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wealth, leisure, and facilities for travelling, so little has been done for the investigation of the sites of ancient cities? The explorers of Greece and Turkey half a century ago had neither steam to convey them to distant coasts, nor the practical knowledge of archæology which we now possess to guide their researches, nor photographers to record their discoveries, nor an electric telegraph wherewith to maintain communication with a distant base of operations. We, with all these appliances, and with boundless wealth at the command of individuals, if not of governments, grudge to these great enterprises the money which is daily wasted on trivial and ignoble objects. Why has England no Schliemanns ?


Art. IX.-1. Lorenzo de' Medici il Magnifico. Von ALFRED

von REUMONT. Zwei Bände. Leipzig: 1874. 2. Lorenzo the Magnificent. By ALFRED DE REU MONT.

Translated from the German by ROBERT HARRISON. 2 vols. 8vo. London : 1876. TH This work is the composition of a German writer, the fruit

of a study of the annals and archives of Italy rivalling in love and devotion that of Gregorovius, who was two years ago presented with the freedom of the city of Rome in the Capitol. It is, however, to Florence more than Rome that Herr von Reumont has chiefly devoted himself, and the present volumes are dedicated to the late Marchese Gino Capponi, whose history of his native city we reviewed last April, and under whose roof the present work was in great part composed.

The scrupulousness and industry with which Herr von Reumont has fulfilled his task are beyond all praise. A new biography of the great man whom he has chosen for his subject has long been wanted. It is now eighty years since Roscoe published his biography of Lorenzo the Magnificent—a work which gained the favour of the reading public immediately on its appearance, has been translated into every language in Europe, and still holds its ground. It was a strange freak of destiny which brought it about that a Liverpool banker should have composed a work distinguished by elegance of taste requiring access to peculiar sources of information, and thus have become the medium of making known to the polite world of Europe the most distinguished chief of the Renaissance period, and should have succeeded in portraying the character of a country and an epoch from which so much of the culture of modern Europe is derived. Our admiration of the way in which Roscoe fulfilled his task is increased when we consider the difficulties under which the work was composed--the deficiencies of libraries and documents and the commotions and distractions of a life of business, with which he had to contend. Libraries and archives were of course far more inaccessible in those days than they are now. Mr. Roscoe never, we believe, had the advantage of visiting Italy, and was obliged to trust to amateurs and volunteers for assistance in making researches among the libraries of Florence. That he performed his task as well as he did is among the most extraordinary feats of historical genius, which conducted him in a spirit of divination as it were always in the track of the material necessary to his work. Before the appearance of his life the dull Latin biographies of Valori and Fabroni were the only ones devoted to the story of Lorenzo, and these were only accessible to scholars; and Roscoe was also restricted chiefly to printed matter for his sources of information. Since his day, however, a mass of fresh documents, both printed and in manuscript, have accumulated respecting the family of the Medici and of Lorenzo, and it was well that these should receive a careful investigation, and that the details of the life of Lorenzo should be filled up by their aid; and this service Herr von Reumont has carefully performed. These two closely printed volumes contain an immense amount of information which will be quite new to the students of Roscoe; and Herr von Reumont shows himself to be a thorough master of the history of the age and the country with which he deals in all its innermost details. It is to be regretted, however, that he has not imitated Roscoe in ease and elegance of style; for the reading of these volumes is extremely puzzling and laborious ; it requires often so severe a tension of the mind to get at the meaning of their crabbed and involved sentences, that frequently when we have mastered the sense of a phrase, it requires another as great an effort to remember what it has to do with the context. An English translation of the work from the pen of the accomplished Librarian of the London Library has just appeared which does him great credit, but unfortunately this translation did not reach us until we had completed this article.

One of the most interesting chapters of this work is that in which the writer has drawn a picture of the wealth and artistic variety of life as it existed in Florence in the days of the subject of his narrative. What Athens was to Greece that was Florence to medieval Italy and the Italy of the Renaissance—the centre of all spiritual and artistic life. And not less remarkable was


the astonishing success with which they cultivated all the finest manufactures of the time and the highest branches of com

The banking businesses of the leading citizens of Florence, who had their comptoirs and their branch offices scattered all over the known world, were conducted on a colossal scale; and it was in this way chiefly that the Medici first acquired that immense fortune which formed the basis of their power, but which, when the heads of the family ceased to direct their affairs themselves, and had to confide them to agents, on account of their preoccupation with political affairs, fell into disorder and eventual bankruptcy.

Florence, we learn, had at this time two hundred and seventy warehouses in the woollen trade, which exported their goods to Rome and the Romagna, to Naples and Sicily, to Constantinople and Pera, to Adrianople, Broussa, and all Turkey. It possessed eighty-three splendid establishments in silk commerce, exporting stuffs of gold and silver, satin, brocade, damask, taffetas, &c., to Rome and Naples, to Catalonia and all Spain, to Turkey and Barbary. The chief fairs to which these wares were sent were those of Genoa, Romagna, Ferrara, Mantua, all Italy, Lyons, Avignon, Montpelier, Antwerp, and London. There were three and twenty banks of the first rank; retail shops of silk and woollen goods were in abundance; workshops also of artists in marble and in inlaid work; goldsmiths and jewellers formed a trade in themselves; while shops of apothecaries, grocers, butchers, and provision warehouses were in numbers such as it was said no other town could boast. As an example of the magnitude of the foreign commerce of Florence it


be mentioned that the Florentine trading colony settled at Lyons counted no less than thirty houses; among which were establishments belonging to the Albizzi, the Guadagni, the Panciatichi, the Bartolini, the Strozzi, Gondi, Manetti, Antinori, Dei, and others.

