A dazzling history of the modest family which rose to become one of the most powerful in Europe, The Medici is a remarkably modern story of power, money and ambition. Against the background of an age which saw the rebirth of ancient and classical learning - of humanism which penetrated and explored the arts and sciences and the 'dark' kwledge of alchemy, astrology, and numerology - Paul Strathern explores the intensely dramatic rise and fall of the Medici family in Florence, as well as the Italian Renaissance which they did so much to sponsor and encourage. Interwoven into the narrative are the lives of many of the great Renaissance artists with whom the Medici had dealings, including Leonardo, Michelangelo and Donatello, as well as scientists like Galileo and Pico della Mirandola, both of whom clashed with the religious authorities. In this enthralling study, Paul Strathern also follows the fortunes of those members of the Medici family who achieved success away from Florence, including the two Medici popes and Catherine de' Medicis who became Queen of France and played a major role in that country through three turbulent reigns. Vivid and accessible, the book ends with the gloriously decadent decline of the Medici family in Florence as they strove to be recognised as European Princes.
Paul Strathern studied philosophy at Trinity College, Dublin. He has lectured in philosophy and mathematics. He is a Somerset Maugham Prize-winning novelist; author of two series of books - Philosophers in 90 Minutes and The Big Idea: Scientists who Changed the World; as well as Mendeleyev's Dream (shortlisted for the Aventis Science Book Prize); Dr. Strangelove's Game: A History of Economic Genius, The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance; The Artist, the Philosopher and the Warrior, Death in Florence: The Medici, Savonarola and the Battle for the Soul of the Renaissance City and, most recently, The Spirit of Venice.