wars of the republic. Vieri dei Medici, who seems to have been the next head of the family, understanding the temper of the times, abstained from becoming a popular leader, and left it to his successors to prosecute the task under easier conditions. Then, in the person of Giovanni, son of Averardo Bicci dei Medici (1360-1429), another branch of the family arose, and became its representative branch. Indeed this Giovanni may be considered the actual founder of Medicean greatness. He took little part in political affairs, but realized an immense fortune by trade - establishing banks in Italy and abroad, which in his successor's hands became the most efficient engines of political power. The Council of Constance (1414-1418) enabled Giovanni dei Medici to realize enormous profits. Besides, like his ancestor Salvestro, he was a constant supporter of the lesser gilds in Florence. Historians record his frequent resistance to the Albizzi when they sought to oppress the people with heavier taxation, and his endeavours to cause the chief weight to fall upon the richer classes. For this reason he was in favour of the so-called law of catasto, which, by assessing tthe property of every citizen, prevented those in power from arbitrarily imposing taxes that unjustly burdened the people. In this way, and by liberal loans of money to all who were in need of it, he gained a reputation that was practically the foundation-stone of the grand family edifice. Giovanni dei Medici died in 1429 leaving two sons, Cosimo (1389-1464) and Lorenzo (1395-1440). From the former proceeded the branch that held absolute sway for many generations over the nominal republic of Florence, and gave to Italy popes like Leo X. and Clement VII. On the extinction of this elder line in the 16th century, the younger branch derived from Lorenzo, Cosimo's brother, seemed to acquire new life, and for two centuries supplied grand-dukes to Tuscany.

Cosimo, surnamed Cosimo the Elder, to distinguish him from the many others bearing the same name, and honoured after his death by the title of pater patriae, first succeeded in solving the strange problem of becoming absolute g g p g ruler of a republic keenly jealous of its liberty, with out holding any fixed office, without suppressing any previous form of government, and always preserving the appearance and demeanour of a private citizen. Born in 1389, he had reached the age of forty at the time of his father's death. He had a certain amount of literary culture, and throughout his life showed much taste and an earnest love both for letters and art. But his father had mainly trained him to commerce, for which he had a special liking and aptitude. He was devoted to business to the day of his death, and like his forefathers derived pecuniary advantage from his friendly relations with the papal court. He accompanied Pope John XXIII. to the Council of Constance, transacted a vast amount of business in that city, and made very large gains. He then travelled in Germany, and after his return to Florence discharged several ambassadorial missions. At the death of his father he was possessed of a vast fortune and an extended experience, and inherited the leadership of the opposition to the then dominant party of the greater gilds headed by Rinaldo degli Albizzi, Palla Strozzi and Niccolo da Uzzano. Of gentle and kindly manners, generous in lending and even in giving money whenever he could gain popularity by that means, at critical moments he frequently came to the succour of the government itself. He was very dexterous in turning his private liberalities to account for the increase of his political prestige, and showed no less acumen and still fewer scruples in making use of his political prestige for purposes of pecuniary profit. Indeed, whenever his own interests were at stake, he showed himself capable of positive villainy, although this was always tempered by calculation. Cosimo proved his skill in these knavish arts during the war between Florence and Lucca. He had joined the Albizzi in urging on this war, and many writers assert that he turned it to much pecuniary advantage by means of loans to the government and other banking operations. When, however, military affairs went badly, Cosimo joined the discontented populace in invectives against the war and those who had conducted it. This won him an enormous increase of popularity, but the hatred of the Albizzi and their friends augmented in equal degree, and a conflict became inevitable. The Albizzi, who were far more impetuous and impatient than Cosimo, were now bent upon revenge. In 1433 one of their friends, Bernardo Guadagni, was elected gonfalonier, and thereupon Cosimo dei Medici was called to the palace and summarily imprisoned in the tower. A general assembly of the people was convoked and a balia chosen, which changed the government and sent Cosimo into exile. Undoubtedly the Albizzi party would have preferred a heavier sentence, but they did not dare to attempt their enemy's life, being well aware of the great number of his adherents. Cosimo had some apprehension that he might be poisoned in prison, but Federigo dei Malavolti, captain of the palace guard, showed him the utmost kindness, and, to soothe his fears, voluntarily shared his meals. On the 3rd of October the prisoner was sent to Padua, his allotted place of exile.

The Albizzi speedily saw that they had done either too much or too little. While seeking to keep the government entirely in their own hands, they beheld the continual growth of the Medici party. When it was necessary to make a campaign in Romagna against the mercenary captains commanding the forces of the duke of Milan, it was plainly seen that in banishing Cosimo the republic had lost the only citizen banker in a position to assist it with considerable loans. The Florentines were defeated by Piccinino in 1434, and this event greatly increased the public exasperation against the Albizzi. Meanwhile Cosimo, who had gone to Padua as a private individual, was entertained there like a prince. Then, being permitted to transfer his residence to Venice, he entered on a course of lavish expenditure. He was overwhelmed with letters and appeals from Florence. Finally, on the 1st of September 1434, a signory was elected composed of his friends, and his recall was decreed. Rinaldo degli Albizzi determined to oppose it by force, and rushed to the Piazza with a band of armed men; but his attempt failed, and he left the country to return no more. The Medici were now reinstated in all their former dignities and honours, and Cosimo, on the evening of the 6th of September, rode past the deserted mansions of the Albizzi and re-entered his own dwelling after an exile of a year. For three centuries, dating from that moment, the whole history of Florence was connected with that of the house of Medici.

Cosimo's first thought was to secure himself against all future risk of removal from Florence, and accordingly he drove the most powerful citizens into exile to all parts of Italy. Nor did he spare even his former political adversary, Palla Strozzi, although the latter had been favourable to The Govern- ' 'ment of him during the recent changes. His rigour in this particular case was universally censured, but Cosimo would tolerate no rivals in the city, and was resolved to abase the great families and establish his power by the support of the lower classes. He was accustomed to say that states could not be ruled by paternosters. Still, when cruelty seemed requisite, he always contrived that the chief odium of it should fall upon others. When Neri Capponi, the valiant soldier and able diplomatist, gained great public favour by his military prowess, and his influence was further increased by the friendship of Baldaccio d'Anghiari, captain of the infantry, Cosimo resolved to weaken his position by indirect means. Accordingly, when in 1441 a partisan of the Medici was elected gonfalonier, Baldaccio was instantly summoned to the palace, imprisoned, murdered, and his body hurled from the window. No one could actually fix this crime upon Cosimo, but the majority believed that he had thus contrived to rid himself of one enemy and cripple another without showing his hand. It was impossible for Cosimo openly to assume the position of tyrant of Florence, nor was it worth his while to become gonfalonier, since the term of office only lasted two months. It was necessary to discover some other way without resorting to violence; he accordingly employed what were then designated " civil methods." He managed to attain his object by means of the balie. These magistracies, which were generally renewed every five years, placed in the ballotbags the names of the candidates from whom the signory and other chief magistrates were to be chosen. As soon as a balia favourable to Cosimo was formed, he was assured for five years of having the government in the hands of men devoted to his interests. He had comprehended that the art of politics depended rather upon individuals than institutions, and that he who ruled men could also dictate laws. His foreign policy was no less astute. His great wealth enabled him to supply money not only to private individuals, but even to foreign potentates. Philippe de Comines tells us that Cosimo frequently furnished Edward IV. of England with sums amounting to many hundred thousand florins. When Tommaso Parentucelli was still a cardinal, and in needy circumstances, Cosimo made him considerable loans without demanding guarantees of payment. On the cardinal's accession to the tiara as Nicholas V. he was naturally very well disposed towards Cosimo, and employed the Medici bank in Rome in all the affairs of the curia. At the time when Francesco Sforza was striving for the lordship of Milan, Cosimo foresaw his approaching triumph, showed him great friendship, and aided him with large sums of money. Accordingly, when Sforza became lord of Milan, Cosimo's power was doubled.

