How they lived and why Medici died. Scientists are about to unravel

28.04.2004

28.04.2004


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By disclosing secrets of the Medici family, who ruled Florence in the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, and became famous for patronage of arts during the Renaissance, launched this week, a large group of scientists. For this family tomb was opened, which contains the remains of 49 members of the famous family.

Finance the project, two American University, and research will be to conduct the Italian experts in the fields of anthropology, paleontology, archeology, molecular biology, and the history of medicine from the University of Florence and Pisa. Such a representative composition explains the unusual task: to obtain reliable information about what and how to eat the Florentines blue blood, a pedigree with many royal houses of Europe, and what were the causes of death of each of them. This is due to the fact that around the Medici family created many legends and myths, including the poisoning of the rivals of each other.

In this more than others, perhaps, succeeded Catherine de 'Medici, who was the wife of King Henry II and regent during the minority of Charles IX. In the struggle for power, she did not shun the elimination of his enemies with the help of sophisticated poisons, which knew a lot. She left her mark in the grim history and as one of the main culprits of the massacre of the Huguenots in the St. Bartholomew's Day.

As for the Medici, buried in Florence, of special interest to researchers will present a study of the remains of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Francesco (1541-1587). He inherited the title from his father, Cosimo I, Florence established the regime of absolute power. By the way, when it was built the Uffizi Palace, now placed where the world-famous art gallery. In contrast to his father's Francesco is not particularly interested in politics, more engaged in alchemy, and during his reign the influence of Tuscany had declined. He died, according to historical chronicles, malaria, and the next day with the same diagnosis went to the forefathers of the Duke's wife Bianca Cappello.

Here lies the mystery. There is a suspicion that both were poisoned, after which the Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1587 was the younger brother Francesco — Ferdinand II, under whom Florence acquired its former strength. The true cause of death of spouses and intended to establish the researchers who have deployed in the family chapel of the science lab.

"Operation Medici" has caused a mixed reaction among the offspring of the once powerful family. As the Roman newspaper "La Repubblica", even though the city council approved the work of Florence and Prince Ottaviano de 'Medici, the other to declare a descendant of this family has said it will protest. However, the newspaper notes, the interest in the Life of the rulers of Florence, especially during the Renaissance, is so great that it is unlikely anyone will listen.

Patrons of artists, sculptors, scientists were many representatives of the rich Italian family always emphasizes its proximity to the commoners. So, Cosimo the Elder gathered a massive library in Europe, brought from Constantinople by the many great works of the Greeks, including Plato. And Ferdinand II was not only an avid fan of Tommaso Campanella, but also appointed professor of mathematics at the University of Pisa Galileo.

27.04.2004

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