Books on the History of the Medici Family and Banking Empire

Books on the History of the Medici Family and Banking Empire

Books in list (19)


Title: House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall

It was a dynasty with more wealth, passion, and power than the houses of Windsor, Kennedy, and Rockefeller combined. It shaped all of Europe and controlled politics, scientists, artists, and even popes, for three hundred years. It was the house of Medici, patrons of Botticelli, Michelangelo and Galileo, benefactors who turned Florence into a global power center, and then lost it all.

The House of Medici picks up where Barbara Tuchman's Hibbert delves into the lives of the Medici family, whose legacy of increasing self-indulgence and sexual dalliance eventually led to its self-destruction. With twenty-four pages of black-and-white illustrations, this timeless saga is one of Quill's strongest-selling paperbacks.

First published in 1974 under the title "The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici".

Author(s): Christopher Hibbert
ISBN 13: 9780688053390
Pages: 384
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Title: Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture

On August 19, 1418, a competition concerning Florence's magnificent new cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore--already under construction for more than a century--was announced: "Whoever desires to make any model or design for the vaulting of the main Dome....shall do so before the end of the month of September." The proposed dome was regarded far and wide as all but impossible to build: not only would it be enormous, but its original and sacrosanct design shunned the flying buttresses that supported cathedrals all over Europe. The dome would literally need to be erected over thin air. Of the many plans submitted, one stood out--a daring and unorthodox solution to vaulting what is still the largest dome (143 feet in diameter) in the world. It was offered not by a master mason or carpenter, but by a goldsmith and clockmaker named Filippo Brunelleschi, then forty-one, who would dedicate the next twenty-eight years to solving the puzzles of the dome's construction. In the process, he did nothing less than reinvent the field of architecture. Brunelleschi's Dome is the story of how a Renaissance genius bent men, materials, and the very forces of nature to build an architectural wonder we continue to marvel at today. Denounced at first as a madman, Brunelleschi was celebrated at the end as a genius. He engineered the perfect placement of brick and stone, built ingenious hoists and cranes (among some of the most renowned machines of the Renaissance) to carry an estimated 70 million pounds hundreds of feet into the air, and designed the workers' platforms and routines so carefully that only one man died during the decades of construction--all the while defying those who said the dome would surely collapse and his own personal obstacles that at times threatened to overwhelm him. This drama was played out amid plagues, wars, political feuds, and the intellectual ferments of Renaissance Florence-- events Ross King weaves into the story to great effect, from Brunelleschi's bitter, ongoing rivalry with the sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti to the near catpure of Florence by the Duke of Milan. King also offers a wealth of fascinating detail that opens windows onto fifteenth-century life: the celebrated traditions of the brickmaker's art, the daily routine of the artisans laboring hundreds of feet above the ground as the dome grew ever higher, the problems of transportation, the power of the guilds. Even today, in an age of soaring skyscrapers, the cathedral dome of Santa Maria del Fiore retains a rare power to astonish. Ross King brings its creation to life in a fifteenth-century chronicle with twenty-first-century resonance.
Author(s): Ross King
ISBN 13: 9781620401934
Pages: 194
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Title: The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de' Medici

Ruler of Florence for seven bloody years, 1531 to 1537, Alessandro de' Medici was arguably the first person of color to serve as a head of state in the Western world. Born out of wedlock to a dark-skinned maid and Lorenzo de' Medici, he was the last legitimate heir to the line of Lorenzo the Magnificent. When Alessandro's noble father died of syphilis, the family looked to him. Groomed for power, he carved a path through the backstabbing world of Italian politics in a time when cardinals, popes, and princes vied for wealth and advantage. By the age of nineteen, he was prince of Florence, inheritor of the legacy of the grandest dynasty of the Italian Renaissance. Alessandro faced down family rivalry and enormous resistance from Florence's oligarchs, who called him a womanizer-which he undoubtedly was--and a tyrant. Yet this real-life counterpart to Machiavelli's Prince kept his grip on power until he was assassinated at the age of 26 during a late-night tryst arranged by his scheming cousins. After his death, his brief but colorful reign was criticized by those who had murdered him in a failed attempt to restore the Florentine republic. For the first time, the true story is told in The Black Prince of Florence. Catherine Fletcher tells the riveting tale of Alessandro's unexpected rise and spectacular fall, unraveling centuries-old mysteries, exposing forgeries, and bringing to life the epic personalities of the Medicis, Borgias, and others as they waged sordid campaigns to rise to the top. Drawing on new research and first-hand sources, this biography of a most intriguing Renaissance figure combines archival scholarship with discussions of race and class that are still relevant today.
Author(s): Catherine Fletcher
ISBN 13: 9780190612726
Pages: 336
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Title: Rise and Decline of the Medici Bank, 1397-1494

