Lorenzo de’ Medici (Dictionary of World Biography: Renaissance)
Article abstract: Florence’s Lorenzo de’ Medici was the most important statesman in Italy during the latter part of the fifteenth century. Lorenzo was also a noted banker, poet, and patron of the arts. He epitomized the concept of the Renaissance man.
Lorenzo de’ Medici was born in Florence in 1449. His father, Piero, died at age fifty-three in 1469. Lorenzo’s grandfather, Cosimo, building on the accomplishments of his father, Giovanni, had established himself as the most powerful individual in the Florentine Republic. Medici influence resulted in the wealth accumulated through banking activities. Financial abilities were joined to political talents and ambitions, which made them the most formidable nonroyal family in fifteenth century Europe.
The Medicis were not unique. By the 1400’s, there were other influential families in Florence whose wealth and power also came from banking and commerce. Although a republic, Florence was not a democracy; political rights came from membership in the various guilds which had evolved in the later Middle Ages. At the apex were a small number of Florentines, and it was this wealthy oligarchy which controlled the government. All offices were constitutionally open to all guild members, but through various...
(The entire section is 2079 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!