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Database: Lorenzo de'Medici

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Date of Birth: 1449.
Profession: Ruler of Florence.

Simultaneously keeping the dream of the Florentine Republic alive while leaving the people with very little legitimate power, Lorenzo de' Medici deftly ruled Renaissance Florence during its Golden Age.

Lorenzo's grandfather, Cosimo, built the Medici Bank, creating one of the most powerful financial institutions in Europe and becoming fabulously rich in the process.

Considered the smartest of Cosimo's grandchildren, Lorenzo was already being sent on diplomatic missions as a child. Although his father was inept and sickly, his mother was a poet. She introduced Lorenzo to many of the most prominent artists of the day, instilling in him a love of art and culture.

In 1469, when he was only twenty, Lorenzo became the head of the Medici family, at which point he quickly gained control of the Florentine government through friends in the city council, payoffs, strategic marriages and threats. But Florence prospered with Lorenzo as its puppeteer. A peace was made between the warring states of Italy and several masterpieces of Renaissance art by the likes of Botticelli and Michelangelo were made under his care.

Ultimately, Lorenzo was happier writing poetry and shadow governing than directing his family's bank. During his lifetime, several branches of the bank collapsed and the Medici assets were wasted on frivolities such as jousting tournaments.

Lorenzo died in 1492. Nearly broke, he was unable to prevent the popular backlash against his rich lifestyle and the mad monk Savonarola's rise to power.

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