The Rise and Fall of the Medici Family

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the rise and fall of the Medici family

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missing out Holloway Luxor's and welcome

back the Medicis are one of the most

influential and controversial families

in the history of the world

they used the power of their wealth to

rise above all the other upper-class

families of Florence to dominate the

political and cultural scene the Medicis

were instrumental in the rise of the

Italian Renaissance and were deeply

involved in shaping European culture and

politics for 300 years but after so many

years of dominance the house of Medici

fellows quickly as it rose today we are

taking an in-depth look at the rise and

fall of the Medici family but first

here's some background who were the

Medici family in the 14th century the

Medicis rose from relative obscurity to

become the most powerful and wealthiest

family in all of Italy and most of

Europe they were an Italian banking

family political dynasty and royal house

that became dominant in the early 15th

century the Medicis used the wealth from

their hugely successful bank to wield

influence over the political and

cultural scene in Florence Italy and

beyond the house of Medici is now

counted among the most influential

families in the history of the world

they helped launch the Renaissance

period in Florence and made an impact

that continues to be felt even today the

Medicis were the first to win their

ruling status through commerce rather

than through warfare marriage or

inheritance but how did it all start

beginnings the Medici family moved from

the Tuscan hillsides to Florence in

present-day Italy at some point in the

12th century and became established

members of the community as a prominent

banking family the Medicis were wealthy

members of the upper class II

before they became one of the most

influential families in Europe the story

of the Medici families incredible rise

in Florence starts with Giovanni de


Giovanni rose through the ranks of the

Florentine banking system until he

became the manager of his uncle's bank

in Rome when his uncle retired he left

the bank in Giovanni's hands later on

Giovanni moved to Florence and

officially established the Medici bank

the bank soon became the top financial

institution in the region largely thanks

to their primary clients the Pope and

the Roman Catholic Church other branches

were opened up in Rome Geneva and Venice

but this was just the beginning the rise

giovanni passed the banking business on

to his sons

Cosimo and Lorenzo who were the two main

founders of the famous Medici bloodlines

during the 1430s Cosimo began to use the

incredible wealth at his disposal to set

up an elaborate network in Florence

which greatly increased his influence he

was quick to loan money in exchange for

favors and within just a few years

nearly every business in Florence was

beholden to him

Cosimo spread the Medici bank throughout

Western Europe and beyond opening

branches in Milan London Pisa Barcelona

Cairo and other cities the money from

all of these cities flowed directly into

the house of Medici through the Medici

bank the Pope opened a significant line

of credit giving the Medicis control

over the church's purse strings as well

with all of his power and influence

Cosimo became the de facto ruler of

Florence even though officially he

remained a private citizen and the house

of Medici became the dominant family in

Florence Cosimo was able to maintain

control by buying the votes of office

holders the families that had been

dominant before this were not happy

about Cosimo's quick rise to power a

rival family had him arrested and exiled

but Kosovo's political network and bribe

money soon helped him to wipe out his

enemies once all opposition was removed

Cosimo returned to Florence and ruled

nearly on

checked for 30 years during this time

Cosimo poured money into the arts and

cultural pursuits which made him and the

Medici family very popular Cosimo was

also able to use the arts to his

political advantage by sponsoring

propaganda before law Florence was the

cultural center of Europe under Cosimo's

control the Medici family kept getting

richer and richer at one point they

reportedly owned 27 villas in Florence

and Tuscany but could the family

continue thriving after the death of its

leader loss of wealth murder and exile

when Cosimo passed away in 1464 his son

Piero took over as Florence's ruler but

died just five years later after his

death the leading citizens of Florence

asked Piero son Lorenzo to take on the

unofficial ruling role Lorenzo was only

twenty years old and wasn't nearly as

effective at running the family bank or

using his wealth to silence his

opposition in 1478 a coalition of the

Medici family's enemies plotted to take

out both Lorenzo and his younger brother

