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Head of Zeus
The Medici
The Medici Mary Hollingsworth

Having founded the bank that became the most powerful in Europe in the fifteenth century, the Medici gained political power in Florence, raising the city to a peak of cultural achievement and becoming its hereditary dukes. Among their number were no fewer than three popes and a powerful and influential queen of France. Their patronage brought about an explosion of Florentine art and architecture. Michelangelo, Donatello, Fra Angelico and Leonardo are among the artists with whom they were associated.

Thus runs the 'received view' of the Medici. Mary Hollingsworth argues that the idea that they were wise rulers and enlightened fathers of the Renaissance is a fiction that has acquired the status of historical fact. In truth, the Medici were as devious and immoral as the Borgias – tyrants loathed in the city they illegally made their own and which they beggared in their lust for power.

Head of Zeus * Modern History
05 Oct 2017 * 480pp * £8.99 * 9781786691514
REVIEWS
'An excellent study of the Medici ... A careful, understated book ... [It] is never short on drama'
Telegraph
'A lucid and beautifully illustrated family history. In Hollingsworth's surefooted telling, this ruthless but enlightened family were at their best when they were true to the Florentine motto of "profit and honour"'
The Times, Book of the Week
'[This] forensic study of the Renaissance banking dynasty conjures up a world of art, literature, philosophy - and brutality'
Telegraph Books of the Year
'A vital acquisition for anyone who studies the Renaissance and seeks the true role of the Medici in the history of Florence'
Kirkus Starred Review
'Drawing on impeccable documentary research [this] is a lively and accessible new account of the House of Medici'
Country Life
'Lavishly illustrated in colour, clearly written and meticulously edited, this is likely to become the standard work of reference for anyone who seeks information about the members of the family that dominated Florence'
TLS
'A beautifully illustrated and scholarly survey of five centuries of the Medici family'
Literary Review
'A well-illustrated history of the rise and fall of the House of Medici'
The Times
'The Medici family dominated political and cultural life in Florence for three centuries, but the received wisdom, that they were beneficent, enlightened rulers, is challenged by Renaissance scholar Mary Hollingsworth in this engrossing, fully illustrated account'
Choice Magazine
Author
Mary Hollingsworth
Mary Hollingsworth
Mary Hollingsworth is a scholar of the Italian Renaissance and the author of The Medici, which was widely praised on its publication by Head of Zeus in 2017, and Princes of the Renaissance, published in 2021. Her other books include The Cardinal's Hat, The Borgias: History's Most Notorious Dynasty and Patronage in Renaissance Italy: From 1400 to the Early Sixteenth Century.
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Princes of the Renaissance
Conclave 1559
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