Without the title of prince, this merchant showed royal generosity in his expenditure for the promotion of letters and the fine arts. Besides his palace in the city, he constructed noble villas at Careggi, Fiesole and other places. He built the basilica of Fiesole, and that of St Lorenzo Cosimo's in Florence, and enlarged the church and monastery of Art. of St Mark. Even in distant Jerusalem he endowed a hospice for the use of pilgrims. The artists of the day comprised men like Donatello, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Luca della Robbia, and many others, and Cosimo's magnificent commissions not only developed their powers but stimulated other men of wealth to the patronage of art. Without being a scholar, Cosimo had a genuine taste for letters. He purchased many Greek and Latin manuscripts; he opened the first public library at St Mark's at his own expense, and founded another in the abbey of Fiesole. The Greek refugees from Constantinople found a constant welcome in his palace. During the Council of Florence (1439-1442), Gemistus Pletho spoke to him with enthusiasm of the Platonic philosophy. Cosimo was so deeply attracted by the theme that he decided to have the young Marsilio Ficino trained in philosophy and Greek learning in order to make a Latin translation of the complete works of Plato. And thus a version was produced that is still considered one of the best extant, and that Platonic academy was founded which led to such important results in the history of Italian philosophy and letters. On the 1st of August 1464 Cosimo breathed his last, at the age of seventy-five, while engaged in listening to one of Plato's dialogues.

The concluding years of his life had been years of little happiness for Florence. Being old and infirm, he had left the government to the management of his friends, among whom Luca Pitti was one of the most powerful, and they had ruled with disorder, corruption and cruelty. The lordship of Florence accordingly did not pass without some difficulty and danger into the hands of Piero, surnamed the Gouty, Cosimo's only surviving legitimate son. Afflicted by gout, and so terribly g Y g Y crippled that he was often only able to use his tongue, the new ruler soon discovered that a plot was on foot to overthrow his power. However, showing far more courage than he was supposed to possess, he had himself borne on a litter from his villa to Florence, defeated his enemies' designs, and firmly re-established his authority. But his success may be mainly attributed to the enormous prestige bequeathed by Cosimo to his posterity. Piero died at the end of five years' reign, on the 3rd of December 1469, leaving two sons, Lorenzo (1 449 - 1 49 2) and Giuliano (1453-1478). The younger, the gentler and less ambitious of the pair, was quickly removed from the world. Lorenzo, on the contrary, at once seized the reins of state with a firm grasp, and was, chronologically, the second of the great men bestowed upon Italy by the house of Medici. In literary talent he was immensely superior to Cosimo, but greatly his inferior in the conduct of the commercial affairs of the house. In politics he had nobler conceptions and higher ambitions, but he was more easily carried away by his passions, less prudent in his revenge, and more disposed to tyranny. He had studied letters from his earliest years under the guidance of Ficino and other leading litterati of the day. At the age of eighteen he visited the different courts of Italy. At his father's death he was only twenty-one Lorenzo. years old, but instantly showed his determination to govern Florence with greater despotism than his father or grandfather. He speedily resorted to the system of the balie, and was very dexterous in causing the first to be chosen to suit his purpose. He then proceeded to humiliate the great families and exalt those of little account, and this was the policy he constantly pursued. His younger brother Giuliano, being of a mild and yielding disposition, had only a nominal share in the government.

Lorenzo's policy, although prosecuted with less caution, was still the old astute and fortunate policy initiated by Cosimo. But the grandson bestowed no care upon his commercial interests, although squandering his fortune with far greater lavishness. Accordingly he was sometimes driven to help himself from the public purse without ever being able to assist it as Cosimo had done. All this excited blame and enmity against him, while his greed in the matter of the alum mines of Volterra, and the subsequent sack of that unhappy city, were crimes for which there was no excuse. Among his worst enemies were the Pazzi, and, as they formed a very powerful clan, he sought their ruin by competing with them even in business transactions. They were on the point of inheriting the large property of Giovanni Borromeo when Lorenzo hurriedly caused a law to be passed that altered the right of succession. The hatred of the Pazzi was thereby exasperated to fury. And in addition to these things there ensued a desperate quarrel with Pope Sixtus IV., a man of very impetuous temper, who, on endeavouring to erect a state on the frontiers of the Florentine republic for the benefit of his nephews, found a determined and successful opponent in Lorenzo. Consequently the Pazzi and Archbishop Salviati, another enemy of Lorenzo, aided t y the nephews of the pontiff, who was himself acquainted with the whole matter, determined to put an end to the family. On the 26th of April 1478, while Giuliano and Lorenzo were attending high mass in the cathedral of Florence, the former was mortally stabbed by conspirators, but the latter was able to beat back his assailants and escape into the sacristy. His life preserved, and no longer having to share the government with a brother, Lorenzo profited by the opportunity to wreak cruel vengeance upon his foes. Several of the Pazzi and their followers were hanged from the palace windows; others were hacked to pieces, dragged through the streets, and cast into the Arno, while a great many more were condemned to death or sent into exile. Lorenzo seemed willing and able to become a tyrant. But he stopped short of this point. He knew the temper of the city, and had also to look to fresh dangers threatening him from without. The pope had excommunicated him, put Florence under an interdict, and, being seconded by the Neapolitan king, made furious war against the republic. The Florentines began to tire of submitting to so many hardships in order to support the yoke of a fellowcitizen. Lorenzo's hold over Florence seemed endangered. But he rose superior to the difficulties by which he was encompassed. He boldly journeyed to Naples, to the court of King Ferdinand of Aragon, who was reputed to be as treacherous as he was cruel, and succeeded in obtaining from him an honourable peace, that soon led to a reconciliation with Sixtus. Thus at last Lorenzo found himself complete master of Florence. But, as the balie changed every five years, it was always requisite, in order to retain his supremacy, that he should be prepared to renew the usual manoeuvre at the close of that term and have another elected equally favourable to his aims. This was often a difficult achievement, and Lorenzo showed much dexterity in overcoming all obstacles. In 1480 he compassed the institution of a new council of seventy, which was practically a permanent balia with extended powers, inasmuch as it not only elected the chief magistrates, but had also the administration of numerous state affairs. This permanent council of devoted adherents once formed, his security was firmly established. By this means, the chroniclers tell us, " liberty was buried," but the chief affairs of the state were always conducted by intelligent and experienced men, who promoted the public prosperity. Florence was still called a republic; the old institutions were still preserved, if only in name. Lorenzo was absolute lord of all, and virtually a tyrant. His immorality was scandalous; he kept an army of spies; he frequently meddled in the citizens' most private affairs, and exalted men of the lowest condition to important offices of the state. Yet, as Guicciardini remarks, " if Florence was to have a tyrant, she could never have found a better or more pleasant one." In fact all industry, commerce and public works made enormous progress. The civil equality of modern states, which was quite unknown to the middle ages, was more developed in Florence than in any other city of the world. Even the condition of the peasantry was far more prosperous than elsewhere. Lorenzo's authority was not confined to Tuscany, but was also very great throughout the whole of Italy. He was on the friendliest terms with Pope Innocent VIII., from whom he obtained the exaltation of his son Giovanni to the cardinalate at the age of fourteen. This boy-cardinal was afterwards Pope Leo X. From the moment of the decease of Sixtus IV., the union of Florence and Rome became the basis of Lorenzo's foreign policy. By its means he was able to prevent the hatreds and jealousies of the Sforzas of Milan and the Aragonese of Naples from bursting into the open conflict that long threatened, and after his death actually caused, the beginning of new and irreparable calamities. Hence Lorenzo was styled the needle of the Italian compass.

But the events we have narrated cannot suffice for the full comprehension of this complex character, unless we add the record of his deeds as a patron of letters and his achievements as a writer. His palace was the school and resort of illustrious men. Within its walls were trained the two young Medici afterwards known to the world as Leo X. and Clement VII. Ficino, Poliziano, Pico della Mirandola and all members of the Platonic academy were its constant habitues. It was here that Pulci gave readings of his Morgante, and Michelangelo essayed the first strokes of his chisel. Lorenzo's intellectual powers were of exceptional strength and versatility. He could speak with XVIII. 2 equal fluency on painting, sculpture, music, philosophy and poetry. But his crowning superiority over every other Maecenas known to history lay in his active participation in the intellectual labours that he promoted. Indeed at certain moments he was positively the leading spirit among the litterati of his of time. He was an elegant prose writer, and was Letters. likewise a poet of real originality. At that period Italians were forsaking erudition in order to forward the revival of the national literature by recurring to the primitive sources of the spoken tongue and popular verse. It is Lorenzo's lasting glory to have been the initiator of this movement. Without being - as some have maintained - a poet of genius, he was certainly a writer of much finish and eloquence, and one of the first to raise popular poetry to the dignity of art. In his Ambra, his Caccia del falcone and his Nencia da Barberino, he gives descriptions of nature and of the rural life that he loved, with the graphic power of an acute and tasteful observer, joined to an ease of style that occasionally sins by excess of homeliness. Both in his art and in his politics he leant upon the people. The more oppressive his government, the more did he seek in his verses to incite the public to festivities and lull it to slumber by sensual enjoyments. In his Ballate, or songs for dancing, and more especially in his carnival songs, a kind of verse invented by himself, Lorenzo displayed all the best qualities and worst defects of his muse. Marvellously and spontaneously elegant, very truthful and fresh in style, fertile in fancy and rich in colour, they are often of a most revolting indecency. And these compositions of one filling a princely station in the city were often sung by their author in the public streets, in the midst of the populace.

