First Among Equals: A Novel Based on the Life of Cosimo de' Medici
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Born in an age of turmoil, Cosimo de' Medici—heir to the Medici banking fortune—grew up privileged but surrounded by poverty, corruption, war, and famine. It was the Middle Ages and Italy's future was bleak.
Reserved and soft-spoken, yet charismatic and determined, Cosimo vowed to use his wealth for the greater good, manipulating his enemies while courting popes and artists. Despite the oligarchs who schemed to seize the power he almost reluctantly held, Cosimo became a "first among equals," the de facto leader of the Florentine Republic.
A devotee of ancient literature and patron of education and the arts, Cosimo brought peace, reforms, and prosperity to the Republic, defining Florence as the cradle of the Renaissance. The Medici dynasty would last for centuries, and without its support and keen eye for talent and genius, da Vinci, Brunelleschi, Galileo, and many others may have never been given their own opportunities to change the world.