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Rise and Fall and Rise Again of a Renaissance Family: the Medicis LEC 4

4 Pages

Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Course Code
Andre Basson

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MARS 1F90 2011 (Winter Term) The Renaissance: Lecture 4 The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of a Renaissance Family: the Medicis 1. The legend and the origins of the family a. The French knight, the huge giant, and the six balls and chains ( a giant came to Florence, and the knight got into hand to hand combat the knight won. The giant had the balls and better equipped. The knights shield got indented from them, and Charlemagne gave him the crest of six balls.) OR b. The family coat of arms / crest: a pawnbroker’s business or just six round coins ( instead of the six ball chains) c. The name “Medici” (main assumption is started off somewhere in business) d. The first mention of the name (13 century) e. The next 150 years (Florence is the main hub of the Medici) 2. Salvestro de’ Medici and Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici a. Salvestro and the Ciompi Revolt (1378) (became high political power from being merchants; he realized his future support was with the wool workers) b. Giovanni establishes the family fortune (business matters to the Medici more than political, considered it a means to improve business) c. Giovanni and Pope John XXII (became good friends, and was given the Vatican business - official bank of the papacy) d. Giovanni’s role in Florentine politics ( this left him able to secure the future for his son Cosimo) i. Avoided appearing to ambitious (did not want to draw attention to themselves, but needed to stay involved to keep their civic humanism) ii. The principles of civic humanism (without civic humanism people begin to question them) e. He marries his son, Cosimo, to a daughter of the de’ Bardi family f. Cosimo’s humanist education (best scholars and training - interest in arts and architecture) g. Giovanni’s ultimate purpose in seeking political influence 3. Cosimo de’ Medici a. The Medici party and its opposition (had to be careful of political - careful to not lose business) b. Cosimo succeeds his father as head of the Medici bank (1429) c. The influence of his humanist education (sent agents to libraries to find manuscripts of old authors; forced monasteries to hand them over) d. His fairness, interest in learning (believed in learning of culture - promoted through collecting art), and active involvement in the affairs of his city e. Cosimo and Marsilio Ficino (saw no problem in reading classical authors and Christian texts - saw a more realistic perspective) f. No conflict in studying pagan and Christian literature g. Cosimo and Donatello h. His interest in architecture (spent a lot of money on buildings) i. The Medici bank bethmes one of the largest in Europe (total assets by the middle of the 15 cent.: 100,000 florins) j. Cosimo’s shrew business sense ( he knew business) k. Cosimo’s advantage over his rivals (gave him access to the most influential people, and access to information his rivals did not know ; also had political advantage) l. Cosimo is forced into exile (1433) m. Cosimo returns to Florence n. The city is still firmly republican (could not exclude Cosmio) o. Cosimo’s role in Florentine politics (things were ran by Cosmio for help) i. Two emperors visit Florence (Holy Roman Emperor and..) ii. The city hosts a general council of the Church (1439) p. Cosimo and Florentine foreign policy q. Cosimo as head of government and private citizen r. Cosimo as “pater patriae” (1464) Father of the State 4. Piero de’ Medici (Il Gottoso) a. What did he inherit from his father? b. His thorough humanist education ( received education from his father) c. His position as head of the Medici bank and his role in Florentine politics d. He dies in 1469 ( leaves a son Lorenzo) 5. Lorenzo de’ Medici (Il Magnifico) a. His early education (better education then Piero - put into bank leader after Piero at age of 20) b. Contact with Marsilio Ficino and Leon Battista Alberti c. Lacks his father’s interest in the Medici bank (not into the business more into the culture - resulted in the bank starting to slip) d. His passion for art and architecture, his interest in sport (interested in hunting, and a good horse rider - strong believer of physical acti
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