Lorenzo left three sons - Pietro (1471-1503), Giovanni (1 475 - 1 5 21) and Giuliano (1479-1516). He was succeeded by Pietro, whose rule lasted but for two years. During this brief term he performed no good deeds, and only displayed inordinate vanity and frivolity. His conduct greatly helped to foment the hatred between Lodovico Sforza and Ferdinand of Naples, which hastened the coming of the French under Charles VIII., and the renewal of foreign invasions. No sooner did the French approach the frontiers of Tuscany than Pietro, crazed with fear, hastened to meet them, and, basely yielding to every Pietro. demand, accepted terms equally humiliating to him self and the state. But, returning to Florence, he found that the enraged citizens had already decreed his deposition, in order to reconstitute the republic, and was therefore compelled to escape to Venice. His various plots to reinstate himself in Florence were all unsuccessful. At last he went to the south of Italy with the French, was drowned at the passage of the Garigliano in 1503, and was buried in the cloister of Monte Cassino.

The ensuing period was adverse to the Medici, for a republican government was maintained in Florence from 1494 to 1512, and the city remained faithful to its alliance with the French, who were all-powerful in Italy. Cardinal Giovanni, the head of the family, resided in Rome, playing the patron to a circle of litterati, artists and friends, seeking to increase his popularity, and calmly waiting for better days. The battle of Ravenna wrought the downfall of the fortunes of France in Italy, and led to the rise of those of Spain, whose troops entered Florence to destroy the republic and reinstate the Medici. Pietro had now been dead for some time, leaving a young son, Lorenzo (1492-1519), who was afterwards duke of Urbino. The following year (1513) Cardinal Giovanni was elected pope, and assumed the name of Leo X. He accordingly removed to Rome, leaving his brother Giuliano with his nephew Lorenzo in Florence, and accompanied by his cousin Giulio, Giuliano, who was a natural son of the Giuliano murdered i n the conspiracy of the Pazzi, and was soon destined to be a cardinal and ultimately a pope. Meanwhile his kinsmen in Florence continued to govern that city by means of a balia. And thus, being masters of the whole of central Italy, the Medici enjoyed great authority throughout the country and their ambition plumed itself for still higher flights. This was the moment when Niccolo Machiavelli, in his treatise The Prince, counselled them to accomplish the unity of Italy by arming the whole nation, and expelling its foreign invaders.

Leo X., who is only indirectly connected with the history of Florence, gave his name to the age in which he lived in consequence of his magnificent patronage of art and letters in Rome. But he was merely a clever amateur, and had not the literary gifts of his father Lorenzo. He surrounded himself with versifiers and inferior writers, who enlivened his boards and accompanied him wherever he went. He liked to lead a gay and untroubled life, was fond of theatrical performances, satires and other intellectual diversions. His patronage of the fine arts, his genuine affection for Raphael, and the numerous works he caused to be executed by him and other artists, have served to confer an exaggerated glory on his name. He had not the remotest idea of the grave importance of the Reformation, which indeed he unconsciously promoted by his reckless and shameless sale of indulgences. The whole policy of Pope Leo X. consisted in oscillating between France and Spain, in always playing fast and loose, and deceiving both powers in turn. Yet the evil results of this contemptible policy never seemed to disturb his mind. He finally joined the side of the emperor Charles V., and in 1521, at the time of the defeat of the French by the Spanish troops on the river Adda, he ceased to breathe at his favourite villa of Magliana.

Giuliano dei Medici had died during Leo's reign, in 1516, without having ever done anything worthy of record. He was the husband of Philiberta of Savoy, was duke of Nemours, and left a natural son, Ippolito dei Medici (1511-1535), who afterwards became a cardinal. Lorenzo, being of more ambitious temper, was by no means content to remain at the head of the Florence government hampered by many restrictions imposed by republican institutions, and subject to the incessant control of the pope. In his eagerness to aggrandize his kinsmen, the latter had further decided to give Lorenzo the duchy of Urbino, and formally invested him in its rights, after expelling on false pretences its legitimate lord, Francesco Maria della Rovere. This prince, however, soon returned to Urbino, where he was joyously welcomed by his subjects, and Lorenzo regained possession only by a war of several months, in which he was wounded. In 1519 he also died, worn out by disease and excess. By his marriage with Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne, he had one daughter, Caterina dei Medici (1519-1589), married in 1533 to Henry, duke of Orleans, afterwards king of France. She played a long and sinister part in the history of that country. Lorenzo also left a natural son named Alessandro, inheriting the frizzled hair and projecting lips of the negro or mulatto slave who had given him birth. His miserable death will be presently related. Thus the only three surviving representatives of the chief branch of the Medici, Cardinal Giulio, Ippolito and Alessandro were all of illegitimate birth, and left no legitimate heirs.

Cardinal Giulio, who had laboured successfully for the reinstatement of his family in Florence in 1512, had been long attached to the person of Leo X. as his trusted factotum and companion. He had been generally regarded as the mentor of the pope, who had no liking for hard work. But in fact, his frivolity notwithstanding, Leo X. always followed his own inclinations. He had much aptitude for command, and pursued his shuffling policy without any mental anxiety. Giulio, on the contrary, shrank from all responsibility, muddled his brains in weighing the reasons for and against every possible decision, and was therefore a better tool of government in others' hands than he was fit to govern on his own account. When Giuliano and Lorenzo died, the pope appointed the cardinal to the government of Florence. In that post, restricted within the limits imposed by republican institutions, and acting under the continual direction of Rome, he performed his duties fairly well. He caressed the citizens with hopes of extended liberties, Cardinal which, although never destined to be fulfilled, long Giulio served to keep men's minds in a pleasant flutter of expectation; and when the more impatient spirits VII.). attempted to raise a rebellion he speedily quenched it in blood. When, after the death of Leo X. and the very brief pontificate of Adrian VI., he was elected pope (1523) under the name of Clement VII., he entrusted the government of Florence to Cardinal Silvio Passerini conjointly with Alessandro and Ippolito, who were still too young to do much on their own account.

The pontificate of Leo X. had been a time of felicity to himself if of disaster to Italy and the Church. The reign of Clement, on the contrary, was fatal to himself as well. His policy, like that of Leo X., consisted in perpetual oscillation between France and Spain. By his endeavours to trick all the world, he frequently ended in being tricked himself. In 1525 he was the ally of the French, who then suffered a terrible defeat at Pavia, where their king Francis I. was taken prisoner. The armies of Charles V. triumphantly advanced, without Clement being able to oppose any effectual resistance. Both Rome and Florence were threatened with a fearful catastrophe.

Thus far we have had no occasion to speak of the younger branch of the Medici, descended from Lorenzo, brother to Cosimo the elder. Always in obscurity, and hitherto held in check by the elder line, it first entered the arena of history when the other was on the point of extinction. In fact the most valiant captain of the papal forces was Giovanni dei Medici, afterwards known by the name of Giovanni delle Bande Nere. His father was Giovanni, son of Pier Francesco, who was the son of Lorenzo, the brother of Cosimo dei Medici. History has little to tell of the elder Giovanni; but his wife Caterina Sforza, of whom he was the third husband, was a woman of more than masculine vigour. Giovanni dei Medici married her in 1497 but died in 1498, leaving her with one son who was christened Lodovico, but afterwards took his father's name of Giovanni (1498-1526). Trained to arms from his earliest years, this youth inherited all the energy of his mother, whose Sforza blood seemed to infuse new life into the younger branch of the Medici. Notwithstanding his extreme youth, he had already achieved the title of the best captain in Italy. He had always fought with immense dash and daring, and was devotedly loved and obeyed by his soldiery. He was the only leader who opposed a determined resistance to the imperial forces. He was seriously wounded at Pavia when fighting on the French side. On his recovery he joined the army of the League, and was much enraged by finding that the duke of Urbino, commander of the Venetian and papal forces, would never decide on attacking. When the imperial troops were struggling through the marshes of Mantua, surrounded on every side, and without stores or ammunition, Giovanni could not resign himself to inactivity like his colleagues in command. He was ignorant that the imperialists had just received supplies and artillery from the duke of Ferrara, and therefore daringly attacked them with a small body of men without taking any precautions for defence. One of the first shots fired by the enemy injured him so fatally that he died a few days after. He was married to Maria Salviati, by whom he had one son, Cosimo (1519-1574), who became the first grand duke of Tuscany, and indeed the founder of the grand duchy and the new dynasty.

