Rise to Prominence of the Medici's
The House of Medici was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house who essentially ruled the Republic of Florence through economic power and personal influence.1 The Medici are one of the first dynasties to obtain their status not through warfare, marriage or inheritance but through economic means (commerce).2 They originated from the rural countryside of Mugello, north of Florence during the 12th century and rose to prominence when they founded the Medici Bank.3 The bank was the largest in Europe during the 15th century, which allowed the Medici to gain power in Florence.4 The Medici were created Dukes of Florence by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1531 and later on Dukes of Tuscany by Emperor Maximilian II in 1575.5 The House of Medici also produced 4 Popes of the Catholic Church and 2 acting queens of France but what allowed for the Medici to rise to prominence? In my opinion, the Medici’s rose to power because they were; in charge of the largest bank in Europe which allowed them to access an incredible amount of funds; they were notorious for their cut- throat tactics and how to get ahead of the competition and stay ahead; and finally because of their geographical location: Florence which was the center of the renaissance.
The Medici Bank was possibly the most prosperous and was definitely one of the most well respected institutions of its kind in all of Europe and it was most powerful financial institution during 15th century Europe. The Medici Bank was setup in 1397 by Giovanni di Becci de' Medici who managed the bank in Rome before moving to Florence.6 The Medici Bank used newly developed techniques such as records, double entry book keeping, bills of exchange and book transfers.7 They held deposits, made loans, dealt in bills of exchange, changed money and conducted business abroad.8 They were also aggressive in expanding as they had nine branches outside of Florence and although the Bardi and...
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