All Politics is Local: The Medici-Habsburg Axis, 1532–88

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The Medici dukes’ rise to power is generally viewed as a fundamental aspect of the family politics of Florentine and Roman members of that family; however, they depended greatly on the Spanish kings to create and maintain their power throughout the sixteenth century. From the installation of Alessandro as duke in 1532 to the participation of Grandukes Francesco I and Ferdinando I in the Spanish Armada’s attempted invasion of England in 1588, the Medici were integral to first imperial and later Spanish designs on ruling and purifying European Christendom. The Medici occasionally sought some independence from the Spanish Habsburgs, in part by creating pro-French policies, but always returned — for marriage alliances, defense of Catholicism, and recognition as worthy players on the European political stage — to the royals who were simultaneously their most important supporters and their most important threat. This paper examines the dynasty politics of the Medici-Habsburg relationship.


Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting (RSA)


San Diego, CA