The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance

The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance

2004, History  -    -  Playlist 38 Comments
Ratings: 8.58/10 from 356 users.

From a small Italian community in 15th-century Florence, the Medici family would rise to rule Europe in many ways. Using charm, patronage, skill, duplicity and ruthlessness, they would amass unparalleled wealth and unprecedented power.

They would also ignite the most important cultural and artistic revolution in Western history--the European Renaissance. But the forces of change the Medici helped unleash would one day topple their ordered world. An epic drama played out in the courts, cathedrals and palaces of Europe, this series is both the tale of one family's powerful ambition and of Europe's tortured struggle to emerge from the ravages of the dark ages.

A tale of one family's powerful ambition and of Europe's struggle to emerge from the ravages of the Dark Ages. Beginning in the 14th century, The Medici used charm, skill and ruthlessness to garner unparalleled wealth and power. Standing at the helm of the Renaissance, they ruled Europe for more than 300 years and inspired the great artists, scientists and thinkers who gave birth to the modern world.

The playlist bellow contains 4 episodes, each about 55 minutes long, in HD: Birth of a Dynasty, The Magnificent Medici, The Medici Pope and Power vs. Truth.

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3 years ago

Absolutely fabulous documentary. Helped me to understand the Renaissance. Thank you so very much

5 years ago

I can’t wait to see this documentary! I have just visited Voltaira in Tuscany where the second series was being filmed. Fascinating to see the costumes, sets etc being filmed. It was freezing cold in a mean wind but it didn’t seem to deter the actors. ( They kept disappearing into beautiful medieval buildings to shelter.) I can’t wait to download the first series and get stuck in!

6 years ago

One of the best docu's on the Medici's, Thank You.

Travis Atwood
7 years ago

A touch of philosophy, a touch of art history, a touch of political maneuvering, and you get a story that is too good to be written. Such is history.
This is a well executed 4 part series, lot's of information that make you feel like you can understand the greatness that happened in this little corner of Italy that not only echoes through our modern times, but sets it's corner stone.

8 years ago

10/10 One of the best historical set of programs I've seen thus far. Fascinating. Well worth watching all the way through to the end. It's one of those series that, having watched it a few weeks ago, my mind keeps going back to.

9 years ago

Not about power or politics. It's about art and architecture.

Kathi Papaleo
9 years ago

Also read Umberto Ecco's book, In The Name of the Rose..Great book about power, truth, lies and the search for knowledge.

9 years ago

Were the Medici actually jewish??

10 years ago

Does anyone know where I might find the music to this, or other music by Vassi? I've searched but to no avail. It's very beautiful, particularly the last song of the first video.

guillermo gonzalez hernandez
11 years ago

nice documentary, i enjoyed everything specially the music!!!

11 years ago

i enjoyed it so much!!! amazing!

11 years ago

I love this documentary. Never get tired of it. ^_^ Though the Renaissance isn't my favorite part of history... In fact I prefer its Asian counterpart... Edo period of Japan (its a renaissance in its own right due to cultural explosion in the arts, food and lifestyle) and Ming Dynasty of China (where to begin the awesomeness of this era), as well as that of Russia from 14 century to 16th century (I love seeing how it expanded and grew). My favorite part of history for Britain though would have to be the periods of Victorian and Edwardian. Anyways this documentary on the Medici, I really like, since it's quite strange to see a family at the time period who has more fame and power than the Pope or the King himself. Way a go! ^_^ By the way, back then what the Medici had done would've been punishable by death during the Medieval times... a few decades ago. Gotta love how structure is challenged like that! Yes the Medici family were nobility, but still they were two to three ladders below that of the Pope and King, yet they became more powerful than the two... that has to mean something.

Thank you so much to the one who posted this wonderful documentary.

11 years ago

it would be cool if there was a longer (less cut) version of the first episode: it seems a bit random in areas- like when it describes some of the different artists like donatello

12 years ago

The reenactments are almost cinematic, but the narrator's voice is just weird.

Stacy Jean
12 years ago

I'm neither a historian nor a professor on this, so I can't judge how accurate the history in this documentary really is. But the documentary itself is wonderfully put together, and true or not they've woven it all into a fantastic story. I had an absolute blast watching this; it was excellently put together--recreations, re-enactments, expert interviews, and glimpses of actual paintings, ruins, and sites today were all blended seamlessly together.

Made for a great story, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

12 years ago

Sadie needs to use her brain. Judging Michaelangelo, Botticelli,etc. as if she was there. I wonder how many of Sadie's paintings will hang in the museum 500 years from now. But the spineless aren't remembered !!

Rina Ralls
12 years ago

My favorite doc. I've watched it so many times and never get tired of it. Would like to see more docs on the Renaissance.

Sadie the Celt
12 years ago

Ive just written a brief synopsis of how I interpret the documentary - its only my views.
I found this documentary quite brilliant - a great source of knowledge from argueably the biggest events to shape medieval history. Thank you for this

Sadie the Celt
12 years ago

part 4 picks up at the point where the Medici Family were all but wiped out - but there was a distant 4th cousin Cosimo (mk2) not blood relative but good enough. his lineage and disadvantaged education were all the better for the medici allies because he could be manipulated into a ruler that suited Florence. and so it was - and Cosimo married into a powerful Spanish dynasty (Leonora) which brought an army as a dowry amongst other things) and so the Medici family prospered once again. At this point Gallileo was appointed as the family Scientist - on a huge salary, and he educated the merdici children in aspects os Science - proving Newtons theory of relativity long before Newton made it famous. Gallileo was undoubtedly a genius, and it was his thinking that deduced that it was the Earth that moved around the Sun (and not the other way around) This angered Rome - because the Paplcy had always claimed the latter - this caused Gallilloe to be forced to choose between the TRUTH or POWER - poor man was tortured until he had to submit - he died a broken man.

