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season three

Episode 33: God’s Republic

Charles VIII marches on Naples not knowing a brand-new plague is waiting for him, the Medici adapt to the existence of the new republic in different ways, and Savonarola and his allies in government tighten their grip over Florence, even while Rodrigo Borgia closes in on Florence’s popular preacher.

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season three

Episode 32: The Friar and the King

Piero de’ Medici is gone, and a new rising star is a hotshot preacher named Girolamo Savonarola. Once an itinerant preacher and lecturer, Savonarola now finds himself hobnobbing with King Charles VIII of France and even having a say in Florence’s newly rebuilt, Medici-free republic. 

The only known contemporaneous portrait of Girolamo Savonarola (1497 or 1498) by Fra Bartolomeo. Source: Museo di San Marco, Firenze.
A statue of Girolamo Savonarola in the Palazzo Savonarola in Ferrara (1875) by Stefano Galletti. Source: Dominican Friars of England, Wales, and Scotland website.
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season two

Episode 31: The Flood Comes

Piero doesn’t get to enjoy being the de facto lord of Florence for long before he has to deal with an impending French invasion of Italy. He decides to imitate his father’s boldest move, which would surely work…won’t it?

A portrait of King Charles VIII of France. Artist unknown. Uffizi Galleries, Florence.

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season two

Episode 30: Piero the Brief

The fourth Medici to come to power as “unofficial lord” of Florence is Lorenzo the Magnificent’s son, Piero. Although a strapping, handsome, and popular young man, forces within the regime are already working against him. But the real threat is starting to stir many miles outside of Florence…

A portrait of Piero II “the Brief” de’ Medici by Gherardo di Giovanni del Fora. Date: 1494. Source: National Library of Naples.
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season two

Episode 28: The End of the Golden Age

The golden age of the Medici’s unofficial lordship over Florence is drawing to an end with Lorenzo’s death. Here we look back over Lorenzo’s legacy as the patron, the politician, and even the embezzler and the human being. Also, what exactly was Lorenzo’s contribution to the course of not only Florentine but European history as a whole? 

The tomb of Lorenzo de’ Medici, his brother Giuliano, and other members of the family in the New Sacristy in Florence. Lorenzo and Giuliano’s remains were reinterred there in 1532. The statuary at the tomb was carved by Michelangelo and commissioned by Pope Leo X (Giovanni de’ Medici).
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season two

Episode 27: The Decline and Fall of the Medici Bank

Lorenzo is at the height of his power and security. However, just behind the scenes, the family bank that caused the Medici to come into power in the first place is slowly but steadily falling apart, thanks to the Ottomans, a squabble between English royals, and, most of all, the ugly realities of politics. 

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season two

Episode 26: The Private Life and Patronage of Lorenzo de’ Medici

The Lorenzo we see from his volumnious letters is a man who had a short temper and bouts of depression, but was also capable of tremendous compassion and generosity. Unfortunately, his relationships with his own wife and sons were perhaps less than ideal.

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season two

Episode 25: Into The Lion’s Den

To try to stop a war Florence is badly losing and take some steam out of the Pope’s vendetta against him, Lorenzo does something few politicians had done before or since: put himself directly in enemy territory. 

King Ferrante of Naples as one of the Magi who visit the infant Jesus Christ in Marco Cardisco’s Adoration of the Magi. Date unknown. Source: Civic Museum of Castel Nuovo, Naples.

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season two

Episode 24: Bloodshed

The Pope, his nephew, an archbishop, and a mercenary decide Lorenzo de’ Medici and his brother Giuliano have to die. Unfortunately, the conspiracy develops some hiccups, namely having to send a couple of clergy instead of a mercenary to take down Lorenzo…

Stefano Ussi’s painting imagining the assassination of Giuliano de’ Medici (although note that Giuliano was supposed to have been kneeling when he was killed) (date unknown). Source: Private collection.
Leonardo da Vinci’s sketch of Bernardo Bandini, one of the executed conspirators. Date: 1479.

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Categories
season two

Episode 23: The Calm Before The Storm

Lorenzo resorts to unsavory methods in order to keep the Medici bank afloat. In the meantime, his path crosses with the man who would prove to be his most relentless enemy: Christ’s representative on Earth himself. 

A fresco depicting Sixtus IV and some of the della Rovere-Riario family by Melozzo da Forli (c. 1477). Source: Vatican Museum.

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