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The Medici - dynasty

Power, art and endless richness distinguished the Medici family. The family characterised the renaissance. Still today they are one of the most famous families in the world and they are closely related to all governing royal houses in Europe.

There are many myths about the beginning of the Medici family. The most spread is that they were medicals as the name “Medicus” says.

The family Medici worked its way up with diligence from the wool and cloth industry to the trade and banking industries. The highest dukes, kings, queens and three popes came from this family.

The history begun with a monopoly in the cloth industry. With their financial prosperity they supported the mightiest personalities of the time: popes, different royal houses, kings and emperors.

At the beginning of the 13th century Chiarissimo de´ Medici was the first of the family who joined the policy. In 1397 Giovanni di Bicci de´ Medici laid the next basic stone for the Medici family and for our current bank system. Giovanni de Bicci studied banking in Rome and worked as money lender. Through his complex thinking he laid the foundation for a European banking network and circulated the Florentine Gulden, the forerunner of the Euro. After his death his banking network reached to the former Constantinople.

At the beginning of the 16th century pope Leo X. was the first pope who descended from the Medici family. Furthermore there were two important marriages. Two Medici princesses married at that time current kings from France and therefore were the first queens from within the Medici family.

Often expelled and involved in great gang wars the family Medici never got down. Again and again there were great conflicts from competitors of politics and the cloth trade. Lorenzo de´ Medici the so-called “magnificent” (il Magnifico) was one of the most intelligent members of the family. He worked also in the policy and in all new established offices only Medici family members were employed. The unsettled and threated opposition planned an assassination against Lorenzo and his younger brother Giuliano. In the Sunday Mass both brothers were victims of an ambush: Giuliano was stabbed to death and Lorenzo could rescue himself.

Besides all the achievements art and architecture are the greatest attainments of the Medici dynasty. Here are some people who profited from the patronage: Filippo Brunelleschi, Masaccio, Filippo Lippi, Donatello, Michelangelos und Leonardo da Vinci. Many paintings, statues and artworks are exhibited in the Uffizi gallery in Florence.

The last influential Medici was Gian Gastone who died in 1737. He was a descendant of Giovanni di Bicci de´ Medici. Lorenzo de´ Medici and his brother were the last representatives of this large, influential and historical family.

The Medici family tree