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.
"An excellent history. An entertaining tale of the rise and fall of an ambitious banking family."
– The Sunday Times (London)
"The prolific author continues to do what he does best—bring history to wondrous life—with this thorough history of the Medici family. A fantastically comprehensive history covering the breadth of the great learning, art, politics, and religion of the period."
– Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"In this absorbing follow-up to his beautiful Death in Florence, Strathern chronicles the legendarily farsighted banking family, offering a cautionary tale. This gratifying and comprehensive family saga sheds light on both the internal workings of a remarkable family and on how a singular family irrevocably influenced Western civilization."
– Publishers Weekly
"A compelling multigenerational history of the family whose enlightened patronage gave the world that timeless art. Rich in incident and character, this engrossing narrative offers impressive portraits of dynastic figures who usher in a new era aflame with individualistic ambition. Lineal history pulsing with epoch-making energy."
"The Medici highlights [the family’s] literary accomplishments in detail, as well as the story of how the Medici became the Renaissance’s most influential family."
– The New York Times
"Strathern has done his research thoroughly, and tells a good story well."
– The Sunday Telegraph
"What might have been a bewildering string of names, places, and dates is instead a page-turning popular history of an ambitious and influential family. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in history."