Sunday, May 7, 2017

Medici: Masters of Florence

Image result for medici masters of florenceSo I mentioned back in this post that I wanted to do a regular feature where I watch historical tv shows, and then compare them with actual history, and I'm happy to say I've finally done it!

Well, at least I've done one. My next historical show is The Magnificent Century, and it's got like 50 episodes, so it'll probably take me the next twelve years to watch it all, but let's focus on the show at hand!

Medici: Masters of Florence is an Italian show set in 1400s Florence. It focuses around Cosimo de' Medici, and his family as they battle against the Albizzi and Pazzi families for control of the city. On the side Cosimo struggles to solve the mystery of his father's death, as well as various family issues with his wife Contessina, his brother Lorenzo, his son Pierro, and his daughter-in-law Lucrezia.

First, I do need to say that I loved this show. It was very well written, the plot kept its momentum, and, most of all, it surprised me. The show subverts a lot of the typical period drama tropes, and it was refreshing. I appreciated Cosimo and Contessina's fidelity to each other (such as it was), and the fact that sex was not the main theme of the show. Additionally, I haven't fallen as hard for a leading lady as I did for Contessina in a long time. The girl was badass, and I'm sad she won't be back for season two (probably).


Contessina, the woman who has stolen my heart.
But, down to the history! So, I'll admit, I didn't know much about the Medici's of this era until after I watched the show, and I was expecting to find the show riddled with errors, but, for the most part, the show is true to history. But then again, Renaissance Italy was pretty nuts on its own, it doesn't need much spicing up. There are, however a few glaring anachronisms. So, in no particular order:

  • Giovanni de Medici wasn't murdered, at least not that we know of. He appears to have died of old age.
  • Contessina never rode a horse into the Signoria, sword in hand fire blazing in her eyes, to rescue her husband. It's sad, but true. Contessina was given a much bigger part in the show than she had in real life. Not to say that her real life wasn't good, she was known for being a shrewd money manager and for arranging advantageous marriages for couples in Florence.
  • Lorenzo the Elder was not murdered either. He too appears to have died of old age.
  • It was a loss of money to the state of Florence that prompted the lifting of Cosimo the Elder's exile, not a bloody, totalitarian coup.
  • Rinaldo Albizzi was not murdered. 
  • Cosimo and Contessina had a second son-Giovanni
  • While Cosimo did have a twin brother, Damiano, his twin died shortly after birth. Cosimo was in no way responsible for his death.
  • .

  • Piero didn't play as big of a part in the affairs of Florence as the show portrays due to his poor health. (He was known as 'Piero the Gouty', which, honestly, rude.)
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Cosimo seems to only have one expression, and this is it.
And while I'm sure there are many more anachronisms in dress and other details, these are the main plot anachronisms. As I mentioned, the show stays pretty close to history, they just added more murder and some angst to make things more interesting. Overall, it was a fantastic show, and I can wait for season two! 

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