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Published on Nov 20, 2013
The Medici were among the most powerful families in the world. Beginning in the fourteenth century, they built a fortune bankrolling popes and kings. Through their wealth and their political abilities, they went from being one of many patrician clans in Florence to the city's hereditary rulers. They married into the royal houses of Austria and France, and two of their number were made pope. Scholars and lovers of art, the Medici were patrons of Leonardo, Raphael, Botticelli, Galileo, Michelangelo, and Cellini. And under their rule, Florence became the intellectual hub of the Western world.