God, art, money and the Medicis

By Laurie Bennett

September 17, 2010 at 8:25am

Driven from current events by the depressing midterm elections, we venture today six centuries into the past, to the Medicis of Florence, who never lose their ability to fascinate.

Uncounted books (although a limited number of interactive maps) explore their global business concerns, their patronage of the arts, their complicated relationship with the church, their political maneuvering.

Lorenzo di Medici
Lorenzo di Medici

Family members prospered, many historians believe, because of their skill in manipulating people within organizations - financial, social and political.

“In Florence,” Lorenzo di Medici is said to have observed, “things can go badly for the rich if they don’t run the state.”

Come to think of it, times weren’t so different then.

The affluent of today might better have listened to Lorenzo’s grandfather, Cosimo, who advised his children on his deathbed, “Stay out of the public eye.”

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