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The Medici Family During The Renaissance

1160 words - 5 pages

The Renaissance was a time of rebirth of classic learning of the Greeks and Romans in Western Europe after the Middle Ages. Humanism, started by Pettrarch, was the popular belief during that era. People no longer believed that art and culture were only in the hands of the clergy. People wanted to explore and be creative, to be part of the arts and literature themselves. The Medici family were great humanists and made significant contribution to the development of the Italian and European Renaissance.

The Medici family was able to make their achievement in the Renaissance because they had tremendous power. The source of the Medici’s power and influence was their great riches. During the period before the Renaissance, known as the Middle ages, the Church’s influence was to have a humble and simple life. Throughout that course in time, money and grandness did not count but the inherited noble title that people were born with; people were born into a fate and were stuck in it for life. There were no opportunities to climb up the ladder of power. In contrast, during the Renaissance, wealthy families like the Medici’s were able to flaunt their wealth and get attention for it. It became praiseworthy to beautify art, their palaces and possessions as an expression of humanism. Art, philosophy, wealth and grandness were the most important part of life. Wealth drove the Medici’s and other prominent people in Florence at the time. Obtaining wealth was the ultimate goal. A person’s level of wealth determined their political power and social success. “. . . The magnificence that has come to be associated with Florence in the ages of Loranzo [de medici] is attributed largely to the moral transformation from which ostentatious display went from being condemned to a vice to being praised as a virtue . . . ” (Unger 25-26) Now, instead of wealth and art being disproved, it was noted and highly acclaimed, it was in this way that the Medici’s were able to become so powerful and popular.
The Medici’s were able to attain great wealth during the Crusades. During the long-lasting conflict between the Christians and the Muslims there was a tremendous influx of trade. Many people sought that time as an opportunity to leave the ideas of the Middle Ages and to become prosperous in the ideas of humanism. The ancestors of the Medici family were of the peasants who came to Florence which had prospered form the trade in spices and silks during the booming trade between Europe and the Orient, in the search of attaining wealth. They involved themselves in banking and commerce and were able to acquire great riches. Since Italy, Florence in particular, was in the center of Europe it became the capital of the Renaissance and was the place were the Medici’s prospered. The founder of the Medici fortune was Giovanni de Medici when he moved to Florence in 1397 and began to be active in the Florentine political life. In 1429 Cosimo de Medici took over his father,...

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