Giovanni de' Medici

Medici, Giovanni de', or Giovanni delle Bande Nere (jōvänˈnē dĕlˈlā bänˈdā nāˈrā) [key] [Ital., = of the black bands], 1498–1526, Italian condottiere; great-grandson of Lorenzo de' Medici (d. 1440, brother of Cosimo de' Medici, 1389–1464). The son of Caterina Sforza (see under Sforza, family), he was trained from childhood for the military life, and in 1516 his relative Pope Leo X gave him command of a troop. He soon won great reputation as a military leader. His nickname was probably acquired because of the black stripes of mourning on his banners after the death (1521) of Leo X. In the Italian Wars, Giovanni fought (1521–22) in N Italy for the pope, on the side of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, against Francis I of France. He later changed sides, however, and fought with Francis in the battle of Pavia (1525), where he was severely wounded. In 1526 he again sided with Francis, fighting for the League of Cognac. He died of a wound received in battle. Giovanni delle Bande Nere possessed great courage and tactical ability. His hold over his men was remarkable, and his corps remained together long after his death. His wife, Maria Salviati, was a granddaughter of Lorenzo de' Medici (Lorenzo il Magnifico), and his son became grand duke of Tuscany as Cosimo I.

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