The Medici Family

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INTRODUCTION While the Medici family was predominant, Florence became the cultural center of Europe and also became the cradle of new Humanism. BACKGROUND The Medici were possibly the richest family in Italy. In the 13th Century the family began to gain wealth. At the end of the thirteenth century, the family's wealth increased when one of the members of the family served as gonfalero (bearer of a high ceremonial office). In the fourteenth century their wealth increased again. Savestro de Medici led people in revolt against the ciompi (small artistanate) and later he became so popular that he became defacto dictator of Florence. Then in 1383 his wealth decreased when he was banished. Giovanni Bicci de Medici regained family power by making the family the richest family in Italy, possibly Europe. The growth in political power also increased when he became gonfalero in 1421. Giovanni's son, Cosimo de Medici, was to be the real founder of the family's fortune. In 1434, Cosimo controlled the government in Florence. For the sixty years Cosimo ruled Florence but he had no official title. He ruled in the early 15th Century when he ran for office. He held office in Florence's highest magistry and at the same time he managed interests in banking, trade, and industry. Later on in a political battle with another powerful family called the Albizzi family, Cosimo lost and was banished. But since a lot of people supported him, he was recalled and the Albizzi family was banished in return. Cosimo had done a lot for the city of Florence. He had spent lots of his money on his city and supported artists and sculptors. Churches were built and many large libraries were produced with the books he collected. After Cosimo had died he won the title of Pater Palrige (father of his country). Cosimo had two sons and while his first son, Pier, ruled things kind of
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