Meanwhile the imperial army pursued its march upon Rome, captured the Eternal City after a few hours' combat, and cruelly sacked it during many days (1527). Thanks to his perpetual shuffling and excessive avarice, the pope found himself utterly forsaken, and was obliged to seek refuge in the castle of St Angelo, whence he only effected his escape after some months. He then signed a treaty of alliance with the emperor (1529), who sent an army to besiege Florence and restore the Medici, whom the people had expelled in 1527 on the re-establishment of the republic. After an heroic defence, the city was forced to surrender (1530); and, although it was expressly stipulated that the ancient liberties of Florence should be respected, every one foresaw that the conditions would be violated. In fact, pope and emperor immediately began to dispute as to which should be the new lord of the city. Clement VII. had inherited the traditional family dislike for the younger branch of his kin, and so the choice lay between the two bastards Ippolito and Alessandro. The former being a cardinal, the latter was chosen.

Alessandro, who already bore the title of duke of Citta di Penna, came to Florence in 1531, and by imperial patent was nominated head of the republic. According to the terms of this puke patent, the former liberty enjoyed under the Medicean rule was to remain intact. But no previous ruler of the city had enjoyed hereditary power confirmed by imperial patent, and such power was incompatible with the existence of a republic. Moreover, Clement VII. showed dissatisfaction with the uncertainty of the power conferred upon his kinsman, and finally succeeded in obtaining additional privileges. On the 4th of April 1532 a parliament was convoked for the last time in Florence, and, as usual, approved every measure proposed for acceptance. Accordingly a new council was formed of two hundred citizens elected for life, forty-eight of which number were to constitute a senate. Alessandro, as duke of the republic, filled the post of gonfalonier, and carried on the government with the assistance of three senators, changed every three months, who took the place of the suppressed signory.

The duke's chief advisers, and the contrivers of all these arrangements were Baccio Valori, Francesco Vettori and above all Francesco Guicciardini - men, especially the latter two, of lofty political gifts and extensive influence. The ind and character of Duke Alessandro were as yet compa.vely unknown. At first he seemed disposed to rule with justice and prudence. But encountering difficulties that he was unable to overcome, he began to neglect the business of the state, and acted as if the sole function of government consisted in lulling the people by festivities and corrupting it by the dissolute life of which he set the example. The question of the moment was the transformation of the old republican regime into a princedom; as an unavoidable result of this change it followed that Florence was no longer to be the ruling city to whose inhabitants alone belonged the monopoly of political office. When the leading Florentine families realized not only that the republic was destroyed, but that they were reduced to equality with those whom they had hitherto regarded as their inferiors and subjects, their rage was indescribable, and hardly a day passed without the departure of influential citizens who were resolved to achieve the overthrow of their new ruler. They found a leader in Cardinal Ippolito dei Medici, who was then in Rome, embittered by the preference given to Alessandro, and anxious to become his successor with the least possible delay. Under the pressure of terror the duke at once became a tyrant. He garrisoned the different cities, and began the erection in Florence of the Fortezza da Basso, built chiefly at the expense of Filippo Strozzi, who afterwards met his death within its walls.

In 1534 Clement VII. died, and the election fell on Paul III., from whom Cardinal Ippolito hoped to obtain assistance. Accordingly the principal Florentine exiles were despatched to Charles V. with complaints of Alessandro's tyranny and his shameless violation of the terms upon which the city had surrendered. Cardinal Ippoloto also represented his own willingness to carry on the government of Florence in a more equitable manner, and promised the emperor a large sum of money. Reply being delayed by the emperor's absence, he became so impatient that lie set out to meet Charles in Tunis, but on the 10th of August 1535 died suddenly at Itri, poisoned by order of Alessandro. Such at least was the general belief, and it was confirmed by the same fate befalling other enemies of the duke about the same time. On the emperor's return from Africa, the exiles presented themselves to him in Naples, and the venerable patriot Jacopo Nardi pleaded their cause. Duke Alessandro, being cited to appear, came to Naples accompanied by Francesco Guicciardini, who by speaking in his defence rendered himself. odious to all friends of liberty, and irretrievably tarnished his illustrious name. The cardinal being dead, it was hard to find a successor to Alessandro. On this account, and perhaps to some extent through the emperor's personal liking for the duke, the latter rose higher than before in the imperial favour, married Margaret of Austria, the natural daughter of Charles, the wife of Leonardo Ginori. Alessandro, worn out by the exertions of the day, fell asleep on the couch while awaiting Lorenzino's return. Before long the latter came accompanied by a desperado known as the Scoronconcolo, who aided him in falling on the sleeper. Roused by their first thrusts, the duke fought for his life, and was only despatched after a violent struggle. The murderers then lifted the body into a bed, hid it beneath the clothes, and, Lorenzino having attached a paper to it bearing the words vincit amor patriae, laudumque immensa cupido, they both fled to Venice. In that city Lorenzino was assassinated some ten years later, in 1548, at the age of thirty-two, by order of Alessandro's successor. He wrote an Apologia, in which he defended himself with great skill and eloquence, saying that he had been urged to the deed solely by love of liberty. For this reason alone he had followed the example of Brutus and played the part of friend and courtier. The tone of this Apologia is so straightforward, sometimes even so eloquent and lofty, that we should be tempted to give it credence were it possible to believe the assertions of one who not only by his crime but by the infamy of his previous and subsequent career completely gave the lie to his vaunted nobility of purpose. By Alessandro's death the elder branch of the Medici became extinct, and thus the appearance of the younger line was heralded by a bloody crime.

When the duke's absence from his own palace was discovered on the morning of the 6th of January he was at first supposed to I. have spent the night with one of his mistresses; but soon, some alarm being felt, search was made, and Cardinal Cybo was the first to discover the murder. Enjoining the strictest secrecy, he kept the corpse concealed for three days, and then had it interred in the sacristy of San Lorenzo. Meanwhile he had hastily summoned Alessandro Vitelli and the other captains, so that, by the time Alessandro's death was made public, the city was already filled with troops. The cardinal then convoked the council of forty-eight to decide upon a successor. Alessandro's only issue was a natural son named Giulio, aged five. The cardinal favoured his election, in the hope of keeping the real sovereignty in his own hands. But he speedily saw the impossibility of carrying out a design that was ridiculed by all. Guicciardini, Vettori and others of the leading citizens favoured the choice of Cosimo, the son of Giovanni delle Bande Nere. He was already in Florence, was aged seventeen, was keen-witted and aspiring, strong and handsome in person, heir to the enormous wealth of the Medici, and, by the terms of the imperial patent, was Alessandro's lawful successor. Charles V. approved the nomination of Cosimo, who without delay seized the reins of government with a firm grasp. Like Alessandro, he was named head of the republic; and Guicciardini and others who had worked hardest in his cause hoped to direct him and keep him under their control. But Cosimo soon proved that, his youth notwithstanding, he was resolved to rule unshackled by republican forms and unhampered by advisers disposed to act as mentors. The Florentines had now an absolute prince who was likewise a statesman of eminent ability.

