Alessandro de' Medici

Medici, Alessandro de' (älĕs-sänˈdrō dā mĕˈdĭchē, Ital. māˈdēchē) [key], 1510?–37, duke of Florence (1532–37); probably an illegitimate son of Lorenzo de' Medici, duke of Urbino. His prominence began when Pope Clement VII, then head of the Medici family succeeded (1530) in restoring the Medici to power in Florence after a three-year banishment. With Clement's support Alessandro was made head of the republic (1531) and hereditary duke (1532) by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, whose illegitimate daughter Margaret of Austria (later known as Margaret of Parma) he married. His arbitrary rule brought him general hatred. The Florentines sent (1535) his cousin Ippolito to appeal to Charles V against the duke, but Ippolito died en route, apparently of malaria, although he may have been poisoned at Alessandro's orders. Alessandro, who continued to enjoy imperial favor, was murdered in turn two years later by a relative, Lorenzino de' Medici (see separate article). The elder Medici line was then extinct, and the headship of the family passed to Cosimo I de' Medici.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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