The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de' Medici.

Author:Martone, Eric
Position::Book review
 
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Recommended Citation

Martone, Eric (2018) "Book Review: The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de' Medici by Catherine Fletcher," International Social Science Review: Vol. 94 : Iss. 2 , Article 8.

Available at: htps://digitalcommons.northgeorgia.edu/issr/vol94/iss2/8

Fletcher, Catherine. The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de' Medici. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. xxviii + 308 pages. Hardcover, $29.95.

In The Black Prince of Florence, historian Catherine Fletcher relates the improbable rise to power of Alessandro de' Medici, born illegitimate to a mother of low social status circa 1511. Known as "il Moro" ("the Moor") because of his skin color, Alessandro was the first to govern Florence as a hereditary monarch. Yet his tumultuous reign was brief, lasting only from 1531 to 1537, brought to an end through his assassination. The duchy of Florence subsequently passed to Cosimo de' Medici and the family's junior branch.

The book is divided into three parts: "The Bastard Son," "The Obedient Nephew," and "The Prince Alone." Part one, which introduces the reader to the political and social world in which Alessandro lived, largely focuses on Western European politics and the histories of the Medici family, the papacy, and Florence during the early sixteenth century. Alessandro enters the narrative only periodically, primarily because sources for his early years are lacking. As he gained an increasingly important role in family patriarch Giulio de' Medici's (Pope Clement VII) bid for Medici grandeur (due to the lack of males in the senior Medici line), so too did his presence in historical records. Part Two focuses on Alessandro's early years as ruler of Florence, during which time he was influenced by his "uncle" Pope Clement VII. In part three, Fletcher examines how Alessandro's rule was tested in the wake of Clement VII's death. Although supported by his father-in-law, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Alessandro faced complex external and internal challenges, including enemy conspirators, republicans' plots to restore the Florentine...

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