The House of Medici by Christopher Hibbert

Could the Italian Renaissance have flourished without the Medici to finance it? This book supports Will Durant’s argument that art may be the flower of civilization, but money is the root. Yet apart from a few shining stars in the Medici family, the story is mostly one of decline that illustrates how utterly useless Europe’s ruling aristocracy was. The early Medici did some fine things, but their name outlived their glory. Still, as many of my bohemian friends are fond of pointing out, it would be nice if the Medici were around today to sponsor us creative types. Where there are no Medici, there can be no Michelangelos.

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