The Bicci and he can be discarded
The rise of the Medici can be accounted for by a number of different factors, these include the putting down of the ciompi which resulted in the association of the Medici with people, justice and popular government, Giovanni di Bicci de`Medici’s contribution (or lack thereof) to the rise of the Medici and the contribution of Cosimo di Bicci de`Medici, the election of a pro-Medician faction in Autumn 1434. The actions of Salvestro de`Medici during the revolt of the ciompi and the effects that helped to associate the Medici with people, justice and popular government are very important in explaining the rise of the Medici.
Salvestro De`Medici, who was a rich member of the greater guilds sided with the lesser guilds and whatever his motivations were for doing this (it seems likely that his motivations were to limit the power of his fellow oligarchs), it certainly helped the Medici and resulted in a change of views towards the Medici. The actions of Salvestro de`Medici paved the way for the rapid rise of the Medici in the fifteenth century. Any form of government or organisation needs some sort of popular support in order to succeed and the Medici were no exception to this rule.
The decisions that Salvestro de`Medici made proved to be crucial in providing the popular support that they needed. It can be also said that Salvestro de`Medici’s actions actually prevented the Medici from making progress, but the real fact is that he provided a legacy for future generations to build upon and is an integral part in this account of the rise of the Medici. Salvestro de`Medici wasn’t helped by his cousin Giovanni who kept a low profile during these events. Giovanni wasn’t eager to side with the lesser guilds, because of his business interests.
This lack of contribution really sums Giovanni up and shows that he didn’t play a major part in the rise of the Medici. The contribution of Giovanni di Bicci de `Medici is another factor that needs to be considered when accounting for the rise of the Medici although his contribution seems to have been rather small and insignificant. There is evidence that suggests that Florence became a major player in Italian politics during this time but the contribution of Giovanni di Bicci de `Medici in politics is not evident.
He did not participate in Renaissance politics as much as Cosimo, and had more business interests which he pursued with vigour. The contribution of the Medici within Florence is also not evident as it seems that the Alibizzis, the Uzzanos and the Capponis were the major players in Florentine politics. The good work started by the actions of Salvestro de`Medici was not continued by Giovanni di Bicci and he can be discarded when accounting for the rise of the Medici (in terms of politics) because of his concentration on other activities.
However, as head of the Medici bank, Giovanni did achieve distinction as an economist and it was under him that the Medici became the third richest family in Florence and it can be said that Giovanni provided the basis for Cosimo to build on but his shortcomings certainly outweigh his achievements. His participation in politics was almost non-existent when compared to Cosimo and although his economic work was worthy of distinction he wasn’t able to challenge the major Florentine powers in any other areas.
However, the improvements he made in terms of economics are worthy of distinction… One of Giovanni’s main achievements in economics was the lucrative deal that he secured with the Catholic Church, which was of vital importance in the rise of the Medici and this was certainly his biggest and most important achievement. The Medici collected 10% of the Church earnings. This gave the Medici immense power in terms of economics because everyone wanted an account with the Pope’s personal bank. Another one of Giovanni’s economic ideas was “limited liability”.