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How the Medici Shaped the Renaissance

Relive the passion, intrigue, and astonishing exploits of the Medici, and discover the roles this unique powerful family played in an era that changed the Western world.
How the Medici Shaped the Renaissance is rated 3.9 out of 5 by 32.
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Rated 2 out of 5 by from I really don't get the point of the professor sitting on a stool, hands in his lap, staring fixedly at the teleprompter and, while hardly moving, simply reading the lecture. Couldn't you just buy a book? Also I found the course title a bit misleading as I expected more art history, but found mostly political and military history of Florence.
Date published: 2022-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Engrossing As a student of history, this period has always been fascinating for me. The professor who covered this material was extremely knowledgeable and was able to explain things in a way that was cohesive and understandable. I was very impressed!
Date published: 2021-12-30
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring Landon just sits there and reads from a teleprompter. He drones on and on so that I wonder if he is interested in the material.
Date published: 2021-12-22
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointing, poorly quality, awful presentation I was very disappointed with the poor overall quality of this course. The professor simply reads a script without even trying to look at the camera or pretend to address the audience. His reading is monotone and hard to follow, he comes across as he just doesn't care to reach his audience. Any books on tape would be better than this. This course reflects poorly on the Great Courses. You need to do a better job screening the professors, their contents and their performance if you wish to maintain your good reputation.
Date published: 2021-12-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent History This is an impressive course on the history of the city of Florence in primarily in the 15th and 16th centuries. The professor presents an excellent on both the pros and cons of Medici rule in Florence. There is no sugar coating or "hatchet job" with regard to how the Medici achieve rule and used it. For anyone seriously interested in the history nof Florence, this is a must course to purchase.
Date published: 2021-11-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from how the medici shaped the renaissance Great information and I appreciate this course a lot. However, the presenter just lectured at lickety speed without a breath and no eye contact. Therefore a lot of information was lost on me since my brain couldn't keep up.
Date published: 2021-11-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great content This course lays out the history of the Medici from a somewhat less laudatory point of view than others. Portrays savanorola from a more complex perspective. The professors delivery is a bit drier than others.
Date published: 2021-11-07
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring The main dislike was not the subject matter but the delivery of the professor. He was not animated at all but only sat and read off the teleprompter. This was a real turn off for me since I love the Renaissance courses.
Date published: 2021-10-28
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Overview

The extraordinary Medici family ruled the city-state of Florence for three centuries and played a key role in the world-changing phenomenon of the Renaissance. In How the Medici Shaped the Renaissance, scholar William Landon leads you through the dazzling trajectory of the Medici, where you’ll trace the founding of the Medici dynasty as an economic powerhouse. Learn how the Medici played central roles in the preserving of classical texts and the commissioning of iconic works of art and architecture. Encounter Medici luminaries from Lorenzo the Magnificent, a political genius of the highest order, to Catherine de’ Medici, cultural influencer and queen of France. Lastly, follow how the Medici were exiled from Florence and returned to power numerous times, ultimately becoming hereditary rulers.

About

William Landon
William Landon

In the hands of an objective truth-seeking historian, the fullness of your experiences, what we might call your humanity, would emerge, the good mingled with the bad, the real you treated fairly.

INSTITUTION

Northern Kentucky University

William Landon is a Professor of History at Northern Kentucky University. After chairing the Department of History and Geography for four years, he returned to full-time teaching and research. He received his MSc and PhD in History, with a particular emphasis on the life and works of Niccolò Machiavelli, from the University of Edinburgh.

Throughout his career, William has given lectures in North America, Europe, and Asia. He is the principal investigator for a multiyear National Science Foundation grant awarded to provide undergraduate students with training for the real world. He has published numerous articles, book chapters, and reviews on Renaissance-centric themes, and he is also the author of two books: Politics, Patriotism and Language: Niccolò Machiavelli’s “Secular Patria” and the Creation of an Italian National Identity and Lorenzo di Filippo Strozzi and Niccolò Machiavelli: Patron, Client, and the Pistola fatta per la peste/An Epistle Written Concerning the Plague. The latter included the first English biography of Lorenzo Strozzi and was nominated for the Renaissance Society of America’s Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize in 2013.

By This Professor

How the Medici Shaped the Renaissance
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How the Medici Shaped the Renaissance

Trailer

Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance

01: Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance

Begin by considering the pervasive “Medici Myth” surrounding the illustrious family—the “White” myth, which extols their achievements, and the “Black” myth, which harshly criticizes their influence. Take into account the historical methods that will be used throughout this course. Also explore the social and political conditions within 14th-century Florence that gave rise to the Renaissance.

