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A Year: Day to Day Men: 4th of August, Solar Year 2018

The Morning Stretch

August 4, 1470 was the birthdate of Lucrezia Maria Romola de’ Medici, the eldest daughter of Lorenzo de’ Medici.

Lucrezia de’ Medici was married to Jacopo Salviati, an Italian politician, in February of 1498, bringing a dowry of 2000 gold florins to the marriage. When her brothers Piero and Giovanni were exiled from Florence, she was in a bad position, as her husband Jacopo was a supporter of the newly appointed rulers of Florence. In August of 1497 Lucrezia de’ Medici spent 3000 ducats to support a plot to return her brother Pietro to power. The plot failed. Francesco Valon, the head of Florence, executed all the male participants but spared Lucrezia.

Lucrezia de’ Medici continued to build support for the rise of the Medici family. She negotiated the marriage of her niece, Clarice de’ Medici, to Filippo Strozzi the Younger, a military man and influential banker. This was done against the wishes of the current leaders of Florence. When her youngest brother Giuliano returned from his stay in Venice, he would often ask Lucrezia for advice on restructuring the Florence government.

In March of 1513, Licrezia’s brother Giovanni, then a Cardinal in Rome, was elected Pope upon the death of Pope Julius II, with the support of the younger members of the Sacred College. He was the last non-priest to be elected Pope and took the name of Leo X. The Medici family held days of celebration in Florence, giving gifts and money to the crowds outside their palace. Pope Leo appointed Lucrezia’s son Giovanni to the position of Cardinal in 1517. Lucrezia managed her son’s household and office for him, particarly while he traveled as a Papal Legate. An astute politician herself, she used her son’s influence to further Medici causes in Rome.

Pope Leo X asked his sister Lucrezia to help support convents in Florence. Lucrezia paid for a significant expansion of the convent of San Giorgio, funding new dormitories, cloisters, and workshops. She also built other chapels in 1530 in Rome. Lucrezia and Pope Leo X later worked together to pay for a chapel in Rome which would also serve as a resting place for the family.

The Medici family were again exiled from Florence in 1527. Jacopo Salviati wound up a prisoner of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, and Pope Clement VII, who was Lucrezia’s cousin. Lucrezia managed to gather a ransom and was able to get her husband Jacopo released. There is no exact date for Lucrezia de’ Medici’s death; but it is estimated as having occurred between the 10th and 15th of November in 1553. She was 83 years old.

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