The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici

The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici
Christopher Hibbert

Nobody does decadence quite like the Italians. The echo of the Julio-Claudian emperors is heard in more than the title here, as the practical, Augustan example of the first Cosimo – running the show but paying lip service to the idea of a republic – was gradually rejected by his family’s increasingly bizarre degenerations. Also in keeping with the Imperial theme is Hibbert’s channeling of Gibbon (who would have loved sinking his teeth into this clan). It’s not a page-turner, but like most of Hibbert’s work it offers a competent overview of the subject while the Medicis themselves, with all of their bottomless appetites, are great entertainment.