MEDICI (med'e-che), a distinguished Italian family of Florence, whose histor ical fame begins in 1351 with GIOVANNI DE MEDICI, who with a small body of 100 men forced his way through a Milanese army which was besieging the fortress of Scarperia and relieved the place. His son, SALVESTRO, who enjoyed the rank of gonfaloniere from 1378 to his banish ment in 1381. GIOVANNI, his son and successor, distinguished for his commer cial enterprise, and for promoting the interests of the republic, flourished 1360 1428.
Cosmo, one of the sons of the latter, surnamed "Father of his Country," born in 1389. He early took part in the im portant commercial concerns of his fa ther, and also in the government of the republic. In 1433, Rinaldo de Albizzi, head of a party opposed to the Medici, obtained the chief magistracy, and Cos mo was banished for 10 years. He settled at Venice, and there founded the library in the monastery of St. George. After one year he was recalled, and his life was thenceforth peaceful and prosperous. As chief magistrate Cosmo acted with consummate prudence. His influence on i the political movements of Italy was m mense. He once saved Florence from a war with Naples and Venice by calling in debts from these two States, and so incapacitating them from making war. In his latter years he applied himself to study, especially of the Platonic philos ophy, and to farming. He died Aug. 1, 1464. PIERO I., his son and successor; born 1414, became the victim of a revolt in 1469.
LoRENzo, usually styled The Magnifi cent; born Jan. 1, 1449, and the son of Piero, was carefully educated, and early initiated in state affairs. At the age of 20 he married Clarice, a noble lady of the Orsini family, and the same year, 1469, succeeded his father as head of the Florentine republic. His will was su preme and almost unquestioned, and a general license and corruption of morals made it easy for him to be tyrant. Liter
ature, philosophy, and art engaged the attention of Lorenzo no less than polit ical affairs. The quiet of his reign was interrupted, in 1478, by the conspiracy of the Pazzi, to which Pope Sixtus IV. was a party, and which had for its object the overthrow of the Medici. The conspir ators attacked Lorenzo and his brother Giuliano in the Duomo, when the latter was killed and Lorenzo narrowly escaped. The chiefs and many of the associates of the conspiracy were executed. The Pope then excommunicated Lorenzo, al lied himself with the King of Naples, and declared war against Florence. Lo renzo, with happy boldness, went as his own ambassador to Naples, and succeeded in detaching the king from the papal alliance; fear of the Turks induced the Pope soon after to make peace. In the spring of 1492 he fell ill and retired to his villa at Careggi. He died in Careggi April 8, 1492. Lorenzo was author of numerous lyrical and other short poems, many of them of a licentious character, and some devotional. He had three sons: GIOVANNI, who became Pope as LEO X. (q. v.), GIULIANO, and PIERO. The latter, Piero II., born Feb. 15, 1471, succeeded Lorenzo, and was deprived of his estates when the French invaded Italy in 1494. He was drowned Dec. 28, 1503, leaving two sons, Lorenzo and Cosmo. GIULIANO, brother and successor of Piero, abdicated in favor of Lorenzo, 1513, and became Duc de Nemours by his marriage with the aunt of Francis I. He died March 17, 1516. LORENZO II., eldest son of Piero II., came to power by the abdication of his uncle, and governed under the influ ence of Leo X., who invested him with the duchy of Urbino. He died May 4, 1519, leaving an only daughter.