THE MEDICI AND THE ROLE OF THEIR LEGAL ADVISORS. A MINI HISTORY LESSON.
By Lani L. Biafore, Esq.
Cosimo Il Vecchio (1520), Painting by Jacopo Pintormo, located at the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy
The Medici family, starting with Cosimo De’Medici known as Pater Patrea (father of the country), set up a regime that ruled Florence, Italy episodically from 1434 through 1737. Starting out as a family of hard working merchants and bankers, they gradually influenced every aspect of Florentine life in the Renaissance. Their increase in power in Florence led to the demise of the Republic of Florence. However, their rise to power was so gradual and so insidious, that many did not recognize the loss of the republican form of government. From the reign of Cosimo and onward, the Medici were concerned with the preservation of the state. When Cosimo or Lorenzo De’Medici spoke about the state (lo stato) they were not literally talking about the Florentine City State. The concept of the state was the state of the Medici family (lo stato de’medici). Legal advisors were employed to help keep the Medici in power and to regulate the policies of patronage and favors. Advisors where chosen who understood the art of the state and the best ways to secure the Medici Regime. Their knowledge of politics and princes and civil government was important. The Medici advisors continued to guide political conduct until the Medici were ousted from power.