The Medici Family Facts: 19 Things About Medici Dynasty Revealed | Kidadl


The Medici Family Facts: 19 Things About Medici Dynasty Revealed

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People's interest has always been high regarding one of the well-known political dynasties, the Medici family.

The Medici family had a very strong and dominant influence for at hundreds of years in the history of Europe. With Netflix's historical drama series 'The Medici', which shows the history of the Medici Dynasty from the advent of the Italian Renaissance, the interest of the public has only piqued.

Renowned by their banking prowess, the Medici family owned a bank called 'Medici bank', which made them one of the richest powers of the past. They struggled with the growth of their fortunes, prosperity, and destiny throughout the years. The Medici's reign is considered to be the most complicated and intricate affair. From managing the biggest bank in Europe to taking control over the papacy and politics, they grew rapidly. The secret behind their prominence in finance was their Medici bank. The Medici family turned their dominant banking kingdom into a dynastic estate that tremendously affected Europe and the world.

It was said that they were also very vital and active in 13th-century political affairs. And during the end of the 14th century, the family finally came to power with the establishment of Medici Bank. The bank was opened by Giovanni de Medici in Florence in the year 1397. The city of Florence is the same city where the family made their central hub for almost four hundred years.

The Medici family was inspired by the Italian Renaissance. They were unparalleled patrons of the arts and music. Their connection with the papacy led them to rise to power. For their benevolence, kindness, and support to the lower sections of society, the Medici family was received well by the people of Florence. The Medici Bank has evolved and became the papacy's bank and eventually, the family had risen to the papacy themselves.

If you really like reading about the Medici family facts, also find out articles on Margaret Peterson Haddix facts and Edward Snowden facts.

Life History Of The Medici Family

The Medici family tree spread all over Europe. An economic depression throughout the country had forced the powerful houses into bankruptcy during the ends of the 1340s. However, the Medici family were not only able to escape that fate, but also took advantage of it. The Medici family established themselves among the elite class in the city. They sought to control the government by consolidating their position.

Cosimo de Medici was one of the greatest Medici bankers, who managed to establish the greatest and largest financial kingdom. Cosimo de Medici had expanded the bank and started off such a trend that continue into his next generation. He was a very realistic and practical man who instructed his family to combat against the strong and rich and be kind and charitable to the weak and needy. While consolidating the power within the Medici bank, Cosimo de Medici also nurtured a tradition of patronage that eventually turned into maturity during the renaissance age.

The family produced four Medici popes and they were Pope Clement VII, Pope Leo X, Pope Leo XI and Pope Pius IV. The Medici family also married into Europe's royal families, in case of two Medici Queens, Marie de Medici and Catherine de Medici. Extremely popular for their long reign, from 1434 - 1737, the Medici family is famous for taking interest in government and political affairs. The three family rulers of Medici successively reached and gained power. The successors of Chiarissimo II were failures as they could not achieve power in the city of Florence during the 14th century.

The line of Grand Duke Cosimo established a hereditary principate in Florence. But they were overthrown because of their lack of legal rights and titles. However, among their family members, two of them became dukes, but outside Florence.

The last heir of the line, Catherine de Medici, became the queen of France. And their last descendant, Alessandro de Medici, became the duke of Florence. During the 16th century, the third line rejected republican beliefs and established its tyranny, and eventually, its members created a huge dynasty in Tuscany and held the title of grand dukes.

Chiarissimo's policy was continued by his grandson, Salvestro. But later, when the government fell, Salvestro had to go in banishment. His cousin, Vieri was able to disappear and with him, the Medici dukes faded away from history.

Averardo de Medici, also known as Bicci, was a distant cousin of Salvestro. His son, Giovanni di Bicci, inherited the Medici family's business and successfully established the banking operations. The Medici children, Cosimo II and San Lorenzo, received the title of ' The Elder'. Cosimo III, the eldest son, built the Medici family's political roots.

While his second son, Giovanni di Bicci, died at an early age. His first son, Piero di Bicci de Medici, strengthened and maintained the political power of the Medici family. His son, Giulio de Medici ( 1453-78), was assassinated, and eventually, Lorenzo de Medici, the younger son, took the title of Magnifico.

What is the Medici family known for?

The Medici family was one of the most wealthy, influential, and powerful families of the Renaissance. Also known as the 'House of Medici', the Medici family resided and operated in Florence city, Italy from the 13th century. Without any military privilege and family lineage, they had actually risen to power through fortunes and connections and this allowed them to establish control over others in power and administration. Consequently, their control over the city of Florence rapidly grew as well.

Lorenzo's daughter, Catherine de Medici, who became the wife of King Henry II and eventually the queen of France, had four sons. Three of her four sons became the French king later on. The second son of Lorenzo de Medici Giovanni became Pope Leo X. Pope Clement VII, who was the nephew of Lorenzo, had placed his illegitimate son, Alessandro, as a hereditary duke to continue the rule of the Cosimo line in Florence. But Alessandro turned out to be a brutal and cruel autocrat. And, in 1537 he was killed by his own companion and relative.

King Francis (1541-87), the son of Cosimo I, was also proved a despot. As a tax master, he nearly ruined the economy of the nation. His daughter Marie de Medici was married to King Henry IV and became the queen of France. Ferdinand I founded Villa Medici (the Medici palace) in Rome. Gian Gastone de Medici, who was the son of Cosimo, died without having any children. This made European powers hand over the duchy to the Grand Duke of Lorraine, who was a part of the Imperial House of Austria. The older Medici line had mainly honored the democratic sentiments of the citizens of the city. However, an autocratic rule was imposed by the younger line and it had both merits and demerits.