29 min
The Foundations of Medici Greatness

02: The Foundations of Medici Greatness

Chart the extraordinary life of Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici, considered the founder of the Medici family. Learn how Giovanni founded the Medici bank, and rose through banking and government to a position of great wealth and eminence, building a coalition of Florentines dedicated to Medici interests. Observe how the Medici family and bank became a controlling interest in Florentine politics.

29 min
The Godfather: Cosimo de’ Medici

03: The Godfather: Cosimo de’ Medici

Cosimo de’ Medici, heir to Giovanni, took the reins of the Medici family and its dynasty. Grasp how Cosimo amassed power through patronage of the humanities and financial dealings with government. Witness the crises through which he ultimately dominated the Republic of Florence, highlighting the role of the Duomo Cathedral and the astonishing story of his exile and return to Florence as ruler.

30 min
The Gouty: Piero de’ Medici

04: The Gouty: Piero de’ Medici

Learn how Cosimo de’ Medici undertook to make Florence the most beautiful city in Europe, commissioning numerous public buildings and masterpieces of art. Then follow the brief reign of his son, Piero, whose skillful navigation of currents of dissent and revolution, aided by the brilliant partnership of his wife, Lucrezia, solidified the foundations of the Medici dynasty.

30 min
Lorenzo the Magnificent

05: Lorenzo the Magnificent

Delve into the early life of Lorenzo, the most celebrated of the Medici, where he excelled as a poet, author, and diplomat. Grasp how Lorenzo skillfully balanced his obligations to the state with his love of art, family, and fine living. Witness his ascent to become chief advisor to Florence’s government, and the political trials that led to a conspiracy and attempt on his life.

33 min
Magnificence Achieved

06: Magnificence Achieved

Assess the extraordinary accomplishments and influence of Lorenzo de’ Medici, called Il Magnifico. Observe how, excommunicated by the pope and facing vast political challenges and threats of war, he almost single-handedly held Italy peacefully together, balancing the powers of Venice, Milan, Naples, and Rome, while maintaining his family’s wealth and its grip on Florence.

31 min
The First Collapse of the Medici Regime

07: The First Collapse of the Medici Regime

Examine the extraordinary circumstances of Lorenzo de’ Medici’s decline and death, highlighting the role of the politically influential friar, Girolamo Savonarola. Follow the highly charged events surrounding Piero de’ Medici’s assumption of power, and the outbreak of bloody war which ultimately forced Piero and his brothers to flee into exile, ending 60 years of Medici power in Florence.

29 min
Theocracy and Republicanism at Florence

08: Theocracy and Republicanism at Florence

Relive the period in which the Florentine Republic was reinstated in a populist revolution overseen by the religious figure of Savonarola. Trace the upheavals that led to Savonarola’s fall, and the maneuvering by the Medici in Rome to ally with the papacy and the Spanish. Witness the military actions through which, after nearly 20 years in exile, the Medici returned as rulers of Florence.

30 min
The Medici Restoration

09: The Medici Restoration

Study the political landscape of Florence under the direction of the Cardinal Giovanni de’ Medici and his younger brother, Giuliano, the secular head of the family. Learn the dramatic story of the ensuing conspiracy to assassinate Giuliano, and Giovanni’s elevation as Pope Leo X. Observe the internecine struggles within the family culminating with a second Medici pope and the brutal sack of Rome.

29 min
The Last Florentine Republic

10: The Last Florentine Republic

Following the expulsion of the Medici from Florence in the wake of the sack of Rome, study the divisions that plagued the final Florentine Republic. Witness the political alliances that led to the siege of Florence by the Holy Roman Emperor, the events ending in the return of the Medici to the city, and the rewriting of the Florentine constitution, naming the Medici as hereditary rulers.

32 min
The Black Prince: Alessandro de’ Medici

11: The Black Prince: Alessandro de’ Medici

Carefully consider Alessandro de’ Medici, a debauched and cruel ruler. Learn about the “cult of Brutus,” a movement that believed in assassination to achieve republican goals, and its connection with the sordid death of Alessandro. Then, encounter his successor, the ruthless and capable Cosimo de’ Medici, who further solidified Medici power, as well as Florence’s stature and independence.

32 min
Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany

12: Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany

Conclude with a view of some of the later Medici luminaries. Among them, assess the accomplishments of Cosimo de’ Medici, granted the title of Grand Duke; the judicious Ferdinando de’ Medici, whose civic and social policies attended a new era of prosperity; and Catherine de Medici, who imported Florentine culture to France as the French queen. Finally, learn about the Medici dynasty’s decline.

33 min