Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Medici, the name of a family that has played a great part in Italian history. Cosimo, or Cosmo, dei Medici (" The Elder") was born in 1389, and succeeded his father as gonfalonier in 1429. He formed alliances with Francesco Sforza, the Venetians, and the Pope, advanced the commercial prosperity of Florence, and was a liberal protector of art and learning. The Academy and Laurentian Library were founded by him, and he afforded hospitality to many Greek refugees. By his generous support of the poor during a famine he won the title of Pater Patrice, and died in 1464. Lorenzo ("The Magnificent"), grandson of the above, was born in 1449, and succeeded his father, Pietro, in 1469, nominally sharing power with his brother Giuliano. The Pazzi were now the opposing faction, and, abetted by Pope Sixtus IV. and Archbishop Salviati, they endeavoured to assassinate the brothers in 1478, but only the younger perished. Lorenzo now had a free hand. He put most of his adversaries to death, alienated Naples from the Pope and so brought the latter to terms, and altered the constitution of Florence so as to make the balia or elective council permanent and so secure his continuance in power. Though tyrannical, immoral, and careless in finance, he raised Florence to a high state of prosperity, and directed its foreign policy with no little skill, aiming particularly at creating unity of interests between the republic and the Papacy. His patronage of literature and art was constant and generous. Pulci, Ficino, Poliziano, Pico della Mirandola, and the youthful Michelangelo found a home at his court, and he himself wrote poetry of no slight merit. At his death in 1492 he was succeeded for a couple of years by Pietro II., his eldest son. [Leo X., Clement VII., Catharine de Medici, Marie de Medici.]