The
Medici family was the most influential family in Florence, where they dominated
both politics and the economy.  In
addition, they contributed greatly to the renaissance. The Medici family were
the first family to establish a princely status through strategic banking
systems and methods (“HISTORY OF THE MEDICI”).

            The Medici family were heavily involved in the economy of
Florence. The Medici family, or House of Medici, gained their fortune and authority
in politics during the 13th century through their successful accomplishments
with money and banking (History.com Staff). 
Contributing to their unprecedented success were their innovative ideas
in banking that were at the forefront of modern banking and commerce. The
Medici family established and began using the double-entry bookkeeping system,
making a significant impact on economic history (“Those Medici”). Double-entry
bookkeeping is a form of accounting that is still popularly used today. The
family is known to be “the architect of the modern economy” (“HISTORY OF THE
MEDICI.”), and we still see the remnants of the Medici banking system in our
economy and banking today. 

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The
Medici bank had an important client, the pope, who was the head of the Catholic
Church.  The Medici family established
themselves as the pope’s bankers, and introduced a new method of taxation that
would benefit the Catholic Church. In addition, the Medici family began to
commission arts and buildings (Sansom). The Medici’s bank became so successful
that they expanded, and opened multiple branches.  Under Cosimo Medici, the Medici bank expanded
even further, opening numerous other branches in Rome, Venice, Bruges, London
Barcelona, Cologne and Rhodes (Sansom).

The
Medici family were active politicians in Florence, gaining even more power and
influence. They later became a royal house, allowing them to rule over the
city-state of Florence.  Cosimo de Medici,
the driving force behind the Medici Family’s success, became Duke of Florence
(The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica). 
Multiple members of the Medici family were a part of the clergy, some
even took the title to become the pope of the Catholic Church.  Four members of the Medici family went on the
become popes of the Catholic Church, Leo X, Clement VII, Piu IV, and Leon VI
(History.com Staff). The Medici also formed political alliances in the form of
marriage. Members of the Medici family were married into the royal families
across Europe. The most notable royal members of the Medici family were Queen
Catherine and Queen Marie of France (The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica).

The
Medici family heavily influenced the Renaissance era, most noticeably by being
active supporters of the arts, and were among the most famous patrons of art in
history (Sansom).  The Medici were supporters
of many famous artists, including Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, Donatello and Fra
Angelico (History.com Staff), and most notably, Michelangelo.  Lorenzo Medici recognized the young Michelangelo’s
promising talent and invited him to live at the Medici’s home (History.com
Staff). The Medici family were known to recognize great artistic talent. They
commissioned both Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo to complete the tombs of
the Medici family in Florence.  In fact,
with the support or the Medici family, Renaissance culture prospered as it was developed
under the family’s watchful eye. “The family’s support of the arts and humanities
made Florence into the cradle of the Renaissance, a cultural flowering rivaled
only by that of ancient Greece” (History.com Staff). 

            As rulers, the Medici also made Florence an epicenter of
culture. Florence became known as the heart of the Renaissance. Due to its reputation
of generous rules, Florence attracted many philosophers and artists (Florence
Inferno).  Although Cosimo de’ Medici
(The Elder) never held an official office, he was considered by most to be the
head of the state.  “Within the city,
this control is discreet. Outside, in relations with other powers, it is
generally acknowledged that Cosimo is the ruler of Florence – by now a
city-state of considerable significance” (“HISTORY OF THE MEDICI.”).  Cosimo was said to have run his affairs
behind the scenes, to the benefit of his own interests. Cosimo ruled Florence for
thirty years, using his own fortune to maintain complete power over the
internal affairs of Florence. Challengers found themselves unable to keep up
with Cosimo’s financial advantage and power (“HISTORY OF THE MEDICI.”).

The
Medici family contributed greatly to the renaissance era.  They were heavily involved in several areas,
including politics, economics, and power. The Medici Family were so heavily
involved in so many aspects of the Renaissance era, that they are considered to
be the most influential family of Florence in history.