Lorenzo the Magnificent (1449-1492) was the grandson of prestigious and great Cosimo de’ Medici, who we covered in Where is Cosimo de’ Medici When We Need Him?
Lorenzo, in most respects, followed the Medici-patron formula during his time and should be highly regarded. For those watching our recommended Medici documentary, Part II covers Lorenzo’s story. Among the painters Lorenzo sponsored was Bottecilli. Lorenzo is shown at left with his horse in the painting below. Bottecilli has inserted himself on the right looking out from the canvas.
However, Lorenzo died young and under religious persecution and torment. He wasn’t around to supervise his second son, Giovanni, who became Pope Leo X in 1513. Leo X (1475 – 1521) was the pope who excommunicated Martin Luther and also bestowed upon Henry VIII the title of “Defender of the Faith.” Giovanni Medici is stark proof that even a fabulous — and in many respects righteous and well meaning — family like the Medicis can be corrupted. How and why the righteous civic model of the Medici family turned down a bad path invites a Shakespearean-esque psychological study.
Before taking the papacy for himself, Giovanni Medici and his clan were the banksters behind the scenes. Medicis worked off a patron, or godfather, model of friends of friends. The Medici family was connected to most of the other elite families of the time through marriages of convenience, partnerships or employment, so the family had a central position in the in-group social network. Several families had systematic access to the rest of the elite families only through the Medicis.
The Medici additionally benefited from the discovery of vast deposits of alum in Tolfa in 1461. Alum is essential as a mordant in the dyeing of certain cloths and was used extensively in Florence, where the main industry was textile manufacturing. Before the Medicis, the Turks were the only exporters of alum, so Europe was forced to buy from them until the discovery in Tolfa. Pius II granted the Medici family a monopoly on mining, making them the primary producers of alum in Europe.
At their peak, at least half — probably more — of Florence’s people were employed by the Medici and or their foundation branches in business. As long as there were principled men like Cosimo and Lorenzo in power, practicing Florentine civic humanism, it wasn’t a bad system. But that all changed.
The organized Jewish communities of Florence, Siena, Pisa and Livorno were political creations of the latter Medici rulers. Notice that this influence occurred after the passing of Lorenzo in 1492. Cosimo I (1519-1574) in particular, who’s covered in part IV of the Medici series, decided to utilize Jewish capital flight and networks dispersed by the Iberian expulsion of the 1490s.
By the mid-1540s — less than 10 years after he gained the throne — Cosimo I began recruiting affluent Spanish and Portuguese Jews for resettlement in his capital city of Florence and his chief port city of Pisa. This marks the end of the glory days of Cosimo the Elder and Lorenzo’s civic humanism. Something else took hold: capture and plotting.
Medici Pope Leo X’s Giant Looting Operation
Leo X managed to bankrupt the Vatican owing mainly to his program of completely rebuilding St. Peter’s Basilica. As for his personal expenses, “He spent only eight thousand ducats ($18,400) per month on his table. For his inauguration festival, Leo spent 100,000 ducats, 1/7th of the treasury that [Pope] Julius left.”
He then proceeded to create a large bureaucracy and fill with positions sold to the highest bidder, including crypto-Jews. Papal jewels were pawned.
Leo granted special favors to the Jews and permitted them to erect an active Hebrew printing press in Rome.
In addition, Leo X wrote the book on in-group nepotism and filled his papacy with empty-suit family members and hacks. All of this added fuel to the fury and fire of the Protestant Reformation.
Part III in the series covers the Leo X aspect of the Medici story.
Still broke and in debt, Leo X instituted the sale of indulgences. He expanded the indulgence scam beyond all previous excesses of Sixtus IV. An army of Christian priestly soldiers was issued from Rome not to gather souls but to bankroll a crusade to hoodwink the simple people throughout Europe into thinking that they could purchase for themselves and their dearly departed a ticket to Heaven.
This abuse triggered Martin Luther to write a widely disseminated manifesto in 1517 condemning the practice. After Leo X badly miscalculated and excommunicated Luther, the Protestant Reformation was launched. The following image, showing Leo X’s debauchery, was a typical Reformation lithograph from the period, .
Pope Julius’ treasury was emptied, and even the booming business from 10,000 prostitutes servicing a citizenry of 50,000 in the papal brothels of Rome could not finance St. Peter’s dome and Leo X’s extravagances.
In “The Last Pope,” author John Hogue wrote of Giovanni de Medici’s renovation of the Vatican in the style of the High Renaissance. Leo as a pederast, permitted free reign to fellow pederasts- a pattern we see to this day.
“Leo was a good administrator, a shrewd politician and at first it appears he was even chaste, until he revealed his fondness for little boys … [he spent] the bulk of his seven-year pontificate lavishing millions of ducats on the arts, legendary banquets and his grandiose building projects … on the construction of a new St. Peter’s Basilica, which he intended to be the greatest church in Christendom. The pope’s ears were deaf to the protests of his priests as he blessed the demolition of old St. Peter’s with all of its priceless early Christian art treasures.”
When Leo X died in 1521, many suspected he was poisoned. He was soon succeeded by his Medici cousin Pope Clement VII, who quickly faced the scourge of German Protestants that his predecessor had unleashed. Clement had played a role with Leo working as a Cardinal. An army of furious German Protestants sacked Rome in May 1527. The event marked the end of the Roman Renaissance. The population of Rome dropped from some 55,000 before the attack to 10,000.
The Corrupt Version of the Medici Oligarchs Infiltrate European Royalty
After wrecking the Roman Catholic Church, the post-civic humanist Medici toxin was spread around Europe. In 1530, after allying himself with Charles V, Medici Pope Clement VII succeeded in securing the engagement of Charles V’s daughter Margaret of Austria to his illegitimate nephew (reputedly his son) Alessandro de’ Medici. Clement also convinced Charles V to name Alessandro as Duke of Florence. Thus began the reign of Medici monarchs in Florence, which lasted two centuries.
After securing Alessandro de’ Medici’s dukedom, Pope Clement VII married off his first cousin, twice removed, Catherine de’ Medici, to the son of Emperor Charles V’s arch-enemy, King Francis I of France, the future King Henry II. This led to the transfer of Medici blood and methods, through Catherine’s daughters, to the royal family of Spain through Elisabeth of Valois and the House of Lorraine through Claude of Valois.
Lorenzo the Elder (1395-1440), the great Cosimo the Elder’s brother, was ancestor to all the Grand Dukes of Tuscany as direct descendant of Cosimo I de’ Medici. Cosimo I can also be considered one of the progenitors of the modern Police State. Cosimo I pushed the cult of Medici with no distinction between the good, bad and ugly parts. He was also the ancestor to all the kings of France, beginning with Louis XIII, as a result of the marriage of Marie de’ Medici to King Henry IV of France.
Bloodline researchers looking for the modern Crime Syndicate ties have fertile ground with this brood and their associates.