The Pazzi Conspiracy: the Cause and Effects of the Attempted Assassination of Lorenzo de Medici.

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The Pazzi Conspiracy: The cause and effects of the attempted assassination of Lorenzo de Medici.

“The Pazzi conspiracy,” is the name given to the attempted assassination of Lorenzo de Medici by the rival Pazzi family. On Sunday April 26, 1478, members of the Pazzi family, along with fellow conspirators, set out to kill Lorenzo de Medici and his brother, Guiliano. In order to understand the motivation of the attack one must understand the tension between the Medici and Pazzi families as well as Lorenzo’s control during the time period. Upon understanding such things, one can draw conclusion about the reasons behind the attacks, the motives of those involved, and the feelings of the citizens regarding the two families. Lorenzo the Magnificent (1449- 1492)

Born on January 1, 1449, Lorenzo de Medici was one of the most prolific characters during the Italian Renaissance. Consequently, he was known as Lorenzo the Magnificent, even during his time in Florence. He ruled Florence, by way of the powerful Medici family, from 1469 until his death in 1492. During the first twelve years of his rule, he worked with his younger brother, Giuliano (1453–78), at his side. Lorenzo displayed the desire to run the family early in life. He took control of the family at the age of twenty. However, Lorenzo began to work diplomatically on the family’s behalf at an even younger age. Quoting Harold Acton: During his adolescence Lorenzo was often sent on diplomatic missions – to Pisa to meet Federigo, the cultured younger son of King Ferrante of Naples; to Milan to represent his father at the marriage of Ferrante’s eldest son to Francesco Sforza’s clever daughter Ippolita, later to prove a loyal friend in need; to Bologna, Venice, Ferrara, Naples, and to Rome to congratulate Pope Paul II on his accession in 1466. It was obvious that Lorenzo would grow to be a well known figure in Florence as he was meeting with popes at the age of seventeen. A quote by Lorenzo suggests that he was reluctant to take charge of the regime. However, many history books say that Lorenzo asked for military help for his succession just two days before his father’s death. This would lead one to believe that he was not as reluctant as he stated. As the head of the family, he followed in the footsteps of his father, Piero; as he ruled with complete control. In his advantage, his tyranny was masked by the flashiness of grand events that Florentines enjoyed. According to historian Francesco Guicciardini, Lorenzo’s regime was “that of a benevolent tyrant in a constitutional republic.” It was most definitely a tyranny mitigated by carnivals, balls, tournament and other common Florentine affairs. However, he was not viewed as favorably by others in positions of power. His arrogance allowed him to rule with no sympathy to others or worry of consequences. In Dr. Knox’s essay he points out that the prior two Medici leaders created an atmosphere where other families thought Florence would be better without Medici rule. “Perhaps it is unfair to say that Lorenzo could have changed this, but it is indisputable that he did not try. The Medici Bank the Medici coat of arms

Although the citizens of Florence approved of Lorenzo, he still faced problems with Pope Sixtus IV and the rival Pazzi family. The Medici family was the single most wealthy and powerful family in Florence during the 15th century. Naturally, their power resulted in conflict amongst other members of the Florence elite. Lorenzo noted that “It is hard for the rich to live in Florence unless they rule the state.” It was a common idea at the time that if you did not control the state, the state would ruin you. Those who were rich without control were subject to taxation deliberately aimed at impounding their fortune. The Medici made its money through banking and Lorenzo helped reestablish their monopoly in the industry. During the same time the Pazzi family found success in the same field, making the two families bitter...
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