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The House of Medici or Famiglia de' Medici (Italian pronunciation: [de ˈmɛːditʃi]; English: /ˈmɛdɨtʃi/ med-i-chee or /mɨˈdiːtʃi/ mə-dee-chee) was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici in the Republic of Florence during the late 14th century. The family originated in the Mugello region of the Tuscan countryside, gradually rising until they were able to found the Medici Bank. The bank was the largest in Europe during the 15th century, seeing the Medici gain political power in Florence — though officially they remained simply citizens rather than monarchs.
The Medici produced four Popes of the Catholic Church, two regent queens of France and in 1531 the family became hereditary Dukes of Florence. In 1569, the duchy was elevated to a grand duchy after territorial expansion. They ruled the Grand Duchy of Tuscany from its inception until 1737, with the death of Gian Gastone de' Medici. The grand duchy witnessed degrees of economic growth under the earlier grand dukes, but by the time of Cosimo III de' Medici, Tuscany was fiscally bankrupt.
Their wealth and influence initially derived from the textile trade guided by the guild of the Arte della Lana. Like other signore families they dominated their city's government. They were able to bring Florence under their family's power, allowing for an environment where art and humanism could flourish. They fostered and inspired the birth of the Italian Renaissance along with other families of Italy, such as the Visconti and Sforza of Milan, the Este of Ferrara, and the Gonzaga of Mantua.
The Medici Bank was one of the most prosperous and most respected institutions in Europe. There are some estimates that the Medici family were the wealthiest family in Europe for a period of time. From this base, they acquired political power initially in Florence and later in wider Italy and Europe. A notable contribution to the profession of accounting was the improvement of the general ledger system through the development of the double-entry bookkeeping system for tracking credits and debits. This system was first used by accountants working for the Medici family in Florence.
Home of the Medici family
Photo by PROVENCE OF FLORENCE via CISA3
Built between 1445 and 1460, the Palazzo Medici stands along the Via Camillo Cavour in Florence, Italy.
Medici in the news
The Medici Quiz
About this LibGuide
This LibGuide was created as an assignment for the Fall 2011 semester of Syracuse University's IST 605: Reference and Information Literacy Services. It includes "the 15 best resources librarians and library patrons can use to answer information questions" in a chosen subject area. Information has been presented from at least two encyclopedias; at least three other reference books; at least two article databases; at least one journal title; at least one authoritative website; at least one authoritative 2.0 media such as blogs, wikis, Twitter, RSS feeds or online video; and optional AV materials. Each reference is accompanied by an APA citation, a URL where applicable, a summary, an evaluation and suggestions for use.