On learning the death of Alessandro and the election of Cosimo, the exiles appreciated the necessity for prompt action, as delay would be fatal to the overthrow of the Medicean rule. They had received money and promises from France; they were strengthened by the adhesion of Filippo Strozzi and Baccio Valori, who had both become hostile to the Medici through the infamous conduct and mad tyranny of Alessandro; and Strozzi brought them the help of his enormous fortune and the prowess of that very distinguished captain, his son Piero. The exiles assembled their forces at Mirandola. They had about four thousand infantry and three hundred horse; among them were members of all the principal Florentine families; and their leaders were Bernardo Salviati and Piero Strozzi. They marched rapidly, and entered Tuscany towards the end of July 1 537. Cosimo on this occasion displayed signal capacity and presence of mind. Informed of the exiles' movements by his spies, he no sooner learned their approach than he ordered Alessandro Vitelli to collect the best German, Spanish and Italian infantry at his disposal, and advance against the enemy without delay. On the evening of the 31st of July Vitelli marched towards Prato with seven hundred picked infantry and a band of one hundred horse, and on the way fell in with other Spanish foot soldiers who joined the expedition. At early dawn the following morning he made a sudden attack on the exiles' advanced guard close to Montemurlo, an old fortress converted into a villa belonging to the Nerli. Having utterly routed them, he proceeded to storm Montemurlo, where Filippo Strozzi and a few of his young comrades had taken refuge. They made a desperate resistance for some hours, and then, overwhelmed by superior numbers, were obliged to yield themselves prisoners. The main body of the army was still at some distance, having been detained in the mountains by heavy rains and difficult passes, and, on learning the defeat at Montemurlo, its leader turned back by the way he had come. Alessandro Vitelli re-entered Florence with his victorious army and his fettered captives. Cosimo had achieved his first triumph.

All the prisoners, who were members of great families, were brought before Cosimo, and were received by him with courteous coldness. Soon, however, a scaffold was erected in the Piazza, and on four mornings in succession four of the prisoners were beheaded. Then the duke saw fit to stay the executions. Baccio Valori, however, and his son and nephew were beheaded on the 10th of August in the courtyard of the Bargello. Filippo Strozzi still survived, confined in the Fortezza da Basso, that had been built at his expense. His family was illustrious, he had numerous adherents, and he enjoyed the protection of the French king. Nevertheless Cosimo only awaited some plausible pretext to rid himself of this dreaded enemy. He brought him to trial and had him put to the question. But this cruelty led to nothing, for Strozzi denied every accusation and bore the torture with much fortitude. On the 18th of December he was found dead in his prison, with a blood-stained sword by his side, and a slip of paper bearing these words: exoriare aliquis nostris ex ossibus ultor. It was believed that, having renounced all hope of his life being spared, Strozzi had preferred suicide to death at the hands of the executioner. Some, however, thought that Cosimo had caused him to be murdered, and adopted this mode of concealing the crime. The young prince's cold-blooded massacre of his captives cast an enduring shadow upon his reign and dynasty. But it was henceforward plain to all that he was and returned to Florence with increased power. And now Alessandro indulged unchecked in the lowest excesses of tyranny, and although so recently a bridegroom gave way to increased libertinism. His whole time was passed in vicious haunts and in scandalous adventures. In order to conceal the obscurity of his birth, he left his mother to starve, and it was even asserted that he finally got rid of her by poison.

His constant associate in this disgraceful routine was his distant kinsman Lorenzo, generally known as Lorenzino dei Medici. Of the younger branch of the Medici, the was second cousin of the Cosimo already Y mentioned as the son of Giovanni delle Bande Nere. He had much culture and literary talent, but led an irregular life, sometimes acting like a madman and sometimes like a villain. He was a writer of considerable elegance, the author of several plays, one of which, the Aridosio, was held to be among the best of his age, and he was a worshipper of antiquity. Notwithstanding these tastes, when in Rome he knocked off the heads of some of the finest statues of the age of Adrian, an act by which Clement VII. was so incensed that he threatened to have him hanged. Thereupon Lorenzino fled to Florence, where he became the friend of Duke Alessandro, and his partner in the most licentious excesses. They went together to houses of ill-fame, and violated private dwellings and convents. They often showed themselves in public mounted on the same horse. All Florence eyed them with disgust, but no one foresaw the tragedy that was soon to take place.

On the evening of the 5th of January 1537, after a day passed in the usual excesses, Lorenzino led the duke to his own lodging, and left him there, promising shortly to return with a man of stern resolve, who went straight to his end without scruples or half-measures. Before long he was regarded by many as the incarnation of Machiavelli's Prince, " inasmuch as he joined daring to talent and prudence, was capable of great cruelty, and yet could practise mercy in due season." Guicciardini, who still pretended to act as mentor, and who on account of his many services had a certain influence over him, was obliged to withdraw from public life and busy himself with writing his History at his villa of Arcetri. He died in this retreat in 1540, and it was immediately rumoured that the duke had caused him to be poisoned. This shows the estimation in which Cosimo was now held. He punished with death all who dared to resist his will. By 1540 sentence of death had been pronounced against four hundred and thirty contumacious fugitives, and during his reign one hundred and forty men and six women actually ascended the scaffold, without counting those who perished in foreign lands by the daggers of his assassins. He reduced the old republican institutions to empty forms, by making the magistrates mere creatures of his will. He issued the sternest edicts against the rebels, particularly by the law known as the " Polverina," from the name of its proposer Jacopo Polverini. This law decreed not only the confiscation of the property of exiles, but likewise that of their heirs, even if personally acquired by the latter. Cosimo ruled like the independent sovereign of a great state, and always showed the capacity, firmness and courage demanded by that station. Only, his state being small and weak, he was forced to rely chiefly upon his personal talent and wealth. It was necessary for him to make heavy loans to the different European sovereigns, especially to Charles V., the most rapacious of them all, and to give enormous bribes to their ambassadors. Besides, he had to carry on wars for the extension of his dominions; and neither his inherited wealth nor the large sums gained by confiscating the estates of rebellious subjects sufficed for all this outlay. He was accordingly compelled to burden the people with taxes, and thus begin at once to diminish its strength.

Cosimo bore a special grudge against the neighbouring republics of Siena and Lucca. Although the latter was small and weak, and the former garrisoned by Lucca P Spaniards, yet the spectacle of free institutions at ? Y P the frontiers of his own state served as a continual incitement to subjects disaffected to the new regime. In fact Francesco Burlamacchi, a zealous Lucchese patriot, had conceived the design of re-establishing republican government in all the cities of Tuscany. Cosimo, with the emperor's help, succeeded in having him put to death. Lucca, however, was an insignificant state making no pretence of rivalry, whereas Siena was an old and formidable foe to Florence, and had always given protection to the Florentine exiles. It was now very reluctantly submitting to the presence of a Spanish garrison, and, being stimulated by promises of prompt and efficacious assistance from France, rose in rebellion and expelled the Spaniards in 1552. Cosimo instantly wrote to the emperor in terms that appealed to his pride, asked leave to attack Siena, and begged for troops to ensure the success of his enterprise. As no immediate answer arrived, he feigned to begin negotiations with Henry II. of France, and, by thus arousing the imperial jealousy, obtained a contingent of German and Spanish infantry. Siena was besieged for fifteen months, and its inhabitants, aided by the valour of Piero Strozzi, who fought under the French flag, made a most heroic resistance, even women and children helping on the walls. But fortune was against them. Piero Strozzi sustained several defeats, and finally the Sienese, having exhausted their ammunition and being decimated by famine and the sword, were obliged to capitulate on honourable terms that were shamelessly violated. By the varied disasters of the siege and the number of fugitives the population was reduced from forty to eight thousand inhabitants. The republicans, still eager to resist, withdrew to Montalcino. Cosimo now ruled the city and territory of Siena in the name of Charles V., who always refused him its absolute possession. After the emperor's abdication, and the succession of Philip II. to the Spanish throne, Cosimo at last obtained Siena and Porto Ferraio by giving up his claim to a sum of 200,000 ducats that he was to have received from Charles V.

In 1559 Cosimo also captured Montalcino, and thus formed the grand-duchy of Tuscany, but he continued to govern the new state - i.e. Siena and its territories - separately from the old. His rule was intelligent, skilful and desotic but his enormous expenses drove him to raise of any potic; P fo large sums of money by special contrivances unsuited to the country and the people. Hence, notwithstanding the genius of its founder, the grand-duchy held from the first the elements of its future decay. Cosimo preferred to confer office upon men of humble origin in order to have pliable tools, but he also liked to be surrounded by a courtier aristocracy on the Spanish and French pattern. As no Tuscan aristocracy any longer existed, he created new nobles, and tempted foreign ones to come by the concession of various feudal privileges; and, to turn this artificial aristocracy to some account, he founded the knightly order of St Stephen, charged with the defence of the coast against pirates, which in course of time won much honour by its prowess. He also established a small standing army for the protection of his frontiers; but he generally employed German and Spanish troops for his wars, and always had a foreign bodyguard. At the commencement of his reign he opposed the popes in order to maintain the independence of his own state; but later, to obtain help, he truckled to them in many ways, even to the extent of giving up to the Inquisition his own confidant, Piero Carnesecchi, who, being accused of heresy, was beheaded and burnt in 1567. In reward for these acts of submission, the popes showed him friendship, and Pius V. granted him the title of grand-duke, conferring the patent and crown upon him in Rome, although the emperor had always withheld his consent. The measure most injurious to Tuscany was the fiscal system of taxes, of which the sole aim was to extort the greatest possible amount of money. The consequent damage to industry, commerce and agriculture was immense, and, added to the devastations caused by the Sienese War, led to their utter ruin. Otherwise Cosimo did not neglect useful measures for the interior prosperity of his state. He was no Maecenas; nevertheless he restored the Pisan university, enlarged that of Siena, had the public records classified, and also executed public works like the Santa Trinita bridge. During the great inundations of 1557 he turned his whole energy to the relief of the sufferers.

