How Historically Accurate Is the Medici Season 2?
The Medici has recently been released and it cover the period of Lorenzo the Magnificant (Lorenzo de' Medici), one of the most influential Medici family members who ruled or influenced Florence and the birth of the Renaissance. The period covered is around 1469-1477, with the series culminating in the Pazzi conspiracy on Easter Sunday April 26, 1478.
The Key Characters
Lorenzo the Magnificant: Lorenzo is depicted as a smart and wise leader of the Medici family. His father, Piero di Cosimo de' Medici dies at the beginning of the series, in 1469. His father was shown as somewhat a weak character who could not always deal well with all the intrigues of the Signoria, which was the seat of government and ruling body in Florence. Lorenzo is energetic, ambitious for his family, and displayed traits like his grandfather Cosimo Medici by supporting the arts, with the series concentrating on his patronage of Sandro Botticelli. He is shown as having Florence's best interest in mind, although in reality he often did promote his family above all else.
Giuliano de' Medici: Guiliano is the brother of Lorenzo. He is shown as a skilled fighter, handsome, and a someone who always showed interest in women, refusing to settle down and instead bedding different women, including Simonetta Vespucci. In fact, he appears to fall in love with Simonetta, although she is married to one of the members of the Signoria. His youthful love of life and handsome appearance influences Botticelli to pain him as his Mars character, but that is not certain. Giuliano did father an illegitimate child that later became pope (Clement VII), but for some reason, this was not even brought up by the series despite the historical significance of this. Clement VII was the pope who presided over the fragmentation of Christianity during the Protestant Reformation. Giuliano was killed in the Pazzi conspiracy and that was depicted by the series.
Clarice Orsini: Clarice was shown as a nun in training at the beginning of the series who is then arranged by Lorenzo's mother, Lucrezia, to marry Lorenzo. While reluctant, she complies with this marriage. At first, she is not happy, as Lorenzo continues to have a relationship with a nobleman's wife after his marriage. Eventually, she has Lorenzo stop this affair and she begins to become more influential in Lorenzo's life. The couple eventually grow more fond of each other and they both help each other as they plan the family's affairs.
Botticelli: The series depicts Botticelli as well regarded painter patronized by the Medici. The series depicts the painter as being inspired by Simonetta Vespucci, who inspired Venus and Mars and later Primavera, with his later Birth of Venus painting alluded to. The actual history of these paintings is not certain, as Venus and Mars may have been painted much later. Nevertheless, Simonetta is a possible muse inspiring Botticelli's depiction of her as Venus, but that is also disputed by historians. Giuliano is purported to be the one inspiring Mars, but he had died long after this, although the series showing him posing, along with Simonetta, for the painting. None of this is historically clear, but some historians do accept the two as inspiring the well-known painting.
Francesco de' Pazzi: Francesco is one of the main characters of the Pazzi family, who are rivals to the Medicis and resent their control and power over Florence. Francesco initially befriends Lorenzo, as he believes his uncle Jacopo de' Pazzi, did not have Florence's best interest. However, over time he becomes disenchanted with the Medicis as he sees them as power hungry. Francesco eventually reunites with his uncle Jacopo and they together launch the Pazzi conspiracy on Easter Sunday in 1478. Francesco succeeds in killing Guiliano but the conspiracy fails and he is executed along with the other conspirators. The depiction of the brief friendship between Francesco and Lorenzo is likely inaccurate. He was also dragged from his house and killed, while in the series he was shown as being captured after the conspiracy was launched in the well-known Duomo of Florence.
Jacopo de' Pazzi: Jacopo is depicted as the head of the Pazzi family and obsessed with overthrowing the Medici family. While there might be some truth to this, he was also, historically, known to have patronized the arts and commissioned works such as the Palazzo Pazzi in Florence. His conspiracy launched with Francesco fails ultimately, after many other less violent attempts to topple the Medici. Jacopo is depicted as a cunning and scheming man, although in reality the problem with the Medici probably dealt with the fact that both families were power hungry.