The House of Medici
By Christopher Hibbert
Published in May 1999
Thibault’s Score: 2/5
This book was shockingly similar to Paul Strathern’s The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance. It covered the same topics, in the same order, and used the same primary sources. Even much of the analysis was identical. I cannot help but wonder if Strathern’s book was actually an updated version of this one.
Because of the similarities, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I might have otherwise. I nevertheless decided to finish it because I think that the Medicis are an interesting topic. Overall, I don’t think that I learned that much, but rather reinforced my understanding of the timelines / chronology of events.
The writing style is neither good nor bad; it is not very memorable. The content is a simple biography of the most important members of the Medici family throughout the ages (Cosimo, Lorenzo, Piero the Unfortunate, Pope Alexander VI, Pope Leo X, and Cosimo I). Less of an emphasis is placed on the women who were sent off as brides to France (Catherine and company) or the degenerate late Medicis (Cosimo III and Gian Gastone).
I may recommend this book as a good starting place to learn about the Medicis, or Paul Strathern’s. The two are very similar. I do caution that both books require a basic understanding of the chronology of the renaissance and aren’t beginner friendly.
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