In 1539 he had espoused Eleonora of Toledo, daughter of the viceroy of Naples, by whom he had several children. Two died in 1562, and their mother soon followed them to the grave. It was said that one of these boys, Don Garcia, had murdered the other, and then been killed by the enraged father. Indeed, Cosimo was further accused of having put his own wife to death; but neither rumour had any foundation. He now showed signs of illness and failure of strength. He was not old, but worn by the cares of state and self-indulgence. Accordingly in 1564 he resigned the government to his eldest son, who was to act as his lieutenant, since he wished to have power to resume the sceptre on any emergency. In 1570, by the advice of Pope Pius V., he married Camilla Martelli, a young lady of whom he had been long enamoured. In 1574 he died, at the age of fifty-four years and ten months, after a reign of thirty-seven years, leaving three sons and one daughter besides natural children. These sons were Francesco, his successor, who was already at the head of the government, Cardinal Ferdinand, and Piero.

Francesco I., born in 1541, began to govern as his father's lieutenant in 1564, and was married in 1565 to the archduchess Giovanna of Austria. On beginning to reign (g in his own account in 1574, he speedily manifested his real character. His training in the hands of a Spanish mother had made him suspicious, false and despotic. Holding every one aloof, he carried on the government with the assistance of a few devoted ministers. He compelled his step-mother to retire to a convent, and kept his brothers at a distance from Florence. He loved the privileges of power without its burdens. Cosimo had known how to maintain his independence, but Francesco cast himself like a vassal at Austria's feet. He reaped his reward by obtaining from Maximilian II. the title of grand-duke, for which Cosimo had never been able to win the imperial sanction, but he forfeited all independence. Towards Philip II. he showed even greater submissiveness, supplying him with large sums of money wrung from his overtaxed people. He held entirely aloof from France, in order not to awake the suspicions of his protectors. He traded on his own account, thus creating a monopoly that was ruinous to the country. He raised the tax upon corn to so high a rate that few continued to find any profit in growing it, and thus the Maremme, already partly devastated during the war with Siena, were converted into a desert. Even industry declined under this system of government; and, although Francesco founded porcelain manufactories and pietra dura works, they did not rise to any prosperity until after his death. His love of science and letters was the only Medicean virtue that he possessed. He had an absolute passion for chemistry, and passed much of his time in his laboratory. Sometimes indeed he gave audience to his secretaries of state standing before a furnace, bellows in hand. He took some useful measures to promote the rise of a new city at Leghorn, which at that time had only a natural and ill-sheltered harbour. The improvement of Leghorn had been first projected by Cosimo I., and was carried on by all the succeeding Medici. Francesco was a slave to his passions, and was led by them to scandalous excesses and deeds of bloodshed. His example and neglect of the affairs of the state soon caused a vast increase of crime even among the people, and, during the first eighteen months of his reign, there occurred no fewer than one hundred and sixty-eight murders.

In default of public events, the historians of this period enlarge upon private incidents, generally of a scandalous or sanguinary kind. In 1575 Orazio Pucci, wishing to avenge his father, whom Cosimo had hanged, determined to get up a conspiracy, but, soon recognizing how firmly the Medicean rule had taken root in the country, desisted from the attempt. But the grand-duke, on hearing of the already abandoned plot, immediately caused Pucci to be hanged from the same window of the Palazzo Vecchio, and even from the same iron stanchion, from which his father before him had hung. His companions, who had fled to France and England, were pursued and murdered by the ducal emissaries. Their possessions were confiscated, and the " Polverina " law applied, so that the conspirators' heirs were reduced to penury, and the grand-duke gained more than 300,000 ducats.

Next year Isabella dei Medici, Francesco's sister, was strangled in her nuptial bed by her husband, Paolo Giordano Orsini, whom she had betrayed. Piero dei Medici, Francesco's brother, murdered his wife Eleonora of Toledo from the same motive. Still louder scandal was caused by the duke's own conduct. He was already a married man, when, passing one day through the Piazza of St Mark in Florence, he saw an exceedingly beautiful woman at the window of a mean dwelling, and at once conceived a passion for her. She was the famous Bianca Cappello, a Venetian of noble birth, who had eloped with a young Florentine named Pietro Buonaventuri, to whom she was married at the time that she attracted the duke's gaze. He made her acquaintance, and, in order to see her frequently, nominated her husband to a post at court. Upon this, Buonaventuri behaved with so much insolence, even to the nobility, that one evening he was found murdered in the street. Thus the grand-duke, who was thought to have sanctioned the crime, was able to indulge his passion unchecked. On the death of the grand-duchess in 1578 he was privately united to Bianca, and afterwards married her publicly. But she had no children, and this served to poison her happiness, since the next in succession was her bitter enemy, the cardinal Ferdinand. The latter came to Florence in 1587, and was ostentatiously welcomed by Bianca, who was most anxious to conciliate him. On the 18th of October of the same year the grand-duke died at his villa of Poggio a Caiano, of a fever caught on a shooting excursion in the Maremme, and the next day Bianca also expired, having ruined her health by drugs taken to cure her sterility. But rumour asserted that she had prepared a poisoned tart for the cardinal, and that, when he suspiciously insisted on the grand-duke tasting it first, Bianca desperately swallowed a slice and followed her husband to the tomb.

Such was the life of Francesco dei Medici, and all that can be said in his praise is that he gave liberal encouragement to a few artists, including de Giovanni Bologna. He was the founder of the Uffizi gallery, of the Medici theatre, and the villa of Pratolino; and during his reign the Della Cruscan academy was instituted.

Ferdinand I. was thirty-eight years of age when, in 1587, he succeeded his brother on the throne. A cardinal from the age of fourteen, he had never taken holy orders. He Ferdinand I showed much tact and experience in the manage ment of ecclesiastical affairs. He was the founder of the Villa Medici at Rome, and the purchaser of many priceless works of art, such as the Niobe group and many other statues afterwards transported by him to Florence. After his accession he retained the cardinal's purple until the time of his marriage. He was in all respects his brother's opposite. Affable in his manners and generous with his purse, he chose a crest typical of the proposed mildness of his rule - a swarm of bees with the motto Majestate tantum. He instantly pardoned all who had opposed him, and left his kinsmen at liberty to choose their own place of residence. Occasionally, for political reasons, he committed acts unworthy of his character; but he re-established the administration of justice, and sedulously attended to the business of the state and the welfare of his subjects. Accordingly Tuscany revived under his rule and regained the independence and political dignity that his brother had sacrificed to love of ease and personal indulgence. He favoured commerce, and effectually ensured the prosperity of Leghorn, by an edict enjoining toleration towards Jews and heretics, which led to the settlement of many foreigners in that city. He also improved the harbour and facilitated communication with Pisa by means of the Naviglio, a canal into which a portion of the water of the Arno was turned. He nevertheless retained the reprehensible custom of trading on his own account, keeping banks in many cities of Europe. He 'successfully accomplished the draining of the Val di Chiana, cultivated the plains of Pisa, Fucecchio and Val di Nievole, and executed other works of public utility at Siena and Pisa. But his best energies were devoted to the foreign policy by which he sought to emancipate himself from subjection to Spain. On the assassination (1589) of Henry III. of France Ferdinand supported the claims of the king of Navarre, undeterred by the opposition of Spain and the Catholic League, who were dismayed by the prospect of a Huguenot succeeding to the throne of France. He lent money to Henry IV., and strongly urged his conversion to Catholicism; he helped to persuade the pope to accept Henry's abjuration, and pursued this policy with marvellous persistence until his efforts were crowned with success. Henry IV. showed faint gratitude for the benefits conferred upon him, and paid no attention to the expostulations of the grand-duke, who then began to slacken his relations with France, and showed that he could guard his independence by other alliances. He gave liberal assistance to Philip III. for the campaign in Algiers, and to the emperor for the war with the Turks. Hence he was compelled to burden his subjects with enormous taxes, forgetting that while guaranteeing the independence of Tuscany by his loans to foreign powers he was increasingly sapping the strength of future generations. He at last succeeded in obtaining the formal investiture of Siena, which Spain had always considered a fief of her own.