Problems began with the growth of different departments and branches. Difficulties arose in coordination between other governments and administrators in separated branches. Following the death of Cosimo de Medici in the year 1464, the Medici kingdom started a slow and steady downfall as there was no strong leading presence to continue the banks' activities. Cosimo's son, Piero de Medici, and grandson, Lorenzo de Medici, were inapt to handle the business of banking.

Problems began with the growth of different departments

Medici Family Motto

The Medici family's banking dynasty became one of the greatest banks ever heard and seen in Europe. At the period of time, when the bank was very much famous and dominant, the Medicis used and applied a number of banking innovations that are still in use today. When double-entry bookkeeping arrived, it was Giovanni de Medici, who had put it into practice and also popularized the use of it.

During the time of Giovanni de Medici, the flourishment of the bank was at its peak. The banking campaign did not stop at Florence, instead, it expanded to Rome, Barcelona, and even London at an extraordinary pace. Initially, most of the branches were in partnerships, and it wasn't until the mid of 14th century that the family received the central holding company. The use a holding company was considered one of the Medici inventions.

As the merchant class had generated a boom in the economy at that time, keeping all the books and reducing errors in check was indispensable. Double-entry bookkeeping takes the help of a ledger, where the equation of accounting 'Assets= liabilities + equity' is applied. It recorded both the debits and the credits and also can be utilized to make an overview of the business for how much it has and for what purpose it can be used. Overall, this helps the merchants and bankers to keep an eye on their accounts to make better financial decisions. It is quite a simple yet extremely successful tactic that helped Medici's family to build their reputation.

Apart from the effective method of bookkeeping, the Medici family also used letters of credit, that granted International trade to expand and flourish. Letters of credit are basically agreements between the buyers and the sellers of the bank. In these agreements, the buyer's bank promises to pay back the seller's bank once the stocks or services have been delivered to them. For instance, one group would be allowed to take pounds in exchange for the florin (Florence's currency) at the London bank.

It was too risky and threatening to ship a huge amount of money across Europe during that time. Due to that reason, merchants deposited their money to a Medici letter of credit. This was the way for the Medici family to get around an excessively religious and dedicated culture. Therefore, the family was not limited to just assisting in the trade flow and lasting a booming commercial enterprise. The church considered usury as a sin during the Middle Ages. Currencies that were traded and exchanged were then utilized as a medium for the Medici family to gain interest on the loaned amount. Hence, the Medici bank became so powerful due to its advancements, tactics, and financial solutions. But soon it went bankrupt and the fall began. The fall was as fast as the bank had risen.

There are plenty of facts about the Medici coat of arms. The Medici family's emblem ( five red balls and a blue ball on the gold shield) was notably displayed on every building all over Florence city and Tuscany. The family had associated with the balls. It is said that the number of balls on the shield changed continuously over the years.

The authentic Medici bloodline is believed to have died down in 1700s. The greatest or powerful Medici ruler is considered to be Lorenzo the Magnificent.

Medici Family Estates

During the Renaissance period, the Medici family sponsored eminent artists and projects. Donatello was one of the first contributors to the Medici patronage. He was also very renowned for his sculpture of David. The Medici popes carried on the family tradition of patronizing arts and artists in Rome. While Pope Leo X chiefly commanded and instructed the works of Raphael; Pope clement VII would mainly commission works from Michelangelo.

Cosimo took nearly all Tuscany under his dominance. He used his autocratic power to advance the well-being of the country. His idea, of uniting all people's services into one single building called the ' Uffizi', was an extremely advanced idea at that time. The building was built according to Giorgio Vasari's magnificent design. Cosimo made Vasari his superintendent and gave him the responsibility to redecorate the internal part of the Palazzo Vecchio. Cosimo and Vasari eagerly erected a gallery in 1564, that allows a suitable way from one place to the other by operating the Ponte Vecchio.

In 1478, the Pazzi conspiracy arose as a complete shock to the city. The Pazzi bank had conquered all the Papacy's business affairs during the treacherous war. With the intention of supporting the Pazzi, Francesco Salviati, the archbishop of Pisa, Sixtus IV, and his nephew Riario formed a conspiracy in the end. They wanted to kill Giuliano and Lorenzo in the cathedral on April 26 during the Easter mass. While Giuliano was assassinated in front of the alter, Lorenzo took refuge in a sacristy. A suspicious and harsh man, the archbishop ungracefully accosted the gonfalonier of the Medicis, and eventually hanged from a window of the Palazzo Vecchio. The public took the stand of the Medicis and imprisoned the conspirators.

Not only had the constitutional movements and forms against the government disappeared, but also there was a stability period in the city of Florence. In spite of the stability period, the city also diminished as a core of art, music, and science. To a greater extent, the Medici family had preserved their inheritance both in terms of property and riches. Through Marie de Medici, the widow of King Henry IV, all succeeding dukes of France were descended from Francesco. After the demise of Anna Maria Luisa, the line of the grand duke disappeared. She willed all the art forms of the Medicis to the glorious duchy. The words, Ultima della stirpe reale dei Medici, which means the last of the royal Medici line, are engraved on her tomb.

Written By
Srija Chanda

<p>An aspiring media professional, Srija is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Mass Communication at St. Xavier's University, Kolkata, after completing her degree in journalism. With experience in PR and social media, she has also honed her leadership skills through her participation in a youth parliament. Srija's interests include devouring books, watching movies, and exploring new places through travel.</p>

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