A classic history of banking and trade in the medieval period, combining superb research and analysis with graceful writing. The Medici Bank was the most powerful banking house of the 15th century. Headquartered in Florence, Italy, it established branches in Rome, Venice, Geneva, Lyons, Bruges, London, and many other cities. The bank served as financial agent of the Church, extended credit to monarchs, and facilitated international trade in Western Europe. By their personal influence and the use of their profits, the owners and administrators of the bank contributed significantly to the development of Florence as the greatest center of the Renaissance.
Author(s): Raymond A. de Roover
ISBN 13: 9781893122321
Pages: 540
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Title: Florence and the Medici

<div>The enduring fascination of the Medici springs from their ability--as individuals and as a family--to control the government of Florence, first as a quasi-democracy and finally through inheritance. Based on the latest research, this perceptive study, by one of the finest Renaissance scholars of the day, reveals the causes and the nature of the Medicis' power of patronage from the early 15th-century through the early 18th. "...probing, sharp-eyed, utterly unsentimental...some of the most revealing insights come...in a chapter about the growth of the Medici legend.."--Roy Foster.
Author(s): J. R. Hale
ISBN 13: 9781842124567
Pages: 208
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Title: Magnifico: The Brilliant Life and Violent Times of Lorenzo de' Medici

Magnifico is a vividly colorful portrait of Lorenzo de' Medici, the uncrowned ruler of Florence during its golden age. A true "Renaissance man," Lorenzo dazzled contemporaries with his prodigious talents and magnetic personality. Known to history as Il Magnifico (the Magnificent), Lorenzo was not only the foremost patron of his day but also a renowned poet, equally adept at composing philosophical verses and obscene rhymes to be sung at Carnival. He befriended the greatest artists and writers of the time -- Leonardo, Botticelli, Poliziano, and, especially, Michelangelo, whom he discovered as a young boy and invited to live at his palace -- turning Florence into the cultural capital of Europe. He was the leading statesman of the age, the fulcrum of Italy, but also a cunning and ruthless political operative. Miles Unger's biography of this complex figure draws on primary research in Italian sources and on his intimate knowledge of Florence, where he lived for several years. Lorenzo's grandfather Cosimo had converted the vast wealth of the family bank into political power, but from his earliest days Lorenzo's position was precarious. Bitter rivalries among the leading Florentine families and competition among the squabbling Italian states meant that Lorenzo's life was under constant threat. Those who plotted his death included a pope, a king, and a duke, but Lorenzo used his legendary charm and diplomatic skill -- as well as occasional acts of violence -- to navigate the murderous labyrinth of Italian politics. Against all odds he managed not only to survive but to preside over one of the great moments in the history of civilization. Florence in the age of Lorenzo was a city of contrasts, of unparalleled artistic brilliance and unimaginable squalor in the city's crowded tenements; of both pagan excess and the fire-and-brimstone sermons of the Dominican preacher Savonarola. Florence gave birpth to both the otherworldly perfection of Botticelli's Primavera and the gritty realism of Machiavelli's The Prince. Nowhere was this world of contrasts more perfectly embodied than in the life and character of the man who ruled this most fascinating city.
Author(s): Miles J. Unger
ISBN 13: 9780743254359
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Title: Medici: Story of a European Dynasty

The Medici are probably the best-known and most illustrious Italian family - one that produced two popes, two Queens of France and such a multi-faceted and extraordinary figure as Lorenzo the Magnificent. Their name is inextricably linked to the history of Florence. The city itself remains a living symbol of the peninsula's most splendid epoch. When people around the world think of Italy, they usually think of Florence and Tuscany, and of the priceless art collections that hold, to this day, an irresistible fascination for millions of visitors. This concise and brilliant book reads like a piece of journalism in the best sense of the term. With an entirely original and non-provincial approach, the author traces the dazzling rise and fall of this dynasty, from the first gonfaloniere to the last Grand Duke, tirelessly bringing out its historical links with Florence, Italy and Europe. The many illustrations, clarified by ample captions, do not add up to a mere gallery of official portraits; rather, the
Author(s): Franco Cesati
ISBN 13: 9788885957374
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Title: Rise and Decline of the Medici Bank, 1397-1494

The roots of modern capitalism go back to the Italian banking system of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In the fifteenth century, the Medici Bank succeeded in overshadowing its competitors, the Bardi and the Peruzzi, who were the giants of the fourteenth century, and grew into a vast establishment with branches in most of the large cities of Western Europe. A study of its operations is essential to an understanding of the economic conditions in Europe in the fifteenth century. From a careful study of pertinent documents, including a set of libri segreti (confidential ledgers) discovered in 1950, Professor de Roover has reconstructed the details of the bank's organization and operating methods; its loan policies, which reflected the Church's doctrine on usury; its trading and industrial investments; its roles within the Florentine gild system and tax structure; and its activities as financial agent of the Church. He covers every aspect of the bank's history, from its early years under the management of Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici to its collapse with the expulsion of the Medici from Florence.
Author(s): Raymond De Roover
ISBN 13: 9780393003505
Pages: 528
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Title: The Medici: Power, Money, and Ambition in the Italian Renaissance