During this grand-duke's reign the Tuscan navy was notably increased, and did itself much honour on the Mediterranean. The war-galleys of the knights of St Stephen were despatched to the coast of Barbary to attack Bona, the headquarters of the corsairs, and they captured the town with much dash and bravery. In the following year (1608) the same galleys achieved their most brilliant victory in the archipelago over the stronger fleet of the Turks, by taking nine of their vessels, seven hundred prisoners, and jewels of the value of 2,000,000 ducats.

Ferdinand I. died in 1609, leaving four sons, of whom the eldest, Cosimo II., succeeded to the throne at the age of nineteen. He was at first assisted in the government by his pother and a council of regency. He had a good disposition, and the fortune to reign during a period when Europe was at peace and Tuscany blessed with abundant harvests. Of his rule there is little to relate. His chief care was given to the galleys of St Stephen, and he sent them to assist the Druses against the Porte. On one occasion he was involved in a quarrel with France. Concino Concini, the Marshal d'Ancre, being assassinated in 1617, Louis XIII. claimed the right of transferring the property of the murdered man to De Luynes. Cosimo, refusing to recognize the confiscation decreed by the French tribunals, demanded that Concini's son should be allowed to inherit. Hence followed much ill-feeling and mutual reprisals between the two countries, finally brought to an end by the intervention of the duke of Lorraine.

Like his predecessors, Cosimo II. studied to promote the prosperity of Leghorn, and he deserves honour for abandoning all commerce on his own account. But it was no praiseworthy act to pass a law depriving women of almost all rights of inheritance. By this means many daughters of the nobility were driven into convents against their will. He gave scanty attention to the general affairs of the state. He was fond of luxury, spent freely on public festivities and detested trouble. Tuscany was apparently tranquil and prosperous; but the decay of which the seeds were sown under Cosimo I. and Ferdinand I. was rapidly spreading, and became before long patent to all and beyond all hope of remedy. The best deed done by Cosimo II. was the protection accorded by him to Galileo Galilei, who had removed to Padua, and there made some of his grandest discoveries. The grand duke recalled him to Florence in 161o, and nominated him court mathematician and philosopher. Cosimo died in February 1621. Feeling his end draw near, when he was only aged thirty and all his sons were still in their childhood, he hastened to arrange his family affairs. His mother, Cristina of Lorraine, and his wife, Maddalena of Austria, were nominated regents and guardians to his eldest son Ferdinand II., a boy of ten, and a council of four appointed, whose functions were regulated by law. After Cosimo's death, the young Ferdinand was sent to Rome and Vienna to complete his education, and the government of Tuscany remained in the hands of two jealous and quarrelsome women. Thus the administration of justice and finance speedily went to ruin. Out of submissiveness to the pope, the regents did not dare to maintain their legitimate right to inherit the duchy of Urbino. They conferred exaggerated privileges on the new Tuscan nobility, which became increasingly insolent and worthless. They resumed the practice of trading on their own account, and, without reaping much benefit thereby, did the utmost damage to private enterprise.

In 1627 Ferdinand II., then aged seventeen, returned to Italy and assumed the reins of government; but, being of a very gentle IL disposition, he decided on sharing his power with the regents and his brothers, and arranged matters in such wise that each was almost independent of the other. He gained the love of his subjects by his great goodness; and, when Florence and Tuscany were ravaged by the plague in 1630, he showed admirable courage and carried out many useful measures. But he was totally incapable of energy as a statesman. When the pope made bitter complaints because the board of health had dared to subject certain monks and priests to the necessary quarantine, the grand-duke insisted on his officers asking pardon on their knees for having done their duty. On the death in 1631 of the last duke of Urbino, the pope was allowed to seize the duchy without the slighest opposition on the part of Tuscany. As a natural consequence the pretensions of the Roman curia became increasingly exorbitant; ecclesiastics usurped the functions of the state; and the ancient laws of the republic, together with the regulations decreed by Cosimo I. as a check upon similar abuses, were allowed to become obsolete. On the extinction of the line of the Gonzagas at Mantua in 1627, war broke out between France on the one side and Spain, Germany and Savoy on the other. The grand duke, uncertain of his policy, trimmed his sails according to events. Fortunately peace was re-established in 1631. Mantua and Monferrato fell to the duke of Nevers, as France had always desired. But Europe was again in arms for the Thirty Years' War, and Italy was not at peace. Urban VIII. wished to aggrandize his nephews, the Barberini, by wresting Castro and Ronciglione from Odoardo Farnese, duke of Parma and brother-in-law to Ferdinand. Farnese marched his army through Tuscany into the territories of the pope, who was greatly alarmed by the attack. The grandduke was drawn into the war to defend his own state and his kinsman. His military operations, however, were of the feeblest and often the most laughable character. At last, by means of the French intervention, peace was made in 1644. But, although the pope was forced to yield, he resigned none of his ecclesiastical pretensions in Tuscany. It was during Ferdinand's reign that the septuagenarian Galileo was obliged to appear before the Inquisition in Rome, which treated him with infamous cruelty. On the death of this great and unfortunate man, the grand-duke wished to erect a monument to him, but was withheld by fear of the opposition of the clergy. The dynasty as well as the country now seemed on the brink of decay. Two of the grandduke's brothers had already died childless, and Ippolito, the sole survivor, was a cardinal. The only remaining heir was his son Cosimo, born in 1642.

Like nearly all his predecessors, Ferdinand II. gave liberal patronage to science and letters, greatly aided therein by his brother Leopold, who had been trained by Galileo Galilei, and who joined with men of learning in founding the celebrated academy Del Cimento, of which he was named president. This academy took for its motto the words Provando e riprovando, and followed the experimental method of Galileo. Formed in 1657, it was dissolved in 1667 in consequence of the jealousies and dissensions of its members, but during its brief existence won renown by the number and importance of its works.

Cosimo III. succeeded his father in 1670. He was weak, vain, bigoted and hypocritical. In 1661 he had espoused Louise of Orleans, niece of Louis XIV., who, being enamoured Itl. of duke Charles of Lorraine, was very reluctant to come to Italy, and speedily detested both her husband and his country, of which she refused to learn the language. She had two sons and one daughter, but after the birth of her third child, Giovan Gastone, her hatred for her husband increased almost to madness. She first withdrew to Poggio a Caiano, and then, being unable to get her marriage annulled, returned to France, where, although supposed to live in conventual seclusion, she passed the greater part of her time as a welcome visitor at court. Even her testamentary dispositions attested the violence of her dislike to her husband.

0

Cosimo's hypocritical zeal for religion compelled his subjects to multiply services and processions that greatly infringed upon their working hours. He wasted enormous sums in pensioning converts - even those from other countries - and in giving rich endowments to sanctuaries. Meanwhile funds often failed for the payment of government clerks and soldiers. His court was composed of bigots and parasites; he ransacked the world far dainties for his table, adorned his palace with costly foreign hangings, had foreign servants, and filled his gardens with exotic plants. He purchased from the emperor the title of " Highness " in order to be the equal of the duke of Savoy. He remained neutral during the Franco-Spanish War, and submitted to every humiliation and requisition exacted by the emperor. He had vague notions of promoting agriculture, but accomplished no results. At one time he caused eight hundred families to be brought over from the Morea for the cultivation of the Maremme, where all of them died of fever. But when, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, French Huguenots offered to apply their labour and capital to the same purpose, the grand duke's religious scruples refused them refuge. So ruin fell upon Tuscany. Crime and misery increased, and the poor, who only asked for work, were given alms and sent oftener to church. This period witnessed the rise of many charitable institutions of a religious character under the patronage of the grand-duke, as for instance the congregation of San Giovanni Battista. But these could not remedy the general decay.