Giuliano the plan was for the brothers

to be killed as they knelt before the

altar at a mass at the Cathedral of


Giuliano was killed but Lorenzo fought

his way out and by nightfall four of the

attackers were hung like his grandfather

Lorenzo was known to be a patron of the

Arts and a number of notable artists

were in his court including Leonardo da

Vinci Michelangelo and Sandro Botticelli

in 1471 Lorenzo calculated how much his

family had spent on charity buildings

and artistic support since his

grandfather took control the amount

totaled more than four hundred and sixty

million dollars at today's valuation

after Lorenzo's death in 1492 his 20

year old son Piero became leader of

Florence much of the family's wealth had

been depleted under Lorenzo's rule due

to his inattention to the family bank

which officially closed in 1494 so Piero

was the first in line of the Medicis to

attempt to rule without ample wealth to

back him up after giving up several

castles and the ports of Pisa

and Livorno in an imbalanced peace

treaty with friends the angered citizens

of Florence forced him out of the city

and he died in exile a new blood line

when the male descendants of Cosimo died

of the male heirs of his brother

Lorenzo took over and began a new branch

of the Medici dynasty two of Lorenzo's

sons became popes in the 16th century

taking the names Leo the tenth and

Clement the seventh both of them were

the unofficial rulers of Florence and

Rome Pope Leo spent the church's money

freely and a cured massive debts Pope

Clements 11-year reign was a tumultuous

time for Italy and the Republicans and

Florence once again tried to remove the

Medicis from power this led to a

three-year struggle but the Medicis

ultimately retained their power and for

the next 200 years

power was passed peacefully through the

generations of the Medici family with

very little resistance in Florence the

fall of the house of Medici by the 17th

century the Medici family was faced with

a lack of male heirs and was virtually

bankrupt the population of Florence had

dropped by half due to diseases and

people moving to other areas the later

medici rulers were more authoritarian

and weren't concerned with cultural or

artistic endeavors which led to the

decline of Florence as the cultural

center of Europe the last male of the

senior branch of the Medicis died in

1737 this brought an end to a nearly 300

year Medici family dynasty which was

replaced by the long-lasting European

reign of the habsburg-lorraine family

however their legacy continues to live

on even today the Medici legacy the most

enduring legacy of the Medicis comes

through their support of art and

architecture the structures they were

responsible for include st. Peter's

Basilica and Santa Maria del Fiore

the artists and scientists they

sponsored include Michelangelo Leonardo

da Vinci Raphael Galileo and Machiavelli

their funding led to the creation of

opera and the invention of the piano

their riches supported Florence as the

cultural center of the

and created a cultural awakening that

could only be compared to that of the

ancient Greeks for a period of time they

were the wealthiest family in Europe and

their bloodline mixed with royal

families throughout the continent due to

strategic marriages and a lack sirs for

a complete history of the Medici dynasty

check out the house of Medici Itza rise

and fall a book by Christopher Hobart he

takes an in-depth look at how the

Medicis built their wealth and used

their influence to dominate Florence for

hundreds of years you can hear his

captivating story on audible and save

yourself twenty-five dollars if you go

to a Lux calm slash free book and sign

up to get the audiobook version for free

thanks to our partnership with audible

the quote while researching this story

became across this thought-provoking

quote from Cosimo de'medici we'd like to

share with you and it goes like this

there is in the garden a plant which one

ought to leave dry although most people

water it it is the weed called Envy this

is a good reminder a Luxor's to focus

more on how you are going to achieve

your goals instead of what others are

achieving on their own question since

we're winding down to the end of this

story and we talked about all the

cultural achievements that came about as

a result of the Medicis power and

corrupt influence we're curious to know

do you think the end justifies the means

let us know what you think in the

comments and of course for sticking with

us until the end we owe you a bonus

don't we here it is

catherine de medici married prince henry

of france when she was only 14 years old

when henry became king of france in 1547

she reigned as Queen until he was killed

in a jousting match in 1559 three of her

sons went on to be the King of France

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