The General Biographical Dictionary, Volume 22

Front Cover
Fb&c Limited, 2015 M06 11 - 560 pages
Excerpt from The General Biographical Dictionary, Vol. 22

Such was the influence of his family, that while the citizens of Florence fancied they lived under a pure republic, the Medici generally assumed to themselves the first offices of the state, or nominated such persons as they esteemed fit for those employments. Cosmo exerted this influence with great prudence and moderation; yet, owing to the discontent of the Florentines, with the bad success of the war against Lucca, a party arose, led on by Rinaldo de' Albizi, which, in 1433, after filling the magistracies with their own adherents, seized the person of Cosmo, and committed him to prison, and be was afterwards banished to Padua for ten years, and several other members and friends of the Medici family underwent a similar punishment. He was received with marked respect by the Venetian government, and took up his abode in the city of Venice. Within a year of his retreat Rinaldo was himself obliged to quit Florence; and Cosmo being recalled, he returned amidst the acclamations of his fellow-subjects. Some victims were offered to bis future security, and the gonfaloniere who had pronounced his sentence, with a few others of that party, were put to death. Measures were now taken to restrict the choice of magistrates to the partizans of the Medici, and alliances were formed with the neighbouring powers for the avowed purpose of supporting and perpetuating the system by which Florence was from that time to be governed. The manner in which Cosmo employed his authority, has conferred upon his memory the greatest honour. From this time bis life was an almost uninterrupted series of prosperity. The tranquillity enjoyed by the republic, and the satisfaction and peace of mind which he experienced in the esteem and confidence of bis fellow-citizens, enabled him to indulge his natural propensity to the promotion of science, and the patronage and encouragement of learned men. The richest private citizen in Europe, he surpassed almost all sovereign princes in the munificence with which he patronized literature and the fine arts. He assembled around him some of the most learned men of the age, who had begun to cultivate the Grecian language and philosophy.

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