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 4.4 out of 5 by 20.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from I have read the reviews and I only have a short sentrnce. I found it well done and very interesting.
Date published: 2021-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating Lecture Series Superb presentations delivered in a fluid, lucid and artful style. Very much appreciate the professor's efforts in sculpting this series. This is not an easy intellectual task when there is so much to tell!
Date published: 2021-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enhanced My Understanding of the Renaissance Before completing this course, I was exposed to bits and pieces of the forces that created the Renaissance. This course puts many things together. The professor explained the relationships between the various political forces very well.
Date published: 2021-09-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting, BUT... Please have someone review the closed captioning! I like listening, but my husband is somewhat hard of hearing and likes having the closed captioning on. There are many, many errors in the closed captioning as compared to the audio. (An example: closed captioning used "peasants" when professor was referring to people from Pisa ("Pisans" ) multiple times. I also would prefer a bit more animation on behalf of the speaker.
Date published: 2021-09-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from No comment! Enjoyed the course very much although not quite finished! My wife and I watched the video (movie) series of the Medici story on Netflixs and knew that it was, no doubt, glamorized somewhat but, at the same time, opened our curiosity and understanding of a period of history which we knew little about. This course filled in some more parts of the story and was thoroughly enjoyed!
Date published: 2021-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Watch This! I really love the lecturer and the style of delivery. His humor is so subtle and quite frankly awesome. More importantly he tells a compelling story, presents multiple perspectives, and brings everything to life. My next step is to look for other lectures by this professor. I would have enjoyed sort of a "Medici then and now conspiracy theory vs reality lecture." If you plan on visiting Florence this is a must watch
Date published: 2021-09-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Reading and not Teaching -Fascinating Topic though Reading and not Teaching -Fascinating Topic though I jump at any chance to get my hands on courses exploring medieval times so I was excited to see this course released. However, as I progressed listening to this course on the Wondrium app I must've gone back and forth half a dozen times on whether I should purchase it and add to my library or pass. It was on that borderline on "not worth listening to again in the future" and "good enough history to add to the collection". It wasn't until around lecture 9 that I decided to pull the trigger and purchase: the discussions of the complicated relationships between Florence, the Pope, the French, and the Holy Roman Empire were fascinating but in all honesty I struggled to like this course at times. I think the main reason was the presentation style. The professor’s presentation was more reminiscent of an emotionless narrator of an audiobook than someone attempting to teach and connect with their audience. I'm not even sure it is mostly his fault. The recent trend in TGC in which professors sit down and deliver their lectures as if they are being interviewed so needs to change. I miss the days of the professor moving about, using all of his/her body language to convey points or emphasis main points with voice intonation changes. The commanding presence is sorely missing. Instead I think another reviewer hit it on the head: we get a dude reading to the camera. And while sitting down no less. It truly was like someone reading a book. SIGH. And it is too bad because the professor has an excellent voice for teaching and for presenting clearly and he has obviously studied this area so fastidiously, his expertise is clear to see. I was just hoping for more personality---an offhand comment off script or a laugh every now and then and not just straight relating of the content. The best TGC presenters draw you in to the story and refuse to let you go and if you try to get away they fight harder---and you find yourself wishing it no other way (Professor Bucholz!). Still the course has a good historical account of the Medici family dynasty from the late 14th century to the early 18th century centering on each of the patriarchs of the family through the generations and how they contributed politically, economically, and culturally to Florence. Florence’s complicated interactions with Milan, Venice, Rome (the papacy), France, and Spain are covered in detail and were the highlight of the course (or at least these medieval foreign affairs always interest me personally anyway). The professor did a great job covering and returning time and again to one of the course's common themes: the centuries long tension between the ideals of Florentine republicanism and Medici aristocracy rule. That dichotomy and the "white myth" and "black myth" theme were interesting and while the professor is in general favorable to the family he does balance it with opposing views. One other tidbit: the course seemed to be mistitled. It was more a history of the high politics of Florence and the rule of the Medici than of the Renaissance or a detailed account of how the family influenced the movement. Sure you'll hear about Michelangelo and the classics and artwork and architecture that capture the age but this isn't a 12 lecture survey of the connections between the Medici and the Renaissance. Sorry if I sound like a conspiracist but could the word "Renaissance" have been added to the title as somewhat of a "throw-in" to get more search hits/connect with a wider audience? Considering the professor covered each Medici family head in detail I was a little disappointed that his narrative of the family ceased with Cosimo I, Grand Duck of Tuscany and there wasn't at least a brief summary of his successors until the family's rule ended in the early 1700's. Okay I've been harsh enough for today. Despite my reservations and being on the fence with this course I would still recommend it to anyone interested in medieval history or European politics in general or the Medici and Florence specifically. I learned a lot about the Medici family and its influence on Florence through the centuries. That is a win in my book. Still I can't help but feel this course could've been so much more.
Date published: 2021-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Binge-Watched Having read Miles J. Unger's 'Magnifico: The Brilliant Life and Violent Times of Lorenzo de' Medici', and Christopher Hibbert's equally fascinating 'The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall', prior to a total of three visits to Florence within the past two decades (the third having been an intensive stay of ten days) , as well as the acquisition of tour guides at every site visited, I thought this course would be only mildly interesting. Instead, I binge-watched, completing the course in four sessions, each lecture taking over an hour as I repeatedly hit the 'pause' button in order to consult the Medici family tree and cross-reference dates and facts in other sources. For me, it was a great refresher course on the complex history of the Medici dynasty, and the part its members played in the history, economy, and culture not only of Florence but also of the major international power-brokers of a period in European history covering three hundred years. I was particularly interested in the new, more positive, light shed on the much-maligned Savonarola. The only material that I wish had been included was the significance of the move made by Cosimo de' Medici to persuade the Pope to transfer the General Council of the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches from where it had convened in Ferrara to Florence in 1439. The influx to the city of the Eastern Emperor (John Paleologus) "accompanied by the Patriarch of Constantinople and their attendant bishops, theologians, scholars, interpreters and officials - a huge concourse of delegates, seven hundred strong" [C. Hibbert, 'The House of Medici', p.65] had a considerable intellectual impact: "The presence of so many Greek scholars in Florence provided an incalculable stimulus to the quickening interest in classical texts and classical history, in classical art and philosophy, and particularly in the study of Plato, that great hero of the humanists... Plethon, the great authority on Plato, who had traveled from Constantinople... agreed to remain in Florence for a time... Cosimo, who had listened to Plethon's lectures on Plato with the closest attention, was inspired to found in Florence an academy for Platonic studies", leading, a few years later, to Cosimo's subsidizing Marsilio Ficino "to study Greek and to translate all Plato into Latin." [ibid. p.68] My most-cherished memory from M. J. Unger's "Magnifico' is Chapter VII, 'Lord of the Joust', pp.129-155, which not only provides a detailed description of the rituals and the exotic finery involved in the exuberant jousts held in Piazza Santa Croce to celebrate Lorenzo's engagement to Clarice Orsini (who remained with her family in Rome), but also informs the reader that, although, in the resulting melee, the enthusiastic Lorenzo fell twice from his horse, he was declared the winner of the event, and, Unger quoting Lorenzo himself, "...the first prize was given to me; a helmet fashioned of silver, with Mars as the crest." ['Magnifico', p.155]
Date published: 2021-08-31
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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