30 Facts About Medici


House of Medici was an Italian banking family and political dynasty that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici, in the Republic of Florence during the first half of the 15th century.

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The Medici ruled the Grand Duchy from its inception until 1737, with the death of Gian Gastone de' Medici.

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Medici family have claimed to have funded the invention of the piano and opera, financed the construction of Saint Peter's Basilica and Santa Maria del Fiore, and were patrons of Brunelleschi, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Machiavelli, Galileo and Francesco Redi among many others in the arts and sciences.

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Medici family came from the agricultural Mugello region north of Florence, and they are first mentioned in a document of 1230.

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The Medici controlled the Medici Bank—then Europe's largest bank—and an array of other enterprises in Florence and elsewhere.

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The next year a pro-Medici Signoria led by Tommaso Soderini, Oddo Altoviti and Lucca Pitti was elected and Cosimo returned.

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The Medici became the city's leading family, a position they would hold for the next three centuries.

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Medici family was connected to most other elite families of the time through marriages of convenience, partnerships, or employment, so the family had a central position 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.

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Medici was called "Piero the Gouty" because of the gout that pained his foot and led to his death.

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Lorenzo de' Medici, called "the Magnificent", was more capable of leading and ruling a city, but he neglected the family banking business, which led to its ultimate ruin.

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Medici groomed the headstrong Piero II to follow as his successor in civil leadership; Giovanni was placed in the church at an early age; and his daughter Maddalena was provided with a sumptuous dowry to make a politically advantageous marriage to a son of Pope Innocent VIII that cemented the alliance between the Medici and the Roman branches of the Cybo and Altoviti families.

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The conspirators approached Sixtus IV in the hopes of gaining his approval, as he and the Medici had a long rivalry themselves, but the pope gave no official sanction to the plan.

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The Medici were expelled from Florence from 1494 to 1512 after Piero acceded to all of the demands of invader Charles VIII of France.

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Medici additionally benefited from the discovery of vast deposits of alum in Tolfa in 1461.

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Exile of the Medici lasted until 1512, after which the "senior" branch of the family—those descended from Cosimo the Elder—were able to rule until the assassination of Alessandro de' Medici, first Duke of Florence, in 1537.

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Medici briefly became leaders of Christendom through their two famous 16th century popes, Leo X and Clement VII.

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In 1536, Alessandro de' Medici married Charles V's daughter, Margaret of Austria; however, the following year he was assassinated by a resentful cousin, Lorenzino de' Medici.

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Medici died in 1574, succeeded by his eldest surviving son Francesco, whose death without male heirs led to the succession of his younger brother, Ferdinando, in 1587.

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Medici commanded the draining of the Tuscan marshlands, built a road network in southern Tuscany and cultivated trade in Livorno.

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Medici died the same month, but his successor, Pope Paul V, was pro-Medici.

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Medici's lived the rest of her life deprived of any political influence.

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Medici is most remembered as the patron of astronomer Galileo Galilei, whose 1610 treatise, Sidereus Nuncius, was dedicated to him.

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Medici was interred in the Basilica of San Lorenzo, the Medici's necropolis.

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Medici lacked male heirs, and by 1705, the grand ducal treasury was virtually bankrupt.

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The line of the Princes of Ottajano, an extant branch of the House of Medici who were eligible to inherit the grand duchy of Tuscany when the last male of the senior branch died in 1737, could have carried on as Medici sovereigns but for the intervention of Europe's major powers, which allocated the sovereignty of Florence elsewhere.

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Greatest accomplishments of the Medici were in the sponsorship of art and architecture, mainly early and High Renaissance art and architecture.

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The Medici were responsible for a high proportion of the major Florentine works of art created during their period of rule.

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In later years the most significant protege of the Medici family was Michelangelo Buonarroti, who produced work for a number of family members, beginning with Lorenzo the Magnificent, who was said to be extremely fond of the young Michelangelo and invited him to study the family collection of antique sculpture.

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Later, in Rome, the Medici popes continued in the family tradition of patronizing artists in Rome.

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However, the Medici family did afford the scientist a safe haven for many years.

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