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Medici arms from BL Lansdowne 842, f. 2

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Medici arms from BL Lansdowne 842, f. 2

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Detail of Medici arms. Image taken from f. 2 of Opera omnia. Written in Latin.

Boethius (c. 480-524/525) was one of the most influential early medieval philosophers. His work, The Consolation of Philosophy, was the most widely translated and reproduced secular work from the 8th century until the end of the Middle Ages. He was born around 480 into an influential Roman aristocratic family of Anicii which produced two Roman Emperors and several Roman consuls. He was fluent in Greek and may had been educated in Athens although many suggest Alexandria, especially those who think that his father may had been the perfect of Alexandria. Boethius held important public offices in Rome and was appointed consul in 510, when the Italian peninsula was ruled by the Ostrogoths. Thanks to his scholarly knowledge, Boethius’s gained royal affection and in 522, and achieved appointment of his two sons, Boethius and Symmachus as joint consuls which he considered as his greatest achievement. He was arrested and imprisoned in Pavia for one or two years before he was executed for treason. In the year (or two years) before his execution, Boethius wrote the Consolation of Philosophy, which is traditionally viewed as the last great work of the Classical era had a major influence on medieval philosophy but it also profoundly influenced early Renaissance thought in Europe. According to Boethius, the universe is ruled by divine love and true happiness can be achieved not through power and money but by turning to otherworldly virtues. This interpretation perfectly fitted with the Christian doctrine of humility and played an important role in the later Christian philosophy of consolation according to which suffering from evil will be rewarded in the afterlife.

The Medici family, also known as the House of Medici, first attained wealth and political power in Florence in the 13th century through its success in commerce and banking. The Medici first mentioned in 1230. A self-made man, Giovanni Medici was one of five sons of a poor widow. His success with the Medici bank branch in Rome made him the Capo of the Medici family. After Giovanni's death, his son Cosimo fought with the richest in Florence and jealous Albizzi family. Cosimo became the patron of the arts, commissioned Lippi, Donatello, Michelozzo and Gozzoli, financed the extraordinary Duomo and the Council of Florence. He is known as the Godfather of the Renaissance. His son Lorenzo foiled an ambush against his father, saved his family and secured the position of the Medici in Florence. Lorenzo’s was also the patron of genius artists, including Botticelli, Leonardo, and Michelangelo. Lorenzo's son Giovanni received the tonsure at seven years old and by thirteen and became the youngest cardinal in history. In 1513 he became the Pope Leo X, best-known for his failure to control Martin Luther. Giovanni's bastard brother Giuliano had a son named Giulio who was adopted by his uncle, Lorenzo. With cousin's death, Giulio became Pope under Clement VII name and dealt with Henry VIII’s divorce. The Medicis produced four popes (Leo X, Clement VII, Pius IV and Leon XI), and their genes have been mixed into many of Europe’s royal families. Cosimo Medici got rid of Florence's republican government and became the King. His gentle son Ferdinand was standing up to the Pope, trying to protect his mentor and tutor, Galileo, but Intimidated by papal authority, Ferdinando was forced to withdrew his support from Galileo. Another prominent figure, Catherine Medici was orphaned at birth and raised by illegitimate cousins and papal uncles. She was threatened during the siege of Florence and handed to her new husband, the future King of France. After her husband death in hunting episode, she ruled France through her deranged and deviant sons. Her rule saw the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1572. She was obsessed with the prophecies of Nostradamus and ruled her court through the whispers of her “flying squadron ladies“. The last Medici ruler died without a male heir in 1737, ending the family dynasty after almost three centuries.

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Date

1300 - 1500
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Source

British Library
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Public Domain

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