Cosimo's dominant anxiety regarded the succession to the throne. His eldest son Ferdinand died childless in 1713. The pleasure-loving Giovan Gastone was married to Anna Maria of Saxe-Lauenburg, widow of a German prince, a wealthy, coarse woman wholly immersed in domestic occupations. After living with her for some time in a Bohemian village, Giovan Gastone yielded to his dislike to his wife and her country, withdrew to France, and ruined his health by his excesses. After a brief return to Bohemia he finally separated from his wife, by whom he had no family. Thus the dynasty was doomed to extinction.

thought on ascending it was to regain strength enough to pass the remainder of his days in enjoyment. He dismissed the spies, parasites and bigots that had formed his father's court, abolished the pensions given to converts, suppressed several taxes, and prohibited the organized espionage established in the family circle. He wished to live and let live, and liked the people to be amused. Everything in fact bore a freer and gayer aspect under his reign, and the Tuscans seemed to feel renewed attachment for the dynasty as the moment of its extinction drew near. But the grand-duke was too feeble and incapable to accomplish any real improvement. Surrounded by gay and dissipated young men, he entrusted all the cares of government to a certain Giuliano Dami, who drove a profitable trade by the sale of offices and privileges. In this way all things were in the hands of corrupt Genealogical Table Of The Medici Giovanni d'Averardo, known as Giovanni di Bicci,1360-1429.Piccarda Bueri.

Cosimo the Elder, 1389-J464= Contessina de' Bardi.

Lorenzo,1395-1440=Ginevra Cavalcanti.

Pier Francesco, t 1467 =Laudomia Acciaiuoli.

Piero,1416-1469Giovanni, 1424-1463

= Lucrezia Tornabuoni, t 1482 =Ginevra degli Alessandri.

Lorenzo it Giuliano, Bianca Nan ina Maria (nat.) Magnifico, 1453-1478. =Guglielmo =Bernardo =Lionetto 14491 49 2 I dei Pazzi. Rucellai. de' Rossi. =Clarice Orsini, Giulio (Clement t 1488. VII.), 1478-1534.

I I I I I Pietro, Giovanni Giuliano, Lucrezia Maddalena Contessina1471-1503(Leo X.), duke of =Giacomo =Franceschetto =Piero =Alfonsina 1475-1521. Nemours, Salviati. Cybo. Ridolfi.

Orsini,1479-1516I t 1520. =Philiberta Niccolo of Savoy. Ridolfi, I I 1 cardinal.

Lorenzo, Clarice, Ippolito duke of t 1528 (nat.), Urbino. =Filippo cardinal,1492-1519Strozzi. -1535.

=Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne, 1-1519.

Alessandro Caterina,

(nat.), 1519-1589

t 1 537. =Henry II., king of France

Innocenzo Cybo, cardinal.

Lorenzo Cybo = Ricciarda Malaspina, princess of

Massa.

Caterina Cybo, duchess of Camerino.

I Giovanni Maria Elena Salviati, =Giovanni =Jacopo V. cardinal. delle Bande Appiani.

Nere.

1642-1723 =Marguerite Louise of Orleans, t 1721.

Giovanni,1467-1498= Caterina Sforza Riario, t 1509 Giovanni delle Bande Nere, 1498-1526 =Maria Salviati, t 1543.

I., 15 19-1574, 1. Eleonora of Toledo, t 1562.2. Camilla Martelli.

Lorenzo, t 1503 =Semiramide Appiam.

Pier Francesco, t 1525 =Maria Soderini.

Laudomia. Maddalena Gi I uliano t' Piero = Roberto bishop of Strozzi. Strozzi. Beziers.

A g cos, a: I., Pietro, Isabella, Virginia,1541-1587w 0 w1549-1609-1554-16041542-1576° -.Cesare Joanna: - 6 -2 =Cristina of =Eleonora =Paolo d'Este, of Austria, -I. p p ' Lorraine, of Toledo, Giordano, duke of 1 - 1578; H 1.1637. t 157 6. Orsini.;- -0--Modena.

0 2. Bianca ` ' 5 n Cappello, 7 t 1587. I I I I n Caterina= Claudia Maria, 1590-162r -I. F' C" Ferdinand = r. Federigo t 1642 =Maria ' ' 8,9 Gonzaga, della Rovere, =Henry IV., Maddalena a oo p duke of hereditary king of of Austria, o o b Mantua. prince of France. t1631. - Urbino; w 2. Leopold of Austrian I I I I Tyrol.

II., Francesco, Mattia, Leopoldo, Giovanni Anna Margherita I1610-1670t 1634. t 1667. cardinal, Carlo, =Ferdinand =Odoardo Vittoria =Vittoria della t 1675. cardinal, of Austrian Farnese, della Rovere.

Rovere, t 1694. t 1663. Tyrol. duke of I Parma.

I Francesco Maria,1660-1711(cardinal until 1709) =Eleonora Gonzaga.

Ferdinand,1663-1713-1671-1/37 =Violante of Bavaria, t 1731. =Anna Maria of Saxe-Lauenburg, Anna Maria Luisa,1667-1743= John William of the Palatinate.

Cosimo had a passing idea of reconstituting the Florentine republic, but, this design being discountenanced by the European powers, he determined to transfer the succession, after the death of Giovan Gastone, to his sister Anna Maria Louisa, who in fact survived him. For this purpose he proposed to annul the patent of Charles V., but the powers objected to this arrangement also, and by the treaty of 1718 the quadruple alliance of Germany, France, England and Holland decided that Parma and Tuscany should descend to the Spanish Infante Don Carlos. The grand-duke made energetic but fruitless protests. Cosimo III. had passed his eightieth year at the time of his decease in October 1723, and was succeeded by his son Giovan Gastone, then aged fifty-three. The new sovereign was in bad health, worn out by dissipation, and had neither ambition nor aptitude for rule. His throne was already at the disposal of foreign powers, and his only individuals; while the grand-duke, compelled to pass the greater part of his time in bed, vainly sdught diversion in the company of buffoons, and was only tormented by perceiving that all the world disposed of his throne without even asking his advice. And when, after prolonged opposition, he had resigned himself to accept Don Carlos as his successor, the latter led a Spanish army to the conquest of Naples, an event afterwards leading to the peace of 1735, by which the Tuscan succession was transferred to Francesco II., duke of Lorraine, and husband of Maria Theresa. Giovan Gastone was finally obliged to submit even to this. Spain withdrew her garrisons from Tuscany, and Austrian soldiers took their place and swore fealty to the grand-duke on the 5th of February 1737. He expired on the 9th of July of the same year. Such was the end of the younger branch of the Medici, which had found Tuscany a prosperous country, where art, letters, commerce, industry and agriculture flourished, and left her poor and decayed in all ways, drained by taxation, and oppressed by laws contrary to every principle of sound economy, downtrodden by the clergy, and burdened by a weak and vicious aristocracy.

BIBLIOGRAPHY.-G. Capponi, Storia della republics di Firenze (Florence, 1875); F. T. Perrens, Histoire de Florence depuis la domination des Medicis jusqu'd la chute de la republique (Paris, 1888, &c.); W. Roscoe, Life of Lorenzo de Medici (new ed., London, 1872) and Life of Leo X. (London, 1846); A. von Reumont, Geschichte Toscanas seit der Ende des florent. Freistaates (2 vols., Gotha, 1876) and Lorenzo de' Medici (Leipzig, 1874); A. Fabroni, Laurentii Medicei magnifici vita (2 vols., Pisa, 1784) and Magni Cosimi Medicei vita (2 vols., Pisa, 1789); Buser, Lorenzo de' Medici als italienischer Staatsmann (Leipzig, 1879) and Die Beziehungen der Mediceer zu Frankreich (Leipzig, 1879); E. Armstrong, Lorenzo de' Medici (London, 1896); P. Villari, La Storia di Girolamo Savonarola (Florence, 1887) and Machiavelli (Florence, 1878-1883, several subsequent editions); Galluzzi, Storia del granducato di Toscana sotto it governo di casa Medici (5 vols., Florence, 1787); E. Robiony, Gli ultimi Medici (Florence, 1905); E. L. S. Horsburgh, Lorenzo the Magnificent and Florence in her Golden Age (1908); and Janet Ross, Lives of the Medici from their Letters (1910). See also under FLORENCE and TUSCANY. (P. V.)


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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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See also medici

Italian

Proper noun

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Medici

  1. A surname of a powerful and influential aristocratic Florentine family from the 13th to 17th centuries

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Simple English

The Medici family was a very important family in Florence, Italy from the year 1300 to about 1600. Three Popes were part of the Medici family (Popes Leo X, Clement VII, and Leo XI), and so were many leaders of Florence during the Renaissance. The Medicis were important because they ran many banks.

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