The Black Prince of Florence

The Black Prince of Florence

The Spectacular Life and Treacherous Times of Alessandro De' Medici

Book - 2016
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The year is 1531. After years of brutal war and political intrigue, the bastard son of a Medici Duke and a 'half-negro' maidservant rides into Florence. Within a year, he rules the city as its Prince. Backed by the Pope and his future father-in-law the Holy Roman Emperor, the nineteen-year-old Alessandro faces down bloody family rivalry and the scheming hostility of Italy's oligarchs to reassert the Medicis' faltering grip on the turbulent city-state. Six years later, as he awaits an adulterous liaison, he will be murdered by his cousin in another man's bed. From dazzling palaces and Tuscan villas to the treacherous backstreets of Florence and the corridors of papal power, the story of Alessandro's spectacular rise, magnificent reign and violent demise takes us deep beneath the surface of power in Renaissance Italy - a glamorous but deadly realm of spies, betrayal and vendetta, illicit sex and fabulous displays of wealth, where the colour of one's skin meant little but the strength of one's allegiances meant everything.
Publisher: London :, The Bodley Head,, [2016]
ISBN: 9781847922694
Branch Call Number: 921 M489
Characteristics: xxiii, 308 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : color illustrations, map, genealogical table ; 24 cm

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ChristchurchLib May 16, 2016

Ruler of Florence for seven bloody years, 1531 to 1537, Alessandro de' Medici was arguably the first person of colour to serve as a head of state in the Western world. Born out of wedlock to a dark-skinned maid and Lorenzo de' Medici, he was the last legitimate heir to the line of Lorenzo the Magnificent. When Alessandro's noble father died of syphilis, the family looked to him. Groomed for power, he carved a path through the backstabbing world of Italian politics in a time when cardinals, popes, and princes vied for wealth and advantage. By the age of nineteen, he was prince of Florence, inheritor of the legacy of the grandest dynasty of the Italian Renaissance. Alessandro faced down family rivalry and enormous resistance from Florence's oligarchs, who called him a womanizer-which he undoubtedly was--and a tyrant. Yet this real-life counterpart to Machiavelli's Prince kept his grip on power until he was assassinated at the age of 26 during a late-night tryst arranged by his scheming cousins. After his death, his brief but colorful reign was criticized by those who had murdered him in a failed attempt to restore the Florentine republic.

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