The great wealth derived from all these sources was enployed by the citizens in embellishing both the public and private life of the city. The great artists of Florence were not alone occupied in adorning the churches and public edifices with all the finest resources of architecture, painting, sculpture, and carving, but private dwellings also were made beautiful with all the devices of their exquisite labour. Busts of marble and terracotta were dispersed along walls hung thick with family portraits from the easels of Benozzo Gozzoli, Francia, and Perugino. Carved furniture and inlaid furniture were dispersed about the rooms, and the fine porcelain ware and quaint majolica of the table were rivalled by the artistic designs



in silver, and mingled with goblets and vases of rich crystal, of a style which Benvenuto Cellini brought to perfection. Herr von Reumont publishes a curious document, drawn up in 1472 by the chronicler, Benedetto Dei, in reply to an injurious pamphlet concocted by some Venetians respecting Florence, in which the noble city, the daughter of Rome,' as she was called, was depreciated at the expense of the Queen of the Adriatic.

Notwithstanding, too, the indignant apostrophe of Dante at the growing luxury of Florence, citizen life continued there to be in the main of a modest and frugal character. Even up to a late period the remarkable description given by the historian Varchi of the people of Florence in his time, was true also for the days of Lorenzo:

'I cannot coincide in the opinion of those who deny to the Florentines all nobility of thought, and hold them for low and plebeian because they are merchants. Often have I wondered in silence how people who have been accustomed from childhood to drag about with them bales of wool and parcels of silk goods, or like slaves to spend each day and part of each night in tending the loom and the dyeing-vat, often on occasion show such great spirit and magnanimity of soul that they are as fair in speech as in deed. The atmosphere, which is a medium between the sharp air of Arezzo and the heavy air of Pisa, has certainly some influence in producing the phenomenon. He who observes the Florentines well in nature and habits will come to the conclusion that they are more fitted to be a ruling than a subject city.'

Such were the city and such the people in which, and over which, after a series of vicissitudes of dominion and of victories and defeats of parties, perhaps unequalled in history, the family of the Medici succeeded at length in establishing an hereditary supremacy of authority. The family of the Medici, as is well known, did not descend from the feudal nobility of the Florentine State, mostly of German origin, and deriving their importance from their castles and possessions in the country. They were among the families who passed by the name of the popolani grossi, and formed by themselves a sort of urban or plebeian aristocracy. Singularly enough, the first occasion on which the name of Medici figures in history was in the year 1201, when a certain Chiarissimo Medici was active in promoting a league between his native city and Siena, for the destruction of one of those feudal holds in the valley of the Elsa, which the Florentines, with the help of neighbouring cities, succeeded ultimately in utterly subduing.

The rise of the family of the Medici, indeed, proceeded pace by pace with the triumph of the Guelfic principles and the growth of the Florentine popular spirit. What was the origin of the race, and what was the meaning of the palle or balls which formed the family device, is lost in obscurity. When the family became illustrious, the flattery of archeologists invented for them genealogies commencing with Charlemagne, and even with Perseus. The palle, the red balls on a golden field, were declared by some to represent the apples of the Hesperides ; by others to represent the iron balls which hung from the mace of a giant overcome by a knightly progenitor in single combat ; while the most modest explanation of them is that they are suggestive of the pills or cupping glasses, which the founder of the family used in his medical profession.

Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici was elected Gonfaloniere of Florence in 1417. He had been the most energetic and prosperous among the enterprising and quick-witted Florentine merchants and bankers who, amid the vicissitudes and disorders of the affairs and government of their city, had extended that web of commercial relations throughout the whole civilised world. During the reign of the Ottimati Pisa and Leghorn had been added to the dominion of the little state, and Giovanni had known how to turn the aggrandisement of his country to the profit of his private fortune. One of the richest men of his native city, he was at the same time one of the most generous and most popular. His purse was ever ready to the calls of his friends and his city, and he spent much in works of public ornament and utility, and bore, among other things, a large share in the restoration aud enlargement of the Church of San Lorenzo.

Giovanni died in the year 1428, in his sixty-ninth year, leaving behind him a wife, Piccarda, daughter of Odoardo Bueri, who bore him two sons, Cosimo, styled Pater Patriæ, the grandfather of Lorenzo the Magnificent, and Lorenzo, born in 1394, the ancestor of the Medici of that collateral branch who after the extinction of the descendants of Cosimo obtained the sovereignty of Tuscany.

Cosimo was about forty years of age at the death of his father. He immediately, says Machiavelli, engaged more earnestly in public affairs, and conducted himself with more zeal and liberty to his friends than his father had done; so that those who had rejoiced at Giovanni's death, finding what the son was likely to become, perceived they had no cause for exultation. · Cosimo was one of the most prudent of men, of grave • and pleasant demeanour, extremely liberal and humane ; he never attempted' anything against a party or against the state, but strove to be of help to all, and with his liberality

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