A vivid, dramatic, and authoritative account of perhaps the most influential family in Italian history: the Medici. A dazzling history of the modest family that rose to become one of the most powerful in Europe, The Medici is a remarkably modern story of power, money, and ambition. Against the background of an age that saw the rebirth of ancient and classical learning Paul Strathern explores the intensely dramatic rise and fall of the Medici family in Florence, as well as the Italian Renaissance which they did so much to sponsor and encourage. Strathern also follows the lives of many of the great Renaissance artists with whom the Medici had dealings, including Leonardo, Michelangelo and Donatello; as well as scientists like Galileo and Pico della Mirandola; and the fortunes of those members of the Medici family who achieved success away from Florence, including the two Medici popes and Catherine de' Médicis, who became Queen of France and played a major role in that country through three turbulent reigns.
Author(s): Paul Strathern
ISBN 13: 9781605989662
Pages: 464
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Title: Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France

Poisoner, despot, necromancer — the dark legend of Catherine de Medici is centuries old. In this critically hailed biography, Leonie Frieda reclaims the story of this unjustly maligned queen to reveal a skilled ruler battling extraordinary political and personal odds — from a troubled childhood in Florence to her marriage to Henry, son of King Francis I of France; from her transformation of French culture to her fight to protect her throne and her sons' birthright. Based on thousands of private letters, it is a remarkable account of one of the most influential women ever to wear a crown.

Author(s): Leonie Frieda
ISBN 13: 9780060744939
Pages: 464
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Title: Medici Money: Banking, Metaphysics, and Art in Fifteenth-Century Florence (Enterprise)

“A swift and brilliant synthesis of finance, politics, and history.”—Ben Sisario, New York Times Book Review

Before they achieved renown as patrons of the arts and de facto rulers of Florence, the Medici family earned their fortune in banking. But even at the height of the Renaissance, charging interest of any kind meant running afoul of the Catholic Church’s ban on usury. Tim Parks reveals how the legendary Medicis—Cosimo and Lorenzo “the Magnificent” in particular—used the diplomatic, military, and even metaphysical tools at hand, along with a healthy dose of intrigue and wit, to further their fortunes as well as their family’s standing.

Author(s): Tim Parks
ISBN 13: 9780393328455
Pages: 288
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Title: April Blood : Florence and the Plot Against the Medici

One of the world's leading historians of Renaissance Italy brings to life here the vibrant--and violent--society of fifteenth-century Florence. His disturbing narrative opens up an entire culture, revealing the dark side of Renaissance man and politician Lorenzo de' Medici. On a Sunday in April 1478, assassins attacked Lorenzo and his brother as they attended Mass in the cathedral of Florence. Lorenzo scrambled to safety as Giuliano bled to death on the cathedral floor. April Blood moves outward in time and space from that murderous event, unfolding a story of tangled passions, ambition, treachery, and revenge. The conspiracy was led by one of the city's most noble clans, the Pazzi, financiers who feared and resented the Medici's swaggering new role as political bosses--but the web of intrigue spread through all of Italy. Bankers, mercenaries, the Duke of Urbino, the King of Naples, and Pope Sixtus IV entered secretly into the plot. Florence was plunged into a peninsular war, and Lorenzo was soon fighting for his own and his family's survival. The failed assassination doomed the Pazzi. Medici revenge was swift and brutal--plotters were hanged or beheaded, innocents were hacked to pieces, and bodies were put out to dangle from the windows of the government palace. All remaining members of the larger Pazzi clan were forced to change their surname, and every public sign or symbol of the family was expunged or destroyed. April Blood offers us a fresh portrait of Renaissance Florence, where dazzling artistic achievements went side by side with violence, craft, and bare-knuckle politics. At the center of the canvas is the figure of Lorenzo the Magnificent--poet, statesman, connoisseur, patron of the arts, and ruthless "boss of bosses." This extraordinarily vivid account of a turning point in the Italian Renaissance is bound to become a lasting work of history.
Author(s): Lauro Martines
ISBN 13: 9780195176094
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Title: Cosimo De Medici (Classic Reprint)

Excerpt from Cosimo De' Medici Florence, too, was a commercial state; the possession of land was merely an accident in the possession of power, - a part, but the least important part, of wealth; we find all the commercial problems of a later date already alive, - the uneasy relations between capital and labour, the employment of foreign politics as a means to commercial extension, the manipulation of a state debt, with shares whose value uctuated as the prosperity of the Government. Here, too, are found in almost every individual that very modern craving to obtain a Share, however small, in the direction of the national policy; here, as in modern politics, the difficulty of establishing an executive powerful enough and sufficiently many-sided to embrace and cope with the complicated and manifold conditions of modern administration; here efforts like those of a modern foreign minister to make his policy consistent and effective, and yet agreeable to the public whim Government must be maintained either by brute force or by clearly-expressed public Opinion, never by the inert acquiescence of the governed in any rule that had an appearance of hereditary right.
Author(s): Katharine Dorothea Ewart
ISBN 13: 9781333324490
Pages: 256
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