The Medici Family – HISTORY

The Medici Family – HISTORY

Contents

  1. Birth of the Medici Dynasty
  2. The Descendants of Cosimo de’ Medici
  3. A New Medici Branch Comes to Power
  4. The Medici Dynasty in Decline

The Medici family, also known as the House of Medici, first attained wealth and political power in Florence in the 13th century through its success in commerce and banking. Beginning in 1434 with the rise to power of Cosimo de’ Medici (or Cosimo the Elder), the family’s support of the arts and humanities made Florence into the cradle of the Renaissance, a cultural flowering rivaled only by that of ancient Greece. The Medicis produced four popes (Leo X, Clement VII, Pius IV and Leo XI), and their genes have been mixed into many of Europe’s royal families. The last Medici ruler died without a male heir in 1737, ending the family dynasty after almost three centuries.

Birth of the Medici Dynasty

The Medici story began around the 12th century, when family members from the Tuscan village of Cafaggiolo emigrated to Florence. Through banking and commerce, the Medicis rose to become one of the most important houses in Florence. Their influence had declined by the late 14th century, however, when Salvestro de’ Medici (then serving as gonfaliere, or standard bearer, of Florence) was forced into exile.

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