Sadie the Celt
12 years ago

Machiavelli was undeniably a political philosopher, but his motives were about as transparent as a pane of glass. he had the agenda of a narcissist. I think - but thats only a peronal opinion, he must have had SOME endearing qualities. ....(I need to get off this soap box or im gonna get sacked)

Sadie the Celt
12 years ago

Part 3 - this hour long documentry starts where part 2 finished, opening with that famous The Bonfire of the Vanities, with the 2 Medici Cousins (Giovanni and Guliano) in exile for 9 years - they were fortunate that the current pope at that time (Julius)was also from an influential family background & supported them and so they returned to Florence to regain their position,they totally anhilliated the town of P...(cant remember) 4 miles out of Florence - it could be argued that they were over zealous, but then again, they had to prove their power, and so it was.
Pope Julius died around this time, and as Giovanni was the Cardinal he ultimately voted himself into the Papalcy - with his cousin Guliano becoming Cardinal (thats Nepotism for you)
Sad to see the excesses of over indulgence - the celebrations were HUGE and lasted weeks,with 65 course dinners etc., they even went so far as to paint a young boy in gold paint - nobody cared that he died from old poisoning a short time later, and these things happened, not 500 years ago - seems barbaric now!
btw on my last posting I called Bottecelli a spineless git - I meant to say Michelangelo, I am sorry.
and I honestly think that he (Michelangelo) was not so much 'spineless' as he was emotionally vulnerable, confused yet brilliant. I needed to correct that because I wrote it quickly and did not think. Im sorry.
Yeah - and here comes Machiavelli - the name says it all!
oops Ive run out of time,

Sadie the Celt
12 years ago

Oh and Botticelli was a spineless git too! - talk about 'biting the hand that feeds you'

Sadie the Celt
12 years ago

Oh and another thing - what disappointment Lorenza Medici must have felt, when it was discovered that the Pope instigated the murder plot that killed his brother Juliano Medici.
That is an horrific act of betrayal - by the Catholic Church and even if it was done by anyone it was still beyond my comprehension.
Lets face it, his father Cosimo took a huge gamble when he funded the ex-pirates relgious mission - Im not sure I would bet on an outsider to that degree!
and look how it came back on him - yes, unbelievable and shocking piece of history

Sadie the Celt
12 years ago

Oh the 2nd part raised some interesting points, It was a sad demise of Lorenza Medici, not only did he lose his beloved wife a short time earlier, but he was tortured with questions over whether he would get redemption, and I find this quite upsetting, that a man of his calibre could be weakened so easily. Which brings me to think of 'Alchemy' as a medicine? - Ive no doubt it was in the experimental stages -
(this is a fact) my very own Grandfather died from Alchemy before I was born - he was having Gold injections for arthiritis, and (from what I have been told) his Doctor gave him too much. This happened in Wales UK - and not very long ago either!
So it could be argued that perhaps the alchemy contributed to his death - and his misgivings? (possibly emotional weakness caused by alchemy?)
My opinion of Savonrolla?(sic) - well he was a self flagellating zealot - who picked his moment to infiltrate the people of Florence with his piety...He must have been charasmatic and either cunning or influential, to have gained access to Lorenza's deathbed?
Thats only my opinions! - I have no proof - Im just thinking.
Still waiting for Machiavelli to make an appearance!
(Ive still got parts 3 & 4 to see...)
Im getting excited! lol from Sadie in Wales

Sadie the Celt
12 years ago

Oh Im joining the 'Fan Club' - wasnt it great?....and I have only seen part 1 (so far)I suppose I could follow Jen - and watch all in one go! but I think I will save 2,3,& 4 - like I save Chocolate.
wondering and hoping that there will be plenty of info in next episode re Niccolo Machiavelli? - yikes Im lousy on dates but I think Machiavelli was born bout 10 years after part 1 finished, and he was instrumental in..oh I cant remember, but he wrote 'The Prince' and I remember that penguin classic cos I had to read it for my history ....

13 years ago

very good it really gives you a good sense of how things were during that time and place

13 years ago

Great documentary,watched it all in one go and ended up going to sleep stupid late :) The roles of the Medici women would have also been v interesting but I dont think this is lacking because of it, perhaps they deserve their own documentry? :)

13 years ago

Only fair, because like most His-storical documentaries, it ignores the roles an actions of the Medici women. Really, its a good story, but I am left wanting the other half of it.

13 years ago

amazing ...

13 years ago

A great documentary. Very informative and enlightening. Highly recommended if you are totally ignorant of church history and have no idea of how issues like Indulgence (of Salvation) and Inquisition - that you have read in other books, come about. I am truly educated by this documentary.

13 years ago

This is a great documentary. I enjoyed watching the docs that focused on the seperate artists as they give more detail into the very interesting lives of some of these influential pioneers. This doc however gives a great overview of the beginning of the renaissance and looks at the medici, and their important place in history, in depth. Entertaining, informative and brilliantly presented.

13 years ago

I enjoyed the Medici Series very much. Except for the fourth episode "Power vs. Truth" which keeps stopping in the middle of the show. I tried to have it start again from there and it does not work. Which means that you need to replay the 27 minutes to see the end... and it still does not work. I tried it twice now!