Piero de Medici Historical Profile

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PIERO DE' MEDICI
Historical Profile
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PIERO DE' MEDICI STATS
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Name
Piero di Lorenzo de' Medici
Born: 15th February 1472
Home town: Florence
Died: 28th December 1503
Position: Ruler of Florence from 1492 until
his deposition in 1494
House of: Medici
Nickname: 'The Unfortunate' and 'The Unlucky'
Personality type: Lazy, spoiled, arrogant, bad tempered, vacillating, tyrannical, abrasive
Famous for: Capitulating to the French and being chased out of Florence by the citizens
Strength(s): Good looking, athletic
Weakness(es): Lack of ability, idleness, excessive pride
Quirks: --
Piero de Medici


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PIERO DE MEDICI BIO
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Piero de' Medici was born in Florence on 15th February 1472, the eldest son of Lorenzo 'il Magnifico' and his wife Clarice Orsini. His early letters give the impression of a spoiled, petulant teenager, continually demanding presents from his father and other relatives. At the age of seventeen, he married Alfonsina Orsini, a haughty young lady who made it clear that she considered life in her native Rome to be far superior to that of Florence. She only reinforced the bad impression that Piero himself made: his arrogance and lack of interest in either banking or politics did not bode well for his future role as head of the Florentine government.

Lorenzo de' Medici's early death pushed his young son into the position for which he was so unsuited. Unlike his father, Piero failed to consult his fellow citizens and feuded with his cousins Lorenzo and Giovanni. He neglected the fortifications of the city and when the French invasion began, many Florentines considered them the lesser of two evils. Florence was a traditional ally of France and benefited greatly from French trade.His cousins went to the French King and attempted to negotiate the surrender of the city. Piero hired mercenaries to defend Florence but once he realised the strength of the opposition, he went to Charles's camp and gave in to all the King's demands without even consulting the Signoria. He gave up all the territory that Florence had spent many years acquiring. On his return to Florence on 8th November 1494, even small children threw stones at him. Piero fled a few days later with his wife and children.

Piero and his family found sanctuary in Venice and then in , but he never gave up his attempts to return to power in Florence. He sponsored several unsuccessful coups; he attempted to make a deal with Cesare Borgia; he offered his services to the French. He spent much of his time drinking, gambling and swearing revenge on his enemies. Piero joined the French forces battling to retain Naples: on 28th December 1503, following their defeat at the Battle of Garigliano, he attempted to escape over the river but his boat capsized and he was drowned. His son Lorenzo returned to Florence as ruler with Spanish help in 1513.





page logo CONTEMPORARY VOICES
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'A man of very little ability' - Philippe de Commines, French diplomat and diarist

(He was) not qualified by either age or understanding to carry so heavy a burden, nor capable of governing with that moderation with which his father had proceeded in both domestic and foreign affairs' - Francesco Guicciardini, Florentine politician and historian

'He will do the opposite of what he ought to' - Savonarola, accurately predicting how Piero would deal with the French invasion




page logo PIERO DE MEDICI QUOTES
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page logo PIERO DE MEDICI TRIVIA
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  • He was called Piero the Unfortunate.
  • Until his exile in 1492 to 1494, he was the Gran Maestro (leading noble) of Florence.
  • Born in Florence he was the oldest son of Lorenzo de Medici (Lorenzo the Magnificent) and Clarice Orsini.
  • He was arrogant, feeble, and undisciplined, because of this his father knew he would not rule well for the position he was educated for - to succeed his father as head of the Medici family and (de facto) ruler of Florentine State.
  • In 1494, Charles VIII of France needed to secure his lines of communication with Milan, pass through Tuscany, and leave the troops there on his way to invade the kingdom of Naples.
  • Charles found it very unacceptable that Piero decided to stay neutral. The Florentines elite did not support Piero's initial attempt to mount a resistance and besides, the fanatical Dominican Savonarola already influenced them.
  • Piero quickly gave up and he had to give Charles everything he demanded. Because of his decisions (made without the consent of the signoria), the Medici family were ousted from power and exiled from Florence.
  • With the Medici family in exile the family palazzo was subsequently looted and the Second Republic of Florence established. With the help of Philippe of Commines, Piero's family fled to Venice.
  • The struggle in Italy continue over the Kingdom of Naples, between France and Spain in 1503. When the french army lost the battle, Piero was drowned in a while attempting to flee.
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page logo ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND MATERIALS
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BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS WEBSITES & MEDIA
  • The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici by Christopher Hibbert
  • The Burning of the VanIties by Desmond Seward
  • History of Italy by Francesco Guicciardini
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